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Pros and Cons of Single-Story vs. Multi-Story Self-Storage Development

By Garrett Byrd

When embarking on the journey of self-storage facility development, one of the key decisions you'll face is whether to build a single-story or a vertical (multi-story) facility. Each option comes with its own set of advantages and challenges. Let's dive into the pros and cons of both approaches to help you make an informed decision tailored to your investment goals and market conditions.

Single-Story Self-Storage:


  1. Ease of Access: Single-story facilities provide convenient drive-up access to units. Customers can easily load and unload their belongings, making this layout especially appealing for those with larger or heavier items.

  2. Lower Construction Costs: Building a single-story facility generally requires less complex construction and foundation work, potentially reducing overall construction costs.

  3. Ample Parking: With more surface area available, single-story facilities can accommodate more parking spaces for customers, enhancing accessibility.

  4. Simplicity of Design: The design and layout of a single-story facility are often simpler, which can expedite the construction process.

  5. Ability to phase the project: You can design an 80,000 sq ft facility +/- and phase into it as you lease-up.


  1. Land Requirement: Single-story facilities occupy larger plots of land compared to vertical facilities, potentially limiting your options for site selection.

  2. Limited Space Efficiency: The horizontal layout of single-story facilities can limit the number of rentable units you can fit on a given parcel of land.

  3. Limited Urban Locations: Finding suitable land for a single-story facility in urban or densely populated areas can be challenging.

Vertical (Multi-Story) Self-Storage:


  1. Maximized Land Use: Vertical facilities utilize vertical space efficiently, allowing you to fit more rentable units on a smaller footprint of land.

  2. Urban Accessibility: Vertical facilities are better suited for urban and high-density areas where land is scarce. This can provide access to a larger customer base.

  3. Higher Rentable Area: With multiple floors, you can offer a larger number of rentable units, potentially increasing your revenue.

  4. Market Demand: In urban areas where space is at a premium, the demand for self-storage is often strong, making vertical facilities a strategic choice.


  1. Higher Construction Costs: Building vertically is typically more complex and can lead to higher construction costs due to the need for elevators, stairwells, and structural considerations.

  2. Customer Experience: Vertical facilities may require customers to use elevators or stairs, which can be less convenient than drive-up access.

  3. Limited Parking: The space available for parking at a vertical facility might be limited, which could impact customer convenience.

  4. Construction Time: Vertical facilities often require longer construction timelines due to their complexity.

  5. Decrease in Unit Pricing on higher floors. In self storage convenience is king, as customers ride the elevator up unit prices go down.

Making the Right Choice:

The decision between single-story and vertical self-storage development depends on various factors, including location, available land, market demand, budget, and your long-term investment strategy. With Storage Authority's guidance, we can provide valuable insights into which option aligns best with your goals.

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Both single-story and vertical facilities have their merits and drawbacks. By carefully evaluating the pros and cons in relation to your specific circumstances, you can make an informed choice that positions your self-storage venture for success.

Thinking about joining the Storage Authority family and embarking on your journey towards financial freedom and success.

Do you want to have a 15-minute call to learn how Storage Authority helps improve the systems, sales, marketing, and profits at your existing facility? If you are building from the ground up let's also review how we help you find land and get your facility designed, approved, and built. Please send me an email or call me – no appointment is needed: or 941-928-1354

If you would like to learn more and start your journey to self-storage ownership click the link here:

About Storage Authority Franchise: Storage Authority Franchise is a leading provider of comprehensive solutions for self-storage development and operations. With a focus on excellence and profitability, we empower franchise owners to achieve elite status in the industry as an alternative to 3rd party management. Our proven systems, expert guidance, and unrivaled support help self-storage facilities thrive and surpass all expectations.


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