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Self Storage Unit Mix

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When developing your self-storage project there are a lot parts and pieces that affect the success and profitability of your project.  It is important to surround yourself with an experienced and educated team to maximize your success.  Storage Structures, southeast regional sales manager, Kevin Neal has been in the industry for 22 years and has extensive knowledge of self-storage, unit mixes, and site plans. How important is a unit mix?  What tools do I need to create a profitable facility?  Today we sat down with Kevin to answers all your unit mix questions.

Question:  How long have you been in the industry and how does your unit mix knowledge benefit your customers?

Answer: I started in the industry in 1998 and have helped with over 1000 unit mixes.  With my experience, I help guide people who are new to storage development and identify early on when a feasibility study competes with the site plan.  Too many times I have seen site plans that are inefficient and/or do not allow for the desired unit mix. Quickly identifying if your feasibility study and site plan are moving in two different directions is very important before seeking the entitlements.

Question:  What type of information is important to gather before creating a unit mix?

Answer: The first thing I would do is get a market study from an industry expert.  A good study will identify the current market conditions and forecast future supply and demand. 

Question:  Why is it important to gather this information?

Answer: If you plan to go into a market with the old “build it and they will come” mind set, you are making a mistake.  Why would you pass up valuable data the market can provide you to tailer your unit mix and maximize your profit?  Often certain markets do not get proper attention because only one or two indicators are considered.  I see areas where the square feet of supply exceeds that market’s demand on the surface, but a good study would identified the supply was a unit type you should not be considering.  A typical example would be a market with a lot of supply, but a very low percentage of climate-controlled units.  I recommend adapting to the market instead of to getting the market to adapt to you. 

Question:  What would you consider the enemies of the unit mix?

Answer: A poor site plan without any thought put into the unit mix.  You see site plans all the time that only show 30ft wide buildings.  30’ buildings are great in certain circumstances, but not when it comes to a climate-controlled facility.

Question:  Have you seen any new unit mix trends?

Answer: Two things stand out.  I am seeing more people doing drive up access units that are climate controlled, and I see the average unit size getting larger. 

Question:  Do commercial and residential customers have an impact on the unit mix?

Answer: The commercial user and the residential user are existing in the same building, but they are two different customers, with two different size units, and different considerations. Commercial customers typically use larger units and come in more often than the average residential customer.  The units geared for the commercial user should be larger and closer to the stairs, elevators, or entry points.

Question:  What benefits does Alpha Framing System have on developing a unit mix?

Answer: Our Alpha Framing System has many advantages over the traditional framing method. The speed of installation and ability to install unit partitions after pouring the elevated slabs is a game changer.  Speaking directly to the affect on the unit mix, it is much simpler unit mix.  The Alpha System allows us to greatly reduce intermediate framing members of a traditional load bearing wall system.  Alpha minimizes the number of headers and unnecessary structure, which allows for more flexibility when creating a unit mix. Without having to factor in framing lines and roof slope direction, we are now able to achieve proper mixes much more efficiently. 

Storage Structures, headquartered in Villa Rica, GA is the industry leader for design, supply and installation of single, bi-level and multi-story self-storage buildings. As exclusive provider of the innovative Alpha Framing System, Storage Structures delivers exceptional quality product.  Combined with an inhouse team of drafters, engineers and project managers, our mission is to be ON-SITE, ON-SCHEUDLE ALL THE TIME.  For more information on Storage Structures, feel free to visit our website


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