Building a self-storage facility is a big undertaking. Significant amounts of time and money are invested. You want to turn a profit, quickly. While there are never any guarantees, avoiding these pitfalls means your shopping center development is more likely to be successful.

Poor Site Selection

Successful self-storage centers need to be accessible. U-Hauls and other moving vehicles need to be able to get to your site without difficulty. Successful self-storage facilities are also like every other piece of real estate – location matters! Signs need to be visible and ideally, your new self-storage facility is being built on or near other moving and storage type businesses and services.

Two-Stories, Too Many Uses

It can be tempting to put a second story on your self-storage facility to use for offices. Typically this makes both the office renters and the self-storage renters nervous about sharing parking lots and the potential for damaged cars. If it’s necessary to add a second-story to your facility, consider having separate entrances and parking for the office spaces. Also, consider designing the front of the building to appear as if there is no second story.

Not Enough Parking

Depending on use, every facility will have different parking needs. In general, consider having spaces large enough for moving vehicles and a smaller number of car-sized spaces to accommodate staff and people signing up for a storage unit or who are only picking up/dropping off a few small items. Don’t forget to meet all local and federal requirements for handicapped parking spaces.


This is about more than accessibility. Self-storage facilities that are hard to navigate or don’t have enough space for loading/unloading with ease. With regard to parking, customers want to pull directly up to their storage unit if possible. Multi-level storage units must provide elevators that are easily accessed from the parking lot. During the planning stage, it’s important to keep this in mind as you layout the parking lot in relation to the self-storage units and building entrances.

Avoiding this pitfall will help ensure your self-storage facility is a success. For more pro-tips, contact us about your next self-storage facility development project.