How to Invest in Self Storage: A Smart Investor’s Guide

How to Invest in Self Storage

Self-storage investing is emerging as an increasingly popular option for both seasoned and novice investors seeking to broaden their portfolio with a potentially low-risk asset. As an investor, one can own a facility outright or choose a passive route by acquiring shares in a self-storage Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).

This investment avenue has gained attention for its perceived low operational overheads and potential for steady revenue, thanks to the high demand for storage solutions. From family heirlooms in need of a temporary home during a move, to businesses seeking extra inventory space, self-storage facilities serve an array of personal and commercial needs.

With a high average occupancy rate and considerable profit margins reported in the self-storage sector, investors often find this option appealing for its passive income potential. Rising societal trends like downsizing living spaces, moving for employment, and even the increased mobility of people embarking on long-term travels have fueled the need for self-storage. Furthermore, various types of storage facilities—from climate-controlled units catering to sensitive goods to large-scale storage for vehicles and boats—offer investors diverse opportunities to cater to specific market demands.

Key Takeaways

  • Self-storage investments can offer a passive income stream with lower operational requirements compared to other real estate ventures.
  • High demand for storage units has established self-storage as a lucrative business with various niche markets available for investment.
  • Investors have the flexibility to operate a facility directly or invest indirectly through self-storage REITs, aligning with their personal commitment levels and investment strategies.


self storage investing
Image credit: Joe via Canva

How to Invest in Self-Storage

Acquiring an Operational Storage Facility

Those looking to break into the self-storage market could consider purchasing an already-established facility. This route can streamline the start-up process, as infrastructure and a customer base are inherently part of the package. However, this initial convenience may come with a premium cost, due to the existing real estate and operational businesses. Potential owners should be aware of the different types of storage facilities, from premium climate-controlled units to more basic storage options.

Establishing a Brand-New Storage Complex

The self-storage sector continues to see growing customer demand, with many facilities operating at full capacity and having extensive waiting lists. Capitalizing on this demand involves procuring suitable land and overseeing the property construction. Upon completion, effective marketing and management systems are crucial to turn the new development into a thriving operation.

Participating in a Self-Storage Focused REIT

For those interested in self-storage investment without the hands-on approach, purchasing shares in a self-storage Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) could be the ideal compromise. This form of investment involves owning a part of an organization that possesses a collection of storage facilities, providing a more passive investment opportunity with no requirement for direct management or upkeep of properties.

Subletting Personal Space through Online Platforms

Platforms such as enable individuals to generate income by renting out their unused space, like garages or driveways. The process is straightforward, involving free account setup, space description posting, pricing determination, and managing rental agreements. This can serve as a supplementary income source based on the demand for the type of space offered.

Insights on Managing Your Storage Business

Operating a storage business involves not only ensuring customer satisfaction through additional services like vehicle care but also managing the ongoing costs of employees and maintenance to keep the facility functioning optimally.

Financial Returns in the Storage Sector

Profit generation in the self-storage industry is influenced by customer needs, facility management, and the operational cost balance.

Ensuring Safety at Your Storage Property

Customers prioritize security when choosing a storage provider, which is why implementing robust security measures, such as ample lighting, surveillance systems, and access controls, is essential to establish customer trust and protect the business reputation.

Addressing Common Queries on Self-Storage Investment

Locating Storage Businesses Available for Purchase

Prospective buyers can begin their search for storage businesses on the market through commercial listings found on websites like LoopNet or BizBuySell.

Identifying Top Self-Storage Investment Stocks

The choice of self-storage stocks should align with individual financial objectives and risk appetite. However, well-known stocks in this sector include public storage, extra space storage, and CubeSmart.

Recognizing High-Performing Self-Storage REITs

Notable self-storage REITs with a history of favorable returns include Life Storage, National Storage Affiliates, and Simply Self Storage, though due diligence on current performance and projections is advisable.

Acknowledging Risks in Self-Storage Investments

Challenges faced in the self-storage industry may range from market competition and demand fluctuations to potential natural disasters and management overheads.

Evaluating Profitability in the Self-Storage Market

The profitability of a self-storage operation hinges on multiple factors, such as its locale, prevailing demand, and the cost of running the business.

Assessing Self-Storage for Passive Income Streams

Owning a self-storage facility can supply passive income through unit rentals, but active management is still generally required to some degree.


Investment Essentials in Self-Storage

Investing in self-storage presents a promising opportunity for generating stable cash flow due to the sector’s high consumer demand, including lengthy waitlists signaling its popularity.

Considerations for Potential Self-Storage Investors:

  • Demand Analysis: Ascertain whether there is robust demand for storage in the chosen area.
  • Facility Quality: Evaluate the condition of the storage units, segmented into classes A, B, or C.
  • Location: Select areas with a higher potential for consistent rental income.
  • Storage Type: Decide between various storage options that cater to different needs.

The choice of location, coupled with an understanding of the local storage market’s dynamics, significantly influences investment success in this high-demand industry.

Initial Steps for New Investors in Self-Storage Units

When beginning to invest in self-storage units, individuals should:

  • Conduct Thorough Research: Learn about the self-storage industry and its trends.
  • Market Analysis: Evaluate local demand and competition in your target area.
  • Investment Trusts: Consider Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) that specialize in self-storage as a more hands-off investment.
  • Asset Location: Scout potential locations with high demand for storage facilities.
  • Financial Preparedness: Develop a business plan and secure financing.

Profit Margins of Self-Storage Businesses

The profit margin for self-storage businesses can be quite:

  • Profitability: It typically presents high-profit margins, with attractive returns depending on location and management efficiency.
  • Investment Efficiency: Operational costs are relatively low, contributing to higher net profits.

Comparing Self-Storage REITs with Physical Self-Storage Investments

Physical self-storage investments and self-storage REITs have distinct attributes:

  • Liquidity: REITs offer higher liquidity, trading like stocks.
  • Management: Individuals owning physical units manage day-to-day operations, while REITs require no active management from the investor.
  • Investment Scale: REITs allow for investment in a diverse portfolio of properties.

Risks of Self-Storage Facility Investments

Investing in self-storage facilities involves several potential risks:

  • Economic Fluctuations: Changes in the economy can impact demand.
  • Competition: New facilities can saturate the market.
  • Operational Costs: Mismanagement can lead to increased costs and reduced profitability.

Profit Potential from Self-Storage Unit Investment

Investing in self-storage units can yield significant returns:

  • Stable Income: Offers a stable income stream due to continuous demand.
  • Resilience: The industry shows resilience during economic downturns.

Considerations for State-Specific Self-Storage Investment

Factors to consider when investing in different states include:

  • Local Regulations: Review state-specific laws and zoning regulations.
  • Market Saturation: Analyze state-by-state demand; for example, Texas might have different storage needs than California.

Final Remarks on Self-Storage Investments

Investing in self-storage facilities presents individuals with a tantalizing blend of resilience during economic fluctuations and the potential for significant profit margins. Though not without inherent risks, the sector has historically demonstrated robust performance indicators. To navigate this investment landscape effectively, one must consider several critical factors.

Key Considerations:

  • Market Demand: Research local demand for storage to ensure high occupancy rates.
  • Location: Opt for areas with growing populations or limited storage options.
  • Self-storage is often regarded as a low-risk venture with the possibility of a stable income.
  • Management: Incorporate efficient management tools to streamline operations.
  • Security: Advanced security measures attract renters and protect assets.

Investment Strategies:

  • Direct Investment: Purchase an existing storage facility or develop new construction.
  • REITs: Consider investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts specializing in self-storage.

Financial Analysis:

  • Assess the cost versus revenue potential.
  • Consider the implications of dynamic pricing on profitability.

By meticulously evaluating these factors, investors can position themselves favorably within the self-storage market. It is advisable to complement these strategies with ample due diligence on the specifics of the local market, including competitive analysis and demographic trends. These steps culminate in fostering an investment that leverages the high demand and economic durability of self-storage businesses.


  • Olu O. (FCCA, CPA, CGA)

    My name is Olu Ojo. I am a passionate entrepreneur who loves to write about Investment opportunities, personal finance and debt management. I have a bachelor's degree in Applied Accounting with a CPA designation and a non-finance related bachelor's degree in Veterinary medicine. I currently shuffle time between completing a Master of Business Administration Degree Education and growing the Savvyolu community and partner brands. I have been featured on top high authority media platforms like MSN, Business Insider, and Wealth of Geeks.

    View all posts


My name is Olu Ojo. I am a passionate entrepreneur who loves to write about Investment opportunities, personal finance and debt management. I have a bachelor's degree in Applied Accounting with a CPA designation and a non-finance related bachelor's degree in Veterinary medicine. I currently shuffle time between completing a Master of Business Administration Degree Education and growing the Savvyolu community and partner brands. I have been featured on top high authority media platforms like MSN, Business Insider, and Wealth of Geeks.

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