News Room

Self Storage Automation is here to stay

Self Storage Automation is here to stay

Has the Time Come for the Un Manned, Automated Self Storage Rental Office?

And how you can automate your self storage facility today for more profits.

By Marc Goodin


Lease by Phone, Website or Kiosk vs.

Lease by Phone, Website or Kiosk or with our Onsite Manger,

Which would you choose?

We know self storage automation to the point of an unmanned rental office it is possible because there are more and more unmanned facilities every year.

Full rental automation simple requires two major components. The first is an office manned by a kiosk connected to a good call center. Open Tech Alliance has you covered when it comes to the best self storage kiosks and call centers.  Their kiosks even dispenses locks.  Even if you are not going fully automated a kiosk will make you more profits because you will not miss after hour rentals to your competition.

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Here is a facility I designed that just opened with an Open Tech Alliance kiosk. We require all Storage Authority Franchise self storage facilities to have a kiosk because they are both a profit center and are a backup when a manger is not there for any reason.

The second item required for an un manned self storage facility is individual door looks for each individual unit.  Janus International is the leading provider of self storage door locks. The door locks are the major extra cost for an automated facility since every facility should rent online and have a kiosk.  Presently individual door locks cost about $200+_ installed per door. For a 55,000 net rentable square feet facility this would be about $100,000.  Not unreasonable when you consider the cost of a manager year after year. I expect the price of individual door locks will come down significantly in the next 5 years and that they will become standard even for a manned facility.

Great self-storage management software, like Sitelink is already cloud based and can be run from anywhere you have internet.  Likewise, your self storage camera, security, HVAC controls and gate systems should also be cloud based so they can be operated and monitored from off site.

As part of automation your website should also fully rent units online.  I know 99 percent of everyone reading this article have websites that do not make online rentals that permit renters to move in when you are closed.  If your considering automation (and even if you are not) your first step is to update your website to rent units.

If we just looked at the facts above it would seem clear that automation is the way to go.  But we have to look at one more set of facts: What do our clients want, which in turn relates to profits.  The world is more automated day by day.  In 2018 we hit the 50% mark for online shopping; Mc Donald’s are putting more ordering kiosks in their restaurants; I often use my bank ATM vs going inside the bank.  But for Ninety percent of the time I need something from Home Depot I go to the store. Maybe you make 50% or more of your purchases online?  But that does not mean that it is time to make banks, retail stores or self storages automated and loose customers by eliminating one on one service.

When you are checking out at Wal Mart or Home Depot have you noticed there are two or three people in line at the manned cash registers and 1 person at the kiosk checkout.  Most people prefer to have someone help them check out. We still trust people more than machines, especially when we have a question.  Of course, if I only have a couple of items and there are 4 people with full carts at each of the manned cash registers, I will head over to an empty checkout kiosk. Companies like Home Depot have figured this out and that’s why they have both.

If renters have a choice between two equal facilities most will choose the manned office vs the automated self-storage office. It is a myth that a manned and unmanned facility are equal.  Both can have the same great locations, features, prices but only the manned facility has a real unique selling proposition.  And that is a good manager who gets to know a client, builds trust and loyalty.  A kiosk can not do that.  An un manned facility will often have a lower rental price but if you have not already learned a low price is the absolute worst selling feature a self storage can have.

I have been renting self storage units for a long long time and I estimate 30%  (ie 60% walk ins will rent even if your manager is a clerk) of our rentals would have walked out of the office without renting except for our high end remarkable, rediculasly over the top customer service, sales and marketing provided by our well trained managers.  And our rates are 20% higher than our competition.  Our number one rule at our facilities is every prospect is taken out the door in 30 seconds or less to see a unit.  This gives us time to understand their needs, get to know them, build trust and for the renter to have the opertunity to physically see the difference from one size to the next so they are comfortable and ready to rent. Viewing the size gives the prospect the ability to confirm the size they need so we can say “ looks like a 10 x 10 is the right size for you, let go back to the office and get one in your name.” A self-storage kiosk will never take a customer to see a unit or builds trust.  It’s hard to rent an apartment or sell a house or sell a car, a person has not seen. To a big degree the same goes for self storage.

When it comes right down to it the number one thing that makes your facility different from the facility down the street is your manager. And a good manager will rent more units at a premium price and have more loyal customers and referrals than a similar unmanned facility or a facility with an untrained manager. You could argue the maned facility can’t rent before and after hours.  But online rentals and kiosk provides manned facilities the best of both worlds. It serves as a backup to the manager busy with a customer and is there for the few individuals that would rather do the entire process at kiosk or needs to rent after hours.

Some owners simple do not have the time to manage their facility as they have a busy career or are on too building their third and fourth facility.  In this case the loss in profits is a tradeoff for going with an automated system.  I would suggest they have two more profitable alternatives: a good management company or a Storage Authority Franchise.   Even if the facility office is unmanned who is doing the daily site checks and cleaning each unit before it is re rented.  Who is marketing the facility?  Who is calling the nonpaying renters?  Who is managing the auctions?  A good manager with well-established systems and platforms should be doing these items in addition to renting units.

A second case for the unmanned unit would be for a very small facility.  Maybe you have a 15,000 square feet facility.  This would be a good candidate for an automated facility as the overhead of a full-time manager would not be warranted given the limited income potential.

There are companies that are only building automated facilities.   Ten Federal is one of leaders in unmanned facilities.  Their website headline is Lease by Phone, Website or Kiosk. They have improved the un manned system significantly and I am sure it is working for them.

But again, if you only have one facility, I believe you can add substantially to your bottom line profits with a good manager vs an un manned facility. Even up to an extra $100,000 or more. I have no concrete proof for this dollar amount but in my selling self-storage book Crush your Competition in week 1, of 52 weeks of self-storage marketing ideas, I outline how you can make well over a $100,000 a year with over the top marketing & sales.  And a kiosk just does not have the ability to implement a sales and marketing platform for extra profits.

Ten Federal website clearly notes they do not have a move in administration fee.  I like administration fees! This fee is worth over $12,000 a year in profits for me and provides for one heck of a vacation every year for my family.  And even more concerning for the single operator is their prices are all web prices which are typically reduced from the office rental price. And they are also giving huge discounts for the first month, another no no for the single operator.

Bottom line, we will be seeing more unmanned facilities because many owners and management companies do not want to take the significant time and effort to prepare and implement the self storage managers operations, sales and marketing systems and platforms and an ongoing training programs   But that is good news for those of us willing to get it right for our customers because we will have the opportunity for oversized profits, others have given up.

To be competitive now and certainly in the future all facilities should have the unmanned components in the sense your potential clients should be able to rent when your office is closed.  These tools will also reducing costs by shortening the managers hours.  The days of the self storage office being open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week are long gone and have been replaced with closed Sunday and reduced hours the rest of the week.

Marc Goodin is President of Storage Authority LLC, the only self-storage franchise in the US. He owns 3 self storages he designed, built and manages. He has been helping others in the self storage industry for over 25 years.   He can be reached at marc@StorageAuthority.com or directly at 860-830-6764 to answerer your self storage franchise, development, marketing, sales and operational questions.

Alexa how much does my competition charge for a 10 x 10?

Every once in a while there is a technology that is fun, easy to use and cheap that every business has to have to first hit home run out of the park and them eventually just to survive.   I believe voice command technology (especially combined with other technology) will be one of  the big hits for self storage in 2019 and moving forward.

We are heading out to Texas early next month for training for a new Storage Authority facility. www.StorageAuthorityWaltersRd.com  


We are very exited to help Ed and his team become self storage experts. And we are also excited to see  Alexa in action at a self storage for the first time. Self storage technology is swiftly evolving and everyone will need to include High Tech – High Touch platforms and systems if they want to have high end profits and Crush your Competition.

Alexa who was the last one on site? Alexa how many renters are on site?   Alexa open the gate.  And this is just the start of voice command opportunities to make your self storage managers job more efficient and to impress your renters for more self storage profits.

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Alexa,  can you answer Mr. Goodin’s question, Can we give him a discount?

Mr Goodin I understand your concern, You want to get the best value for your money. I am sure you can agree we have the nicest facility in the area and provide exceptional value. And you know Sally the manager and I will work hard every day to earn your business.  If we we started giving out discounts we could not be able provide our customers the service and value they deserve and expect.

Mr Goodin would you like to get that unit in your name today?

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Storage Authority is happy to be partnering with Open Tech Alliance to insure we have the high tech that our clients want and deserve.

It is time to get past management and become self storage leaders!




OpenTech Alliance Inc. Press Release.


Storage Authority Standardizes on  OpenTech Solutions


Date, 2018 – Phoenix, AZ. OpenTech Alliance, Inc. announced Storage Authority, a rapidly growing self-storage franchise company is implementing OpenTech’s solutions including INSOMNIAC CIA (Centralized Intelligent Access) at all their state-of-the art locations. Marc Goodin, Co-Founder of Storage Authority, designed and permitted his first self-storage facility over 25 years ago. Marc commented, “By utilizing the OpenTech family of products our customers have more conveniences at their fingertips which means we win out over our competition.”

Having been involved in this industry, Marc can clearly see we have entered a pivotal turning point in the self-storage industry. “We’re now selling what’s outside the four walls of a storage unit, not what’s inside. Furthermore, we are in the people business, somewhere between the banking and hotel industries.” added Marc.

To address this shift, Marc’s strategy for his franchisees is to leverage technological advances to focus on the customer experience and increase operational efficiencies. Some of the ways he is leveraging technology is by having an INSOMNIACTM kiosk onsite at every property, outsourcing inbound leads through INSOMNIACTM Live! Call Center services, offering customers hands-free access through INSOMNIACTM CIA and the Storage Genie tenant mobile app and utilizing OpenTech’s IoE integrations such as HVAC and Al.

Robert Chiti, President and CEO of OpenTech Alliance, emphasized the point, “Every solution we develop is designed with input from thousands of customers and to help self-storage operators work smarter and provide a better experience to their users. In today’s business environment you’ve got to use all the tools available to create a competitive advantage, and at OpenTech we’ve got one heck of a tool chest.”

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AD.Storage Authority 1-3 #3


What Are You Organizing?

It all about the how your organize and understand organizing for profits is swiftly changing in todays internet economy. “For a hundred years, we organized the means of production. How do we get the right people, the right machines, the right materials and get this thing built”. Seth Godin

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Self Storage Organizing 30 years ago

Once upon a time it was build it any where and they will come. It worked well and made many people rich.

Self Storage Organizing 15 years ago

Then it became build it on main street and they will come.  It worked well.

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Self Storage Organizing yesterday

Now many people believe state of the art facility on main street, have a great web site, on going marketing and they will come.  It worked well and made many people rich.

The successful developers were organizers who found the right location and the right people to get their facility built.  They organized the money.  They organized the employees and day to day operation.

Most of us still do this.  It is important and difficult work and will be required for some time to come.

Self Storage Organizing Today to double your profits.

“But now, now there’s a third kind of organization going on, one that’s even more leveraged, because it isn’t easily replaced: Organizing an audience.

How do we find the right people on the right day in a way that creates value for them and for us? How do we deliver the right service to the right audience in the right way? The rising stars of our economy are in this business now, even more than production or finance.

If you’re seeking to build awareness, consider building a community instead.

If you’re working to sell your average stuff to average people (and working overtime to make it cheaper or faster), consider an alternative: serving the most dedicated people with something remarkable“. Seth Godin

Just think about Kmart, Sears, Toys are US, and so many more.  They did not organize for their audience and now they are gone!

Time to get out of the self storage business and in the business of organizing a win win community.

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See original post on Organizing by Seth Godin  https://seths.blog/2018/09/what-are-you-organizing/

August Newsletter 2018 — Now Taking Reservations!




August 2018 Newsletter

Storage Authority
Pre Opening News/Tips

As we prepare to open multiple facilities starting next month, finding land, design, and approvals for these franchisees is a thing of the past and now pre-opening operations and pre-opening marketing are the subjects of the day.  This is a BIG Crunch time so being super organized is critical.  Here are 7 tips you need to complete prior to crunch time.

1 Have a checklist for pre-opening operations – 100 + items
2 Have a checklist of for pre-opening marketing – 110+ items
3 Make a list of all the vendors you need to get on board before you open (Bookkeeper, SiteLink for the management program, G5 for the website, Open Tech Alliance for kiosk & gate systems, Attorney for lease and forms, graphic designer, utility companies, insurance agent, etc)
4  Make a list of all social marketing platforms you will use.
5  Make a list of every unit by unit with the number, size, type, and price.
6  Make a list of what makes your facility different than your competition, Your unique selling features.
7 Prepare your help wanted ads and employee manual.

If you are a Storage Authority Franchise Owner many of these items are prepared and reviewed with you long before crunch time so you can get a head start to rent double, even triple or more units in your first 4 months then projected in your Feasibility Study.


If you simply double your monthly rentals from 15 units a month to  30 units a month for the first 4 months it is an extra $108,000 income for you in your first year!  Want to see the math email marc@SorageAuthority.com

Last month we told you the  Storage Authority Walters Rd in Houston Texas roofs were on. And last week Ed called excited to tell us he has taken his first reservations – over a month and a half before he opens! Storage Authority Walters Rd Houston TX is slated to open Sept 15, 2018

The #1 Pre Opening Tip
When your first customer walks in they are going to ask the same questions that your next 1000 clients are going to ask.  They will start with what is the price of a unit simply because they do not know what else to ask and often follow up do you have any specials?  If you want to charge premium rates you better have written scripts memorized that provide the answers to these and the 7 other concerns they will ask you or you will lose many rentals.  I can visit 20 facilities and maybe one will have some of the answers to:1  I need to think about it
2 I need to check for with my wife or boss
3 I just need information
4 Price seems high or can you do any better on the price.
5 I don’t need it until next week
6) I don’t need it until I sell my house sells
7) The client who does not provide his concern or objection
Check out this recent article at Inside Self Storage: By Marc Goodin

How to Perform a Mini Demand Study on a Potential Self-Storage Site

For a great resource to retrieve initial metrics for your demand study go to  RADIUS here  radius.unionrealtime and get your free credits now.


Here is our add that is going to be the September issue of Minico Magazine, next to Marc Goodin’s Article on why Franchising for Self Storage you need to read.

As part of our Dynamic Ease Self Storage Development Series, we help our franchisees around the development landmines, including finding land, designing, financing and building a premier self-storage facility and to understand the options and prepare accordingly.
If you want to learn more about Storage Authority Franchise there is a wealth of information on our website www.StorageAuhorityFranchise.com  Don’t forget to check out “Why Storage Authority” and our blog/newsroom. Then the next step is to apply on our website or email or call Garrett Byrd (Garrett@StorageAuthority.com or Direct 941-928-1354)
Vendor Highlight

Instead of highlighting one Storage Authority Vendor we want to highlight how extremely important it is that your vendors work together and the better they know you, your systems, platforms and each other, the more efficient and profitable you will be since you will have double the time to market your business.  For Storage Authority Franchise owners the savings in time because of this vendor synergy is well over 200 hours in your first 6 months of operations.  And even a second 200 hours because Storage Authority has done the research on the vendors.

For example, Sitelink can set up our franchisees by cloning the Storage Authority forms, fees, various automatic late letters, emails and fees, user settings, tenant insurance, discounts and more saving hours and hours.   Then the next part of the startup puzzle is making sure your other vendors are all tied together day one. Before you open you need to make sure your open Tech gate & kiosk, storsmart insurance, G5 website, Late 2 Lien, SiteLink Merchant, StorageTreasure online Auction and others are all tied together.

One simple example that saves us time and money and even makes us money is the vendors we use for the auction process. Late2Lien accesses our 30 day past due customer direct from SiteLink and adds them to our Late2Lien dashboard, for our managers to approve them for auction and then  late2Lien sends the required lien/auction notice. And then Storage Treasures (who by the way is part of the OpenTech Alliance vast host of products and services we use) host our online auction.  As a team things get done and our managers have the training and backup they need to be successful.

It may sound simple but it is not easy. Owners depend on the store’s manager to market, maintain and expand their business. Unfortunately, owners are discovering that the managers are ill-equipped with little to no operational, marketing, sales or customer service experience. And they also cannot keep up with the ever-changing technology  Most facility managers spend 100% of their time doing the day to day and never get to the sales and marketing that can double your profits.

Industry News & Tips You Can Use Today

5 Pre Opening Tips You Can Use Now!

1. Start your list of emails today for your very own facility newsletter.  It is not hard to get 500 or a 1000 local emails when you do it over several months

2. Open your own Mail chimp newsletter account: Every month during construction send out a newsletter keeping your prospects updated on progress and your grand opening.

3. Ask the city about a temporary CO: Construction always takes longer than planned.  If your office is going to be ready before the total facility is completed ask early about a temporary CO.  Even opening a week or a month early is a big deal.

4. Practice Autopay script –  By having this late fee schedule on your desk and starting the lease presentation with a simple “I just need your debit card and I.D to get started”, you can make an easy extra $30,000 a year profits and more time.

5. Visit every funeral home & real estate office within a 5-mile radius twice before you open 

Storage Authority experts are ready to help you every single step of the way, from finding land to operations, to driving your revenue year on year.  If you have a question give us a call. Team up with the experts to save time and maximize your profits.


Click here to Get Pre-Qualified to Begin your Journey to Financial Freedom with Storage Authority Franchising!

“The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.”  –Walt Disney, Co-Founder, Disney

Recent Storage Authority Blogs You Will Enjoy!

Complete Storage Authority News Room

Sample Self Storage Development Budget & Proforma

Self Storage the Art of the Auto-pay

Recent Storage Authority News Letters

July 2018–Roof Tops are on Getting Ready to Rent

June 2018 Newsletter Self Storage Development–Aerial Drone Video

May Newsletter 2018–New Self Storage Construction Photos

Storage Authority Video of the Month

Storage Authority Pre-Opening Preparations

Please share!      We Love Referrals.

Storage Authority
677 N Washington Blvd.
Sarasota FL 34236

www.StorageAuthorityFranchise.com         Garrett@StorageAuthority.com

Where Else Can You………….No Where

When people investigate Storage Authority and our franchise system we have found there are four major categories of prospects:

  1. Tire kickers.  The facts or nothing we say or do will make a difference.  The are not part of the 1% who will ever own their own business.

  2.  Prove to me …… or why do I need you prospect.  Again the facts or nothing we say or do will make a difference.  They had their minds made up long before they called us.  When the conversation of self storage comes up they will be the ones who say ” I was going to do that but the guy down the road beat me to it”

  3. Financially not qualified prospect. They often have the desire and are willing to work hard but just don’t have the $400K equity to get started.

  4. Professionals looking to make a better return on their hard earned savings and often an opportunity that will make a good six figure income and even allow them to retire early if they choose.

So how does a qualified prospect make a decision?  They typically ask and answer the following questions:

Do I want to own my own business?  – most people do not.

Do I want to work more now (I already have no time) so I can have all the time I want in the future – most people are not that ambitious.

If self storage works like the experts say, is self storage the business I want to be in to make my dreams come true or do I have a better opportunity?  Since Self Storage is one of the very best real estate investments few people have a better option where they can keep their career.

If you got to the last question and the answer was yes the rest is easy.  Do research every week until you decide the pros & cons of doing it on your own or with Storage Authority.

AD.Storage Authority 1-3 #3

If you want to learn more about franchising you need to read the up coming September issue of the Minico Messenger the article  Why Franchising for Self Storage. It provides both a history and background on franchising, And also explains why the time has come self storage franchising.  But often it comes down to understanding the value of  being a premier facility vs being an average self storage and what it takes to be a premier facility.  The value is in the millions and it takes 10 year of energy in the trenches to become and expert on your own.  You will find this is true in many businesses. If you want to be way above the competition and do not have 10 years of experience from the trenches there are few if any ways to get all the expert guidance and assistance you need.  Here are just a few of the things that Storage Authority provides that you will have a hard tine finding elsewhere

Where else is someone going to work as hard as you are to make sure your a success?  No Where!

Where Else

  • Will you have an expert on your side 24/7?

  • Get the land expertise you need for pennies on the dollar?

  • Get the engineering expertise you need for pennies on the dollar?

  • Get the zoning expertise you need for pennies on the dollar?

  • Get development expertise you need for pennies on the dollar?

  • Get the construction  expertise you need for pennies on the dollar?

  • Get the operational expertise you need for pennies on the dollar?

  • Get the marketing expertise you need for pennies on the dollar?

  • Get the sales expertise you need for pennies on the dollar?

  • Get the rental expertise you need for pennies on the dollar?

  • Get the customer expertise you need for pennies on the dollar?

  • Will you have a partner to call every time you have a question?

  • Will you have someone with 30 year experience of real estate, self storage and design experience to review your site plans?

  • Will you have someone to tell you your opening rates are two low?

  • Will you have someone outline one on one, in a development manual, in a check list the 5 stages of development and help you at each stage?

  • Is some one going to share with you the many how to tips and training that can leads to hundreds of thousands in extra profits?

  • Will your state of the art management software come set up with over 25 forms and letter, emails, late fees and more?

  • Will you be provided with the state of the art website that allows you to stand out and rent on line?

  • Has all the research been done for you to insure you have the best vendors in the industry?

  • Will you get the expertise and banking application assistance to impress your Bank?

No Where!

If you want to learn more lets talk.  Marc 860-830-6764


Are you planting enough Acorns for real oversized Self Storage Profits?


How much would it cost to buy huge forest of Oak trees?  Likely more than you and I have to spend.  But they all started with an acorn.  An acorn that was free.  To many people are wasting more and more good money trying to find the right “paid for marketing” that will make them oversized Self Storage Profits when they should be planting thousands of free acorns.

Take a look at this email I received from my manager last week.  8 Rentals in one day.  Seven on the phone (notice the P for phone rental) and 1 walk in.  Was this because we have a great manager? No, Kate is great, but this was just her third week on the job.

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Was it because the nearby University of Connecticut is about to get out for the summer and all the students picked us because our prices are the lowest. Heck no, the guys right down the street rent a 5 x 10 for the summer for a total of $195 and we are $399 for the same summer rental.

So, what is the secret?  We plant thousands of acorns every year. Here are just a few that led up to that one day of fun phone rentals.  Which by the way are part of 150 rentals we will do in 45 days.

1  Our new manager of 3 weeks had a detailed manual that included rental scripts that must be followed.

2  Before she was hired Kate reviewed and practiced the scripts with us and agreed to use them word for word.

3  We did the hard work of role playing.

4  Our manual was clear it is our goal to rent over the phone to every caller.  And if we do not, we get their number and call them back in 2 days.

5  On every call we promote our facility, “show them a unit on the phone”, confirm the size is the right size for them, provide the price and say “would you like to get one in your name before they are all gone”. Then we take a full month’s payments – we only rent – no reservations.  FYI – next to none cancel and around 1 in ten transfers to a larger size.

6  Our manger is accountable daily and emails us every day detailing both the walk in and phone rentals and the walk ins and phone calls who did not rent.


To rent 8 units that day we had to more than be good at helping our clients finding the right unit for them.  We had to get them to call or stop in, in the first place.


7  Month after month we add all move out emails and other town and university emails to our mail chimp site for our newsletter.

8  Two week earlier we sent out a mass email via mail chimp letting the UCONN students know we love them and would provide them a free lock if the prepaid for the summer.

9  Earlier in the spring we were the only self-storage to attended the University student fair.   We handed out hundreds of cards and simply said have your mom or dad give us a call and we will take care of everything with them over the phone and they will just need to stop in and sign the lease.

10   For the last two weeks we had a table at two banks, one on campus and one in Town that highlighted our self-storage.  We bought $200 of candy and other goodies to make sure we attracted everyone in the bank to our table.  When my wife GP asked, did we really need to buy 50 lbs. of candy I reminded her each piece of candy is an acorn planted.  If we rent just one extra unit because of the candy it will pay for all the candy. And many non-students will see our name one more time so when one day when they need storage they will think of us.  And the great part is many students rent from us for 4 years!

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11  We had already completed spring cleaning inside and out so both our employees and our renters are impressed.

12   Every morning we put out our Open banner and our sandwich board for thousands of people to see as they drive by.  This month one side reads Spring is here! and the other “We love UCONN.

13  Not only do we have a huge candy bowl but we also have a premium candy like York Candy right next to it.  Who could resist “Can you stop in this afternoon?  I know you will be very impressed with our facility and I have York Peppermint Paddies with your name on them”

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Have you been planting acorns day after day or just wasting money?

Why be motel 8 when you could be the Ritz?


By Marc Goodin

President of Storage Authority

Author of Cush Your Competition,

102 weeks of guerilla marketing for oversized profits for your self-storage.


11 Frequently Asked Questions about Cost Segregation for Self-Storage Properties


Date: April 4, 2018

To:  Self-Storage Property Owners

From: Heidi Henderson, Executive Vice President of Engineered Tax Services

Many real estate investors are unware of how the top industry professional utilize the tax code to their benefit. And most think that their tax professional is aware of every aspect of the existing code to advise them of any applicable credits or deductions they are eligible for. In reality, the tax code is complex and expecting your CPA to know every aspect of it, is like expecting your family doctor to be able to perform heart surgery!

“Surrounding yourself with the right people and education on these topics are the keys to your success!

I am a real estate investor myself and through many years in tax and accounting I have learned from the best on how to apply every aspect of the tax code to create the most tax efficient real estate portfolio, leading to continued success.

Recent tax changes under the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act expound on the benefits of real estate investing. Taxpayers can now capture immediate deductions for business related tangible property, your depreciation can be front loaded, and for energy efficient buildings the available credits and deductions were renewed in February of 2018 and assets removed during demolition can be written-off or donated for a charitable contribution on your tax return.

These are just a few of the complex tax code sections which can make the difference between a profitable business, and a losing proposition. Below is an article outlining 11 Frequently Asked Questions about Cost Segregation, which is one of the methods you can apply to your property.

We partner with business owners across the U.S. and have worked on thousands of self-storage properties nationally. Give me a call today for more information and to discuss the some of the tax strategies that might be applicable to your business or property.  I can be reached at (801) 689-0325 or via email at hhenderson@engineeredtaxservices.com


11 Frequently Asked Questions about Cost Segregation for Self-Storage Properties

By: Heidi Henderson, Engineered Tax Services

1.  What is Cost Segregation?

Cost Segregation is the process of identifying personal property vs. real property, and individual building components for tax purposes, rather than treating a building purchase as one large asset. This determination allows a property owner to depreciate their assets over the useful life of each asset instead of assuming that the entire purchase amount applies to one long-term (39-year) asset.

2.  Does my property qualify?

All investment properties, including self-storage properties qualify for cost segregation.  When a cost segregation study is applied, you are telling the IRS that you are simply choosing one acceptable method for depreciation (MACRS*) vs. another approved depreciation method (straight-line). Both are acceptable, however MACRS requires an analysis to identify the value of each individual asset you own, rather than looking at your property as one large asset.

3.  When does it makes sense to do a Cost Segregation study?

Cost Segregation can be applied to a newly purchased building, a newly constructed building, or a building you have owned for around 15 years or less. If the property is not fully depreciated (39 years is the length of normal depreciation), then there is an opportunity to change the method with cost segregation. Although any property can be depreciated under MACRS, the costs of performing a cost segregation study may outweigh the benefits if the property was acquired for less than approximately $300,000.

4.  What items are reclassified via Cost Segregation?

Under straight-line depreciation a property’s total cost (less an allocation for land), is depreciated evenly over 39 years. Under MACRS the assets are identified and reclassified in 5-year, 15-year, and 39-year class lives depending on the IRS determination of its actual useful life. And whether the assets are used for your business use, or the basic function of the buildings use as a structure. Examples of 39-year property include; windows, walls, doors, roof, HVAC systems, plumbing, and electrical. Examples of 15-year property include exterior improvements such as; fencing, exterior signage, asphalt, curbs, landscaping, and exterior lighting. And examples of 5-year property are; carpet, appliances, specialty lighting, woodwork, unit partitions, individual unit locks and security, and business specific heating and ventilation systems.

5. Does the type of property affect the tax savings?

Some property types will have a higher reallocation percentage than others. Interior, climate controlled self-storage properties will see a higher amount than a shed-row or boat and RV storage type. The allocations are based on actual assets and values or each of the components within the property.

6.  What information is required to do a Cost Segregation study?

Surprisingly, the information required to perform the study is limited. For a recent purchase, the closing statement or HUD is the only requirement. Blueprints are helpful but not necessary. New Construction projects require cost breakdowns and total costs for construction and development, but individual invoices are not required.

7.    How do I choose a Cost Segregation provider?

Choosing a reputable firm is a vital to ensuring that every aspect of the IRS requirements are met, and in the case of an audit the report is upheld without disallowances or associated interest and penalties. The IRS Audit Technique Guidelines dictate that a physical site visit is performed, the analysis is performed by a professional with cost-accounting or engineering expertise, and the method of determining asset value is an approved methodology. Make sure that audit defense is included in your study, and that the final report offers complete detail over every aspect of your property. Choosing a low-cost provide may be tempting, but the ultimate savings, detail and support of a reputable provider will far outweigh any additional costs. And finally, ask for references!

8.   Will I get audited if I do a Cost Segregation study?

Cost Segregation is not a “trigger” for audit. The IRS issued automatic consent for deprecation whether applying a change from straight-line to MACRS at the time of purchase or retroactive for a property you bought 10 years ago. This means that taxpayers are allowed to make this change with the approved forms offered by reputable cost segregation firms. However, in the rare case of an IRS review, rest assured that a detail report with the proper IRS approved methods and audit support will affectively defend your tax filing position.

9.  How much does a Cost Segregation study cost?

The cost is usually based upon the type and use of the building, size, and location of the property. Beware of cost segregation providers who charge a percentage of the tax savings. The tax savings is relative to the entity type, number of owners, the year of acquisition and other factors, so the actual cash benefit can vary. Most providers will offer a quote along with projected tax savings, so you and your CPA have the information necessary to make an educated decision.

10. How much will a Cost Segregation study save me?

The tax savings realized with a cost segregation can vary depending on the type of building, your total acquisition cost, and length of ownership. Self-storage properties vary in type and size and may see reclassification percentages from 15% to as high as 40%. Request a detailed benefit analysis from a qualified and experienced firm who has a history with self-storage properties.

11. What does the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (TCJA) passed in December of 2017 mean for my tax return?

The Trump administration passed the TCJA which is the largest tax reform bill passed in over 30 years. There are significant changes that offer tax cuts for real estate investors. The largest change being the adoption of 100% bonus depreciation for tangible personal property acquired after September 27, 2017. Tangible personal property is defined as assets with a useful life of 5, 7 or 15 years. Therefore, when cost segregation is performed to identify the personal property (5, 7 15-year property) apart from real property (39-year assets), it allows the property owner to capture bonus depreciation on those reclassified property and immediately expense the entire value in the year purchased!

*MACRS: Modified Accelerated Class Recovery System



Self Storage the Art of the Auto-pay



There is an art and a science to presenting auto-pay to the self-storage customer but there is a tremendous value for both the customer and the self-storage facility.

The presentation of auto-pay is everything, how you say it, how you deliver it and the sub-conscious triggers the customer reads all work as a synergy to optimize your auto-pay program.  With Storage Authority Franchising we have the system in place for you to maximize your revenue and streamline the process.

We love customers on auto pay because they save us time (for marketing) Typically only the few who put themselves on auto pay get on auto pay.  Even if asked if they want to go on auto pay say no because most yes or no questions naturally end up with as a no. This one is a no-brainer.  It just takes learning the script and techniques mandatory and one hour of training and the proper lease. Because people stay 2 extra months if they are on auto pay an extra 10 auto pays a month is worth $30,000 a year.  

When presenting the hard copy lease, Storage Authority may be the only one who has this option on the front page of a lease making it easy to present and get a yes at just the right time.  And no extra paperwork like every other facility.  Of course, we had to pay a self-storage attorney to set it up to make sure we met the law, but well worth the investment.

As self-storage evolves, and we make the paperless transition the very wording on how you start the lease presentation will be critical to your success, ” All I need is your ID and the debit card you would like to keep on file.” As you swipe the debit card (debit cards carry less merchant service fees than credit cards) into the software you remind the customer their card will be debited on whichever date their move-in date every month and we will send an email confirmation.  You automatically put them on auto-pay by just assuming they want the value of the program. Remember they are also reading your late fee schedule that is on your counter (*See Below example) as your working through the lease presentation.  It’s expensive to be late in self-storage there is an immense value to the customer to automate their payment process.

For self-storage owners & operators, auto-pay is, undoubtedly, their best source for obtaining on-time payments. It helps lighten many of the biggest hassles that go along with operating a storage facility—namely delinquent payments, collection calls and lien sales. In addition, too, customers on auto-pay generally don’t think about paying that bill every month or scrutinize the dollar amount they’re paying too closely. Because it becomes just part of their monthly budget many will also stay an additional two months or more as noted earlier.  Adding a rental increase also becomes streamlined and more acceptable for tenants enrolled in an automatic-payment system.

Take advantage of the “no late-fee guarantee” program use your tool on the counter to help educate the customer if there is any hesitation. Tell the customer how convenient it is to enroll. Also, be sure to ease their fears about any risks of keeping the card on file by letting them know your software program meets Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) and compliance. Customers cards are stored on an encrypted level where managers can only see the last four of the card.

Ultimately, the service should reduce your collection calls and lien sales, as customers on auto-pay will always make their payments on time. Plus, it’s another great service and valuable convenience you can offer your tenants.

Auto Pay Program + Late Fee Schedule

These should be outlined on a single laminated sheet and displayed on the counter or positioned in a plexiglass 8×11 frame very visible on the counter for the customer to read.     Many self-storage operators fail to realize how valuable this is. Too often we forget to tell customers about our late fee schedule, or how they are guaranteed no late fees by enrolling in our simple, automatic, debit/credit-card payment plan.

How much of a collections issue would you have if most of your customers were on auto-pay? Quit asking new tenants if they want to sign up for it. Instead, make it part of the lease and sales presentation. For example, you can say, “Our customers love the convenience of our auto-pay program.  All I need is your ID and debit card to get started?” More auto-pay customers mean fewer past-due customers and more streamlined revenue for the facility.

Money in the bank following the Storage Authority Franchising system.


SA Auto Pay

Who Should Own Self Storage?

Who Should Own a Storage Authority Franchise?


who want a solid real estate investment for both income & retirement.

Business Owners & Professionals

who want to build a second reliable six figure Income.


who want a retirement they can count on and a generational business.


who want to have a business where they can work together.

Self Storage Owners

ready to take their business to the next profit level and crush the competition.


Why doesn’t everyone take advantage of the Storage Authority opportunity?

Because 99 percent are waiting for the “right time” to start a business.  They are waiting for the perfect business.  Don’t believe me?  Just tell your neighbor you are going to build a self storage and they will tell you how lucky you are and  “I was going to do that but………………..”

So that leaves us with the 1 percent who Declare “now is the time.”  They took the time to research self storage and understand self storage is  a solid business that can provide both a great income and a great retirement income.  And they are ready to work to make it happen for them.

Self Storage development is just hard enough to keep it very profitable.  Typically it takes $400,ooo liquid cash equity to get started.  And takes time and work to get it built and profitable.  Storage Authority Makes Self Storage Easy.

If you are a 1 percenter we would love to talk with you.

To Success!

Marc Goodin

Founder & CEO Storage Authority

860-830-6764 direct