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3 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Storage Facility

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Ben Shirey


Starting a self-storage construction project can be quite complicated, with lots of things to consider. In a recent podcast, Tyler Scherer from TruSteel Buildings shared his knowledge from working in the industry for more than ten years. As a project manager, Tyler gave us some helpful advice on avoiding common problems and following best practices to make sure your project goes smoothly.

Let's break down the construction process and discuss some important things Tyler talked about. First, you need to get approvals from the local government. This means meeting with local officials to make sure they're okay with your plans to build. Tyler mentioned that this part of the process can take a couple of months, so it's crucial to start early to prevent delays later on.

Once you have the approvals, it's time to start working on the site. This includes digging and making sure the area drains water properly. Tyler pointed out that mistakes often happen during this phase. It's essential to get the site graded correctly and ensure that water won't gather around the buildings and driveways. Another problem can be access. You need to make sure that the roads leading to your storage facility are wide enough for moving trucks and equipment both during and after construction. Spending extra time on these site elements at the beginning will save you a lot of trouble later.

After the site is prepared, it's time to reach out to suppliers like True Steel Buildings. Tyler suggests contacting them as soon as excavation begins, so they can give you prices and schedule the construction. Typically, it takes about 8 weeks from ordering to having the buildings on-site with True Steel. They provide a complete service, including the buildings and the crews needed to set them up. This simplifies the process compared to using different suppliers and contractors.

Tyler also mentioned an interesting option: converting existing buildings into self-storage units. This can be advantageous because you don't have to worry about bad weather, and crews can work longer hours, completing more square footage each day. Conversions also save money because they reuse existing building space.

Being flexible with your unit layouts is vital. True Steel Buildings offer divider walls that can be moved within 6 inches, allowing you to change the design as needed. They also suggest leaving some buildings open initially so that you can see which unit sizes are most popular before finalizing the layout. This adaptability helps self-storage businesses stay responsive to changes in customer demand over time.

Looking into the future, Tyler sees many opportunities in the self-storage industry. He predicts that over the next 8-10 years, there will be a lot of upgrades, expansions, and changes in ownership of existing facilities. As the industry matures, smart investors will buy older properties, renovate them, and maybe even make them larger to take advantage of the growing demand. Staying up-to-date with construction methods and building technologies will be important for property owners looking to maximize their investments in these redevelopment projects.

When asked about current construction trends, Tyler mentioned that boat and RV storage is becoming more popular, along with canopy buildings for covered parking. Being able to adapt spaces for vehicle storage helps businesses serve different markets and increase their income. Converting existing buildings into self-storage units is still a popular choice because it transforms unused commercial buildings into profitable storage spaces.

If you're thinking about getting into the self-storage business, Tyler's top advice is to do thorough research on all aspects of planning and development. You should look at population trends, understand the local approvals process, and learn about the best construction practices for self-storage facilities. Connecting with industry groups online is also a great way to learn from experienced owners. With proper planning and execution, the self-storage industry continues to offer strong potential for real estate investors.

In conclusion, Tyler Scherer insights provide valuable guidance for anyone interested in self-storage construction, from the initial design phase to execution. Following the advice of industry experts like Tyler can make your journey to a successful storage facility or redevelopment project much smoother. With the demand for self-storage facilities expected to remain high, now is a great time for motivated entrepreneurs to start their own storage venture.

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