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New startup business in the midwest....

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  • New startup business in the midwest....

    Hey all. My name is Joel. My wife and I, and our business Partner Al are wanting to move past the few rental homes we have, and start our self storage business weve been talking about for a while. Ive been furloughed since the pandemic and I need to make a change. We want to start out with a simple 5-ish acre boat/rv dry dock, then hopefully expand to self storage units later on. We have a good business plan, I guess just need to find the land and company to get the land ready. Thanks for letting us in the group! Were gonna have lots of research and questions. I really wanna make this work.

  • #2
    Welcome from Boise Id


    • #3
      Welcome from CT


      • #4
        Welcome from INDIANA
        Dave (Woodee) Scott


        • #5
          Welcome from New Jersey!
          Don't put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.


          • #6
            Thanks all. Were lining up the army of questions, and searching a bunch before posting more.


            • #7
              Welcome from the Pacific Northwest. Be sure to check the links at the top of the forum above for the ISS website, store and check out all the educational info available. Questions, ask away,we're all here to help!
              Gina 6k
              VM: Four-Oh-Eight- Seven-Eight-Oh-Eight-Oh-Seven-Nine
              [email protected]

              You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough!
              I am not an attorney, just an experienced manager who is willing to share what I have learned. Your thoughts, practices or opinions may vary and neither of us may be right.


              • #8
                Thanks. Ive been calling local towns to see the Zoning restrictions and such today. Also, called a successful local storage unit owner, and he pointed me toward Scott Meyers for some seminars. Ill take any input, and its appreciated!


                • #9
                  Welcome aboard from PA
                  Joe Krezdorn
                  DAK Self Storage
                  Leesport, PA 19533


                  • #10
                    Where are you from in the mid west?
                    Dave (Woodee) Scott


                    • #11
                      Some info: Estimation worksheet.
                      Note: This is written for an individual owner or investor. The Big organizations already have their templates and methods. And will be doing Climate controlled.
                      This is an example, for discussion only.
                      A. Project Cost estimate from ground up.
                      B. P/L revenue stream
                      C. Valuation Buy/Sell
                      Adjust all of the above to your local market and situation.
                      A. Self Storage Project Worksheet
                      Drive up Storage
                      Land $200,000 4 acres at $50,000/acre
                      Survey $7,000 Site, elevation and building layout
                      Fence $30,000 Black chainlink
                      Gate system $25,000 Automated rolling 20ft
                      Engineer if needed; $30,000 to $60,000
                      Dirt work $15,000 Slight roll, no dirt brought on site
                      Building demo if needed, $15,000 to $60,000
                      Electrical- site $7,000 building lighting and office if needed, LED.
                      Electric poles if needed; $2,000 per pole. First is free if nearby.
                      Security $10,000
                      Storm drains if needed; $50,000 to $150,000
                      Water if needed; $5,000 just plumbing
                      Water line ?? if an extension could be $10,000 up to $150,000
                      Fire Hydrant if needed, $3,000
                      Sewer if needed: $5,000 plumbing
                      Sewer Line if needed; $10,000 up to ????
                      Buildings $1,180,800 Phase 1 2 acres
                      Office if needed, plain storage unit 20x30; $25,000 insulated.
                      Office setup if needed, $5,000- computers, printers, HVAC, frig, cabinets, etc
                      Footings if needed. ??????
                      Gravel if needed, ?????
                      Asphalt if needed, ?????
                      Concrete $676,133 6 inch Cubic yards, framed, poured, sawn,
                      Retention Pond if needed, part of dirt work cost, less land for buildings
                      Landscaping $5,000 I like trees and bushes. Less sterile
                      Road Sign $15,000 For highway 55mph billboard sign
                      Total $2,170,933


                      • #12
                        Startup checklist 101. Sorry website doesn't allow Excel file uploads or attachments.
                        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


                        • #13
                          Parking info:
                          Surface, Canopy, Enclosed.

                          Just talking Surface.

                          Have run the numbers about 10 times on Enclosed, but I would have to charge $225 to $350 per month and don't have that market here. Have only seen one location on the interstate near Oklahoma City that had that market ($150,000 to $500,000 RV's) and they were full. They have a lot of $1mm homes and lakes nearby. You have to do Concierge services for that market. Battery charger, turn fridge on before trips, Dump station, Concierge parking service, Tire/Oil/etc check, Big drive ways, electric in each unit, etc.

                          Canopy, I have seen in Texas. Cant say much, haven't researched it.

                          I have been in two other models. Old welding shop with 40 foot roofs. Spots are "crammed in". They park and unpark for you.
                          Another, is winter only. You go "in" the fall and everyone comes "out" the same time in the spring. They also have a lot of outside spaces. Both of these models were full.

                          Attached (guess you can't upload Excel files) is an Inventory list of an exact 2 acre parking lot we have. Also the row configuration. See cut and past below.

                          Might not apply if your on concrete, which would be great, but I'll throw these out anyway.
                          Its on rock. Use 1 1/2 inch with "Fines". Cost about $20,000 for rock delivered.
                          Put Geogrid underneath, so no potholes after 4 years. Otherwise, you need to put a base of 3 inch rock first, then the 1 1/2 with fines. Be careful if you blade snow.
                          Payback is about 12 years.
                          Not the best use of the land, but didn't need it at the time for storage.
                          Put at 60 degree angle, otherwise you get a lot less spaces, since your driveways have to be wider. Example: If you do 90 degrees parking on a 50 foot space, you might need a 70 foot driveway. Also 60 degrees makes it easy for the driver. Also put the 60 degrees turn on the driver side window so they can see the turn.
                          Put a Wire and posts down the middle of the shared back to back parking so vehicles stay on their side. Used other posts, stakes, number signs (reflective) to define each space.
                          Mix. Went with even surface area for 20/30/40 foot spaces. Did not do any 50's for large RV's. Where we are at, most RV's are in the $10,000 to $70,000 range. Actually worked out pretty good. The 20's have a few vacancies.
                          Price $20/$30/$40. This is in a 10,000 population community with about 4 no wake lakes to the East within 60 miles. Prices could be higher, but= No city restrictions on vehicles, which would increase your market. Plus we are in the country, where you can find a friend to park.
                          Run light and security camera poles first.
                          Definitely put a "License Plate" specific camera at a narrow point and other cameras and lights at that bottleneck. Our spot is fenced off from the Storage location, with one access point, no gate there. Recommend your NVR has a timeline with Red markers for motion on your cameras.
                          Layout and capacity really depends on the lot shape. The same two acres, could probably get about 30% more if it was a rectangle versus a square, due to less turnarounds.

                          This is a relaxed layout, I did not try to cram the spaces in.
                          Rows and Road Configuration
                          A Road B C Road D E Road F
                          This layout is on a 2 acre square.
                          Roads are all the same width.
                          All rows are set at 45 degree angles
                          Unit Description Row:
                          G001 1x20x1 A
                          G002 1x20x1 A
                          G003 1x20x1 A
                          G004 1x20x1 A
                          G005 1x20x1 A
                          G006 1x20x1 A
                          G007 1x20x1 A
                          G008 1x20x1 A
                          G009 1x20x1 A
                          G010 1x20x1 A
                          G011 1x20x1 A
                          G012 1x20x1 A
                          G013 1x20x1 A
                          G014 1x20x1 A
                          G015 1x20x1 A
                          G016 1x20x1 B
                          G017 1x20x1 B
                          G018 1x20x1 B
                          G019 1x20x1 B
                          G020 1x20x1 B
                          G021 1x20x1 B
                          G022 1x20x1 B
                          G023 1x20x1 B
                          G024 1x20x1 B
                          G025 1x20x1 B
                          G026 1x20x1 B
                          G027 1x20x1 B
                          G028 1x20x1 B
                          G029 1x20x1 B
                          G030 1x20x1 B
                          G031 1x30x1 C
                          G032 1x30x1 C
                          G033 1x30x1 C
                          G034 1x30x1 C
                          G035 1x30x1 C
                          G036 1x30x1 C
                          G037 1x30x1 C
                          G038 1x30x1 C
                          G039 1x30x1 C
                          G040 1x30x1 C
                          G041 1x30x1 C
                          G042 1x30x1 C
                          G043 1x30x1 C
                          G044 1x30x1 C
                          G045 1x30x1 C
                          G047 1x40x1 D
                          G048 1x40x1 D
                          G049 1x40x1 D
                          G050 1x40x1 D
                          G051 1x40x1 D
                          G052 1x40x1 D
                          G053 1x40x1 D
                          G054 1x40x1 D
                          G055 1x40x1 D
                          G056 1x40x1 D
                          G057 1x40x1 D
                          G058 1x40x1 D
                          G059 1x40x1 D
                          G060 1x30x1 E
                          G061 1x30x1 E
                          G062 1x30x1 E
                          G063 1x30x1 E
                          G064 1x30x1 E
                          G065 1x30x1 E
                          G066 1x30x1 E
                          G067 1x30x1 E
                          G068 1x30x1 E
                          G069 1x30x1 E
                          G070 1x30x1 E
                          G071 1x30x1 E
                          G072 1x40x1 F
                          G073 1x40x1 F
                          G074 1x40x1 F
                          G075 1x40x1 F
                          G076 1x40x1 F
                          G077 1x40x1 F
                          G078 1x40x1 F
                          G079 1x40x1 F
                          G080 1x40x1 F
                          G081 1x40x1 F
                          G082 1x40x1 F
                          G083 1x40x1 F
                          G084 1x40x1 F
                          G085 1x40x1 F
                          G086 1x40x1 F
                          G087 1x40x1 F
                          G088 1x40x1 F
                          G089 1x40x1 F


                          • #14
                            Customer Considerations:

                            A. Pull through- The front, pull as far forward as possible, gives the person next to you an easier angle to turn into, from behind you. Align your front with the fronts of all other vehicles. Be courteous and leave enough room on the Driver side, so that RV can open their doors.

                            B. Back to back parking- our locations are set up at 60 degree parking. Also, they are setup for the driver to back in on their side, so they can use the lot next to them for alignment. This way you only have one blind side on the right side backing in. Otherwise you have two blind sides.

                            We have 20/30/40 foot parking at our location at 26763 Highway 34, Glenwood, IA. Each size has a different width due to how hard it is to park a longer unit at the very front angle of their turn in. 20’s- 10 wide; 30’s- 12 wide; 40’s- 15 wide. Although you could park an RV in any of these sizes, it is easier with a wider width to make the “front” turn. Or ask for an end parking spot, so you are doing a 90 degree parking, but have the whole drive way to back in with, without a turn.

                            C. Canopy- same issues as others, depending on if 60 degree or 90 degree parking.

                            D. Enclosed- Really a matter of width and depth. Keep in mind all measurements for storage are relative. For example: A 10 wide x 20 deep x 8 tall unit, with studs, roll up door and door jambs; is really 9 wide x 19 ft 6 inch deep x 7 foot tall. Also if you have a 20 ft boat or Camper, its really 22/23/24 ft depending on Propeller, bumper or front hitch.

                            E. Surface- Rock or hard surface (concrete/asphalt); If on rock/asphalt put your tongue leg or stabilizer pads on wider pads to spread the weight out. These pads are needed on Asphalt since in hot weather they will sink into the asphalt.

                            F. Pest control- we put mouse bait out along the fence lines and under the units, mow excess weeds and grass. You should put both rodent and bug control in your unit. Dispose of all food sources, for long term storage. If you want to be really diligent with pest control, don’t park next to overhead lights. They attract bugs at night and then mice underneath. Put scented drier sheets in all compartments and rooms. Open all cabinets and doors.

                            G. Stabilizers- if doing long term storage put you stabilizers down. Most parking is in an open area and the units can rock and move with the wind. This will also help with taking pressure off your tires so they last longer.

                            H. Security- Put a lock on the hitch. Although you are in a secure location, RV’s and trailers are the easiest storage to break into or take without notice. Recommend you put in motion sensors or GPS tracking security. Check your vehicle at least twice a month. Most Security systems only maintain footage for 2 weeks due to camera memory capacity.

                            I. Propane Fuel Tanks- disconnect and store if leaving for long term storage.

                            J. Electronic Lifts- disconnect the battery if leaving for long term storage.

                            K. Insurance- most storage unit insurance policies do not cover vehicles. Keep your insurance, just have them adjust your automobile to fewer miles or just comprehensive coverage. Wind, Flood, tornado, Hail, or third party damage or theft can still occur. Traditional insurance coverage, RV’s normally stay a flat rate throughout the year, thus you will still need to maintain full coverage. Or, if you seek out a specific RV or rec vehicle insurance company, you can move in and out of winterization rates.

                            L. Pricing- use a 30 foot vehicle as an example:
                            -In the country about a $1 per foot on rock.
                            -With Paved access and parking spot, this might run $60 to $90
                            - Enclosed parking this will cost about $120 to $170 for a 30 foot.
                            - Enclosed parking for a 50 foot, might cost $225 to $350.

                            The price extremes are the cost of the concrete/asphalt road and the storage bay. Also the longer the unit the price goes up significantly because it takes more driveway width to park and the type of door changes in both size and type (remote operated). A 50 ft RV will require about a 70 foot wide driveway to back in.

                            We are only addressing the long term Parking portion of storage. Other items are specific to each vehicle such as water clean out, Tire/window shades, etc.

                            Quick non Parking list:
                            Wheel/tire covers; Vehicle cover.
                            Remove and store your tires.
                            Store with a full fuel tank to prevent condensation
                            Add fuel stabilizers
                            Place RV completely off the ground to prevent flat spots on your tires, if left for a long time.
                            Cover your HVAC, skylights, vents and windows to prevent exposure to sun and breakdown.
                            Boats leave your plug out, whether covered or not.


                            • #15
                              Do your return and profitability calcs. Parking has a very low return compared to storage. Not a very good first storage investment, unless you happened to find cheap wasteground, or cheap ground that already had hardsurface.


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