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September 28, 2021
Sometimes it isn't easy to know what the right choice is when you don't have the experience to inform yourself. It's important to take each step carefully when you're in unfamiliar territory, and the best way to do that is to listen to the advice of experts and those that came before.
In this Spotlight, John C. Lindsey and Adam Armstrong explain a couple of the mistakes they often see new owners make—even including their own mistakes.
Question: "What are the major pitfalls for new owners?"
Check out the video clip below to hear their answers:
In this Gabfocus Session: New to the Industry: A beginner’s guide to self storage, we spoke with Adam Armstrong and Lindsey Self Storage's John Lindsey about the self storage landscape and what new operators should know to be successful as they get started.
Check out the full Session to dive deeper!
I think the biggest one that I come across more than anything is people underestimate what it takes financially to run these properties.
A lot of times, like I can cut this, I can cut that. I'll run it 20%. It's just not feasible. I have either looked at, quoted, or built thousands of properties. And it's just not possible to do that, especially when you get to sites under 40,000 square feet, to properly run your facility and make it competitive in the marketplace.
You're going to have to be in that 35 to 40% operational expense range, and that is inclusive of getting the right staff, marketing, the right website. I understand that being a business owner that you're saying I'm going to save $1,000 a month on this, but that thousand dollars a month may earn you $2,000 a month.
So go into it knowing you're probably going to spend a lot more than you ever thought in running that facility, because things do come up. And as simple as this industry is on its face, it's very complex in the underbelly."
"There's no shortcuts in life, and there's definitely no shortcuts in self storage as well. I mean, if you do, it's just going to cost you more on the back side of it.
Like I mentioned earlier, I did a lot of dumb things at the beginning when we bought our place. Looking back, I wish I would have graded the far right side of my property a little bit better. I wish I would have spent that extra few, whatever it was to do that, because now I'm going to have to take down the fence and I'm going to have to pull up the fence, and then we're going to have to put it back.
I mean, there's a real world example right there that it didn't become an issue until several months, too after we bought the facility. That was the real kicker. Got to really try to see 20 plays down the field, and that's hard to do."