How to Invest in Self Storage: A Comprehensive Guide for 2024

Modern self storage lockers interior

Are you searching for a smart investment opportunity in 2024? Self-storage might be the answer you’ve been looking for. Our teams comprehensive guide will walk you through the ins and outs of investing in self-storage. From understanding what self-storage investment is to exploring the various ways to get involved, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s embark on this journey to discover how to invest in self-storage successfully.

What is Self-Storage Investment?

Defining Self-Storage Investment

Before delving into the world of self-storage investment, it’s essential to understand what it is. Self-storage investment involves putting your money into self-storage facilities and generating returns through rental income from the storage units. Whether your tenants are individuals or small and medium-sized businesses, you can earn a steady income if they keep their belongings in the storage units.

Active vs. Passive Investing

You can be an active investor by managing and operating the facility yourself or opt for a passive role without involvement in daily business operations. This flexibility allows you to tailor your investment to your preferences and level of commitment.

Benefits of Self-Storage Investment

Investing in self-storage offers several compelling benefits, making it a promising option for investors in 2023.

1) Low Risk, High Reward

Every investment carries some risk, but self-storage tends to be less risky than many other options. Low operational costs translate to high-profit margins, allowing you to weather short-term revenue fluctuations efficiently. If a tenant violates the terms or doesn’t pay rent, you can mark a lien against their property, ensuring you’re compensated for any outstanding dues.

2) High Demand

Self-storage businesses are witnessing a surge in demand, attracting diverse tenants, from students to small businesses. This high demand translates into higher revenue and profits for investors. You can diversify your income streams by offering add-ons like loading and unloading equipment or vending machines.

3) Economic Durability

Self-storage has proven its resilience during economic downturns, such as the 2008 financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. This industry’s low operating costs and healthy profit margins make it an attractive choice for risk-averse investors seeking a passive source of income.

4) Low Maintenance

Self-storage facilities are relatively easy to maintain. You’re set once you have a secure space with proper lighting, a robust security system, and fire protection equipment. Automation through self-storage management software further reduces the need for on-site staff, ensuring efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

5) Flexible Business Model

The flexibility of the self-storage business model allows you to adapt to different economic situations. You can start with a basic storage facility and expand as your profits grow. Adding services like valet storage and management software can help you maximize your ROI in various economic conditions.

Risks of Investing in Self-Storage

Despite the many advantages, self-storage investment is only partially without risks. It’s essential to be aware of these potential challenges.

1) Tricky Market Positioning

While self-storage is lucrative, your success hinges on proper market positioning. Understanding your competition’s customer demands and offering the right mix of units and amenities can be challenging. Finding the ideal real estate location in a competitive market is also crucial for success.

2) Need for Active Management

Contrary to the common misconception that self-storage management is entirely hands-off, it would help if you still oversaw some business operations actively. Timely upgrades to security systems and management software are vital. A comprehensive business plan and an expert team are essential to execute your vision effectively.

3) Risk of Oversupply

The ease of building and maintaining storage facilities has attracted many investors to the self-storage industry, potentially leading to oversupply. This increased competition can reduce the demand for your specific storage facility, hindering your growth objectives.

4) High Tenant Turnover

Since storage units are typically rented every month, tenants move in and out regularly. To maintain high occupancy rates, you need a robust self-storage marketing strategy. Offering competitive monthly prices can help secure long-term contracts with tenants.

Self Storage Classes

Before you dive into self-storage investment, it’s crucial to comprehend the different classes that categorize self-storage facilities.

Class A Storage Facilities

Class A storage facilities represent the cream of the crop in the self-storage industry. These properties are typically relatively new, built within the last 10 to 15 years. They are strategically located in prime areas, offering convenience and accessibility to their customers. Class A facilities are renowned for their modern amenities, often climate-controlled storage units. These climate-controlled spaces ensure a consistent environment within the units, protecting sensitive items from extreme temperature fluctuations.

Moreover, Class A facilities boast advanced security systems, including surveillance cameras, electronic access control, and onsite personnel, guaranteeing the safety of stored belongings. Efficiency is also a hallmark of Class A facilities, as they employ state-of-the-art management software to streamline operations. Due to their superior quality and offerings, Class A storage facilities typically enjoy low tenant turnover and high occupancy rates.

Class B Storage Facilities

Class B storage facilities are a notch below Class A. These properties are generally over 15 years old and might not be in prime areas, but they still provide valuable storage solutions. While they offer some amenities, such as security features and maintenance, they may not operate around the clock. Class B facilities typically provide average rental rates for their storage units.

Class C Storage Facilities

Class C storage facilities are the classes’ most basic and affordable option. These properties are older and often situated in less desirable or non-prime locations. They offer limited amenities and may need more robust security measures in place. As a result, rental charges for Class C storage units are generally lower than those in the other classes. These facilities cater to customers who prioritize budget-friendly storage options over premium features.

How to Invest in Self-Storage Businesses? 4 Popular Ways

If you’re considering selfstorage investment, you have four popular ways to choose from. Let’s examine each of them in detail to help you make an informed decision.

1) Invest in Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)

Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs, provide an accessible way to invest in self-storage without requiring direct ownership or management of storage facilities. Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of this approach:

Pros of Investing in Self-Storage REITs

  1. Growing Demand: The self-storage industry benefits from a steadily growing demand. People and businesses require storage solutions, making it a promising sector for investment.
  2. High-Profit Margins: Self-storage often offers high-profit margins and attractive returns on investment. This is particularly appealing to investors seeking a lucrative opportunity.
  3. Passive Investment: REITs allow for a hands-off approach. As a passive investor, you won’t be involved in day-to-day operations, making it a convenient choice.
  4. Low Capital Entry: You can start with a relatively small capital investment, making it accessible to a broader range of investors.

Risks of Investing in Self-Storage REITs

  1. Potential Oversupply: In some regions, there’s the risk of oversupply of self-storage facilities. This can lead to increased competition among providers and potentially impact returns.
  2. Limited Control: As a passive investor, you have limited control over the management and operations of the self-storage facilities within the REIT.

2) Buy a Self Storage Facility

Purchasing an existing self-storage facility can be a more hands-on approach. Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of this method:

Pros of Buying a Self-Storage Facility

  1. Hands-On Control: When you buy a self-storage facility, you gain full control over its operations. This allows you to implement your management and operational strategies.
  2. Decision-Making Authority: You are in charge of decision-making regarding facility upgrades, pricing, marketing, and other essential aspects of the business.
  3. Faster Time to Market: Acquiring an existing facility means you can start earning revenue immediately after the purchase, leading to a quicker path to breakeven and profitability.
  4. 100% Profits: All profits the facility generates are yours, without any claims from shareholders.

Risks of Buying a Self-Storage Facility

  1. Higher Initial Cost: Purchasing an existing self-storage facility can be more expensive than building one from scratch.
  2. Underestimating Maintenance: There’s a risk of underestimating an older facility’s repairs and maintenance needs, which can lead to unexpected costs.
  3. Choosing the Wrong Class: Lack of knowledge about market demand and customer needs may result in selecting the wrong self-storage class for the location.
  4. Security Expenses: Security expenses may be higher than initially estimated, especially if the facility requires upgrades in this area.

3) Build a Self Storage Facility

Building a self-storage facility from the ground up can be a viable option for investors seeking a more hands-on approach and willing to invest time, effort, and capital. Here are the pros and cons:

Pros of Building a Self-Storage Facility

  1. Cost-Effective Approach: Building a self-storage facility can sometimes be more cost-effective than purchasing an existing one, especially in areas with lower real estate prices.
  2. Control Over Design: You have full control over the facility’s construction, layout, and design. This allows you to tailor the facility to your target market’s needs.
  3. Customized Unit Mix: You can create a unit mix that aligns with the demands of the local market, maximizing rental income.
  4. Appealing to Renters: New facilities are more attractive to renters as they offer modern amenities and often preferred features.

Risks of Building a Self-Storage Facility

  1. Market Risk: Building a self-storage facility entails higher market risk than buying an existing one, as you’re venturing into an unproven market.
  2. Need for Expertise: In-depth industry knowledge is crucial to avoid construction and design mistakes, which can be costly.
  3. Time-Intensive: The construction process can be time and labor-intensive, with a potentially longer period to reach optimal occupancy rates and achieve fair market value.

4) Invest in Self Storage Syndicate

Self-storage syndication involves pooling funds with a group of investors to invest in self-storage projects collectively. It’s a passive investment approach. Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons:

Pros of Investing in Self-Storage Syndicate

  1. Higher Returns: Self-storage syndication projects often offer higher returns than self-storage REITs, making it an attractive investment option.
  2. Risk Reduction: Group investing reduces individual risk, as you’re part of a collective effort, which can provide a sense of security.
  3. Tax Advantages: Passive investors in self-storage syndicates can enjoy tax advantages, potentially reducing their tax liability.

Risks of Investing in Self-Storage Syndicate

  1. Lack of Liquidity: Syndicate projects typically lack liquidity, meaning your investment is committed for the duration of the project, which can be several years.
  2. Due Diligence: The due diligence process in REI (Real Estate Investment) syndications may be lacking, increasing the risk of fraud or mismanagement.
  3. Limited Control: As a passive investor, you have limited control over the management and business operations of the self-storage projects.

Investing in self-storage can be a rewarding venture, but the path you choose should align with your goals, risk tolerance, and resources. Each approach has its own advantages and risks, so it’s essential to carefully evaluate your options and consider seeking professional guidance to make well-informed investment decisions in the self-storage industry.

Things to Know Before Investing in Self-Storage

Before you take the plunge into self-storage investment, there are crucial factors to consider.

1) Choosing the Right Location: The Foundation of Success

The adage “location, location, location” couldn’t be more applicable than in the self-storage industry. Your chosen location can make or break your investment. Selecting a location with a substantial population is crucial rather than relying solely on projections. While projections can be useful, they don’t always align with reality. Depending on projections alone could lead to an unfortunate situation where there is insufficient demand for your storage units.

To make an informed decision about location, consider factors such as:

  • Population Density: Areas with a higher population density are often better suited for self-storage facilities. More people mean more potential customers.
  • Economic Activity: Look for locations with a healthy local economy, as this can correlate with increased demand for storage solutions.
  • Competition: While competition can be healthy, you’ll want to assess the level of competition in your chosen location. Oversaturated markets can make it challenging to establish a new facility.
  • Accessibility: Ensure that your facility is easily accessible to your target customer base. A convenient location can attract more renters.

2) Knowing Your Customers: Meeting Unique Needs

Understanding your target customer groups and habits is essential for effectively catering to their needs. The self-storage market has diverse customer segments, each with distinct requirements and rental durations. You can attract and retain a loyal customer base by tailoring your services to these specific needs.

  1. Residential Customers: This group typically seeks medium-sized storage units for short to medium-term use. Common scenarios include storage during moves, downsizing, or home renovations. These renters usually keep their belongings in storage for six to thirteen months.
  2. Commercial Customers: Small and medium-sized businesses are a valuable market for self-storage. They often require larger storage spaces but for shorter durations, ranging from two to four months. These spaces serve as inventory storage or as a place to store equipment and supplies.
  3. Student Customers: Students look for cost-effective and smaller storage units during academic breaks, holidays, or internships. The ideal storage facility for this group should be located near their educational institution and offer short-term rental options, typically for three to four months.
  4. Military Customers: Military personnel represent a unique customer base, as they often require storage facilities near their bases for mid to long-term storage during deployments, which can last six months or longer. Security and accessibility are crucial for this group.

By catering to their specific requirements, you can build a loyal customer base that returns time and time again.

3) Mitigating Risks: Protecting Your Investment

The road to a successful self-storage investment is not without its challenges. However, by proactively addressing potential risks, you can safeguard your investment and increase the likelihood of a favorable return. Here are some key aspects to consider:

4) Security Measures: Protection Is Paramount

One of the primary concerns for both you as an investor and your tenants is the security of the storage facility. High rates of break-ins in your area may necessitate additional security measures to ensure tenant satisfaction and protect their valuable belongings. Investing in comprehensive security features is an essential step to mitigate risks. These may include:

  • Surveillance Cameras: Install surveillance cameras throughout the facility to monitor activity and deter potential theft.
  • Access Control Systems: Implement secure access control systems, such as keypad entry or card-based systems, to restrict unauthorized access.
  • Well-Lit Facilities: Adequate lighting can significantly enhance security by deterring criminal activity and providing a sense of safety to tenants.
  • On-Site Management: Having on-site management or regular security patrols can provide an immediate response to any security concerns.

By prioritizing security, you not only protect your investment but also enhance your facility’s reputation, attracting security-conscious renters.

5) Investment in Amenities: Adding Value to Your Facility

In the competitive self-storage market, it’s crucial to differentiate your facility from the rest. Instead of focusing solely on cost reduction, consider investing in amenities and repairs that can justify higher rental charges. Enhancements to your facility can make it more attractive to tenants, leading to increased rental income. Some valuable amenities to consider include:

  • Quality Lighting: Well-lit storage units and common areas create a safer and more inviting environment for renters.
  • Advanced Management Software: Modern management software can streamline operations, enhance the customer experience, and improve facility efficiency.
  • Modern Lock Systems: Upgrading to state-of-the-art locking systems can provide added security and convenience for tenants.
  • Climate Control: Offering climate-controlled units can expand your range of services and cater to tenants with specific storage needs.

Investing in these amenities not only enhances the tenant experience but also positions your facility as a top choice in the eyes of potential renters.

6) Targeting Secondary or Tertiary Locations

Primary locations, often urban centers, are frequently saturated with large self-storage operators. Entering such markets can be challenging, as competition is fierce. Therefore, targeting secondary or tertiary locations can be a strategic approach to mitigate the risk of oversaturation.

Secondary and tertiary locations often offer untapped potential, as they may have less competition. While the demand might be slightly lower compared to primary locations, the reduced competition can allow you to establish a strong presence in the market and gradually expand your customer base.

Is Self-Storage a Good Investment for 2023?

In a world where investment opportunities are as diverse as they are numerous, the question of whether self-storage makes for a sound investment in 2023 is pertinent. In this case, the resounding answer is a reassuring “yes.” Thanks to evolving societal trends and changing work dynamics, the self-storage industry is poised for continued growth and prosperity in 2023.

One of the driving forces behind the robust outlook for self-storage in 2023 is the increasing trend of downsizing. Many individuals and families opt for more streamlined living arrangements, which often necessitate storage units to store belongings they may not need daily. The rise of remote work further bolsters this trend as people seek flexible housing options and temporary storage solutions for their belongings.

Moreover, the self-storage market provides a spectrum of investment options, catering to various preferences and levels of involvement. Whether you prefer a more hands-on approach by buying or building a storage facility, or if you favor a passive role through investments like Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) or syndication, there is a pathway that aligns with your financial goals and risk tolerance.

The prospects for self-storage investment in 2023 appear promising. The growing demand for storage solutions and a range of investment options make it attractive for seasoned investors and those exploring investment opportunities. As with any investment, prudent research and planning are key to realizing the full potential of your self-storage venture in the coming year.

Is Self Storage Investing Right for You?

As an investment avenue, self-storage has gained tremendous traction over the years. Yet, like any investment, it has its unique parameters, demands, and outcomes. Before diving headfirst into this sector, potential investors must understand its intricacies and how it aligns with personal financial goals.

Unlike traditional real estate, where profits might hinge on long-term appreciation or monthly rental yields, self-storage investments revolve around specific consumer behaviors and demands. It offers the potential for a passive income, especially when leveraged with good management, but is it the right fit for you?

The Decision-Making Process

A clear understanding of what you aim to achieve should be at the heart of your decision-making. Is it a steady cash flow, asset appreciation, or diversification of your investment portfolio? Each objective might lead to different strategies within the self-storage sector.

Furthermore, the commitment to self-storage investment isn’t just financial. There’s a learning curve involved, especially for those new to this niche market. It’s essential to be willing to navigate industry trends, understand consumer needs, and be proactive in facility management or choose reliable partners to handle operations.

Lastly, don’t hesitate to seek professionals who can provide insights based on experience. Engaging with industry experts can shed light on market dynamics, growth potential, and common pitfalls. As with any investment, thorough research and due diligence are key. By taking these steps, you’ll be better positioned to determine if self-storage investing aligns with your financial roadmap.


In conclusion, self-storage investment is a robust option for those seeking financial security and growth. The industry’s positive growth trends, efficient self-storage management software, and advanced security systems make self-storage a lucrative investment opportunity. While it’s a relatively low-risk venture, thorough preparation and research are essential before entering this competitive market.

Ready to explore the world of secure and bright self-storage for your household or business needs? Discover SecureSpace, where modern facilities in your neighborhood offer a variety of self-storage unit sizes. Our focus on a seamless digital experience, convenient locations, useful amenities, state-of-the-art security, and outstanding customer service ensures your storage needs are met. Visit SecureSpace today and secure your space with us!

Investing in self-storage can be a smart financial move, and with the right knowledge and approach, you can tap into this growing industry. So, why wait? Start your self-storage investment journey today.

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