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Written by Elma Steven | Updated on February, 2024


Find Out- Is Storage Business Profitable?

The profitability of your self storage business depends on 4 important factors: Industry Prospects, Investments, Revenue Sources, Cost and Profitability. We have taken a deep dive to find out potential profitability from the box truck business. 

Self Storage Industry Prospects

The global self-storage market is forecast to be worth over $64 billion by 2026, with the U.S. self-storage market alone valued at $29 billion in 2023 (Alan). The United States self-storage market size was estimated at USD 43.34 billion in 2023 (Mordor) and there were 49,233 self-storage facilities operating in the U.S. in 2021. The U.S. self-storage industry has grown to more than 1.6 billion square feet of space in 2023, with an estimated 2.04 billion square feet of storage space in operation in the U.S. The industry ownership is fragmented, with 36.6% of self-storage space owned by six public companies, 22.4% owned by the next top 94 operators and 41% owned by the rest of the industry (Sparefoot). Europe is another significant region in the self-storage market, with key players such as Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Russia. The Middle East and Africa, with countries like South Africa, UAE and Saudi Arabia, are also experiencing growth in the self-storage market (Source). 


  • Land Acquisition: The cost of purchasing land for your self-storage facility. This is typically one of the largest initial expenses.
  • Building Construction or Purchase: If you’re building new storage units, this will include construction costs. Alternatively, if you’re purchasing an existing facility, it will be the acquisition cost.
  • Renovation and Repairs: If you’re buying an existing facility, there might be costs involved in renovating or repairing the existing structures to meet your requirements or to ensure they are up to code.
  • Security Systems: Investment in security infrastructure such as surveillance cameras, gated access, lighting and alarm systems to ensure the safety and security of the storage units.
  • Climate Control Systems: For climate-controlled storage units, you will need to invest in HVAC systems to regulate temperature and humidity.
  • Computer Systems and Software: This includes the cost of computers, servers and specialized self-storage management software for operations like managing rentals, payments and facility maintenance.
  • Signage and Branding: Costs associated with signage, branding and marketing materials for the facility.
  • Utility Installation: If the site doesn’t already have them, you’ll need to invest in installing utilities like water, electricity, sewage and internet connectivity.
  • Office Equipment and Furniture: For the front office, expenses will include desks, chairs, computers and other office supplies.
  • Parking and Landscaping: Costs associated with developing parking areas for customers and landscaping to make the facility appealing.
  • Insurance: Initial premiums for property and liability insurance to protect your investment.
  • Legal and Professional Fees: Costs for legal services for real estate transactions, business formation and any other legal compliance.
  • Initial Inventory: This might include locks, packing supplies and other items you plan to sell or provide at your facility.
  • Vehicle Purchase: If your business model includes a moving truck or van for customer use or facility maintenance.


  • Storage Unit Rentals: The primary source of income will be from customers renting storage units. The rent can vary based on the size of the unit, its features (like climate control) and the facility’s location and amenities.
  • Climate-Controlled Units: Charging a premium for climate-controlled units is common, as they offer added protection for sensitive items against extreme temperatures and humidity.
  • Vehicle Storage: Offering spaces for storing vehicles, boats, RVs and motorcycles can attract a different customer segment and command higher rental rates.
  • Late Fees: Implementing late fees for overdue payments can generate additional revenue, though it’s important to ensure these fees are fair and clearly communicated.
  • Sale of Locks and Moving Supplies: Selling locks, boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap and other moving supplies provides convenience to your customers and an additional revenue stream for your business.
  • Rental Insurance: Offering or requiring renters to purchase insurance for their stored items can be a source of revenue, either through partnerships with insurance providers or by offering it directly.
  • Administrative Fees: Charging a one-time administrative or sign-up fee for new rentals is a common practice in the industry.
  • Truck Rentals: If you have a moving truck or van, renting it out to customers for moving their belongings can be an additional source of income.
  • Mailbox Rentals: For additional convenience, offering mailbox rentals can attract small business owners or individuals needing a separate mailing address.
  • Document Storage and Shredding Services: Catering to businesses by providing secure document storage and shredding services can open up a niche market.
  • Online Auctions of Abandoned Units: In the case of non-payment and abandonment, contents of units can be sold through auctions, though this is typically more about recouping losses than a major revenue stream.
  • Office Space Rental: If your facility includes office space, renting this space to small businesses or as a co-working space can be lucrative.
  • Advertising Space: Renting out space on your property for billboards or digital advertising can generate additional income, especially if your facility is in a high-traffic area.
  • Referral Programs: Implementing referral programs where you reward existing customers for bringing in new renters can lead to increased occupancy rates.

Each of these revenue streams requires careful consideration of your target market, local demand and competition. Balancing competitive pricing with quality service is key to maximizing your income potential in the self-storage business.

Cost of Services

  • Utility Usage Based on Occupancy: While utilities are a regular expense, the cost can vary depending on occupancy rates. For example, more occupied units might mean higher electricity usage for lighting and climate control.
  • Cleaning and Maintenance of Units: The costs for cleaning and maintaining storage units are directly tied to their usage. Each time a customer vacates a unit, it needs to be cleaned and prepared for the next renter.
  • Credit Card Processing Fees: These fees are incurred with each transaction when customers pay their rental fees via credit cards. The total cost is directly related to the number and size of transactions.
  • Supplies for Moving and Packing: If you sell moving supplies like boxes, tape and bubble wrap, the cost of these supplies is a variable expense. The more supplies you sell, the more you need to purchase to restock.
  • Wear and Tear Replacement: The more frequently units are used, the sooner they will require repairs or replacements of components like door hinges, locks, or lighting fixtures.
  • Commission for Referrals: If you have a referral program where you pay current customers for new client referrals, these costs will rise as more new customers are acquired.
  • Variable Part of Utility Contracts: If any of your utility contracts have variable components based on usage (like water or electricity), these costs will fluctuate with the level of business activity.
  • Extra Staffing During Peak Times: If you hire additional temporary staff during busy seasons or require extra hours from current staff, these labor costs will vary with your business volume.

Operating Expenses

Operating expenses (OpEx) in a self-storage business are the fixed costs that are not directly tied to the level of revenue generation. These costs remain relatively constant regardless of the number of units rented out. Here’s a breakdown of typical operating expenses for a self-storage facility:

  • Property Rent or Mortgage Payments: If you don’t own the property outright, monthly rent or mortgage payments are a significant fixed cost.
  • Property Taxes: Annual or semi-annual property taxes that must be paid regardless of the facility’s occupancy rate.
  • Insurance Premiums: Regular payments for property insurance, liability insurance and possibly other types of insurance like workers’ compensation or business interruption insurance.
  • Salaries and Wages: Fixed salaries for permanent staff, including facility managers, maintenance personnel and office staff. This also includes payroll taxes and benefits.
  • Routine Maintenance and Repair: Regular maintenance of the facility, including landscaping, pest control, cleaning of common areas and minor repairs.
  • Utilities: Basic utility costs such as water, sewer, electricity and gas. While part of these may vary with usage, a base level of utility cost is usually consistent.
  • Security Systems: Ongoing costs for maintaining security systems, such as surveillance cameras and gated access systems.
  • Administrative Costs: Expenses related to general administration, such as office supplies, telephone services and software subscriptions for management or accounting purposes.
  • Marketing and Advertising: Fixed marketing costs like website maintenance, online listings and basic advertising efforts to maintain visibility in the market.
  • Legal and Professional Fees: Regular expenses for legal and accounting services, including business licensing, compliance and tax preparation services.
  • Depreciation: While not a cash expense, depreciation of assets like buildings and equipment is an operating expense that affects the financial statements.
  • Loan Interest: If the business has loans, the interest payments on these loans are a regular operating expense.
  • Miscellaneous Expenses: Other fixed costs such as bank charges, memberships and subscriptions related to the operation of the business.

It’s important to effectively manage these operating expenses as they directly affect the bottom line of your business. Regular review and optimization of these costs can lead to improved financial performance.