I can't help you much on this, but regarding rate of use by the troops question; I believe that would ultimately depend upon which base and what's it's primary purpose is. Some bases have a mostly transient population and therefore the troops would not need storage near the base, but rather in their hometown.
Determine how many people live on base & things of that nature. Even though it may seem you could potentially have a built in market of thousands, I'd suggest doing all the steps you normally would in regards to feasibility, demographics and the like.
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Our 2009 newletter featured an article on a customer with site in Layton Utah near a base. We didn't get terribly into depth regarding the interaction of the base and the self storage facility, but I believe that they did get a good amount of business from military families.
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for many years, I lived in a military town where storage businesses seemed to do well. However, their success speaks to a point Gina made - the mission of the post/base. In my case, it was an Army post home to several high speed units who were subject to frequent deployments, often for months at a time. The installation is also the type where people either serve extended tours or, when moved elsewhere, find themselves returning.
Once you know the mission and demographics of the installation, work with the commander's staff to avoid things like auctioning off the belongings of someone who is out of the country for an extended period. If military folks are going to be your customers, get to know them, present yourself as something more than someone who wants to make money off troops, and treat those who become your customers well because they will be a tremendous source of referrals for you.
thank you for the input. the base is a non-basic training base-it's mission is upper level training and direct deployment. the pay grades are higher than the average base and seniority is higher.
this has potential - the type installation not likely to be shuttered or have its mission trasferred elsewhere; probably a predictable schedule of rotation among those who oversee training and run daily admin functions; higher earning folks who are less likely to skip out on payment (and having been there, the military takes a dim view on its members not living up to financial obligations), plus higher pay grades means a higher likelihood of having more stuff than square footage, particularly for anyone living in base housing.