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12 Nov 2021

Six Days of Feasibility: Day 4 - Why Not all Feasibility Studies are the Same?

Jay Garlick

CEO - Greenscape Development Partners

This post is the fourth in a series of articles entitled: “Six Days of Feasibility” designed to educate the reader on the world of Feasibility Studies. Over the next 3 days Jay Garlick of GDP Feasibility will address the following:

Day 1: See the End from the Beginning: What are Feasibility Studies?
Day 2: Don't Make Business Risky: Why a Feasibility Study?
Day 3: Self Storage = Cash Cow: How a Feasibility Study Makes You Money?
Day 4: Buyer Beware: Why Not all Feasibility Studies are the Same?
Day 5: Get You in the Game: What Do You Do with a Full Feasibility Study?
Day 6: Deal Makers, not Deal Breakers: Do You Have Someone to Walk the Path with You?

Day 4: Buyer Beware: Why Not all Feasibility Studies are the Same?

Don't Settle for Less

Not all feasibility studies are created equal. Not all feasibility consultants are created equal for that matter. What makes for a good study and what should you look for in a consultant? It is important to carefully consider your alternatives when you attempt to approach feasibility studies, yes, you can do feasibility yourself, but will the bank trust your study or a third party more? Will your study have the most accurate and latest data sources? Will it select all the right hurdles to definitively know that the project reaches institutional-grade status thereby reducing sales risk with a built-in exit strategy? Will you have a second set of experienced eyes on your early decisions?

Unless you specialize in feasibility or have specialized training, I highly recommend that you hire out your study. You would never sit down with a pencil and graph paper to draw up plans for your facility, right? Don’t make the same mistake with your most critical decisions in your selection of a consultant who does these studies:

A Quality Market Feasibility Should Include:

Good studies have clear metric-based criteria that if followed are proven to produce a successful project.

Good studies have the very best in demographic analysis with the very best and most recent data.

Good studies break down all competitors in the trade area with measurable supply numbers.

Good studies blend supply and demand factors.

Good studies do local economic and cultural analysis.

Great studies do drive-time trade area analysis not just the standard 1/3/5-mile radii.

Great studies, when there is a positive outcome, are crafted to persuade banks or investors.

Great studies are professional in nature and aesthetically pleasing thereby making the client look good to banks, investors, and municipalities.

Great studies should be organized and easy to understand.

Look for the following in a consultant:

They have decades of experience doing studies.

They have advanced degrees and training.

They have developed self-storage projects themselves.

They understand what it takes to make an institutional-grade study and project.

They know how to persuade stakeholders with a positive study.

They are willing and able to defend their study to banks, investors, partners, etc.

They understand more than just numbers but have real-life experience in taking a proforma to design.

They have hands-on experience entitling projects in more than one state.

They have site-plan, layout, and design experience in a real-world setting.

Again, when one looks closely not all feasibility studies are equal. Not all feasibility consultants are equal. A good study with a great consultant will make all the difference and can even make you considerably more money, not just save your project from loss and difficulty. It is worth it invest in the very best because you “make money when you buy” and it is not worth it to “step over dollars to pick up pennies.” Making critical decisions with the best information and analysis available is so very important to what you do as a developer, get it right the first time.

Up Next: Day 5: Get You in the Game: What Do You Do with a Full Feasibility Study?

Who is Jay Garlick?

A self-storage developer himself, Jay Garlick is the Principal at GDP Feasibility and Partner/CEO of Greenscape Development Partners which specializes in self-storage development nationwide. Garlick began doing feasibility studies in 2004. Since then he has done studies on over 400 sites in the United States. Jay has a Masters Degree in Real Estate Development (MRED) and will soon finish a second in Masters in City and Metropolitan Planning (MCMP). Garlick has developed and or entitled his own projects coast to coast in UT, WA, MO, KS, and VA. Garlick can be reached at jay@gdpfeasibility.com. For more information please visit www.gdpfeasibility.com.