By Mark Sherman, Architect | Founder/Principal, S3 Partners
You’ve heard it before, location matters.
How far a tenant will have to travel to get to your site, the accessibility and surrounding establishments are all important considerations when searching for a toy, boat and RV storage site.
Locating land for a boat and RV storage facility can be challenging. The variances are actually quite different from finding a self-storage site. Your first step should be to consider hiring a consultant to move forward with your project before anything else.
Let’s get into some questions your renters will have and get into the site-specific metrics you should consider.
Questions Potential Renters Ask Themselves
How far is the facility from where I live? Your location shouldn’t be too far outside of a major population center as no one wants to drive a long distance to get their weekend toys.
How easy is the location to navigate? Most RV and boat owners need an area with plenty of room to navigate. Many don’t have a lot of experience maneuvering a vehicle larger than their car. Therefore, if they feel like parking or entering/leaving your facility is too challenging, they’ll pass on your site. Try to make it as easy as possible for them to get in and out of the facility and their space.
What services and amenities does the site provide? Can a renter easily dispose of trash and/or clean up their RV after a trip? What about filling up on propane, dumping tanks and airing up tires? In addition, facilities with amenities like a shower station, small dog park or basic supply shop will stand out. The more of a one-stop shop you can be, the better for them (and you!).
Are my belongings safe? Security is crucial. After all, none of these toys are cheap. Fences, security cameras and on-site managers are huge bonuses.
Is the site covered or indoors? Tenants want protection from Mother Nature’s harsh elements, including elongated sun exposure, hail, rain and snow. Protecting their investment will always be a huge priority. Canopies are a good choice to protect their vehicles and ramp up your profits.
Acres: Between 10-25 acres will allow room for storage, amenities, larger corners and traffic flow, while also giving you some room for potential expansion in the future.
Maximum site cross-slopes of 3%: Without careful examination of slope percentage, you could be risking huge work costs. Plan now and avoid devastating consequences in the future. (Remember, an experienced contractor will be able to take things like this into consideration.)
Land basis below $4 per square foot: Because rental rates are typically lower for toy, boat and RV storage than traditional self-storage, the land basis is key for a successful project. Make it work for you!
Multiple site access points: Potential renters will prioritize easy access over any other amenities you can provide. Entering and exiting the location must be as easy as possible. Ensure there are no tight corners and do everything during the planning phase to eliminate congestion, keeping the flow of traffic as smooth as possible. Put up signs to eliminate confusion if necessary.
Proximity to multiple cities and/or towns: Locations between cities can really increase exposure. In addition, city ordinances can affect capacity limits. Do your due diligence and plan wisely to reap the greatest rewards.
Located out of the city and away from congested traffic: While the magic formula is still being determined by industry experts, it’s suggested that you look for a location with a population + density of a minimum of 80,000 residents within a 10-20 mile radius.
Located near or abutting marinas or campgrounds: Owners prefer not to haul their toys over long-distances. Sites located close to bodies of water, campgrounds and boat launches provide the greatest convenience.
Located within tourist-oriented cities or towns close to amenities: Remember that many of these folks are going on road trips, vacations and long getaways. Locations near stores, fuel and restaurants can be huge needle movers. Think about it: What would you want nearby if you were planning a vacation?
Median income above $80,000 in the 5-mile radius: Knowing the median income in any given area will also determine potential clients and the types of toys they own. The higher the average annual incomes of families, the more they have to invest in recreational vehicles and pay for premium storage.
Visibility and street frontage: The location should be easy to find and provide exposure to local and out-of-town traffic. That’s what we call drive-by advertising.
Zoned properly, SUP, CUP: Zoning can be tricky. Re-zoning can take months in some instances. Typically, if the location is zoned properly, it still may require a special-use permit or conditional-use permit.
Site utilities nearby or extended to site: Access to utilities can play a major role in expenses. Knowing where water and sewer and electric taps is critical. Find out if they are readily accessible or what it will cost to access them before purchasing your site.
Get a Partner on Your Side
Investing in an RV, boat and toy storage facility is a huge decision and oftentimes requires a trusted advisor with decades of experience and knowledge. At S3 Partners, we’ve been in this space for years and have seen it all. Whether you’re thinking about building a new facility or adding RV, boat and toy storage to your existing storage business, we’d love to hear about your plans and help you get there right.
No matter the size of your project, our services keep costs down and maximize your return on investment. Visit us at s3.partners.