Self Storage – Overview and History

The advantages of self storage unitss do not seem to be lost on the American public. Self storage is a multi-billion dollar business with more than 30,000 companies in the United States owning almost 60,000 facilities. It is estimated that the United States contains more than 75% of the world’s self storage facilities. It is believed that there is almost 2.5 billion square feet of self storage space used in America with more on the way. In comparison, the United Kingdom and Australia barely have more than 40 million square feet of self storage space utilized between them.

Modern storage lockers did not appear in the United States until the 1960s. By 1972, Public Storage, one of the biggest self storage companies in the country, built their first major centre which was located in Ej Cajon, California. The explosion in popularity of self storage units has only really become apparent within the last 20 years. Despite the extraordinary number of facilities being opened, demand still outstripped supply and this is the case even today. The biggest challenge for new facilities is finding a location that does not already have numerous competitors. Currently, the 5 largest self storage companies in America comprise 9% of the total number of facilities.

Other Information
The typical size of one of these storage units is 10 feet wide x 5 feet deep. Other sizes include 10×10, 10×20 and 20×20 units. 20×20 unites are about the size of a garage that can fit two cars. To enter these units, you are generally required to go through via a rolled up metal door which has a lock at the bottom. Larger self storage facilities have sophisticated security equipment including security cameras and keypads which need a code or card to gain access. The majority of companies hire security guards to protect the goods from theft and other threats such as fire and flooding.

Facilities located in the suburbs or rural areas generally do not have climate control. This is significant because heat and humidity are among the biggest threats to goods placed in these storage lockers. Urban facilities normally have climate control because their units are generally contained indoors.

Legal Matters
Those using storage units are urged to ask about a company’s self storage insurance policy. While the more established urban facilities carry basic fire and flood insurance, don’t automatically assume that all self storage companies offer this. It should also be noted that self storage units often have the right to auction off a tenant’s goods if rent is not paid on time. Generally, these goods are purchased by members of the public keen to quickly sell them on again for a profit. Buyers are responsible for moving the equipment with the storage company not liable for any damage suffered to the purchased goods during this process.

The future is certainly bright for self storage companies as more than 40 million Americans move each year according to data collected by the United States Census. Indeed, more than 70% of companies offering storage lockers to the public report that their profits are either increasing or remaining stable. This is an impressive achievement when the world’s struggling economy is taken into account with the demise of so many businesses left in its wake.

One response to “Self Storage – Overview and History”

  1. I only just started working at a storage facility and had no idea about this!! cool! I’m definitely going to reference this article haha thanks!

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