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Storage Startup Checklist 101

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  • Storage Startup Checklist 101

    Folks, I am responding to "Petars" Croatia startup topic. Put it on this separate "Topic" so it would stay visible for your input. Petar, please take this checklist and the improvements everyone in the forum will add. This is at the "Category" and "Sub Category" level. If someone jumps in with "detail" what computer to buy, you will have to weed through that. You can take ownership of this "Topic" and steer the conversation as you want. Key is, develop a business model that you can spread throughout Croatia in about 5 years. Once you start, internal/external competition will start to come in, since you will have proven the market potential. Once you have the list, recommend you go back through any prior "Topics" for that subcategory in this forum. After you get your first one built, invite me over. My wife and I will be in Europe next summer.

    Folks if you could add to and improve this checklist for Petar. He is in a great market with no existing Storage competition.

    Again, Start Small, make your Big mistakes early. Don't trust a thing I say. Own the info, its your money.

    Storage Startup Checklist 101
    Response to Zagreb, Croatia startup
    1 Why Do Storage?
    2 Why Storage? Why you? I’ll do a separate Topic. Don’t know your financial’s, but you will outstrip your collateralization fast. Develop a relationship with someone you trust and bring them along for the ride. Preferably an Apartment developer. They don’t have to invest in the first project, but you will need them later. Make sure this a solid relationship, otherwise they will cut you out once your successful.
    3 Market/Demand:
    4 Market size See post, if your the “first”, then you don’t care. You have more than enough Market, in a 800,000 Pop city.
    5 Outside or climate controlled? Let your search and “deal” decide. Look for both an outside Land acquisition or an old industrial building. If you get a large enough building, finish it out in stages.
    6 Market location Seek your higher income areas first. Pick along the A2, A3, A4 corridors first. Stay away from the mountains. Do several small locations, no smaller than 1 hectare. Once you have the experience and Financial support, go for a Climate controlled location in an old neighborhood that is high income or rebuilding itself.
    7 Zoning See post
    8 Site location Have several searches and deals going at once, most of them won’t pan out for the price you are willing to pay. This way you “can walk away”. This gives you negotiating power.
    9 Site acquisition
    10 Financing: See “Topic”
    11 Financing-construction Find a banker who knows Apartment building construction
    12 Financing- rent up stage Same as above. You want “interest only” and not principal for a portion of the rent up period.
    13 Financing- long-term If your going to grow, unless you have significant capital at your disposal, find a future business partner.
    14 Business Model I’ll clean up and post one of my spreadsheets later.
    15 Construction: Use local knowledge/availability
    16 Permits
    17 Building type
    18 Building manufacturer
    19 Contractor
    20 Day to day:
    21 Rental Contract Post a “Topic” on this Forum and ask for some copies sent to you.
    22 Rental Rates Zagreb’s GDP per capita is $19,132 versus where I live $60,246 metro area of 1mm. Thus if I say a 10 x 20 “Foot, not meter” unit is $120, then yours would be around $40. Making this simplistic. Get on Sparefoot and pick a US city similar to Zagreb and pick out prices for 10 x 20/15/10/5. Then take 1/3 of that for your price in US $, then convert. Recommend you don’t use this as your starting prices; go after a richer neighborhood and charge higher prices.
    23 Auction rules Post a “Topic” on this Forum and ask for some copies sent to you.
    24 Security system Situational, work with your local security firm.
    25 Fencing situational
    26 Self Service or manager situational
    27 Management software Since the world is internet based, see if you can use one of the Storage management softwares in Zagreb. Do not do this on a spreadsheet or paper. You need to develop a system to grow with.
    28 Marketing:
    29 Website check ClarkstorageLLC, and others on this forum. Take the best from each and make a template, for a better one.
    30 SEO management Since your the only one, you just need Google Map Pins and build up your google ranking under key words.
    31 Marketing Software Sparefoot or similar in your market area. If none exist for Storage, seek out Apartment, home, AIRBNB, Craigslist sites. If you have Craigslist, put an add out there with your offering and price. Different sizes and prices. Get feedback.
    32 Marketing Something you probably already know.
    33 Social Media Something you probably already know.
    34 Insurance: Leave to you for local knowledge
    35 Business
    36 Renters
    Sundry: Leave to you for local knowledge
    Property taxes
    Legal system

  • #2
    @Clarkstoragellc This is really detailed. Thank you! I read it and am on it.


    • #3
      I always recommend "learning" on someone else's dime. From the other Newby post, you are a serious person and an entrepreneur.

      Recommend you put a post on this site under Jobs or Investments. Ask someone ($$$80%) on this site to partner with you (Sweat equity 20% plus small wage). Give them your background, tell them about Croatia, identify 4 different sites and why you think they would be good, run the numbers (I'll put a template out that I use on a separate Topic post), explain emerging Storage market and explain Foreign Ownership laws in Croatia. The hardest part of growing business is finding the right "people". Sell them on you and Croatia.

      Don't worry about being 100% right on the sites or the numbers. They will challenge each item and help both of you make the right decision.

      The fact you have a Photography business is great. You can do that with Storage. We have 8 sites in 5 towns, all self-service handled from my phone. You can be out doing shoots or in your studio. You will need a source of income, because the storage won't pay you up front.

      Although they will be doing this as an investment, they could do that here. Why invest there? Most people don't know Croatia. It "is" the hottest market/place to be in Europe. Beautiful coastline and interior, and the value is tremendous. Everyone likes to invest in a rising economy with "NO" competition. "Honey where do you want to vacation, lets go to Croatia, I can write it off." I'm already doing a different diversified investment in Belize, so I'm not interested.

      Key is work several angles at once. Take the best offer and then once you build equity and experience expand.
      Outdoors/indoors/cargo containers/partnership. If you respond and also if you post a job/investment Topic, post pictures of Croatia, compare the Kuna versus USD$, post a picture of your family.

      Sell Croatia and yourself. You don't need to sell Storage in Croatia, they can figure that one out and will on their own.

      Start small with both you and them. Make your mistakes early with each other and your site.


      • #4
        How do you find financial partners for a start up????

        Start up pricing - I would go about it slightly different than mentioned above, especially if you're the only guy in town.
        - Figurer out every expense your business will have each month. EVERYTHING, your pay, employees, office cleaning supplies, maintenance guy, internet, any and all bank fees, EVERY SINGLE PENNY going out must be included
        - Divide expenses by rentable square feet, the result will be the bare min. per SqFt needed to keep your doors open
        - The number you come to will most likely be very low so it'll be easy to add and adjust to increase your margins
        - As time goes on (years) you will get a better idea of what people are most interested in and will be better able to adjust pricing to demand
        - If you become 100% occupied you will be losing money, or not making as much as possible, and need to adjust pricing up.


        • #5
          @Clarkstoragellc OK! Will do the checklist first and next phase "Jobs/Investments" post. Thank you.

          @Grizz This makes sense. Great! Thank you for your feedback.

          It'll be an exciting and busy week. Hope you guys are all well and safe with corona and the riots going on. Have a great week.


          • #6
            @ Petar, I just posted a Project Estimation Spreadsheet topic in the Development and Finance section. Take a look at that.

            Also looked at your city roads. Circle all major road intersections off of A1, A2,A3. Near or around those roads are where you want to find your 4 potential build sites. Stay within a mile of those intersections. Easy access in/out. Two way intersection turn ins, or near traffic lights. Get the Vehicle Per Day traffic count for the major road you are next to. Preferably 5,000 per day and up. Seek high GDP/wealth neighborhoods.


            • #7
              Hey @Clarkstoragellc Got it! And I found the Zoning post. Thanks!


              • #8
                Hey @Clarkstoragellc where should I find total square footage for the area for existing self storage and the development ongoing?


                • #9
                  @ Selina, please clarify. In your background, I see Investor.

                  Are you referencing Petars potential? He will need to figure out.

                  Or what my family and I own and are developing? 6 existing locations totaling about 800 units, including about 100 parking spots. 1 location that is in Rent up for phase 1 (230/200/200). 1 location we just started dirt work. (330) All are outside drive up/rollup doors. Assume average 10 x 15. Non Climate controlled.

                  I think your wanting to know my background and why listen to me or others. This is a great question. In some of my posts, you will see me saying don't trust me. I really mean that. Its your dollar and your decision will always be the right one. Also storage is very "Confirmable". Anything anyone says on this forum can be confirmed and validated prior to you making a decision or investing. The key is to "Start Small and make your Big Mistakes early".

                  If at all possible, I would buy a small location (less than 50) first to learn on. Google Loopnet/self storage/your state name to see locations for sale. Then you will know how to operate a location. Before you take on building or buying a bigger location.

                  On this Forum, I have given three of the most valuable tools I have learned:
                  a. See checklist above.
                  b. Will they come. Market sizing/capacity.
                  c. Project Estimation

                  If I didn't cover your thought, please let me know.


                  • #10
                    Petar Look at Bellomy or Argus storage locations for sale profiles. Don't get that pretty or detailed, but use the concepts.
                    Once you have 3 or 4 potential packages/locations then solicit investors. Again, make sure you are selling yourself and Croatia.
                    Check out "Bigger Pockets" and this real estate section to look for investors.
                    If you get a chance since your a photographer, please add some pictures on the General forum, for pictures. Show Croatia. Thanks.


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