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50 Finding land hacks for a head start.

Storage Authority® provides Our Franchise owner with detailed information and guidance to understand and implement the many ways to find superior properties faster. Many of the tips below are based on the goal of building a single-story facility large enough to make a lucrative 6 figure income.

1.     Start Looking for Land Today! Don’t delay your land search. Invest 2 hours daily, accumulating 14 hours weekly and 728 hours annually. Storage Authority® Franchise guides you from day one, with a Finding Land Professional, to expedite our owners’ progress and get off to a fast start.

2.     Set Up Auto Alerts on Listing Sites: Stay informed about new land listings by setting up automated alerts on platforms like and

3.     Contact 50 Commercial Properties on the Multiple Listing Service Immediately Actively call/text/email 50 commercial property listings in the next 30 days.  Often nothing comes of these initial calls as 90% of reasonable sites are found offline without a realtor.  But occasionally, a realtor will have an expired listing or pocket listing they will present to you.  Plus, you will quickly learn a lot about land.

4.     Learn About Self-Storage: Immerse yourself in self-storage education through books, conferences, and mentorship. Storage Authority® offers expertise across three platforms that will allow you to rapidly learn the business: 1) Finding Land & Development, 2) Operations, and 3) Sales & Marketing.

5.     Visit One Competing Facility Weekly: It is critical to visit nearby storage facilities to understand competition features, location, quality or lack of,  pricing, and operational standards. Always record the 10 x 10 non-climate and climate-control rental rates. And how long the rate is good to guide you with your future proforma. Always try to determine the facility occupancy.

This will help determine how you can be better and why you charge higher rents than your competition.  Storage Authority® provides inspection worksheets so you don’t have to go back a second and third time. Storage Authority® also provides franchise owners with site design standards and building design standards to ensure you end up with a premier facility.

6.     Utilize Tools for Project Financial Analysis: Employ development cost spreadsheets and profit-and-loss calculations to evaluate project feasibility and make informed financial decisions swiftly. StorageAuthority® provides franchise owners with both Pre and Post Design Calculators that allow you to run calculations multiple times with different factors such as land costs, construction costs, rental rates, interest rates, etc.. In a matter of minutes to allow you to contact the owner with speed and efficiency to make a suitable offer. (or reject the parcel if the numbers do not work.)

7.     Determine your available loan deposit cash and borrowing potential. Most lenders require 30% - 50% down payments. SBA loans may allow 10% down for less than $5MM loans and 15% for greater than $5MM loans. Consult 2-3 lenders early on to determine your best loan option.

a.    Deposit Examples to help you understand how bank loans work with your cash:                                

                                      i.     An SBA $5MM loan at 10% down will require you to have a minimum of $500,000 cash to invest.

                                    ii.     A good-sized single-story project say 80,000 + gross sf may cost around $9,000,000 to build, including the land, development costs and carrying cost to break even. This would require you to have a minimum of $1.4 MM cash to invest.  Often the project can be built in 2 phases to reduce phase 1 cash requirements. Storage Authority® provides many ways to reduce construction and increase income which both can reduce the required deposit.

                                   iii.     This same project at a traditional bank would require you to have a minimum of $3.5MM cash to invest.

8.     Calculate Your Land Requirements Build-out potential per acre is approximately 10,000 to 15,000 sf of gross building space if no significant regulations or zoning restrictions. Seek 6 usable acres to build 80,000+_ gross square feet = 64,000+_ net rentable square feet. You may need to phase your project based on your available cash.

9.     Develop a Sales and Marketing Plan: Prepare a comprehensive sales and marketing strategy to establish competitive pricing and maximize profitability. This will give you the confidence to be a price leader in your market area and use rental rates higher than the competition in your profit and loss calculations. StorageAuthority® offers a standard Sales and Marketing plan day one to franchise owners and personalizes that plan four months before opening their facility to maximize profits and facility potential. 

10.  Build Your Project Team: Engage with engineers, architects, contractors, and self-storage experts early on to minimize risks and streamline project development. Your engineer, architect, contractor, and self-storage expert need to be on board before writing up your first offer otherwise you will be taking unnecessary risks. Building your team will take significant time to find, meet, interview, check references, check projects etc. Storage Authority® provides an approved vendor list to save you time, and money, and help you avoid disasters.

11.  Research Zoning Regulations: Avoid fruitless searches by confirming self-storage permissible zones. Obtain a copy of zoning maps and regulations from local authorities to streamline your search. These are often available online. Start by obtaining maps for the city you live in, and several cities nearby then make a list of each street in each town that permits self-storage.

12.  Explore Viable Locations: Once you know zoning, focus on areas where self-storage is permitted. Drive the roads looking for land on and off market to prospect for your self-storage build. Use during your search to assess area topography, owner, and more. If no for sale sign, send all identified parcels a postcard immediately and follow up with a letter if not heard from within 3 weeks of the original postcard.

13.  Boost Word of Mouth: Leverage social and professional networks to broadcast your land requirements. Distribute business cards and maintain active communication with acquaintances and any local contacts, (businesses, city or govt agencies, realtors, etc.). Post on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Handout a minimum of 2 business cards a day and inform all friends and family of your land search so you can leverage their contacts.

14.  Prioritize Offline Searches: Offline methods often yield better land deals. Develop a concise plan and document contacts to track your progress effectively. Storage Authority® provides all owners with a comprehensive Off Market Land Search Guide to give a step-by-step guide on how to search for land and contact landowners.

15.  Review Self Storage Zoned Properties Offline: Compile a detailed list of properties meeting your criteria (zoning, location, size) to focus your offline search efforts effectively. The basic parameters for a new large-sized facility are: zone for self-storage, on a busy main road, 6 usable acres, not an area overdeveloped with self-storage, and a population greater than 15,000 people.

16.  Direct Outreach to Property Owners and Real Estate Agents and Brokers: Initiate contact with property owners, real estate agents, and land brokers via calls, texts, and emails to maximize response rates. Persistence is key to securing viable leads.

17.  Use Postcards for Visibility: Increase visibility and response rates by sending postcards instead of letters for offline offers when you cannot reach them by phone or text. Use local postcards with handwritten remarks to attract owner attention versus any form letter or printed postcards.

18.  Persist with Follow-Ups: One Contact is Never Enough. Follow up consistently with potential sellers using multiple communication channels. Aim for a minimum of four contact attempts before reassessment. Always send multiple postcards and letters.

19.  Prompt Response with Offers: Expedite negotiations by providing quick turnaround times for purchase offers, demonstrating seriousness and commitment. Let owners know you can have a purchase price within a week, this will entice owners to reach out to you more often.

20.  Prepare a basic Letter of Intent (LOI): Have it reviewed by your attorney so you can act swiftly when you find a land parcel.  It should be an option to purchase with enough time for due diligence,  project designs, obtain approvals, building permit, and a loan. (Unless you are willing to buy the loan with your own money.  Storage Authority provides franchise owners with an LOI and guidance for a specific property to make sure the critical items are provided for and substantially reduce risks.

21.  Master Skip-Tracing Techniques: Enhance contact rates by proficiently tracing and contacting potential land sellers through direct calls and texts. Direct calls and texts often yield better results in contacting owners.

22.  Regular Follow-Ups with Landowners: Maintain periodic contact with sellers, even after initial refusals, to capitalize on changing circumstances or priorities. Contact owners at least every six months to stay on their radar as a serious buyer.

23.  Utilize Available Resources: Broaden your search by exploring adjacent properties and contacting owners directly to gauge interest in potential sales. can allow you to quickly see and assess adjacent properties. Storage Authority® provides one on one guidance including an easy-to-follow video on how to best use Regrid to find property details and owners names.

24.  Engage Local Authorities for Insights: Consult town officials regularly for updates on available land or unlisted properties suitable for self-storage development. Every contact with a town/city official asks them if they know of any sites that would be a good fit for self-storage.

25.  Consider Adjacent Land Options: Before rejecting land parcels that are too small for your project. Assess neighboring properties for potential acquisition to expand project scope or consolidate fragmented land parcels. You can do this using or the county tax assessors’ maps to view vacant abutting land for possible purchase.

26.  Explore Subdivision Possibilities: Inquire about subdividing oversized properties to secure the specific acreage needed for your self-storage development. Let the owner know you need 6+ acres and ask if they would subdivide and what price they are looking to get on a subdivided parcel.

27.  Monitor Similar Properties: Pay attention to related listings provided on listing platforms to explore alternatives if initial prospects fall through. Example Sites:, (one of the best). Set up to be notified via email for any land up to 1 hour from your home to start with. Make it a point to call on 1-3 parcels daily.

28.  Advertise on Craigslist: Increase visibility by posting your land acquisition criteria on Craigslist, offering incentives for successful referrals leading to purchases. Reward or finder’s fee.

29.  Consider Existing Facility Expansion: Evaluate adjacent properties near existing facilities for expansion opportunities to increase net rentable square footage. Your goal with an existing facility would be to get the net rentable square footage to 60,000 + sf.

30.  Engage Local Clubs and Networks: Network actively within local businesses and community organizations to uncover potential leads and referrals for land opportunities. The more contacts you have the more chances of finding land you will have. Join clubs, chambers, Rotary etc. to be active in the organizations.

31.  Explore Conversion Opportunities: Evaluate potential conversions of existing structures into self-storage facilities to capitalize on existing infrastructure and zoning allowances. Often, a building of 30,000 to 50,000 sf with a large parking lot will work well.

32.  Increase Cash Investment for Options: Expand your budget flexibility by considering higher cash investments, broadening your scope for potential land acquisitions. Adding an extra $250-500,000 cash investment can significantly increase the number parcels available to you in your price range.

33.  Make More Discounted Offers: Even if a property is listed way above your price range submit a discount offer.  You never know what you may be able to negotiate.  Or you may get a callback months later with a selling price that works for you.

34.  Evaluate Environmental Risks: Prioritize environmental assessments to mitigate risks associated with wetlands or other protected areas on prospective properties.

35.  Use Market Demand Analysis Tools: These tools provide significant information about existing and pipeline facilities for a given market. Utilize market analysis tools to determine optimal pricing strategies, potentially increasing revenue streams and enhancing project viability. Examples: .  These sites also provide self-storage pipeline projects in your area.  You should call each one to see if they are interested in selling their land.

36.  Contact Developers of Pipeline Projects: Explore collaboration opportunities with developers involved in upcoming large projects. At times developers will have an additional allotment of unused land in a development that will work perfectly for self-storage. Contact the head of any development in your search area and inquire about additional vacant land not being used to see if there is an opportunity to purchase.

37.  Use Bird-Dog Cards to Find Leads: Offer incentives through bird-dog business cards to encourage referrals for viable land parcels.  Hand out your business card to everyone (yes the Amazon and UPS drivers too) and let them know they get a $1,000 referral fee if you buy land they refer to you.  On the back of your card write $1,000 Referral Fee, 6 Acres.

38.  Organize Search Tasks Efficiently: Develop structured daily and weekly action plans for land searches, ensuring systematic coverage and follow-through. Keep detailed records of each parcel search consistently reviewing old parcels for new viability.

39.  Involve Family Members in the Search: Leverage local connections by involving family and friends in nearby communities to expand your search radius and effectiveness. Give out additional cards and flyers to members of your family and friends to give out to business owners

and individuals they meet within your search area.

40.  Call The Storage Authority® Land Expert:  For making it this far we are giving you a free 20-minute phone call to ask Kevin any self-storage land questions.  Let Kevin know a couple of good times and your question(s) and he will call you.

41.  Use Google Maps Effectively: Optimize Google Maps for nighttime searches, using features like Street View to assess vacant land and potential development opportunities. Learn how to effectively drive the roads on Google Maps to identify potential bare land properties you might do more research on.  If you type in an address and then type in self-storage in the nearby tab you can see the existing self-storage which can provide you a host of free info.

42.  Explore Local Business Directories: Utilize local business directories to identify potential land sellers and contacts for direct outreach and negotiations.

43.  Monitor City Planning Meetings: Attend or monitor city planning meetings for insights into upcoming zoning changes or land developments that could impact your search. Network with code enforcement officers they at times are good sources who know of land opportunities in the city.

44.  Evaluate Tax Auctions: Explore opportunities through tax auctions for distressed properties or parcels, potentially securing deals below market value. Sign up for real estate auction sites that will send out notifications of new and upcoming auctions.

45.  Utilize Social Media Platforms: Leverage social media platforms to broadcast your land acquisition needs, reaching a broader audience and generating potential leads. Join local groups such as “for sale by owner” groups or local and state “land for sale groups” post on groups what you are looking for and network with group members.

46.  Attend Real Estate Investment Groups: Participate actively in real estate investment groups or forums to network with investors and stakeholders, gaining insights and referrals.

47.  Professional Land Surveyors and Civil Engineers: Network with their local offices to let them know you are looking for potential land to purchase.  They are in constant contact with landowners and may have a lead on an available parcel of land. And of course, you must collaborate with them to assess land suitability and potential development constraints, ensuring informed decision-making.  Our CEO Marc Goodin owned an engineering and surveying business, so he is a huge design resource for our franchise owners

48.   Collaborate with Local Land Banks: Partner with local land banks or redevelopment authorities that specialize in revitalizing underutilized properties, offering potential opportunities for self-storage development.

49.   Stay Organized, Stay Consistent, Be Accountable- Keep detailed organized records of contacts, land parcels, owners, and any other viable information you find in your land search. Keep consistent on your search, land search is a day-by-day effort that has its best success with consistent search. Stay Accountable, set goals for yourself, and stay accountable to those goals. Develop a plan for how many parcels you will research in a week. Set goals on how many cards you hand out, how many postcards and letters you send. Accountability to your goals and you will be the best proponent of keeping you on the path to finding land.

50.  Understand Your Market Rental Pricing: Identify profitable areas for development. At current construction and interest rates (Spring 2024), aim for your average facility rental rate of $1.60/sf+_ to ensure project viability with a loan (assuming you are getting a loan).  Again, use P & L spreadsheets and calculators to help you determine the minimum rents that need to be charged to meet your financial requirements

Does your competition offer steep teaser rates only to increase in 2 months? Are they off the main road?  Is there a facility rundown?  Do they lack management and sales experience?

How much more can you charge in each market area above the competition? You could charge 30% plus more than the competition with a first-class facility, a first-class manager training program, and a very high-end operations, sales, and marketing platform.

It is very tough to go it alone in self-storage and not hit a few devastating minefields.  You need a team that has leaned in the self-storage trenches in the last 30 years, so you don't have to spend years reinventing the wheel.

Storage Authority® is the only self-storage Franchise in the US and is ready to make your self-storage goals a reality.

 Check out the FAQs on our website:

If you want to learn more about the Storage Authority’s Secret Sauce contact Garrett. or call Garrett 941-928-2354





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