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The Pros and Cons of Self-Storage Franchising: Is It the Right Path for You?

The Pros and Cons of Self-Storage Franchising: Is It the Right Path for You?

A great article on The Pros and Cons of Self-Storage Franchising recently posted on  Inside Self Storage  this site is the best resource for our self-storage industry if you haven’t already been receiving their monthly magazine be sure to sign up now, information enhances everything!  SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION:


Market conditions have made franchising a viable model for self-storage owners and investors. Explore the pros and cons to see if being a franchisee is the right choice for you.

Marc Goodin | Dec 17, 2019

For the direct link to the article click here or continue reading below.

An owner or investor looking to get into the self-storage business or expand his portfolio has a few options: build a project, buy an existing facility, or join an investment group that does one or the other. Now, there’s yet another choice on the table: franchising.

Franchising combines the expertise of a franchisor with the resources and entrepreneurial drive of a business owner to form a mutually beneficial relationship. The model provides an economic opportunity for each party based on talent, initiative, and dedication. Typically, a self-storage franchisee will own 100 percent of his business and run it under a licensing agreement. In this arrangement, you’re in business for yourself, not by yourself.

Franchising began more than 40 years ago with companies like Holiday Inn and McDonald’s, which enabled owners to build businesses quickly because they didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. It didn’t take long for many would-be owners to see that economy of scale, support systems, branding, training, and increased profit could all be obtained by owning a franchise.

By far, franchising is among the most successful business models used by entrepreneurs. Many people’s lives and fortunes have been changed for the better because of it. Today, there are nearly 1 million franchises in the U.S. This number grows every year, as more individuals seek business-ownership benefits that aren’t as easily obtained by starting their own ventures.

Franchising and Self-Storage

Franchising is a relatively new concept in self-storage. Twenty years ago, the need for industry franchises wasn’t as great because the competition was limited. Now, there’s a demand for ways to enter the field.

While self-storage is still one of the greatest businesses on the planet, it has many minefields and traps that must be avoided, on both the development and operational sides. A few simple mistakes can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. This has made franchising much more attractive.

Until recently, struggling owners had few places to get support. They could always sell, of course, or turn over their facilities to a third-party management company. Outside management is certainly an option for independent owners who are willing to accept a smaller share of profit and don’t wish to be involved in the day-to-day operation. Franchising, however, is a great alternative for those who want to actively run their business. Let’s look at the pros and cons of this alternative.

Franchise Pros

It’s easier to get financing. Lenders prefer to extend money to franchise operations vs. independents who have never previously built or owned self-storage. With a franchise, you even still qualify for loans under the Small Business Administration.

It provides essential infrastructure. An owner who partners with a successful franchisor has a higher likelihood of success than someone starting a business from scratch. In fact, there are many benefits to sharing strategies and solutions with a network of franchisees rather than stumbling down the path alone.

On the development side, a franchisor is an experienced partner that assists with the land search, design, construction, and lease-up. Not only can this save you from costly building mistakes, it typically reduces development time.

On the operations side, some owners simply aren’t equipped with the sales, marketing, customer service, and other necessary experience to make the business work. Many can’t keep up with ever-changing technology. A franchisor can provide operational systems to capture high market share at premium rates as well as a scalable platform capable of competing with and surpassing the competition.

It provides valuable mentorship. It’s difficult to beat the combination of a franchisor’s systems, platforms and knowledge and an owner’s excitement and commitment. The relationship offers the owner several layers of mentorship.

A good franchisor will provide written, step-by-step development and operational manuals, guidelines, checklists and, most important, regular communication and guidance to save you time and money. It should also help ensure your facility is equipped with the high-touch, high-tech feeling savvy renters require. Having an experienced franchisor on your team who’s designed, built, owned and managed multiple facilities can make a substantial difference. Imagine having experts, who’ve gained their experiences in the trenches, ready to personally help you succeed.

It offers a quicker rate of success. It’s natural to want to pit franchise fees against the value such an agreement provides. The bottom line is a franchisor should be able to help you earn profit you couldn’t make on your own as well as reduce risk, save time and make life more enjoyable. A franchisee with a high-end sales and marketing platform can typically set rental rates 10 percent higher than what most startups could command on their own. This should more than offset the cost fees.

Not only should you be able to charge higher rates with the help of a franchisor’s experience and guidance, but you should also be able to rent more units. It takes less than 20 extra units per year to pay a franchisor’s services a second time. Before you complete your first month of operation, you should be able to generate more than enough additional revenue to negate franchise costs, and it should only get better moving forward.

Franchise Cons

It requires a full buy-in. For your franchise to work, you must be willing to buy into someone else’s system—completely. If you believe only your way is the right way, then franchising isn’t for you. Ask yourself whether you feel the fees are well-justified and you’re willing to take guidance from others. If not, don’t become a franchisee.

You must actively participate. If you don’t want to have any part in managing a self-storage facility, then owning a franchise isn’t for you. Instead, hire a third-party management company.

It must be a good fit. Every franchisor has a business philosophy that may or may not match your own. While one model may be based on something very basic and inexpensive like a Motel 6, another may push for unparalleled service, sales and marketing like The Ritz-Carlton. It’s important to gauge whether you and a potential franchisor are a good match.

It takes commitment. Franchising isn’t for owners who plan to sell their facility upon obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy or shortly thereafter because franchises typically have a multi-year term. Make sure you’re aware of any early-exit policy.

When considering a self-storage franchise, consider what you envision for your operation. How much involvement and say-so do you wish to have? The best way to figure out the right path for you is to dig in and research. Franchising is a viable model in today’s market conditions. If you’re ready to take the plunge and have confirmed you’re a good fit for this model, get ready to be empowered for success!

Marc Goodin is president of Storage Authority LLC, a self-storage franchise, and the owner of three self-storage facilities that he personally designed, built and manages. He’s been helping others in the industry for more than 25 years. To reach him, call 860.830.6764, e-mail marc@storageauthority.com, visit www.storageauthorityfranchise.com. You can also purchase his books on facility development and marketing in the Inside Self-Storage Store.

Shark Tank vs Storage Authority

By Marc Goodin

Who doesn’t like to watch Shark Tank?  They are on their 10thseason so the intrigue and magic continues.  Every once in a while, we watch it with company, and I hear the same thing: We need to come up and idea for Shark Tank.  If only it was that easy.  Your odds of success and the lifestyle you want are much more obtainable with a Storage Authority Franchise than making a deal with the Sharks.

Most people do not realize how brutal it is to make a Shark Tank Presentation.  After spending years of your time and your hard-earned money on your business, you enter a room full of Sharks and typically have your hopes and dreams slammed to the ground.  When you enter the Tank, you have to be silent for 30 sections before you can even talk – pure intimidation staring down by the Sharks. And after your presentation, you are whisked you off to see a psychiatrist to make sure you can handle the Shark’s rejection.   No need to meet with a psychiatrist with Storage Authority.
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Many businesses start and fail long before they would have a shot at shot Shark Tank.  And then even if you are lucky enough to make it on Shark Tank and make a deal, in most cases you will never become a multimillionaire. So, the big difference between Shark Tank and Storage Authority is you can put tons and tons of effort and money into your business and a Shark Tank deal will still be a very long shot.  A Storage Authority Franchise can make you a multi-millionaire and you don’t have to hope for a deal.  It is much easier and more probable to become a self-storage millionaire than a Shark Tank millionaire.  And I know for a fact every year many more people become a millionaire from self storage than from Shark Tank deals.

At Shark Tank you have to find your own idea and learn your craft vs a Storage Authority Franchise where we have a proven business, financial model and provide the systems and experience to make it successful.

At Shark Tank you first have to get is an interview and then only 0.10 percent for the 100,000 people interviewed a year get on the show. Then most on-air deals don’t actually go through.  With Storage Authority there are a couple of qualifying factors to make sure you will be successful, and they are outline on our website and first call with you so can confirm you understand the requirements before you even apply or request more info.

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Did you ever notice how the Sharks want you to quit your job and work full time at the business if they are going to invest in your business?  With a Storage Authority Franchise, you can keep your job and make a great six-figure income from your manager driven self-storage business.  Who can afford to or wants to quit a good job to go work 24/7 for half pay or no pay to see if new “Shark Tank business” will work out?

At Storage Authority we don’t have producers who provide us with inside or personal information via secret earpieces to make the show more interesting.  We just want to get to know you and confirm we are a good fit.  It is important to confirm you are on board with our high-end Ritz marketing vs trying to be the Wal Mart (the lowest price) of self-storage.

Can you believe Kevin O’leary spends $1000a day on food and expects his employees to work on vacation?  The reason most people buy a Storage Authority Franchise is to retire early and work less not more. I don’t spend nearly as much money on food as Kevin does and would not want to be on the road 5 days a week for work like he is. But I do love helping others become successful in self-storage.  You can learn more about my self-storage story here.

Now if you are going to go on Shark Tank or in fact make any business pitch here are 10 things you should know:


Shark Tank certainly makes for good TV but is not a realistic plan to become rich or a good retirement plan. Now that we have established the odds of even getting on Shark Tank, never mind making a good deal, are slim to none,  it is time to stop dreaming of possible Shark Tank business deal and check out Storage Authority Franchise.

Booming 2019 Summer for Storage Authority Franchise Owners

Betty, our newest Storage Authority Franchise owner signed up yesterday and has already hit the ground running fast!    Step 1 build a team and find land.



Storage Authority Millstone NJ has started construction of phase 1. Phase 1 is 3 buildings consisting of 30,000 sf of climate and non climate control units.

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Storage Authority Mulberry FL 70,000 sf facility is open in and renting up swiftly!



Storage Authority Walters Road Houston opened Phase 1 the last week of March and is already looking forward to starting phase 2 later this year.

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Storage Authority Land of Lakes FL is slated to start construction this summer.


Check out more facility pictures at our Storage Authority Gallery: https://www.storageauthorityfranchise.com/gallery.php


If you would like to get a copy of the Steps to Awarding a Storage Authority Franchise, email Garrett at Garrett@StorageAuthority.com or give him a call at 941-928-1354

How to Develop Your First Self-Storage With Only $500K Cash Equity and Make an Extra Six-Figure Income.

By Marc Goodin

Land: You need 5 acres plus or minus of usable land excluding steep slopes, wetlands, easement areas, flood planes or other restrictions. It should be zoned for self-storage because zone changes or variances cost money and time and are often turned down. The purchase price of the land cost must be under $900,000 dollars.

Location: The property should be on a main street in town/city with typically 10,000 vehicles a day or more. The property should have easy access and great visibility. If it is too far off the beaten path for a grocery store it may not be the right spot for a self-storage. Remember around 70 to 8O% of self-storage rentals are by the ladies. If the location is not in an area the ladies would go to on their own day or night, it may not be a suitable location. Self-storage in industrial areas is a thing of the past.

Facility size: In order to make a good six-figure income and be large enough for the Reits and larger players to purchase for a good resale value it should be between 50,000 to 60,000 net rentable square feet. In order to keep the cost down to fit the $500K equity model, it will be single-story facility with a total cost of approximately 5.5 Million dollars built in 2 phases. Multi-story facilities cost more to build and typically can’t be built in phases.


Demand: There must be sufficient demand in the 3-mile radius and no other new or proposed facilities in the 3-mile radius. There could be a large needed demand in the area but if you have multiple facilities renting up at the same time, the rent-up period (and associated carrying costs) can double or even triple. Typically, in the US there is an average of almost 8 Sf of existing self-storage per person with the average capacity at 85 – 90% occupancy. So, until we do research and understand a specific area, we often use a total demand of existing and proposed self-storage of 8 sf of self-storage per person in the 3-mile radius as equilibrium for a quick demand review until we study the area and demand in more detail. Radius can be used to assist in determining the approximate existing self-storage square footage and area unit pricing.

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Further competition review and feasibility study: Not all self-storage is created equal. Many self-storages are ancient, poor shape, have no pavement, no security and are not open most of the time. Often these facilities will not be your competition. Your goal is not simple to be full but to be full at premium rates. So, it is important to visit your competitions to determine rates, occupancy the quality of the facility and management. If all your competition is charging $85 a month for a 10’ x 10’ unit this is not a good sign. Either there is too much competition, so rates are depressed or the owners simply do not raise their rates, either way, a bad sign for future development.

In Houston, the average existing sf or self-storage per person is over double the national average and in New York, the average is less than half the national average. And in both places, there are good and bad locations. Unless you have the years of expertise a feasibility study by a self-storage expert is highly recommended.

Loan: A typical bank loan will require 25 to 35 percent down and will not provide any working capital. A traditional loan would often require one to two million dollars or more cash equity. Many new developers are going with an SBA loan that only requires 10 to 15 percent down. With an SBA loan, the numbers can look like this: $5.5MM project with phase 1 being $3MM. Fifteen percent down is $450,000 leaving $50K, out of your $500,000 cash equity for phase 2 soft cost before the phase two loan. Often phase 2 will not require more than the $50,000 equity because there is equity in phase one to provide for the SBA 10 to 15% owners cash equity.

Team: While listed here last is the most important item and should be done before you make an offer on land as they will help you review the land, make the offer, complete your initial due diligence and then move on to the design and construction phase efficiently. Your team should include a land use attorney, banker, a land broker, civil engineer, architect, and a contractor.

Secret Sauce: There are thousands of questions to be answered in the development process. In addition to the team members above you will also need a self-storage mentor who has built and owns multiple self-storages. None of the previous experts listed are all around self-storage experts. If you do not have a mentor, it will be important you hire a self-storage expert to help answerer those thousands of questions and go around the land mines so planning, design and construction mistakes do not cripple you. Your mentor or expert must also be there to make sure you hit the ground running with a detailed operational plan and the execution of a premier marketing plan.

Smart Connected Facilities = High Touch, High Technology



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.


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 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 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


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.


Imagine what 2019 will bring!




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!




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