Hi everyone! Im looking to start my first building here and ive been searching around on the forums, i wanted to see what kind of advice i could get on here since a lot of you guys have lots of experience. Im looking to put up a building approximately 70x30, and quite possibly an extra one of 70x10. Its going to be in a small town community. if i do a building 70x30, the space between the fence and the building will be about 18 feet each side. I was thinking of going with (6) 5x10's, (8) 10x10's, and (5) 10x20's. I was also thinking possibly going with (12) 5x10's, (5) 10x10's, (5) 10x20's. If thats not the best configuration, what would you recommend? thanks in advance!
Last edited by dm5150; 30th January 2010 at 02:45 AM.
I'm assuming this is your only building in a small town, I'd try to stick with buidling 70x30 or 70x40. If climate controlled is practical I'd think about it lots of small town don't have much. Since you won't have a manager onsite you'll need to minimize activity and the trend is towards bigger units. I'd stay with bigger units. 7 5x10's on end probably best. The more flexible, ie moving walls, your space the better and don't forget about 10x15's.
Hey thanks for the response! Ive thought about 10x15's and wanted to put at least 2 of them in if possible. Its just that i called around within a 30 mile radius and it seems a lot of the folks seem to have open 10x15's around more than any other unit, at least thats what they claim. I guess the best question is, what would be the best sellers? I was thinking the 10x10's would be. I want to be well rounded, but with the size of the building i dont have a lot of room, so i just want to make sure im not stuck with having units in which the sizes arent renting out.
The smaller sizes make you more money per square foot, but you're right in wanting to find just the right unit mix so that you aren't sitting on empty units. I've found that the 5x10, 10x10 and 10x15 are the most popular in my area, but I'm in a densely populated area with a large number of high density housing complexes nearby.
When I get a call from a prospective tenant asking about sizes, I usually ask them if they need a closet, a small bedroom, a big bedroom or a garage. Most of the time they opt for the bedroom sizes, which I assume to be 10x10 to 10x15. Percentage wise, those units for me are usually at about 90%+ rented at any given time. Second place would be the units larger than that (10x17 to 10x23) at about 75%, and lastly would be the units smaller than 5x10 (5x8 to 5x5) at about 60% rented. So although my price per square foot on the smaller units is the most lucrative for me, they are the ones that are most commonly vacant, yet the tenants stay the longest once I do get them.
One thing to think about if you do build very large units is the likelihood that people will want to put in cars and trailers. With an 18' driveway that could be pretty tricky getting those safely into the unit without causing damage, especially if you're not onsite. Also, if you DO want those types of customers, make sure that your door jambs don't cut the access down to where they can't get them in the unit. I'm happy NOT to be accommodating to most trailers due to my 8'6" doorjambs on my 10' wide units, since I feel the damage caused by trying to get trailers in and out of units is more than I want to deal with. With care, a car can get in and out of a width that size. My experience here is that the guys that want to store cars here are FAR more concerned with their car hitting my walls than anything else, so they are stellar customers.
When we built, we opted to go up to 10.5' on our inside dimension too. It doesn't cost much more to go up, but the sales pitch comparing a typical 8' ceiling and a 10.5' ceiling helps us tremendously. Without equivocation we can say we offer the most cubic footage of anybody in our market, at no extra cost. If I can get people to the facility to see my units, they are shocked at how much bigger my units look, even if they have no idea how to take advantage of an extra 2.5' of height.
If you opt to build a row of smaller, say 5x10 units, make sure that when you do rent them you try to keep pairs of empty units side by side. In the case of you being sold out of 10x10's and sitting on extra 5x10's, it's easy to tell a customer that wants a 10x10 that you will rent him 2 side by side 5x10's at the 10x10 rate.
Are you in an area that will get a lot of long distance moves to the area? Considering if and how a big rig moving truck will access the property if necessary might be a consideration. Putting the larger units closer to big rig access might save your building down the road. Don't underestimate the stupidity of renters in a big U-haul either. If you can, build with no eaves and minimal overhangs. The WILL get torn off eventually. Making the traffic pattern around the building as idiot-proof as possible will pay you back in the long run.
Sorry for the long-winded response, seems that after about 11pm I get real chatty..
hi Storman! Im glad youre chatty because i like the response! Im actually thinking very much on the lines that youre suggesting here. Ive been thinking of installing the sizes every which way, and for the most part the return is approximately the same. For me the trick is just to make sure they're the right ones. As far as the area, its in an area that doesnt have a lot of moving(maybe about 3 miles outside of where im putting it, theres lots of moving), but does have a lot of offroad and car enthusiasts, so i think the car option is definitely something to consider. Im in the northeast and the snow might be helpful for winter storages at least in that reguard. I definitely like the idea of being different than everyone else, basically a small cost upfront to me for a better chance of renting out units in the future. I like your idea of 10.5, i was thinking 9.5 as some suggest when looking at their websites, but 10.5 would be just fine and im sure its a great selling point. As far as damaging the units, what i think im going to do is just go with a block building w/ a steel roof because for me its cheaper and i think they look better. That might eliminate issues on my end at least for damages(hopefully!). If im wrong with going with block over steel, let me know your opinion, ive been bouncing that idea around for months now but id like to start within the next 2 months here. But yeah i do agree on being different, id like to go even bigger than the 70x30, maybe 70x32 and make the 10x10's into 10x12's and make the 10x15's into 10x16 simply to offer more for the same price. Anyways talk about long winded , im quite excited at getting this on the way.
To answer the question of how many building to build, first you should work out some rough calculations on the supply and demand in your area. To figure out demand, you look at the population in your market (usually a three to five mile radius), then figure that per every 8 or 9 number of people one is likely to have a need for storage. Now subtract out the number of units already existing in the market area, and you have an educated guess as to remaining market demand.
As for what size to build, that's more of an art than a science. As mentioned by others small units net you more $ per sq foot, but if people in your town are looking to store boats, this doesn't help you. You might want to look at sites in similar size towns near you, figure out how many of each size they have and which sizes are either vacant or sold out.
Additionally, if you have a high number of apartments or students near the site, that tends to increase demand for smaller units.
Regarding door size... as noted most manufacturers put a 8'6" wide door on a 10' unit. Trachte uses 9' doors... something to consider as you compare suppliers. As for brick/block construction, we typically see it used only when the city requires it. Usually applied to endwalls facing the street. This is fairly easy to do.
Looks like you have some great responses. I would like to add my two cents.
Location is important in self storage. Do you have good visability and traffic count? have you done a feasibility study? That would give you the information to make a good financial decision. It would also provide you with unit mixes and building layouts. Most of the building companies can provide you a limited study for free.
I would not build a 70x10 unless you are up against a property line or that is the only room you have left. 10 deep buildings are the most expensive because the back wall is all block or steel sheets.
Do you have set backs determined by zoning? Make sure you check that out with your county building department.
Unit mix - Small 5' wide units are good in citys with apartments,colleges,and military bases. Larger units 20' to 40' deep are good in rural areas, commercial tenents and landscapers/construction.
I hope this helps. I usually get Compass Building Systems to look at the property and give me a building layout and their thoughts on what I am trying to do. But I am sure there are other Building Companies out there that would provide hands on service.