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24 Self Storage Facts

Hall | Aug 30, 2016

Self storage might sound like an uninteresting topic at first glance, but when you dig a little deeper
you might find all kinds of intriguing insights.

1. According to one source, there are 48,500 self-storage facilities in the United States, which is  much more than the total number of McDonald’s restaurants.

2. Self-storage may very well continue to grow; it has been cited as one of the fastest expanding segments in the commercial real estate industry.

3. It isn’t only smaller possessions like furniture, appliances and lamps people are storing. RVs, and boats are kept in storage too during periods when they are not being used.

4. Self storage generated about $24 billion in the United States for the year 2014. Over $3 billion is paid each year by the self storage industry in local and state property taxes.

5. As of 2015, there were an estimated 60,000 self storage facilities worldwide; the US is a clear leader in this industry.

6. There are about 2.5 billion square feet of self storage space available for renting, which is approximately 78 square miles. More than half of the space is located in suburban settings, with about one third in urban areas and 16% in rural areas.

7. As of 2015, about 90% of the self storage facilities were occupied. In 2013, it was estimated that about 9.5% of American households had a self storage space. In 1995, that figure was about 6%.

8. About 170,000 people are employed at US self storage facilities.

9. In a survey of 10,000 self storage facilities, about 18.7% of them provided RV and/or boat storage.

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10. Almost one third of those surveyed also can rent trucks to help people move their belongings.

11. An insight that many people might find surprising is that over two-thirds of people who have self storage spaces live in single-family homes.

12. Less than one third live in condominiums or apartments. Perhaps this trend is not so surprising when one considers that people living in single family generally have more income than people who live in apartments.

13. Of the people who rent self storage spaces, about two-thirds have a garage, and about one-third have a basement.

14. About 30% of self storage space holders rent for over 2 years, 22% for 1-2 years and 36% from 3-12 months.

15. The first billion square feet of self storage rental space was built in over 25 years, but the second billion was constructed in 8 years.

16. Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to the construction of new self storage facilities.

17. According to Hoover’s, well over 90% of self storage companies run just one storage site.

18. One might expect that the metro areas with the greatest number of self storage square footages might be in the most populous ones, but according to the 2015 Self-Storage Almanac, that is not the case.

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Smaller metro areas like Wichita, Tulsa, Little Rock, Madison, Knoxville, Spokane, and Baton Rouge topped its’ list.

One particular thing about Wichita is the presence of the military at McConnell Air Force Base and aircraft manufacturers bring in many people who may need temporary storage when they move there for a new job. They may also not stay long enough to want to move all their possessions
into their main living spaces. (Wichita has about 160 self storage facilities.)

19. In an effort to reduce electricity costs, some self storage facilities are installing solar panels.

20. Technology increasingly plays a role in self storage, with the ability to sign up for a rental online and to pay this way too, automated kiosks at entry gates, video camera surveillance for security, and so forth.

21. A climate-controlled self storage space may be necessary if you are going to store certain kinds of items for the long-term. For example, if you have books which are very important to you they may require it, because humidity and high heat can cause them to degrade faster, as can large temperature fluctuations. High humidity can contribute to mildew and mold growing on book pages, and these things are great threats to them. For some of  us, old books given to us by now departed family members are cherished possessions, so we want to ensure their safety.

22. Large colleges and universities are often good markets for self storage due to the presence of tens of thousands of students and the fact they they usually are present for about 4 years.

23. Some self storage facilities have resident managers—people who live onsite in order to provide security and customer service for extended periods. However, this trend may be in a gradual decline, due to the greater use of technology.

24. The most commonly stored item in self storage is furniture.

This list is by no means exhaustive—there are many more interesting or even fascinating things about self storage—but we hope you at least came away with some increased sense of curiosity about the industry.

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