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Smart Connected Facilities = High Touch, High Technology



Smart Connected Facilities = High Touch, High Technology

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Here are three examples of what it means to have a smart connected facility which enhances the customer experience and reduces the facilites over all cost.

 

1.) Storage Authority Gate Entry Hands-Free Access

Storage Authority Franchise site with Smart Connected gate access capability. Opening the gate via hands-free geo-fence proximity partnered with and powered by Open Tech Alliance Insomniac Centralized Intelligent access(CIA). Re-inventing Access Control with the Industry’s First Smart Connected Self Storage Solution: INSOMNIAC Centralized Intelligent Access (CIA)

 

2.) Storage Authority Demonstrates Alexa Gate Control

With Storage Authority you have a smart connected facility which enhances the sites and customer’s overall experience.

The OpenTech AllianceTM IoE intelligent platform of smart connected self-storage solutions and Amazon Alexa allows Self-storage operators to execute commands and receive information about their facility simply by giving voice instructions.

Tying our software in with Alexa a few verbal examples you can use are…

  • “Alexa, ask Storage Genie to open ‘Front Gate’.”
  • “Alexa, ask Storage Genie how many visitors are here?”
  • “Alexa, ask Storage Genie who just entered?”

3.) Storage Authority Smart Connected Kiosk

Storage Authority Smart Connected Kiosk. Enhancing the customer’s experience, reducing the facility’s cost!  In the same way, ATMs made banking more convenient, the INSOMNIAC kiosks make self-storage renting more convenient. (And more profitable for those who offer that convenience).

 

Garrett Byrd is VP of Development at Storage Authority LLC. www.StorageAuthorityFranchise.com  .   He can be reached at Garrett@StorageAuthority.com or directly at 941-928-1354 to answerer your self-storage franchise, development, marketing, sales, and operational questions.  Storage Authority helps busy professionals make an additional six-figure income while keeping their current career.

How to Make a Million Dollars a Year in Self-Storage. By Marc Goodin

 

You could be president of one of the major self-storage Reits who makes over 9 million dollars a year. Or you could be one of the 9 guys who work for the same company who make over a million dollars a year.  Not likely to happen for you?  I understand. I don’t want to work for 20 to 30 years and hope I rise the top management either.

Do you think you could build a single self-storage?  If you could do that I am sure you could build one every two years if that was you your career.  People are doing just that and making profits and that is why you see self-storage being sold at the certificate of occupancy (CO)

That is really what this article is about. How profitable is it to build a self storage and sell upon completion?  Apparently very profitable.  I have heard experts say a newly build Class A facility at the certificate of occupancy (CO) is worth up to 40% more than the total invested.  If you build one of the mega 100,000+ square foot highrise’s it is clear it will put millions in your pocket if you sold it upon completion, even before you rented a single unit.

Let’s take a look at the numbers for a more reasonable project.  Let’s look at a single story 60,000 square foot $5,500,000 project. First, let’s see how this looks with some estimated development numbers:

Construction cost & soft costs – $65/sf       $3,900,000

Land cost:                                                     $1,100,000

Additional soft/caring cost                             $500,000

Total Development cost                               $5,500,000

At 40% profit, it would sell for $7,700,00O and leave a $2,200,000 profitless selling cost. Even if we are off by 50% that would leave a $1,000,000 payday.

I went on List Self Storage to see if I could find any facilities for sale at CO.  I immediate came across a 69,000-sf facility being sold at CO in Colorado Springs for $8,700,00.

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Using approximately the same unit cost from our example we would get:

Construction cost:  69,000 sf x $65/sf            $4,485,000

Land cost                                                               $1,500,000

Additional soft/caring cost                                 $500,000        

Total Development Cost                                $6,485,000

If they got their asking price that would be $8,700,000 – $6,485,00 = $2,215,000 profit.

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Wow! Now you can see there are a lot of variables and the only way to know the answer is to have the actual construction cost and selling price.  But my point is all about sharing why self-storage is a good investment and has one of the lowest failure risks, if not the lowest, for real estate investments. I can not promise these types of profits.  And I would be the first one to recommend a feasibility study early one by a third party expert to help you understand the cost and value of a specific project early on.  I am certainly not advocating you build self-storage and sell at CO.  In the end wealth is not how much money you make every year but how much you save. And owning self-storage naturally puts “money in the bank – retirement income” for when you do decide to sell and pays you well until that point.  And of course, typically pays well once it is rented.

I believe you will make millions more by holding on to your facility for the long run than selling at CO and that it is the best way to build a lifestyle. I would rather see you fill the facility up and make $200,000 profit every year and down the road have an asset that could be sold or refinanced for millions more in profits.  One of my goals is to help future self-storage owners become self-storage multi-millionaires so I can have few more fishing buddies around the US.

If you want to take a look at ways of increasing your profits check out: Make an Extra $3,000,000 by being prepared when you open!

To Success!

Marc

 

Marc Goodin is President of Storage Authority LLC. www.StorageAuthorityFranchise.com  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.  Storage Authority helps busy professionals make an additional six-figure income while keeping their current career.

Four things you need to become wealthy in America. Simple but not easy, until its done! By Marc Goodin

 

Wealthy in America: You can continue “your lifestyle” without working another day.  For most of the population that would convert into something like a good six-figure income and a multiple millions dollar net worth.  Does $250,000 a year plus income and $4 million net worth work for you? If so, please read on!

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It takes 4 things to become wealthy.  The hardest item is becoming an expert in the subject of your choice.  This is the hardest because it often takes 10 to 15 years.  And of course, most people never become an expert in their lifetime because who has the kind of time? Have you notice most people become overnight millionaires in their 50’s & 60’s.  Many professionals are very good at what they do and have 20 plus years’ experience but that does not necessarily make them an expert.  An expert is someone who you know can get the job done when the guy with 25 years of good experience is a risky choice.  You could become an expert in 5 years if you learned from other people experience and your sole focus was to become an expert.

The second thing you should plan on is owning your own business. If you are an expert working for someone else, they will be making the lion’s share of the profits.

The third item is you need to learn how to multiply your expertise.  If you are a great engineer or attorney charging $500 an hour, you will still be getting paid by the hour so when you stop working you stop getting paid.

The fourth and last item you and your team needs is solid business experience.  This includes development, operations, sales, and marketing.  If you’re the best people need to know it and understand how they are getting the best value from you.   There are so many people that think the best way to compete in the market place is to be the lowest price.  Competing on price is the absolute worst selling feature there is!  There is always someone who will have a lower price. Competing by having the best features is also a short-sighted option.  Great product or services are important, but others will soon copy your features. So once again it comes down to you being an expert at your chosen subject and having the business expertise to monetize your knowledge.  No one can duplicate you but you.

Notice I did not talk about hard work, perseverance, ambition or action.  You will have all these traits and more to become an expert and to own your own business.  Millionaires have been created over and over in just about any business-like engineering, hair stylist, mechanic, retail sales, self-storage, car sales……………to you name it, with these four items.

Let me tell you a few stories in my areas of expertise of Engineering & Self Storage to help you understand how the four items can evolve over time.

When I was 24 years old, Richard, the owner of a local civil engineering firm “Meehan & Associates” agreed to meet with me for a job interview. I had 4 years of good experience and was a project designer at a 50-person firm.  I was looking to be a part of a smaller firm where I could also learn the business side of engineering.   He suggested I come back in 10 years when I have more experience. I think I scared him right off the bat when I told him I wanted to be his partner in the next couple of years. Experts must think big before they are experts.

I did get a job at a small engineering firm (10 people) and got the experience and actually became an expert developers engineer.  About 11 years after my first interview with Richard Meehan he gave me a call and asked if I was still interested in being a partner. He accepted a minimal purchase price for 50 percent of the company because he understood we would be the one who got the call when only the best experts would do and be extremely well paid.    I am sure you called Rich he would tell you it was one of the best decisions he ever made.

It was rough going with the staff for a while.  They could not believe that Richard and I would be billed at $200 an hour when a professional engineer was being billed at $95/hr. at that time.  And then they went crazy when we increased the staff Professional Engineer’s billable rate to $125.  They thought we would never get another job.  But just the opposite happened.  We got so many jobs we traded our c and d customers for happier A & B customers. We went from $800K yearly income to $2.5Million income in one year by being experts in all aspects of development.  And the whole staff and our customers were happier in the end because we always gave our customers much more than they expected and they knew they had the best chances of success on their projects with us.

So, in some respects, I duplicated myself by having engineers on my staff do a lot of the basics

Of course, we were smart enough not to take jobs on an hourly basis.  We would figure the job based upon our expected hours and my hourly rates. And then we added 20%, as we knew from experience every project has unknown special needs that can’t be determined day one.  When these special needs (or extras) came up our clients were amazed we did not charge extra.

To be an expert you cannot think like everyone else.  You get to do things the right way and charge for it.  Here are three examples of “expertise” from my civil engineering days.

We had a housing developer who came to us with 100 acres with a beat up 1800’s historic house on the property.  By the time he came to us the town and neighbors were already up in arms, believing he would develop one of his massive new subdivision on the historical property.  He wanted to live there.  But to meet his requirements he needed to move his horse farm there.  That required a creating a large pond, horse fields, and riding trails.  While this would normally not be a be big deal it turned out much of the site was regulated wetlands.  And the last thing the concerned citizens were going to allow is filling of the wetlands so that someday the property could become house lots.

After sitting with the developer for an hour to listen to his goals, I said we have a good shot of approval, but it will take more than just good engineering to get this approved. I gave him a fee of $10,000 to design the pond, horse trails and fields and an additional fee of $20,000 to convince the neighbors and commission of your goals and integrity.  He needed to have both services for any chance of approvals. In the end, he was shocked but knew we were right as he had already gotten nothing but bad news from others.

The application and presentations included lengthy full color “mini-books” on the history of the property, the proposed historical renovation to the home and barn, the owner’s love of horses and their prize-winning stable of horses.  In the end, it was a win-win for everyone.  But if not for being an expert on both design and marketing and integrity, the proposed pond in the wetlands would have been denied and the historical site would have been one more subdivision.  Today when you drive by the site you are in awe of one of the most beautiful majestic views that were created with the attention to details, we promised the town.

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Regularly I had developers come to my office with projects that appeared impossible because they did not meet the local zoning regulations.  Sometimes the Town staff even directed them to me because they knew I looked deeper than the written word.  For about 8 out of 10, I would let the developers know the chances were basically zero because they did not meet the regulations or the internet of the regulations and there was no reason for the town to change or bend the regulations for them.  For around 20 percent I would tell them there may be a 50 percent chance of getting approvals, even know they did not meet the written words of the regulations. Since we could show how they met the spirit of the regulations and since we could offer a better fit for the site than other uses that met the regulations there may be an opportunity to work with the Town.  When I told them, it would take about 10 hours of my time and cost them $10,000 some would question the seeming $1,000 an hour rate.  But they were paying for my expertise, insights, integrity, and knowledge that took 2O years to obtain.  I simply reminded then that for the risk of our small fee, they could turn a $500,000 property into a Million Dollar property.  And 10K is a bargain for that opportunity.  Of course, I was prepared to provide examples and references, so they further understand the value they were getting.

On the self-storage front, I had a family friend meet with the town staff and inquire about putting self-storage on his 20-acre property.  They told him flat out that the property was in a residential neighborhood and self storage is not permitted in residential zones.  Disappointed he called me.  I knew the local property and regulations and suggested we meet.  Over coffee, I explained he had one long shot to get approval. The regulations had a single sentence that said in any district a non-conforming use may be replaced with a less non-conforming use.  The plans would still require review by the staff and approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission of which both were anti-development.

The site was a gravel pit many years ago that was left in the raw.  I explained If we simple left it up to the staff or Town Commissions the self storage proposal would not meet the lessor non-conforming use regulation. But if he could get each and every one of the 18 neighbors to agree to write a letter in favor of the project or sign a petition in favor of the self storage and then have them come in speak in favor of the project at the public hearing, he would have the self-storage gods on his side.  I explained what to say to the neighbors; no more dirt bikes and kids hanging out at night, no 20-acre subdivision that would create more traffic and use up tax dollars, etc.  I suspected that would be the end of it.

But to my surprise, Jamie came back to see me in two weeks with a petition in favor of the project signed by all the neighbors. (He did know many of them as he had been delivering their oil for many years) At this point, Jamie still had concerns about risking the design costs and getting approval, as the staff and commission chair had told him they were not going to approve self-storage anywhere in Town but in the Industrial Zone.  He asked If I had enough faith in the property to be his partner and I agreed as long as he would get several neighbors to come to the meeting.  We had to insist the project be put on the agenda for the whole commission to decide if our premise of a lessor non-conforming use was valid.  The gravel pit had been abandoned for years so it was easy to get denied if the board that was the right thing to do.

Obviously, the plans were designed to a T and the presentation hit all the hot issues, lots of tax dollars, quiet, no school kids, no traffic, great design feature etc. But what clinched it was the residences response when at the end of our presentation when the commission Chairperson asked, “Is there anyone in the audience who wants to talk in favor or against this project” One lady quickly stood up and spoke for 15 minutes in favor of the project. She said it’s about time someone fixed the problems of this site as the Town has done nothing to police this dangerous kid’s hangout and ongoing noise and headache for the neighbors.  My favorite line was when she said my daughter got pregnant back there.  And right after her speech, 18 more people got up and said “I am in favor of the project and ditto to everything the first speaker said.  We got the project approved and Jamie and I are still partners today.

It took an exceptional design and other expertise to get approvals and build this property but it was well worth it as it made each of Millionaires. And to this day we are still the only self-storage in town.

Enough stories.  I know many of you reading this, are thinking you simply do not have the years to become an expert.  And secondly, you’re not even sure what subject you would like to become an expert where you could duplicate yourself.  While there are many possibilities there is one exceptional business opportunity, I can help you with.  Self Storage!

I am a self-storage expert and developed Storage Authority Franchising to help others become multi-millionaires in the self-storage business.  You can google me, read my best-selling self-storage books, visit my LinkedIn page, read my Inside Self-storage magazine articles, talk to past clients or Storage Authority Franchisees, visit our website www.StorageAuthorityFranchise.com or visit with me for a cup of coffee and you will have no doubt that with Storage Authority on your team you can become a self-storage expert in record time with our systems in place day one for you.

You will learn we can transfer you many years of knowledge, proven systems, platforms expertise, saving you years of time and tons of money it would cost for you to become an expert. The Storage Authority goal for each franchise is simple.  For each one to make a good six-figure income from their self-storage ownership.  And develop a multimillion-dollar nest egg.  And to do it in 5 years after you say go!

I am not saying developing this income will be easy or even close to being guaranteed.  In fact, this kind of financial security does not come easy or everyone would have it, instead of just the 1 percenters out there. But where else can $500K+- cash equity and a bank loan for the project balance provide such wealth.

I understand there is a bit of self-boasting in this article but that is what it takes to get the word out sometimes, and exactly what your manager will be doing day in and day out for your beautiful premium Storage Authority Facility.

To Success!

Marc

 

 

Marc Goodin is President of Storage Authority LLC. www.StorageAuthorityFranchise.com  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.

 

Speaking At ISS Conference

The April 1-4 Inside Self Storage Expo in Las Vegas is a great place to learn everything self storage! And you get an opportunity to talk directly to the vendors and learn face to face about their products and services.

I would love to meet you there.  Shoot me an email and we can make plans. marc@storageauthority.com

MG ISS

I will be moderating the educational session on Using Data-Driven Technology to make self Storage Investing Decisions.  If you are looking to build a self storage in 2019 you will not want to miss this session.

One of the recent improvement and availability of Data that is had major leaps in the past 2 years is information on the competition.  Everything from their location, size, and pricing is available.  It is important to understand how accurate the data is and other limitations fo the data when using this data.

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The mini feasibility study can now be done in hours vs days due to this new data-driven technology.  Here is a link to an article I recently wrote for the ISS magazine.

https://www.insideselfstorage.com/site-selection/how-perform-mini-demand-study-potential-self-storage-site

Imagine what 2019 will bring!

Cheers

Marc

 

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  

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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!

 

 

 

Chapter 11 Self Storage Construction

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Twenty-six items you want to remember during the Construction process to save you time and money.

 

  1. Research and completely specify as many items as possible. Construction allowances/change orders and extras always seem to cost a lot more than if they were in the original specifications and contracts. Even simple things like who pays for the temporary power, dumpster and temporary bathroom facility make a difference.
  1. You will need both construction and specialized self-storage insurance. For construction, you will need Builders Risk and general liability insurance.

In addition to the standard Property and Business Liability coverage, you may need insurance for Blanket Building and Contents, Customers’ Goods Legal Liability, Sale and Disposal, Legal Liability, Extended Business Income and other insurances post construction.

Once your site plans are approved you should contact an agent who specializes in Self Storage Insurance.  There are several things you need to consider in order to determine your self-storage insurance limits.

  1. It is recommended that construction contracts include a provision to hold back 10% of each payment until the work has been completed, including the final punch list items and the Town has completed its review and issued a final Certificate of Occupancy. Check with your bank to see what their required hold back is and make sure it is included in your bid package. Find out how often the bank will provide draws and how long after an inspection is request until the money is available.  Your contractors need to be aware and accept the payment schedules of your bank.
  1. Often you bid the job on preliminary plans. Prior to signing the final contracts make sure all parties confirm they have reviewed the latest plans and their bids are based upon these plans. This is especially important for the building erectors.  They will provide a price based upon similar buildings they have erected in the past.  But every manufacturer has different systems and components and construction times can vary.  Your building manufacturer should be able to email you a set of final plans for you to forward to your erector.  When construction starts check again to confirm everyone has the final set of plans.  You would be amazed how many times construction gets screwed up because outdated plans are used.  A list of all the current plans and last revision dates should be issued to all contractors when construction starts.
  1. There will be problems and questions. Make sure the contractor provides you a contact person both in the field and the office, including cell numbers.
  1. The contract should be clear that all change orders require signed approval by the Owner. Do not violate this requirement. This will not always eliminate change orders but will permit for you to confirm the cost and possible negotiate the costs or find other options.
  1. Your design team should determine what independent testing (typically paid directly by you) that is going to require, such as compaction test for the building base, driveway base and concrete strength testing. The contract should require your contractor to coordinate these tests and redo any work not meeting the specifications.
  1. If you are the general contractor expect discrepancy between where one contractor leaves off and the next starts and the condition of the work by the previous contractor. For example, if the grading for the floating slab is off by 1 inch it can easily be an extra couple of thousands of dollars or more in concrete.  For this example, it would be important to know how many cubic yards of concrete is included in the concrete contractor’s price and his contract should say he has to review and accept the foundation grading and excavation prior to placing any concrete forms.  Of course, if there is a discrepancy, the problem becomes scheduling and delays when the concrete contractor notifies you the site work is not right and either you have to pay extra or have the site contractor fix his work.  So whenever possible, check completed work in detail as soon as possible yourself or hire the appropriate engineer or surveyor to check for you.
  1. All contracts should make it clear who pays for the building permit, who is responsible for inspections, as built, and any documents or inspections the Town (or bank) may need to the issue the occupancy permit. If at all possible, it is recommended the contractor be required to hire a licensed surveyor to stake out the buildings and set proper grades. If you hire the surveyors you often have to pay for several stakeouts, as the contractor will inevitably knock out the stakeout survey stakes.  Also, if you hire the surveyor you will be responsible if there are any discrepancies or errors.
  1. Don’t forget to make sure the contracts include bringing the various required underground utility conduits and utilities for phase 2.
  1. It is a good practice to visit the construction site every day during construction. There are always plan interpretations and changes or corrections to be made. Scheduling constantly needs to be reviewed.  Often, what you told the foreman today is not relayed to the new foreman the next day.
  1. Makes sure the limits of construction are properly staked in the field prior to the start of construction. Any trees in the limits of construction or near construction you want saved should be barricaded with fencing or hay bales prior to the start of construction otherwise they are very likely to be eliminated during construction.
  1. Make sure the erosion control silt fence is securely in place prior to the start of construction. One rainstorm can make a mess if the silt fence is not properly installed.
  1. Check to confirm they are compacting the fill in 8” layers per the contract. Contractors like to save time by filling and compact a couple of feet at a time.
  1. Check that the rebar and wire mesh is installed for all the concrete per the plans. Hint: neither should be on the ground.
  1. For a single-story metal building there is typically a 1.5” lip in the concrete foundation edge to make sure no water gets in the building. This is done with the use of a 2 x 10. If the concrete under the 2 x 10 is not vibrated extremely well, and even then, sometimes, there will be air pockets under the 2 x 10 that create surface voids the size of a silver dollar and larger when the boards are removed. Let the contractor know in advance about this concern.  Insist they take off the 2 x 10’s while the finish crew is still there.  If there is a problem, it needs to be fixed while the concrete is “wet”.  If they wait until the next day to fill in the voids, it is extremely likely after a winter or two all the filled-in patches will pop out and require expensive ongoing maintenance.
  1. It is critical that the entrance gate opening and the entrance and exit keypads be staked in the field, so you can try them with your car prior to their installation. What looks good on paper often is a difficult maneuver for a car in the field and can be corrected with ease if done prior to construction.
  1. Make sure the office windows and doors sizes and locations are coordinated long before the contractors show up. Often, approximate locations and sizes are provided until a window manufacturer is chosen.
  1. Make sure the concrete is sealed the day after the concrete is poured. This will not only help the concrete cure but also just as important, keep the concrete dust down for your renters.
  1. The concrete saw cuts should be done as soon as possible after the concrete is poured, typically no later than the next day. This helps reduce the number of visual cracks.
  1. After the office concrete floor is in, draw the office floor plan, including interior walls, desk and cabinets on the concrete floor with a maker. It is easy to make a change now.
  2. Make sure your communication wires and electric wires to the gate controller are in separate conduits.
  1. Layout your perimeter fence for review before the fence installers come. There are typically conflicts and options. You will want to take time to review.
  1. Often one of the biggest problems is construction scheduling. Review the schedule in detail with all contractors, including the building manufacturer. The scheduling should be reviewed when the request for bids are submitted, again when the contracts are signed and again when construction starts.  Delays due to scheduling are one of the most stressful parts of construction.  Add some buffer time to your schedule.
  1. Your bid document should require all contactors and sub-contractors to provide proof of insurance. The bid documents should further require all contractors and sub-contractor to wear hard hats and meet all local and OSHA job site safety requirements.
  1. Often the building manufactures will require large deposits and final payment on or prior to the delivery of the buildings. These fees should be reviewed with both your contractor and your bank to insure there will not be a cash flow problem. Sometimes the size of the deposit can be negotiated but full payment upon building delivery or prior to delivery is typically required.
  1. If you build your own buildings or if you hire local guys who are building self storage buildings for the first time remember temporary bracing is required and not shown on the construction plans. Temporary bracing is required in all directions until the final construction of the entire frame. You can see some of the bracing in the photos below.

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That’s me in Caraquet, New Brunswick, Canada, and my first international project!  When you start construction, your marketing must be full speed ahead.

 

Have development questions?  We are ready to help.  Marc 860-830-6764

 

 

Chapter 10 Site Plan Regulatory Approval

Seven items you DO NOT want to forget to bring to your Wetlands Commission meetings for a faster approval.

1. A colored rendering is a Must. While many items like the building design or looks are not supposed to be a part of the wetlands commission purview, but a pretty picture goes a long way.

2. Pictorial information about your facility. Pictures of cameras, TV monitors, fencing, access gate, lighting, signage, office, mounted on a single board tells a great story about your security.

3. Know your facilities policy on prohibition of storage of hazardous materials. Provide a copy of your lease provision prohibiting hazardous materials. Provide a copy of the sign to be posted in your office prohibiting hazardous materials. Give an explanation that includes how you know your customers, i.e. a copy of every renter’s driver license, home & work phone numbers, email address, a second contact person etc. An explanation in detail how the staff is required to walk and inspect the site several times a day can help give the commission confidence there will not be a problem at the facility.

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4. If you are going to rent units for car storage (which is worth fighting for!) be prepared to explain the steps you will take to insure gasoline will not leak and cause a problem. If you can’t figure this one out email me and I will point you in the right direction. (Hint: look up the requirements for cars in public buildings like a car show in your civic center and include the 2 or 3 safety items in your lease.) Also, you should only rent for cars that are registered and insured, i.e. no problem cars.

5. While you (and your engineer) always had to be prepared to explain the storm drainage design and storm drainage detention design, now it is common to provide detailed (and expensive) storm water quality best management practices. Make sure you personally understand these site features and the required maintenance, so the commission has confidence that they not only will be built but you, as the owner, personally understand the importance of maintaining them.

6. Make sure that you and your engineer have walked the wetlands, even though your soil scientist is coming to the meeting. Your knowledge of the property could help turn the deciding vote your way.

7. Early on in the design process you should have confirmed there are no endangered species on the site. Often the Department of Environmental Protection can provide areas of know or reported endangered species. Be prepared to confirm there are no endangered or threatened species or be prepared to discuss the impact to endangered or threatened species if they exist.

Ten items you don’t want to forget to bring to your Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, which can make a difference.

1. All the items you brought to the wetlands meeting.

2. Bring all the professionals (you can afford), design engineer, landscape designer, traffic engineer, architect and attorney if customary in your town. But a single presenter can do the majority, if not the entire presentation.

3. Office hours and gate hours.

4. Samples of the building materials, including colors.

5. Light photo metrics to show the light does not impact neighbors. A manufacturer’s detail sheet for full cutoff lights is helpful. LED lights cost more to install but will pay for themselves in a short time and save you money for many years. Let them know you are a green builder and will be using energy efficient LED lighting.

6. A copy of a standard lease. You can get one from your state’s self-storage association.

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7. Knowledge of your marketing study to confirm the need for self-storage in the area. Again, this should not be part of the commission decision process, but I have had the questioned asked several times. Let them know it’s a benefit to the area as most of your customers will be the people located within 5 miles or less from your property.

8. The owner should attend all meetings and be prepared to let the commission know they are an expert on self-storage and are excited about being a part of the community. Be prepared to make concessions the night of the meeting if necessary to get an approval.

9. Be prepared to rebuff the many myths about self-storage such as; noise; drugs; low value; no taxes; people living in units; used mostly by people from out of town; ugly; self-storage does not mix with residential uses; high traffic, etc.

10. Be prepared to present a traffic study. Traffic is often a concern if there is any opposition. If the Town did not require one as part of your application, I would at least have a simple on page summary for the estimated daily and peak hour traffic generation. This can be very beneficial to show that self-storage is one of the lowest traffic generators and has less traffic than typical retail, office, businesses and even a residential subdivision.

Self-storage is a local business. The majority of your renters will be people from town. Early in the design phase you will have to determine the percentage of climate control units for your site. Often the outside of the Climate Control building will have non-climate control units with doors directly to the driveway.

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/

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

Memo:

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

 

https://engineeredtaxservices.com/
                ENGINEERED TAX SERVICES

Interview with Storage Authority Franchise 0wner, March 2018

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Marc Goodin, President of Storage Authority LLC, 

Ed, you must be excited to have started construction on your self-storage facility?

Ed: Absolutely. We have put substantial time and research into this project and the team is excited to open Storage Authority Houston-Walters Rd.

Marc: First I want to congratulate you and your wife Jenny.  It was not that long ago we met as strangers in a Houston hotel lobby and you shared your goals with GP & I.  Now we are friends and you are well on your way to making your self-storage dreams come true.

Can you provide us a short background on yourself?

Ed: I do remember that meeting with you and GP and it has been a pleasure working with you all on this project. I have been in the transportation industry working in an executive role for many years and I have also been involved in a few technology startups, but I always have had a passion for real estate.

Marc:  I know you are all ready to starting your marketing for your grand Opening.  What is your projected construction time?

Ed: Approximately 6 months

Marc: How helpful was the Storage Authority preferred Houston Area real estate broker Richard Anderson?

Ed: Richard was both a resource and an advisor through the entire process. He has an extensive commercial real estate and development background, so his experience was invaluable.

Marc: How many acres did you buy? And How many square feet of self-storage did you get approved?

Ed: We bought four acres of land and will be building a 60,000 sq ft facility in two phases.

Marc: You and I did some conceptual early on and then once your offer was accepted we worked together with your architect & engineer to come up with the final layout for both the buildings and the individual units.  It’s a tradition civil engineers (like myself) get a little tough on Architects but other that did you feel the Storage authority process helped you understand the options and choose the right layout for you?

Ed: Yes indeed. You were involved in all reviews of the design process and we made many updates to the plans that gave us a much better final layout that I am confident is positioning us for a strong opening.

Marc: You actually had a very smooth design and approval process but what surprised you the most about the design or approval process?

Ed: Although the internal side of the design/approval was manageable, like any real estate deal I believe staying creative and alert to the details of the transaction is critical. We encountered several hurdles finalizing the deal that brought us to the close.

Marc: What advice would you offer a new franchise owner starting the design process?

Ed: Tap into Storage Authority’s experience and knowledge, while being sure to be mindful of local storage development trends. Bounce ideas off of Marc and collaborate to develop the best solution.

Marc: Obviously getting a loan is one of the very important steps of self-storage development.  How does it feel to have your first multimillion-dollar loan?

Ed: Exciting and challenging. I believe the due diligence that we performed, feasibility studies and local research were all keys to forming a solid working partnership with my lender.

Marc: Many people don’t realize there is a lot of work between the site plan design and having the final construction bid & permits the bank requires.  Sometimes inexperienced developers wait until after final site plan approval to start, the building design by the Architect and getting complete bids.  You had your Architect and Contractor on board during the site design process.  Do you agree this was critical for your project?

Ed: It was essential. I believe the site design process is essential to understanding the full scope of a deal’s feasibility. 

Marc:  What did you find the most challenging so far and why.

Ed: Keeping a detailed checklist, timeline and prioritizing all of the items was a challenge as we neared the final stages of the project. Large companies have teams that manage this process, and, in our case, it was me and the Storage Authority team.

Marc: Did Storage Authority meet your expectations? And what can Storage Authority do better to assist the next Storage Authority Owner?

Ed: Storage Authority exceeded my expectations. As for what can be improved, you all are already doing it. From enhancing your web platform to providing new operating guidelines your team is innovating to help me the other Owners be successful. 

Marc:  Thanks for share your experience and thoughts. One last question for now.  Are you excited to start your self-storage marketing and renting up your facility?

Ed: Marc, we are ready to get this one leased up, so we can get back to work with you and the team on our next project.

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