Storage Unit Business Model: Setting Up Your Business

The self-storage industry is experiencing rapid growth, with a global market value of $51.32 billion in 2021. This indicates a high demand for storage unit services, making it a lucrative business opportunity. Setting up a self-storage business allows you to tap into this market and provide consumers with the storage solutions they need.

A self-storage business offers individuals and businesses their own dedicated space to store goods. By providing flexibility and convenience, you can attract a wide range of customers. The average person rents storage space for 11 months, ensuring a consistent revenue stream and a healthy profit margin.

Key Takeaways:

  • The self-storage industry is a rapidly growing market, with a global market value of $51.32 billion in 2021.
  • A self-storage business provides customers with their own space to store goods, offering flexibility and convenience.
  • The average person rents storage space for 11 months, making it a profitable venture.
  • Setting up a self-storage business requires careful planning and understanding of the market.
  • By following the necessary steps and considering all the factors involved, entrepreneurs can set up a successful storage unit business model.

Understanding the Basics of Self Storage

Before diving into the world of self storage business, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of the basics. A self storage facility provides customers with their own dedicated space to store their belongings. Whether it’s furniture, seasonal items, or business inventory, self storage offers a convenient and flexible solution.

In order to establish a successful self storage business, it is important to identify market needs and potential customers. Conducting market research will help determine the demand for self storage in a particular area and identify the target customer base. This analysis allows for the development of strategies that align with market needs and customer preferences, ensuring a strong foundation for the business.

Understanding the market needs involves considering factors such as population density, residential and commercial development, and the availability of other self storage facilities in the area. These insights can help determine the optimal location for a new self storage facility and set it apart from the competition.

Moreover, identifying potential customers is essential for effective marketing and customer acquisition. Self storage facilities cater to a wide range of customers, including individuals, families, small businesses, and even students. Analyzing target demographics and their storage needs enables businesses to tailor their services and promotional efforts to attract and retain customers.

By comprehensively understanding the basics of self storage, market needs, and potential customers, entrepreneurs can position their self storage facility for success in a competitive industry.

Finding a Suitable Location

The location of a self-storage business is a critical factor in determining its success. To ensure profitability and a steady customer base, it is essential to choose a suitable location that meets the demands of the market. Densely populated regions and areas with a variety of housing options often have a greater need for storage facilities.

Additionally, considering the growing demand for versatile and cost-effective storage solutions, starting a shipping container storage facility could offer a unique opportunity within the self-storage market.

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Location: Examples of Suitable Locations:
  • Density of population
  • Housing options and types
  • Proximity to residential areas
  • Accessibility and visibility
  • Competition in the area
  • Urban areas with high population density
  • Suburbs with limited storage options
  • College towns with transient student population
  • Industrial areas with businesses in need of storage
  • Areas undergoing residential development

Developing a Business Plan

A well-developed business plan is crucial for starting a self storage business. It serves as a roadmap for the organization, outlining the target market, financial projections, and operational strategies. A comprehensive business plan not only guides the business’s development but also attracts potential investors or secures funding.

When creating a business plan for a self storage business, it is essential to consider the following key components:

1. Target Market Analysis

Identify and analyze the target market for your self storage facility. Determine the demographics, needs, and preferences of potential customers. This analysis helps in tailoring your services to meet the demands of the target market and establishing a competitive edge.

2. Financial Projections

Develop financial projections that encompass the estimated revenue and expenses of your self storage business. Consider factors such as rental income, occupancy rates, operating costs, and potential growth over time. These projections provide insights into the financial viability and sustainability of your business.

3. Operational Strategies

Define the operational strategies that will drive the success of your self storage business. Outline procedures for customer acquisition, facility management, security measures, and customer service. Focus on creating efficient and effective operational processes to ensure a seamless and positive customer experience.

By formulating a well-structured business plan, you lay the foundation for a successful self storage business. It not only outlines your goals and strategies but also assists in making informed decisions and managing potential risks.

Sample Business Plan Structure:

Components Description
Executive Summary An overview of the business plan, highlighting key points of the proposal.
Company Description Details about the self storage facility and its unique value proposition.
Market Analysis An assessment of the target market, competition analysis, and customer segmentation.
Marketing and Sales Strategies Strategies for acquiring customers, marketing initiatives, and sales tactics.
Financial Projections Projected income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
Operations Details about the facility’s operations, including staffing, security measures, and service delivery.
Risk Analysis Identification and assessment of potential risks and contingency plans.
Implementation Plan A timeline and action steps for launching and operating the self storage business.
Appendix Supporting documentation, including licenses, permits, and regulatory compliance information.

Developing a comprehensive business plan is a critical step in the establishment of a successful self storage business. It provides a clear roadmap for the organization, highlighting the target market, financial goals, and operational strategies. With a well-structured business plan in place, entrepreneurs can confidently pursue their self storage business venture.

Obtaining Funding

Starting a self storage business requires adequate funding to cover both startup and operating costs. The amount of funding needed will depend on various factors, including the size and location of the facility. To secure the necessary funds, entrepreneurs can consider the following options:

  1. Using Personal Assets: Utilizing personal savings or assets is a common way to fund a startup. This can include using personal savings, selling assets, or borrowing against personal property.
  2. Applying for a Small Business Loan: Entrepreneurs can explore the option of obtaining a small business loan to finance their self storage venture. Banks and financial institutions typically offer loans specifically designed for small businesses.
  3. Seeking Investors: Another funding option is to attract potential investors who are interested in the self storage industry. Investors can provide capital in exchange for equity or a return on their investment.

It is important to have enough capital to cover at least a year’s worth of operating costs before launching the business. This ensures that there is sufficient funding to sustain the operations and overcome any initial challenges. By securing the necessary funding, entrepreneurs can confidently start their self storage business and position themselves for long-term success.

Acquiring Licenses and Permits

Before starting a self storage business, it is crucial to obtain the necessary licenses and permits to comply with legal requirements. The specific licenses and permits needed may vary depending on the location of the facility. One important requirement to consider is the Certificate of Occupancy, which verifies that the property meets safety and zoning regulations for its intended use.

In addition to the Certificate of Occupancy, other permits and licenses may be necessary. These can include:

  • Service Contracts: If you plan to offer additional services such as moving or vehicle storage, you may need specific service contracts or licenses related to those services.
  • Small Business Permits: Obtaining the required small business permits will depend on local regulations and may include general business licenses, tax IDs, or health permits.
  • Environmental Permits: If your storage facility handles hazardous materials or other potentially harmful substances, you may need to obtain environmental permits to ensure compliance with safety and environmental regulations.

It is essential to thoroughly research the legal obligations and requirements for your specific location to ensure compliance and avoid any penalties or disruptions to your business operations.

Overview of Licenses and Permits

License/Permit Description
Certificate of Occupancy A document that certifies a property’s compliance with safety and zoning regulations for its intended use.
Service Contracts Contracts or licenses related to additional services offered by the storage facility, such as moving or vehicle storage.
Small Business Permits Permits required for small businesses, including general business licenses, tax IDs, or health permits.
Environmental Permits Permits required for storage facilities that handle hazardous materials or other potentially harmful substances to ensure compliance with safety and environmental regulations.

Understanding and fulfilling all necessary licenses and permits will help you operate your self storage business legally and responsibly. Failure to comply with legal requirements can result in fines, penalties, and potential closure of your facility.

Creating a Marketing Plan

To ensure the success of your self storage business, it is crucial to develop a comprehensive marketing plan. This plan will help you promote your facility, attract customers, and increase awareness in the highly competitive self storage market. By leveraging the power of online presence, digital marketing strategies, and partnerships with self storage marketplaces, you can effectively reach your target audience and drive business growth.

Building an Online Presence

One of the first steps in creating a successful marketing plan is establishing a strong online presence for your self storage business. A well-designed and user-friendly website can serve as a digital storefront, providing potential customers with valuable information about your facility, available storage options, and pricing details. Additionally, optimizing your website for search engines using relevant keywords can increase your online visibility and attract organic traffic.

To further enhance your online presence, consider implementing a content marketing strategy. This involves creating and sharing high-quality content such as blog articles, videos, and infographics that educate and engage your target audience. By providing valuable information related to self storage, you can position your facility as a trusted resource and build credibility.

Utilizing Digital Marketing Strategies

In today’s digital age, digital marketing plays a crucial role in reaching and connecting with potential customers. There are various digital marketing strategies you can employ to effectively promote your self storage business:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimize your website’s content, meta tags, and URLs to rank higher in search engine results, driving organic traffic to your site.
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising: Run targeted online ads on platforms like Google Ads and social media channels to reach potential customers actively searching for storage solutions.
  • Social Media Marketing: Utilize popular social media platforms to engage with your audience, share relevant content, and run targeted ad campaigns.
  • Email Marketing: Build an email list of interested prospects and send them newsletters, promotions, and informative content to nurture relationships and encourage conversions.

Partnering with Self Storage Marketplaces

Self storage marketplaces provide a platform where customers can search for and compare different storage facilities. By partnering with these marketplaces, you can expand your reach and attract customers who are actively looking for storage solutions. Some popular self storage marketplaces include SpareFoot and These partnerships can increase your facility’s visibility and credibility, driving more bookings and revenue.

Measuring and Analyzing Results

As with any marketing effort, it is important to measure and analyze the effectiveness of your strategies. Utilize tools like Google Analytics to track the performance of your website, monitor traffic sources, and understand user behavior. Additionally, keep a close eye on key performance indicators (KPIs) such as website conversions, customer inquiries, and rental bookings to gauge the success of your marketing plan.

Benefits of a Comprehensive Marketing Plan Key Actions
Increased brand awareness and visibility in the self storage market. Build an optimized website and establish a strong online presence.
Targeted reach to potential customers through digital marketing strategies. Implement SEO, PPC advertising, social media marketing, and email marketing.
Expanded customer base through partnerships with self storage marketplaces. Collaborate with popular self storage marketplaces to increase visibility.
Effective measurement and analysis of marketing efforts. Utilize tools like Google Analytics and track key performance indicators.

Securing Business Insurance

Protecting your self storage facility with the right insurance coverage is essential for the success and longevity of your business. Business insurance provides financial security in case of unexpected events or accidents that could result in significant costs. When it comes to self storage, there are specific insurance policies to consider, such as general liability insurance and self storage insurance.

General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance is a fundamental coverage that protects your business from various risks, including bodily injury and property damage claims. In the context of a self storage facility, general liability insurance is crucial in case a customer or visitor suffers an injury on the premises. It helps cover medical expenses, legal fees, and potential settlements or judgments, providing financial protection for your business.

Self Storage Insurance

Self storage insurance is specifically designed for the unique risks involved in storing customers’ belongings. This type of insurance provides coverage for loss or damage to stored items due to covered perils such as fire, theft, or natural disasters. Offering self storage insurance to your customers can give them peace of mind and protect your business from potential liability claims.

When assessing your insurance needs, consider factors such as the value of stored items, the size of your facility, and any local regulations or requirements. It is important to work closely with an insurance professional who specializes in business insurance for self storage facilities. They can help you identify the specific coverage options that will best protect your business and ensure compliance with industry regulations.

Remember, securing business insurance, including general liability insurance and self storage insurance, is a proactive step towards safeguarding your self storage facility. By choosing the right coverage and mitigating potential risks, you can focus on providing excellent service to your customers and growing your business.

business insurance

Understanding the Self Storage Market

The self storage market is a thriving industry, projected to generate $37 billion in revenue in 2019. Self storage facilities are in high demand, with a variety of items being stored by individuals and businesses. Understanding the market trends and projections is crucial for the success of a self storage business.

Market Trends and Projections

As the need for additional space continues to grow, the self storage market presents a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs. The market is driven by various factors, including urbanization, downsizing, and the increasing popularity of e-commerce.

The revenue generated by the self storage industry is expected to grow steadily, driven by a rising customer base and increasing rental rates. It is projected to reach $49.24 billion by 2023, indicating a promising future for storage unit businesses.

One key trend in the self storage market is the rise of climate-controlled storage units. With the increasing demand for storing sensitive and valuable items, such as art collections and electronics, climate-controlled units provide the necessary temperature and humidity conditions to protect these belongings.

Customer Segments

The self storage market caters to a wide range of customer segments. Individuals looking to free up space in their homes or during a move are a significant customer group. Additionally, businesses, including e-commerce retailers and contractors, rely on self storage units for inventory management and equipment storage.

Understanding the specific needs and preferences of different customer segments is crucial for developing targeted marketing strategies and providing tailored storage solutions.

Competition and Market Share

The self storage market is highly competitive, with both independently owned facilities and larger chains competing for customers. Major players in the industry include Public Storage, Extra Space Storage, and CubeSmart.

It is essential for new entrants to conduct thorough research on the competition and identify unique selling points to stand out in the market. Offering value-added services, such as 24/7 access, security features, and convenient locations, can help attract customers away from established competitors.

Major Players in the Self Storage Market Market Share
Public Storage ~10%
Extra Space Storage ~9%
CubeSmart ~7%

Assessing Costs and Planning

Starting a self storage business requires thorough cost assessment and planning. As an entrepreneur, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the financial aspects involved in setting up and running a storage unit business. Here are the key considerations:

Startup Costs:

The startup costs encompass various expenses incurred at the beginning of the business, including property acquisition or lease, construction or modification expenses, and necessary permits and licenses. By carefully estimating and budgeting for these costs, you can ensure a smooth launch of your storage facility.

Construction Costs:

Construction costs represent a significant portion of the startup expenses. These expenses cover the construction or modification of the storage units, security systems, office spaces, and other necessary infrastructure. It is essential to work with experienced contractors and obtain detailed quotes to accurately estimate the construction costs.

Operating Expenses:

Operating expenses consist of ongoing costs required to run the storage unit business. This includes payroll for the facility staff, property maintenance, utilities, insurance, marketing, and taxes. Identifying and budgeting for these expenses is crucial to ensure the financial sustainability of your business.

By conducting a comprehensive analysis of the startup costs, construction costs, and operating expenses, you can develop a realistic budget and financial plan for your self storage business. This will enable you to make informed decisions and secure the necessary funding to launch and sustain your venture.

Buying vs. Building a Facility

When starting a self storage business, one of the key decisions to make is whether to buy an existing facility or build a new one. Each option comes with its own set of advantages and considerations, and understanding the implications can help you make an informed choice.

Buying a Facility

Buying an existing self storage facility can offer several benefits. Firstly, it provides immediate access to a customer base that is already familiar with the facility. This can save time and effort in building brand awareness and attracting new customers. Additionally, an existing facility comes with established infrastructure such as storage units, security systems, and administrative processes, which can streamline the operational aspects of the business.

However, there are factors to consider when buying a facility. You need to assess the facility’s reputation, occupancy rates, and financial performance to ensure that it aligns with your business goals. It is also important to conduct a thorough inspection of the property, including the condition of the storage units and any potential maintenance or renovation needs. Furthermore, the cost of buying an existing facility may be higher compared to building a new one, depending on market conditions and location.

Building a Facility

Building a new self storage facility offers the advantage of customization. You have the opportunity to design the facility layout, choose the materials used, and incorporate innovative features that can differentiate your business from competitors. Building from scratch also allows for greater flexibility in terms of location selection, as you are not limited to the availability of existing facilities.

However, constructing a facility requires careful planning and execution. You need to consider factors such as real estate costs, construction timelines, and obtaining necessary permits and approvals. It is essential to work with experienced architects, contractors, and engineers who understand the unique requirements of self storage facilities. Additionally, building a new facility may take longer to generate income compared to buying an existing one, as you will need time to lease out the storage units and establish a customer base.

Real Estate Costs

Real estate costs are a significant consideration in the decision-making process. Whether you buy or build, the location of the facility plays a crucial role in its success. Factors such as property prices, rental rates, and proximity to potential customers can impact the financial viability of your self storage business. Conducting a comprehensive market analysis and working with a real estate agent can help you identify suitable locations and negotiate favorable terms.

Considerations Buying a Facility Building a Facility
Immediate access to customers Yes No
Established infrastructure Yes No
Customization opportunities No Yes
Real estate costs Variable Variable
Maintenance and renovation needs Variable No

Ultimately, the decision to buy or build a self storage facility depends on various factors, including your budget, timeline, and long-term goals. It is essential to carefully evaluate the pros and cons of both options and consider the specific circumstances of your business.


Starting a self storage business requires careful planning, understanding of the market, and a solid business plan. By following the necessary steps and considering all the factors involved, entrepreneurs can set up a successful storage unit business model.

One of the key elements of success in the self storage industry is effective management strategies. This includes overseeing day-to-day operations, ensuring the security and cleanliness of the facility, and providing excellent customer service. Implementing efficient storage facility management practices can enhance customer satisfaction and drive recurring business.

Proper location selection is another crucial factor for long-term success in the self storage industry. Finding a suitable area with a stable customer base and demand for storage services is essential. Additionally, being aware of emerging trends such as the rise in popularity of shipping container storage facilities can present unique opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Continuous marketing efforts are vital for attracting and retaining customers in the competitive self storage market. Developing a comprehensive marketing plan that includes establishing an online presence, utilizing digital marketing strategies, and partnering with self storage marketplaces can help generate awareness and drive business growth.


What is a self storage facility?

A self storage facility is a business that provides customers with their own space to store goods.

How do I identify market needs and potential customers for my storage business?

It is important to research the population density and housing options in your target area to determine the demand for self storage. Additionally, conducting market research and surveys can help identify potential customers.

What factors should I consider when choosing a location for my storage business?

Factors to consider include population density, housing options, and competition in the area. It is important to ensure a sizable customer base and assess the demand for self storage in the chosen location.

Can starting a shipping container storage facility be a unique opportunity in the self-storage market?

Yes, starting a shipping container storage facility can provide a unique and cost-effective storage solution that meets the growing demand for versatile storage options.

How important is a business plan for starting a storage business?

A well-developed business plan is essential for outlining the target market, financial projections, and operational strategies of your storage business. It serves as a guide for the business’s development and can help attract investors or secure funding.

What are the funding options for starting a self storage business?

Funding options include using personal assets, applying for a small business loan, or seeking investors. It is important to have enough capital to cover at least a year’s operating costs before launching the business.

What licenses and permits do I need to operate a self storage facility?

The licenses and permits required may vary depending on your location, but they can include a certificate of occupancy, service contracts, and small business permits. It is important to research and meet the legal requirements associated with operating a self storage facility.

How can I effectively market my self storage business?

Creating an online presence through a website, utilizing digital marketing services, and establishing partnerships with self storage marketplaces can be effective marketing strategies for promoting your self storage business.

What type of insurance do I need for my self storage facility?

It is important to have general liability insurance to cover costs in case of injuries to customers, as well as insurance specific to the storage units. Assessing the insurance needs of your business and finding suitable coverage options is crucial.

What is the size and revenue of the self storage market?

The self storage market is a thriving industry, projected to generate billion in revenue in 2019. It is a rapidly growing market with a global market value of .32 billion in 2021.

What costs should I consider when starting a self storage business?

When starting a self storage business, it is important to consider startup costs such as property acquisition or lease, construction or modification expenses, and ongoing operating expenses like payroll and taxes.

Should I buy an existing facility or build a new one for my self storage business?

The decision to buy an existing facility or build a new one depends on factors such as immediate customer access, established infrastructure, customization needs, and potential cost savings. Consider the real estate costs and other factors before making this decision.

What are some key considerations for setting up a successful storage unit business model?

Thorough planning, understanding of the market and its trends, and a solid business plan are key considerations for setting up a successful storage unit business model. Effective management strategies, proper location selection, and continuous marketing efforts are also important for long-term success in the self storage industry.