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The Epic History of RV and Boat Storage; It’s Exciting

RV and Boat storage facility.
RV and Boat storage facility.

RV and Boat Storage Facility, a Hot Commodity!

As we look back on storage as a whole 20 years ago, self-storage rental prices for the Western US were in the range of $65.66 a month for a 10×10 in 2021, 10×10 pricing was in the range of $162.42. Construction costs have risen for self-storage from the range of $30 per foot in 2001 to $90 per foot in 2021.

What does this mean in relation to RV and Boat Storage facilities?

In times past, RV and Boat storage stalls were typically in self-storage facilities that had extra land and just stored open RV’s until they built out their self-storage facilities. Today, RV and Boat storage facilities are being built stand-alone, with the number of canopy units exceeding 500 to 800 units in a single facility. Rental rates for the canopy stalls are running from $0.55 per foot to upwards of $0.92 in deep urban markets.

RV and Boat Storage facility need has arrived!

Today’s RV and Boat Storage Facility Market

The Covid 19 Crisis has pushed the RV and Boat storage sales into the stratosphere, increasing the supply and demand of RVs upwards of a 58% increase over 2001 shipments of RVs. Pricing of canopy stalls in the Western US has risen from $90.00 a month to over $400 per month per our records, with open storage trailing at $200+ per month and enclosed RV and Boat storage showing a rental rate of upwards of $700 per month.   

The main difference between self-storage and RV and Boat storage is the commodity itself. For self-storage, if you have lost your job and need to vacate your storage, you can give your items in storage to Goodwill or have a big garage sale. However, if you have lost your job and have to sell your boat or RV, most likely, whoever buys it has to store it as well. The RV and Boat storage commodity itself will continually need to be stored regardless of the owner of the unit.

What about the cost of construction for canopy stalls. In June 2021, a canopy stall project may cost $45 per square foot of canopy, all in, including site work, walls, security, etc. (exclusive of land and soft costs).    

This pricing structure rivals the cost of construction of self-storage in the early 2000s. Yet the pricing of units in comparison to a 10×10 self-storage unit in those days, the canopy stall today has a rental value of 450% higher than the self-storage units in the early 2000s.

In the past, the RV and Boat storage stalls were typically in self-storage facilities that had extra land and just stored open RV’s until they built out their self-storage facilities. Today, RV and Boat storage facilities are being built stand-alone, with the number of canopy units exceeding 500 to 800 units in a single facility. Rental rates for the canopy stalls are running from $0.55 per foot to upwards of $0.92 in the Western states to upwards of $1.17 on the east coast deep urban markets.

RV and Boat storage has finally matured into its own asset class, attracting the interest of REITS and large investment companies, searching for a high-value asset with a lower cost to build. 

What Does it Take to Build an RV and Boat Storage Facility?

Instead of needing 2-4 acres for self-storage, an RV facility of 600 to 800 stalls may need upwards of 15 to 20 acres depending on the layout and dimensions of the parcel.

The following project – Verdi Executive RV and Boat Storage in Reno Nevada is under construction at this time and is expected to open in Fall 2021, Development Services Inc. has completed the required studies for this project.  

This facility has over 613 stalls on a 20-acre parcel. The anticipated revenues at the future pricing in Fall 2021, should run .68 per foot or $2,250,000 annually.

Exclusive of land and soft costs, this project cost is anticipated to be under $12,000,000.

An RV and Boat storage facility plan.

Parcel size and width will increase or decrease the efficiency of RV and Boat storage layouts. Accordingly, retention and/or detention ponds decrease efficiency as well. The barriers to entry for RV and Boat storage are not problematic as most cities are needing these facilities to get the RVs off the city streets. Ordinances that restrict RV storage on city streets and on residential parcels further push the need for RV and Boat storage facilities.

Likewise, the visibility of the self-storage facility to the RV and Boat storage facility is different as well. Self-storage needs to be more visible, on the expensive hard corners. RV and Boat storage facilities can be tucked away in a lesser visible lot and still attract clients.

When we think of self-storage clients and RV and Boat storage clients, the breadth of difference could not be any wider. The self-storage client needs to store household goods and personal items of average value. The RV and Boat storage client’s value of vehicles stored can range from $8,000 for a travel trailer to upwards of $500,000 for a Class A vehicle. The values of the client’s property push both the needed amenities and pricing of RV and Boat storage stalls.

RV and Boat Storage Facility Types

There are two types of facilities when it comes to demographic users. First is the destination facility, which is located near “for instance” near Yosemite, where clients want to store their rig near where they play. The second is an urban facility where the clients want to store their rig near their home because they play everywhere.

RV and Boat storage can be classified as four distinctly different storage types:

  1. Outdoor Storage
  2. Outdoor Covered Storage
  3. Indoor Individualized Units
  4. Valet Indoor Storage (large warehouse, bullpen type arrangement)

Open Storage

Open storage ranges from dirt fields with chain link fencing to fully paved or concrete stalls, with full amenities including dump and wash bays. The largest open storage to date that we have completed was 1,000 stalls on 20 acres in Chino, CA for McBride’s Storage.

Outdoor Covered Storage

Covered storage can be a combination of canopies that are double-loaded or canopies that are three-sided. Both are typically used for a storage facility as the three-sided canopies can be utilized at the property lines. Short stalls can be perpendicular in design as it relates to the drive isles; stalls over 40’ in length should be designed at a minimum 30° angle, the preferred angle is 60°. 

Enclosed Storage

Fully enclosed units are typically built with an overly wide drive aisle in front of the units since most enclosed units are built perpendicular to the drive aisle. Enclosed stalls can also be completed at an angle.

Bullpen Storage

Bullpen Valet Storage are large warehouses with boats and RV’s concierge parked. The issues with bullpen storage are the amount of exterior loading and staging spaces that are needed during a busy weekend. Basically, if a client’s rig is at the back of the warehouse, you may need to move 20 other vehicles in order to move their rig into the exterior staging area. On very busy weekends such as July 4th, the majority of the client’s rigs may be required to be moved, which increases the need for experienced managers able to move the rigs without incurring any damage.

Amenities in Class A Facilities

An RV and Boat storage facility may have various amenities as selected from the following list of RV Storage amenities; some of which will be unique to the individual market. Many of the services may become additional profit centers to the facility. Site amenities in larger all RV and Boat Storage facilities are as follows:

Canopy Stalls

What does a canopy stall look like?

Canopy stalls.
Canopy stalls.

Enclosed Stalls

What do enclosed stalls look like?

Enclosed stalls.
Enclosed stalls.

RV and Boat Storage Facility Project Feasibility

When venturing into RV and Boat Storage, the feasibility study is critical as it will set the correct path for financing, the study goes into layout, pricing, unit mix, supply and demand, and equilibrium for a market. Development Services Inc. has been completing studies for both Self-Storage and RV and Boat Storage for over 20 years.

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