ISS Top Operators List: 2010 vs 2023!

January 16, 2024

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10 min

ISS released its yearly top operators list for 2023, and we felt it would be a good time to compare it to a list from days long past.

We had a copy of the 2010 list hanging around, so we figured, “Why not start there?” It’s like traveling back to another era.

Ready to see how the top 100 operators have changed in the last thirteen years? What can we learn about the self storage industry based on the changes?

Time to dig in!

So, What IS This List?

Each year, Inside Self-Storage releases the list of the top 100 self storage operators.

The list is not a statement about the quality of the businesses, how they operate, or their potential or influence in the industry.

Instead, ISS ranks storage companies on the list by one simple metric: square footage.

You can find the top operators list by clicking here!

13 Years Later: Operators Who Remain

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Out of the whopping 100 self storage companies on the 2010 list, only 22 still remain on the list after thirteen years. An additional 5 from the 2010 list are included on the new top 50 management companies list, and so also retain their ISS top list glory.

Here are the operators that are still standing on the ISS top 100 list (or the top management companies list) thirteen years later:

  1. A-American Storage Management Co. Inc.
  2. Absolute Storage Management Inc.
  3. America West Management
  4. Dahn Corp.
  5. Devon Self Storage
  6. Extra Space Storage
  7. Jenkins Organization Inc., The
  8. Lock Up Self Storage, The
  9. Metro Storage LLC
  10. Morningstar Properties
  11. Pogoda Cos.
  12. Polo Properties LLC
  13. Public Storage Inc.
  14. Sentry Self Storage Management
  15. Simply Self Storage
  16. SKS Management LLC
  17. Stor-N-Lock Self Storage
  18. Storage Investment Management
  19. StorageMart
  20. StorPlace Self Storage
  21. Superior Storage
  22. Synergy Storage Group
  23. Tierra Corp.
  24. U-Haul International
  25. United Properties Group Inc.
  26. Universal Storage Group
  27. Westport Properties Inc./US Storage Centers

If you're good at quick math, you know that means a much larger portion of the list has changed up. Seventy-eight operators, to be exact.

As a quick disclaimer, ISS started a second list of the top facility management companies. In this post, we're just focusing on the changes to the main list. Some companies may have left the "top operators" list but still be present on the "top management companies" list.

Operators That Left (and Joined) the List

Whether because they’ve sold their facilities or just because they’ve been surpassed by competitors, 78 operators from the 2010 list are no longer in the top 100 as of the 2023 list.

Here are all 78 old and all 78 new self storage operators (in alphabetical order, not by rank):


Whew. That’s a lot of change!

As we mentioned, they also added an entirely new list of the top 50 facility management companies. Some of the companies from the 2010 top operators list are even on the 2023 facility management companies list.


At just 50 companies, that's a much more exclusive list. Good job!

10 Fun Facts From the ISS Top Operators Lists

Now, I know you could have just purchased and downloaded the list yourself.

You still might want to—it’s chock-full of potentially useful information about these operators that isn’t mentioned here in this post.

That being said, we poured over the lists ourselves and found some fun facts we wanted to highlight!

  1. 22 operators remained from 2010 to 2023.
  2. 28 operators on the 2023 list were founded in the last 10 years (compared to 14 on the 2010 list).
  3. Rank #50 in 2010 had 19 facilities—in 2023, rank #50 has 36.
  4. Public Storage stayed on top and added around 1,000 new facilities in those 13 years.
  5. The top 3 operators of 2023 have more square feet combined than the top 10 of 2010.
  6. In 2023, not a single operator on the list has under 10 facilities (compared to 17 in 2010).
  7. 25 of the top 100 operators make their home base in California—the most of any state by far.
  8. 4 of the 2010 operators that remained improved their ranks.
  9. Public Storage, Extra Space, and StorageMart maintained the exact same ranks.
  10. One company from outside the U.S. broke into the top 100! (Stownest Technologies Pvt. Ltd.)

ISS Top Operators List 2010 vs 20232

Here are those 4 operators that managed to stay on the list AND improve their ranks: Morningstar Properties (31->17), StorPlace Self Storage (77->69), Superior Storage (70->57), and US Storage Centers (33->19).

Congratulations, you all!

Observations & Takeaways

Want to take a more critical look at what all of those fun facts mean?

Here are three takeaways from the changes in the top 100 operators list.

Consolidation—The Big Get Bigger

This has been big news this year, and the list doesn’t even fully represent the fact that consolidation is kicking into high gear.

Let’s take a look at one of the fun facts from above: the top 3 operators of 2023 have more square footage than the top 10 of 2010.

That’s a big deal, but in reality, Extra Space Storage acquired Life Storage. If we consider this, then the truth is that the top 2 2023 operators—not top 3—are larger than the top 10 of 2010.

ISS Top Operators List 2010 vs 20234

In fact, the top two of Public Storage and Extra Space (plus their addition of Life Storage) are larger than the next 20 largest operators combined.

Let’s say that another way: It takes #3 through #23 from the 2023 top operators list to have more combined square footage than #1 and #2.

More Outside Money in the Self Storage Industry

Ok, let’s be fair: this isn’t an entirely scientific method.

But a quick read over the top 100 lists from 2010 and 2023 seems to reveal that there are more investment firms, more capital and holdings companies, on the 2023 list.

Combined with what we know about the splash that storage has been making in the greater world of real estate as a reliable asset class, it would seem to confirm that there is a lot more outside money that entered the industry in the last decade.

There’s a Lot of New Blood in Storage

Did you catch that stat from earlier? 

28 operators on the 2023 list were founded in the last 10 years

17 of those new operators were in the top 50. Compare this to 2010, where only 14 operators on the list were that young, and only 6 in the top 50.

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32 of the top 100 in 2023 didn’t even exist when the 2010 list was made!

This reflects the rest of the industry, too: A lot of new folks have entered the storage arena over the last decade.

That’s a Wrap!

There are only so many conclusions we can make based on a list of the top 100 operators.

That said, some of the numbers are pretty telling. The top operators of today really do have much larger portfolios than the top storage operators of 2010.

Of course, being in the top 100 isn’t everyone’s goal! You don’t need to strive for that kind of growth to still be successful.

What was your favorite fun fact when comparing the two lists?

Here are some of my other favorites to check out!

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