RV and boat storage makes a great add-on to a thriving storage business, but it can stand alone as a smart business venture if you go into it with your eyes wide open.
For one thing, RV and boat storage requires considerably more space than a regular storage operation so your land costs will be increased over what you would need for a traditional storage business. In total, you can expect to need at least 300,000 square feet to accommodate all of the storage spaces as well as parking and other buildings.
There are other construction considerations outside of the direct and overhead costs. In order to build a successful RV and boat storage facility, you need to think about the big and small pictures at the same time.
Knowing Your Market
While RV and boat storage can be a great investment, you need to make sure that your local market needs such a facility.
Open space near campgrounds, lakes and other bodies of water make ideal locations for storage facilities. But make sure you will offer something that other established facilities don’t already have. Also, make sure that there are enough boat and RV owners looking for a place to store their big toys for your business to thrive. Research the area to make sure that you will have a demographic to market to before you begin to set up shop. Location really does make or break your storage business. The constructions costs won’t pay off if you don’t have enough regular long-term renters.
Construct the Right Layout
You may want to offer a variety of storage units in your facility. Most renters will want an enclosed unit for RV and boat storage. Enclosed units offer more security and sun & weather protection than open storage spaces or canopy spaces.
When you offer more than one type of space, the layout of your facility should make it easy to get from one section of units to another. The units should also be built on either side of any established drives so that you maximize the use of the roadways. If you have a main office on-site, it should be clearly marked and easy to access as soon as a customer drives up to your storage lot.
Layout considerations also include the exits and entrances. You may need to work with the city to create or change the entrances to accommodate the size of the RVs and trailers. In addition, the adjacent streets must be able to handle vehicles of such size turning in and out of your parking lot. You also need to factor in fire codes when it comes to spaces between buildings, and the necessary hydrants or fire sprinkler systems in your buildings.
Calculate Costs and Revenue
The cost of building a single basic canopy unit, one that doesn’t include secure housing around the RV or boat, will cost around $25 per square foot. While the exact costs will vary depending on the materials used and the area where you live, you should count on spending at least this much. Enclosed spaces cost even more per unit. Other costs associated with building new storage include security cameras, alarm systems, landscaping, permit fees and payroll overhead for hiring and training.
If you are able to charge the average market price for your RV and storage units, you may be able to pay off the cost of each storage unit in a year or two. However, if you are in a competitive market and will need to offer discounts or reduced rate units, it may take longer to get a return on your construction investment.
RV and boat storage can be a viable way to earn a regular income in the right marketplace. When in doubt, plan your site and then plan some more.
The right layout and number of units are two essential ingredients to a successful storage unit, and they are difficult to change once you have begun construction on your new facility.