Is Owning a Storage Unit Business Profitable in 2023?

You’re not alone if you’re considering entering the business world in 2024. The United States saw a staggering 5.4 million new business applications in 2021. However starting a business is one thing, but ensuring it thrives and remains profitable is another. Our teams comprehensive guide will explore the ins and outs of owning a storage unit business. We will dive into profitability rates, income potential, reasons behind the industry’s success, and the challenges you might encounter.

Is Owning a Self-Storage Business Profitable?

In short Yes, owning a self-storage business can be highly profitable when executed correctly. This industry boasts annual income potential ranging from $365,000 to $800,000, an attractive prospect for aspiring entrepreneurs. The key to success lies in several factors, including location, facility size, services offered, and effective management. Let’s delve deeper into these aspects to understand better what makes this industry so lucrative.

Factors Affecting Profitability

  1. Location: The importance of location cannot be overstated. It is one of the most critical factors affecting the profitability of a self-storage business. A high-demand location significantly increases your chances of maximizing profits, even if you offer competitive prices. People often seek storage solutions that are convenient and accessible. Therefore, choosing a location with a high population density or a thriving business community can help your business thrive. Accessibility, security, and visibility are key aspects of a prime location.
  2. Facility Size: The size of your storage facility is another crucial factor to consider. On average, a self-storage facility with 50,000 square feet, charging an annual rental rate of $9 per square foot, can generate a yearly profit of approximately $184,500. However, larger facilities have the potential for higher profits due to economies of scale, but they also come with increased operational costs. The choice of facility size should align with your budget and your market analysis.
  3. Services Offered: To boost profitability, consider providing additional services that your customers would appreciate. While the core service is storage, you can offer various supplementary services. For example, you can sell packaging materials such as boxes, tape, and bubble wrap. Providing moving services or partnering with local moving companies can also be an excellent way to enhance your revenue streams. Another valuable service is climate-controlled storage for items that require special care. Diversifying your offerings can set you apart from competitors and create additional income sources.
  4. Effective Management: Good management is paramount to the success of a self-storage business. This includes hiring and training staff to provide excellent customer service and maintain the facility. Effective management also involves implementing robust security measures to protect your customers’ belongings and ensure their peace of mind. Employing efficient inventory and record-keeping systems will help you stay organized and maintain control over your business operations.
  5. Marketing and Online Presence: In today’s digital age, a strong online presence is essential for reaching potential customers. Develop a user-friendly website with a clear description of your services, pricing, and contact information. Utilize online marketing strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising to increase your visibility. Engage with customers through social media platforms to build a community and gain valuable feedback.
  6. Regulatory Compliance: Ensure you understand and adhere to all local, state, and federal regulations governing self-storage businesses. Compliance is essential to avoid legal issues that could impact your profitability.
  7. Customer Retention: Building a loyal customer base can significantly contribute to long-term profitability. Offer promotions, discounts, or loyalty programs to incentivize repeat business. Deliver exceptional customer service to create positive word-of-mouth, which is a powerful marketing tool in itself.

Owning a self-storage business can be a lucrative venture in 2023, with the potential for substantial annual income. To unlock this potential, you must carefully consider location, facility size, services offered, effective management, marketing, regulatory compliance, and customer retention strategies. By addressing these key elements, you can position your self-storage business for success and profitability in a competitive market.

Why Self-Storage Is Profitable

The self-storage industry’s success can be attributed to the high demand for storage space. Self-storage facilities offer a practical solution in a society where people accumulate possessions but often lack adequate space to store them. Let’s explore some key reasons behind the profitability of the self-storage business:

1) Changing Demographics

One of the primary drivers of profitability in the self-storage industry is its ability to cater to a diverse customer base. Various demographic groups, such as military personnel, students, and individuals who are downsizing or relocating, rely on self-storage services for their unique needs. This diversity ensures a steady stream of clients and a consistent revenue stream for self-storage businesses.

2) Population Growth and the Need for Space

The continuous growth of the global population and evolving household sizes play a pivotal role in driving the increasing demand for storage space. As more people relocate, downsize, or require temporary storage solutions, the need for self-storage facilities remains robust. This ever-increasing demand contributes significantly to the profitability of the self-storage industry.

3) Generational Differences and Their Impact

Generational differences represent another essential aspect influencing the profitability of the self-storage business. Different age groups, from baby boomers to Generation Z, utilize self-storage services for a variety of reasons. Understanding these generational trends is vital for the long-term success of a self-storage facility. Baby boomers, for instance, often turn to self-storage when downsizing, while younger generations increasingly embrace the convenience of self-storage.

4) College Students

One demographic that is sometimes overlooked in discussions about self-storage customers is college students. These young adults lead a transient lifestyle, frequently moving between homes, dorms, and apartments. Many of them face limitations in dormitory storage space, making them ideal candidates for self-storage services, especially during the academic year.

5) Home Renovations and Moving

Home renovations and moving are common life events that increase demand for self-storage. When people remodel their homes or relocate to new residences, they often require a secure place to store their belongings during the transition. This is where self-storage facilities come to the rescue. Homeowners and renters rely on self-storage to keep their possessions safe and accessible, contributing to the industry’s profitability.

6) Small Businesses and Commercial Use

Apart from serving individual clients, self-storage facilities cater to small businesses and commercial entities. Many businesses, especially startups and small enterprises, find it cost-effective to use self-storage for excess inventory, documents, and equipment. This commercial demand adds an additional layer of profitability to the self-storage industry, as businesses often require long-term storage solutions and may become repeat customers.

7) The Digital Age and E-commerce

The proliferation of e-commerce and online businesses has significantly impacted the self-storage industry. With more entrepreneurs and small businesses operating online, there is a growing need for warehousing and storage space for their inventory. Self-storage facilities, equipped with security measures and accessibility, provide a practical solution for these businesses. This trend is poised to boost the profitability of self-storage facilities further as e-commerce continues to flourish.

The self-storage industry is poised for continued growth, making it an attractive venture for entrepreneurs.

The Relevance of Net Operating Income to Self-Storage Businesses

Real estate investors and self-storage entrepreneurs rely on net operating income (NOI) to assess the financial health of their properties. NOI is a critical metric in the industry, as it reveals the profitability of self-storage facilities. Let’s explore how NOI plays a vital role in understanding the success of self-storage businesses.

Calculating NOI:

NOI is determined by subtracting operating costs from the total revenue generated over a specific period. Self-storage REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts), which are publicly traded, often disclose their NOI when reporting financial results to investors.

For example, Public Storage, one of the largest self-storage REITs, reported nearly $1.75 billion in same-store NOI in 2020. This metric is essential for comparing the profitability of similar properties open for at least 12 months. Public Storage experienced a same-store NOI increase from 9.4% in 2020 to 11.9% in 2021. Similarly, Extra Space Storage reported an approximate same-store NOI of $770 million in 2020.

Understanding NOI is crucial for assessing the financial performance of self-storage facilities, identifying areas for improvement, and making informed investment decisions.

Return on Investment for Self-storage Businesses

Return on Investment (ROI) is a vital metric for estimating the profitability of self-storage businesses. Among the various forms of ROI used in the real estate industry, cash-on-cash ROI and capitalization rate ROI are the most commonly employed in the self-storage sector.

  • Cash-on-Cash ROI: This metric is fundamental in assessing the annual rate of return on cash invested in a property. It is typically expressed as a percentage and plays a pivotal role in determining the potential profitability of a self-storage business. Cash-on-cash ROI helps investors understand the return they can expect on the actual cash they have invested in the venture, taking into account both the initial investment and the ongoing operational expenses.
  • Capitalization Rate ROI (Cap Rate ROI): The capitalization rate, often called the “cap rate,” is another critical metric in the self-storage industry and the broader real estate market. It quantifies the profitability ratio by dividing the ROI by the cost of acquiring the storage facility. The cap rate is a valuable tool for comparing the profitability of different investment opportunities, providing a straightforward way to assess the potential return on investment.

The average cap rate for self-storage facilities typically hovers around 6.5%. Retail and office properties usually have lower cap rates, averaging around 5%. However, it’s essential to note that cap rates can fluctuate over time and are influenced by factors such as location, prevailing economic conditions, and market dynamics.

Understanding these ROI metrics is vital for seasoned investors and self-storage business newcomers. It allows them to make well-informed decisions when evaluating the potential profitability and viability of investing in self-storage facilities.

These metrics provide a clear picture of the financial returns an investor can expect and enable them to compare self-storage investments with other real estate opportunities, aiding in the allocation of resources and the optimization of their investment portfolios.

As the self-storage industry continues to thrive, ROI metrics like cash-on-cash ROI and capitalization rate ROI play a crucial role in assessing and maximizing the potential returns in this profitable sector.

Financing a Storage Unit Business

For aspiring entrepreneurs venturing into the self-storage industry, securing the right financing is critical to turn their business dreams into reality. Financing options abound, but one avenue that stands out as particularly advantageous is Small Business Administration (SBA) bank loans. Specifically, SBA 7(a) loans have gained popularity as a flexible and accessible means of funding the purchase of an existing storage facility or the construction of a brand-new one.

SBA 7(a) Loans: A Path to Financial Flexibility

SBA 7(a) loans are well-suited for those embarking on self-storage investments, primarily because they provide significant flexibility in terms of both loan amounts and repayment schedules. These loans can be instrumental in realizing your storage unit business, allowing you to secure the necessary funding while enjoying favorable terms.

The Power of Collateral

One of the key advantages of SBA 7(a) loans for self-storage entrepreneurs is the collateral they offer. By their nature, self-storage facilities have valuable real estate components that can be used as collateral for these loans. This is a significant benefit, as it often makes securing the financing you need easier. Lenders are generally more willing to extend credit when they have the assurance of tangible assets to back the loan, which is precisely what a self-storage property can provide.

Extended Repayment Terms

Another attractive feature of SBA 7(a) loans is their extended repayment terms. Entrepreneurs in the self-storage business can benefit from loan terms of up to 25 years. This extended period offers financial flexibility, especially in real estate investments. It allows you to manage your investment more comfortably, as you can spread the repayment over a longer period, potentially reducing the monthly financial burden on your business.

Flexible Financing for Real Estate Investments

SBA 7(a) loans are designed with real estate investments in mind, and self-storage facilities are a prime example. Whether you want to acquire an existing storage business or construct a new one, these loans can be tailored to your needs. They provide the necessary capital for property acquisition, development, or improvement, and the extended repayment terms make it a manageable long-term commitment.

Should You Invest in Self Storage?

If you’re considering entering the business world, self-storage is a compelling option. In 2022, the US self-storage industry’s revenue reached $39.5 billion, with an average occupancy rate of 92%. Moreover, the industry boasts an impressive average profit margin of 41%. The numbers speak for themselves, indicating a highly profitable business.

Your self-storage facility can take various forms, from a simple one-story drive-up to a climate-controlled establishment or a multi-story building. While it may take time to build occupancy rates, most facilities can turn a profit once they reach a threshold of 60–70% occupancy.

In summary, self-storage facilities are an excellent choice for entrepreneurs, especially those new to the business world. With continued industry growth, population expansion, and increasing demand for storage space, this is an opportunity you shouldn’t overlook.

Secure Space Self Storage offers modern facilities in your neighborhood, with a variety of self-storage unit sizes. We focus on delivering a seamless digital experience, convenient locations, useful amenities, state-of-the-art security, and outstanding customer service. Secure your space today!

Why You Should Invest in Self-Storage

Investing in the self-storage industry offers a host of compelling reasons to consider this avenue for financial growth. The financial potential of self-storage businesses is evident. Still, it’s worth delving deeper into the reasons that make this investment profitable and a wise choice for entrepreneurs and investors alike. We will explore these reasons in detail, offering a 360-degree view of why self-storage is a promising investment.

High Likelihood of Success

One of the most reassuring aspects of investing in self-storage is the high likelihood of success. According to industry data, an impressive 92% of new businesses in the self-storage sector prosper. This high success rate is a testament to the stability and profitability of the industry, providing a sense of security to potential investors. An industry rarely boasts such a favorable success rate, making self-storage an attractive proposition for those looking for a reliable investment opportunity.

High Return Profits

In addition to a high likelihood of success, self-storage investments offer the potential for significant returns. Unlike businesses with high capital requirements or extended periods before turning a profit, self-storage facilities can generate annual returns of up to 11%. This means you can recoup your initial investment faster than in many other businesses. The combination of low operating costs and steady rental income creates an ideal financial landscape for investors seeking high-return profits.

Continual Industry Growth

The self-storage industry is not only profitable but also poised for continual growth. Forecasts suggest the self-storage business will expand by more than 5% annually through 2027. This growth is driven by various factors, including the aging population moving into assisted living facilities, the needs of divorcing couples, downsizing families, removal companies, and college students. These demographic and lifestyle changes ensure a steady influx of customers seeking storage solutions, making the self-storage industry a lucrative and resilient investment option.

Minimal Experience Requirements

Unlike many other industries, self-storage managers require minimal specific experience. This is an enticing feature for investors who may not have a background in the field. You can become proficient in self-storage management with the right training and resources. Additionally, you can enhance your knowledge and skills by enrolling in digital self-storage certification classes. This accessibility and flexibility regarding experience requirements make self-storage a more inclusive and welcoming field for many investors.

Versatile Management Options

The management of self-storage businesses is notably flexible and scalable. While some industries demand extensive staff and management teams, self-storage can be effectively managed by a small team or even an individual. Over 75% of self-storage businesses are owned by independent managers. The versatile nature of self-storage operations means you can control the management process, tailoring it to your specific needs and preferences. Additionally, technological advancements have made automated security systems highly reliable, reducing the need for extensive on-site security staff. This streamlines operations and minimizes labor costs, contributing to higher profitability.

Multiple Revenue Streams

One of the distinguishing features of self-storage businesses is their ability to generate revenue through various means. Beyond the core storage rental service, self-storage facilities can tap into multiple revenue streams to boost their income. Some of these revenue streams include:

  • Sale of Moving Supplies: Offering items such as boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, and other moving supplies can be a lucrative source of additional income. Customers often appreciate the convenience of purchasing these items on-site.
  • Leasing of Moving Trucks: Some self-storage facilities offer leasing moving trucks or vans. This service can be a valuable addition, especially for customers relocating their belongings to the storage unit.
  • Tenant Protection Packages: Many self-storage facilities offer tenant protection packages that provide insurance coverage for the stored items. These packages not only provide peace of mind to customers but also generate extra revenue for the facility.

Diversifying your income streams increases profitability and enhances the overall customer experience, making your self-storage business more attractive to a wider audience.


In 2023, owning a self-storage business represents a profitable and intelligent investment choice. The self-storage industry’s remarkable growth, adaptability, and potential for substantial returns make it an appealing opportunity for experienced entrepreneurs and business newcomers.

Secure Space, a trusted name in the self-storage industry, offers modern facilities in your neighborhood. Whether for household or business needs, Secure Space provides various self-storage unit sizes to accommodate various requirements. With a commitment to delivering exceptional customer service, state-of-the-art security, and convenient amenities, Secure Space ensures that your storage needs are met with reliability and ease.

So, if you’re ready to secure your space in the self-storage industry and reap its rewards, consider partnering with Secure Space for a successful and profitable venture. Explore the potential for financial growth and make your mark in the thriving self-storage business.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What factors affect the profitability of a self-storage business?

  • Several factors influence the profitability of a self-storage business. These include location, facility size, services offered, effective management, marketing and online presence, regulatory compliance, and customer retention strategies. Success in the self-storage industry hinges on addressing these key elements effectively.

2. Why is location crucial for a self-storage business’s profitability?

  • Location is critical because it significantly affects the accessibility and convenience of a self-storage facility for potential customers. A prime location in a high-demand area with good visibility and security features can increase profits, even if prices are competitive.

3. How does facility size impact profitability?

  • The size of a self-storage facility matters. While larger facilities have the potential for higher profits due to economies of scale, they also come with increased operational costs. The choice of facility size should align with your budget and market analysis.

4. What additional services can boost profitability in self-storage businesses?

  • To enhance profitability, consider offering services like selling moving supplies (e.g., boxes, packing tape), leasing of moving trucks, and tenant protection packages. Diversifying your offerings can create additional income streams and set your business apart.

5. What is net operating income (NOI), and why is it relevant to self-storage businesses?

  • Net operating income (NOI) is a critical financial metric that reveals the profitability of self-storage facilities. It is calculated by subtracting operating costs from the total revenue generated. NOI is crucial for assessing a facility’s financial health, identifying areas for improvement, and making informed investment decisions.

6. What is the Return on Investment (ROI) in self-storage businesses?

  • Return on Investment (ROI) is a metric used to estimate the profitability of self-storage investments. Cash-on-cash ROI and capitalization rate (cap rate) ROI are commonly used. Cash-on-cash ROI calculates the annual rate of return on cash invested in a property, while cap rate ROI compares ROI to the cost of acquiring the storage facility. These metrics help investors assess the potential return on their investment and compare different opportunities.

7. How can Small Business Administration (SBA) loans help finance self-storage businesses?

  • SBA 7(a) loans, offered by the Small Business Administration, can be an excellent financing option for self-storage businesses. These loans provide financial flexibility with terms of up to 25 years, making them attractive for real estate investments. Self-storage properties can serve as collateral, making it easier to secure funding. The extended repayment terms provide financial flexibility for managing investments.

8. Why should I consider investing in a self-storage business?

  • There are several compelling reasons to invest in a self-storage business, including the high likelihood of success, high return profits, continual industry growth, minimal experience requirements, versatile management options, and multiple revenue streams. Self-storage businesses have a proven track record of profitability and offer opportunities for investors to diversify and enhance their income.

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