Self-Storage Industry Trends & Projections for 2014


Statistics in this article are provided by


To say the least, projections for the Self Storage industry are optimistic with tons of growth expected.  Since self-storage started in the 1960′s,  the industry has been one of the fastest growing sectors of commercial real-estate and has remained stable throughout recent economic downturns. After briefly flatlining in 2012, revenue has continued to increase and revenue is expected to grow %4.0 annually in the coming years. Increases in demand are theorized to be the product of consumers trends like declining home ownership, foreclosures, and an overall bad economy.  Economist also forecast the home market to take another hit as the baby boomer generation enters retirement. Bottom-line, the real-estate market and storage industry are highly correlated.

Consumer Trends:

While the storage business is continuing to grow, it is now considered a “mature market”. For those not familiar with this term, it is a period characterized by less innovation, stagnant consumer demands, and market equilibrium. This doesn’t mean that the market is not profitable, but there won’t be double-digit growth. Furthermore, consumer acceptance has been long established so consumers are less likely jump head-over-heels for a unit and view it more as a necessity. Overall,  businesses should focus more on efficiency and innovation and not rapid expansion.


As many storage businesses owners know, competition can be fierce. This is  expected to increase as late-movers enter the market and larger companies expand. The largest company, Public Storage, currently holds 7.2% and this may increase with the recent acquisition of Shurgard. As globalism continues, larger companies now search to buy small storage facilities. While a threat, economies of scale prevent the bigger fish from really cornering the market and allow businesses with a good reputation to thrive.


The storage industry still continues to chug along with no signs of stopping. This means major revenues for those that can keep the phones lines busy. But the business landscape is changing at an exponential rate. Some say that small businesses can’t compete in the current market.  Those same people don’t realize the adaptability of a smaller enterprise and how essential these traits will be in the coming era.

How To Spot a Sketchy Self-Storage Business

1. Bad Location


As the saying goes, business is all about location, location, and location. Storage is often a target to thieves that have nothing to lose and will break into literally anything. Having a storage business that is located in a safe area is vital to preventing break-ins. Basically, storage units that are located away from hotbeds of criminal activity keep out the majority of would-be thieves.


2. No Barbed-Wire Fence



While the first barbed-wire fences were originally used to deter animals from escaping farmlands, they eventually found there way into the world of business security. Scaling a barbed-wire fence is tough for even the fittest criminals and will lead snags, tears, and cuts. Not having a fence is a sure sign of a storage business that does not have the capital or intelligence to keep tenants safe.

3. Poor Technology



Technology is the new frontier of any modern business big or small. Sophisticated surveillance, self-storage databases, and web marketing are now essentials to a successful storage business. When searching for quality storage, keeping up-to-date with the newest technology is a sure sign of good management. These breakthroughs not only make the business more efficient, but show that the owners are smart enough to realize the bottom-line: Happy, paying customers.

Why is Climate-Controlled Storage a good idea?

  • Weather in this region is often unpredictable and can vary drastically. Having a constant temperature and humidity can better preserve belongings.
  • If storing critical information that cannot be lost, such as papers, files, computers, and hard drives.
  • Electronics are especially sensitive to heat and moisture. Climate controlled storage provides the perfect enviornment for the situations.
  • Long-term exposure to the elements can destroy even the most durable goods. If you are planning on renting for more then a year, climate controlled storage would be the best option.
  • If you frequently plan on visiting your unit, doing so outside may become a hassle.
  • North Carolina’s summers are hot and humid. These create poor conditions to store sensitive belongings.imgres-1



3 Things That Should Never Be in Storage

1. Batteries



According to Wikipedia, “Alkaline batteries are prone to leaking potassium hydroxide, a caustic agent that can cause respiratory, eye and skin irritation”. Make sure to check all electronics for leftover batteries before storing. Not only can battery leakage be dangerous to the body, it can also damage belongings.


2. Pressurized Cans & Bottles



3. Photographs



The US library of congress suggest photographs should be at room temperature with 30-40% humidity. If you wish to store sensitive photos, look into climate controlled storage. Western NC often has unpredictable weather, so steer from putting old family photographs in the storage.

Discus Locks: A Security Must



Discus locks, put simply, are circular shaped locks with an extra aluminum jacket that leaves the bolt less exposed compared to conventional locks. They are a staple of the self-storage industry and add an extra layer of security that few thieves would be willing cut. As of yet, the only way to cut them is with an electric tool. The sound of a noisy generator and metal grinder are enough to thwart even the most brazen criminals. Being shielded with an aluminum jacket, they differ little from conventional locks except that little of the actual bolt is exposed.



The bolt is achilles heal of any lock and is what any would-be thieve would try to cut in the event of a break in. When cut with bolt-cutters, the aluminum jacket gives way and makes it impossible to break through into the bolt. Simply including these locks with each rental can greatly reduce the likelihood of a break-in.