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.  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 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.

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