Self Storage Ownership: How to Invest in Storage Units

Self Storage Ownership: How to Invest in Storage Units

Investing in the self storage business can be a very lucrative opportunity, but it requires careful planning and consideration. While this is an exciting investment opportunity, it’s important to understand both the benefits and the challenges associated with this type of significant investment. Here’s how to invest in storage units, as well as various considerations before diving in.

Initial Investment Sources

One of the first steps in investing in self storage is securing the necessary capital. There are several ways to fund your investment, including borrowing from friends and family or seeking capital partners. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and conventional loans are also viable options. Bob Copper, owner of Self-Storage 101, commented, “If you have to borrow money from 20 different people or sources, self storage investment is probably not right for you yet.” If these words feel relatable, it might be wise to reconsider if this is the right investment for you at this time. It’s crucial to have a clear and solid financial plan from the start, especially considering the scale of this investment.

Due Diligence: Ensuring a Sound Investment

Securing loans often requires thorough due diligence to ensure your investment is sound. Here are some key steps to help you assess your potential investment.

Conducting a Feasibility Study

A feasibility study is a comprehensive analysis that evaluates the viability of your proposed self storage project. Self Storage 101 offers a detailed feasibility study service, which includes:

  • Detailed competitor profiles
  • Full financial analysis
  • Input regarding land costs and estimated development costs

This study provides a deep dive into the potential success of your self storage project, offering the necessary information to secure financing. By conducting this detailed analysis, you can be more confident in the viability of your investment.

Market Research

Understanding the market is crucial for the success of your self storage investment. Here are some aspects to consider during market research:

  • Local Demand: Assess the demand for self storage in the area. This can be influenced by factors such as population density, the presence of universities, military bases, and economic conditions.
  • Competition Analysis: Identify existing self storage facilities in the area. Analyze their occupancy rates, pricing, and amenities offered. This helps you understand the competitive landscape and identify any market gaps.
  • Economic Trends: Evaluate the economic trends in the region. A growing economy may indicate a higher demand for storage as people accumulate more belongings or businesses require extra space.

Property Evaluation

When evaluating potential properties for your self storage investment, consider the following:

  • Location: The location of your self storage facility is critical. Properties near residential areas, commercial districts, or transit routes tend to attract more customers.
  • Zoning Regulations: Check local zoning laws to ensure the property is zoned for self storage use. This can prevent future legal complications.
  • Property Condition: Inspect the condition of the property thoroughly. Look for any structural issues, environmental concerns, or necessary renovations that could affect your investment.

Financial Analysis

A thorough financial analysis helps you understand the potential profitability of your investment. Consider these aspects:

  • Initial Costs: Calculate all initial costs, including property purchase, construction, permits, and initial marketing expenses.
  • Operating Expenses: Estimate ongoing operating expenses, such as property management, utilities, maintenance, insurance, and taxes.
  • Revenue Projections: Project your potential revenue based on expected occupancy rates and pricing. This helps you estimate your return on investment (ROI).

Understanding Investment Returns

Self storage investments are known for their potential high returns and low operating costs. Here are a few key points to consider:

High Return Profits

One of the major attractions of investing in self storage is the potential for significant returns. Unlike many businesses with high capital requirements and long periods before profitability, self storage facilities can generate significant annual returns. This means you can recoup your initial investment faster, making it a highly attractive option for investors.

Continual Industry Growth

The self-storage industry is experiencing continual growth, with forecasts suggesting an annual expansion. Several factors contribute to this growth, including:

  • Aging population moving into assisted living facilities
  • Divorcing couples needing extra space
  • Downsizing families
  • College students requiring storage

These demographic and lifestyle changes ensure a steady demand for storage solutions, creating a resilient investment landscape.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Before committing to a self-storage investment, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons.


  • High Potential Returns: As mentioned, the potential for significant annual returns makes self-storage an attractive investment.
  • Low Operating Costs: Compared to other types of real estate, self-storage units typically have lower maintenance and operational costs.
  • Steady Demand: The ongoing need for storage solutions ensures a consistent influx of customers.


  • Initial Capital Requirement: Securing enough capital can be challenging, especially if you need to borrow from multiple sources.
  • Market Competition: The growing popularity of self-storage investments means increased competition, which can impact profitability.
  • Management and Maintenance: While operating costs are lower, managing multiple units and maintaining the property requires effort and expertise. 

How To Invest In Self Storage Units: Final Thoughts & Feasibility Study

Investing in self-storage units can be a highly profitable venture, but it’s not without its challenges. By securing your initial investment from reliable sources, conducting thorough due diligence with a feasibility study and market research, and understanding the market dynamics, you can make an informed decision. The self-storage industry’s growth and the potential for high returns make it an appealing option for investors willing to navigate the complexities involved.