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  • Writer's pictureGabe Medina

Harnessing the Power of Feasibility Studies: Key Elements for Evaluating Self-Storage Development


When contemplating a self-storage development, a feasibility study emerges as an indispensable tool. When executed effectively, it unveils a treasure trove of information, providing valuable insights into the viability of your potential project. Armed with this knowledge, you can confidently decide whether to forge ahead or gracefully step away.

However, it's essential to recognize that not all feasibility studies are created equal. To ensure their usefulness, they must encompass specific areas of analysis. Here are the vital components that will significantly aid your decision-making process:

  1. Competitive Analysis: To determine the feasibility of a site, it is critical to gather information about existing self-storage facilities in the target area. Understanding the market's existing landscape allows you to identify potential gaps that you can potentially fill. Your report should encompass competitor's rates, promotions, administrative fees, deposits, and waitlist availability. Furthermore, it should uncover any upcoming locations that might impact the viability of your chosen site.

Conducting a rental-rate analysis provides a comprehensive understanding of your competitors' pricing strategies. An effective summary should encompass unit types, price ranges, and historical data. This section plays a crucial role in building a case for whether the market has sufficient room for another competitor.

Occupancy rates shed light on the number of individuals actively utilizing self-storage facilities in your area and the available capacity at competing sites.

Identifying opportunities to fill gaps is an effective strategy for competition. Through an amenities analysis, you can evaluate the offerings of other self-storage operators in the area. If there are notable shortcomings in competitors' products or services, it presents an opportunity for you to address an underserved pain point.

Finally, a marketing analysis examines the reputation and customer-centric approach of local competitors. By analyzing online reviews, phone interactions, and customer satisfaction levels, you can discern how you can differentiate yourself in the market.

  1. Demographics: Identifying your potential self-storage customers is just as crucial as understanding your competition. Age, race, ethnicity, and lifestyle data contribute to decision-making in various aspects of development, from unit mix selection to pricing strategies and operational budgeting. Knowing the demographic makeup of your target area helps manage expectations and cater to specific customer needs.

While commonly used measurements such as square feet per capita and square feet per household provide a basic understanding of self-storage demand, they may not accurately reflect unmet demand or oversupply. Therefore, it is essential for your feasibility study to contextualize this information with more critical demand drivers to gain a comprehensive understanding of the market dynamics.

  1. Data: Assessing the feasibility of a potential self-storage location goes beyond evaluating the quality of the land or determining the number of units needed for profitability. It entails selecting a location that serves the community, maximizes your chances of success, and presents future opportunities. Therefore, it is crucial for your market study to incorporate data from trusted sources such as industry databases, publications, government resources, and independent consumer research.

A comprehensive analysis should paint a clear picture of whether your proposed self-storage development has the potential to thrive. The data included can make or break the outcome, much like an artist using a photograph as the foundation for a painting. With a detailed breakdown of relevant competitive and customer information, a well-executed feasibility study empowers you to move forward confidently or make an informed decision to step away.

Additional Insights: A comprehensive self-storage feasibility report should also include a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis specific to your proposed project. This analysis aids in focusing your efforts and shaping your plan going forward. Furthermore, the report should provide the following details and recommendations:

  • Annual projections for cash flow based on potential unit mix, rental rates, and lease-up rate. This data offers insight into the project's earning potential and return on investment.

  • Estimated expenses for managing, maintaining, and marketing the property. A cost analysis typically incorporates local property taxes along with current industry standards.

  • Marketing tactics designed to help you meet and exceed financial projections. With a well-defined game plan, you can quickly reach a wider audience and establish a strong brand identity through effective promotions.

The Value of a Feasibility Report: Commissioning a feasibility study for a potential self-storage project offers numerous advantages, from attracting investor interest to providing personal peace of mind. Consider this report as a steadfast companion that accompanies you on the winding and often tumultuous journey of facility development.

Envision the state of mind you desire throughout this journey: one fraught with uncertainty or one characterized by confidence and competence? A well-researched and thoughtfully crafted self-storage feasibility study serves as the key to arriving at an impartial, educated, and strategic answer, enabling you to make informed decisions.

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