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02 Oct 2023

Lets Discuss Unit Mix


Phil Warchol

Sales Account Executive

Let us discuss “Unit Mix” and its importance to the very start of any Self Storage Project. All too often as a salesperson I hear the following: I bought a piece of land, or I am looking at buying a piece of land that seems like it would work well for a self-storage project? The prospective client then rattles on about how every location is “full” and that they believe that their project would work in that geographic location.

The conversation then “jumps” to “What are you seeing in that area lately? Followed by “if I get you a land survey can you put together a lay-out for me? I need to get financing and would like a quote as soon as possible. Well, sure what do you want for a “Unit Mix”? Well, I thought you would tell me that?

OK, Let's hit the brakes! You are going to drop anywhere from $750,000 to $5 million on a project and you cannot tell me what you need for a “Unit Mix”? Particularly for your geographic location? It is better to be smart than lucky.

There are ways to get a grasp of this one. Personal Market analysis, utilizing your competitor’s websites in a 1,3- and 5-mile radius to see who your competitors are, what unit sizes are available and what the rental prices are currently (factoring in “special 3 month move-in rates). Sparefoot.com will also be a good tool to find those.

The other way is to hire one of the many Self Storage Feasibility Experts that you can find through your state self-storage association and for a fee, usually ranging anywhere from $5,000 to $7,500 get a much deeper dive into not only the above factors but overall move-in, move-out rates, segments of population new housing developments (by the way “new roofs” feed a project quite well).

You will be competing against them in some areas as well as established operators who are aware of everything I am talking about. You can be successful, but you are going up against a great deal of experience.

Do yourself a favor approach a project with your Unit Mix that states what unit sizes you are looking for the number of each type of these you believe you need, their rental pricing and the monthly and yearly revenue based on the overall velocity with the assumption that it will take you 36 months (National average) to full lease-up.

Lastly, get with a good storage builder who has a deep resume of all the distinct types of SS that are out there. They can make suggestions. But remember one thing, it is not their job to pick your self-storage mix, it is yours. Once that project is built and completed those early decisions regarding that mix will come to light very quickly.

Forge Buliding Company work with clients to determine the best use for their property, facility and overall layout. Forge specializes in self-storage projects—both single-and multi-story. However, they will take on any steel building. Their project experience includes RV storage, car washes, airplane hangars, fish hatcheries and large warehouses. Find out more at https://forgebuildings.com.

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