Deciding on a unit mix means you’re deciding the storage unit dimensions that would best fit your customer’s needs. This may seem like an easy pick-and-choose process where anyone could select a few units of each size, but couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are many unit size options and each serves a tenant differently, here are a few of the most common:
Determining the buildable area of the potential site and marrying it to the market analysis is crucial for choosing a successful unit mix. Before deciding on a unit mix for your facility, it is helpful to know how many units your site can accommodate. Knowing how much space you have on your property to build is the first step, as you can’t paint a picture until you know the perimeter of the canvas. A feasibility study is a great resource to answer that question and many more before breaking ground.
Your market can be studied to determine the most valuable unit mix for your facility, as this isn’t a “one size fits all”. Selecting a unit mix package, choosing 10 of each for example, with no data to support it won’t grow your business. Thankfully, there are statistics and demographics available that can help you make an educated decision, which is referred to as a market analysis.
There are self-storage facilities all around you that are making the wrong decisions on unit mixes and you can learn from their shortfalls to better serve potential customers. The best way to learn if a demand is being met or not, is to shop around yourself. See if there are any unit sizes going unrented in your area and vice versa. For example, if there’s not a single available 10 X 20 standard or 10 X 15 climate-controlled unit anywhere near your site, put those in your mix. Climate-controlled units are a great option and rent for a higher cost that customers are willing to pay. Also, if no one across the market is renting a certain size unit, it may be in your best interest to stay away from offering that particular size. By evaluating other facilities in your area, you can gain valuable insight before the demographic research begins. Also keep in mind that there are odd-ball sizes that could be an option as well, like 7.5 X 9.5 units.
The households and community around your facility can and should be the center of your focus, as self-storage facilities are usually chosen based on a customer’s location and the convenience to them. Are there more renters than homeowners? Is the population younger, single adults or mostly married with families? Homeowners traditionally rent larger units, while home renters rent smaller units since renters move around more often. Likewise, younger, single adults often require smaller units than a family of 6. Knowing the demographic in the area is a great way to determine demand.
With current market availability, there is also the question of pricing. Again, look at the competition to see what they are offering. If they are at capacity with their prices, this may be a great opportunity for you to increase your prices slightly and still capture the overflow of demand. Something else to consider is offering a unique benefit that they aren’t. Offering climate-controlled units could be an easy way to do just that. Climate controlled pays a higher price, but that is usually paid by those with higher incomes, so paying attention to your market is as imperative here as when choosing the size of your units.
Choosing an optimized mix is a necessary part of starting a self-storage facility and will show returns if the market analysis is completed correctly. With the data from a site capability from the feasibility study and a market study, you can make an educated decision on what is best for the long-term success of your facility. After all, assessing what your market will actually use and benefit from will allow you to effectively serve the market and increase your bottom line.
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