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Q&A With Jon Pollan of goHomePort

Q&A With Jon Pollan of goHomePort

Jon Pollan joined goHomePort in September 2023 and is responsible for leading the team’s acquisition efforts. Previously, he spent 10 years at Green Courte Partners, where he was a managing director of acquisitions, involved in sourcing, underwriting, and negotiating transactions for Green Courte’s near-airport parking, manufactured housing, and industrial outdoor storage strategies. Jon graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in real estate and urban land economics.

Toy Storage Nation recently visited with Jon to get his take on the RV and boat storage market as well as take a peek at goHomePort’s growth strategies.

Are you able to give some background on the company and your different lines of business?Q&A With Jon Pollan of goHomePort

GoHomePort was founded in 2020 to simplify the RV ownership experience and make it easy. We’ve seen firsthand the frustrations that come with owning an RV, including finding a place to store, the cost of ownership and the frequent repairs required to maintain the vehicles. As such, we started three synergistic businesses–an RV storage business, RV repairs business and RV rentals business– that are all aimed at elevating the RV ownership experience.

In terms of the storage business, what type of assets are you targeting?

We are primarily focused on high-quality storage properties that have a significant amount of canopy or enclosed units in top 50 metropolitan areas around the country.  Our current portfolio consists of 11 properties located across five states– Colorado, California, Arizona, Missouri and Mississippi. We are also interested in transforming assets by expanding them or adding canopy or enclosed units. We’ve done this at several properties within our existing portfolio and have been pleased with the results. We strive to be the premium offering in each market by offering premium product types. When possible, we add amenities such as dump stations, electrical hookups, wash stations and our RV repair business.

How are you funding acquisitions?

In 2023 we formed a partnership with an investment firm based in New York to more efficiently scale each of our three businesses. The partnership provides us with ample liquidity and the ability to move quickly as we do not require a financing contingency. In fact, the four transactions that we’ve closed in the partnership were all-cash deals.

Can you elaborate on your RV repairs and rental businesses?  Do you operate these businesses only at properties that you own?   

Q&A With Jon Pollan of goHomePortOur goal is to offer repairs at most of our storage facilities.  We also offer repairs at third-party owned storage facilities and in a stand-alone retail format. Today, we have six service and repair locations across Colorado, Missouri and Michigan, four of which are at goHomePort owned facilities. We will soon be adding two more locations in Northern California and the Kansas City metro. For other owners, we think offering repairs is an attractive amenity for their tenants given the convenience versus taking it to a dealer. Additionally, goHomePort can pay higher rental rates relative to a storage tenant. 

Our rentals business is exclusively focused on opportunities in Southern California, Colorado and Arizona. Like our repairs business, we operate out of several third-party locations and find that our rentals business is an intriguing option to many tenants who are seeking passive income when their RV would otherwise sit idle.

If an owner is thinking about launching a repairs operation at their facility, what steps should they take?

The first step is to ensure that the zoning will allow for repairs of recreational vehicles.  The zoning code differs municipality by municipality, but often the underlying zoning will not allow it.  From a physical standpoint, you need to ensure you have sufficient space for bays that are 15- to 20-feet wide and over 40-feet long to account for RV’s, slides, tools, parts, etc. Additionally, there needs to be sufficient space for staging vehicles in queue and awaiting parts. 

I’d say the most important thing though is to make sure you find the right staff. There will need to be a combination of experienced management, service advisors and experienced technicians. The strength of the staff is the number one factor in determining the success of the operation.

Besides your repair and rental businesses, what do you want other industry participants to know about goHomePort?

We pride ourselves on being a flexible capital solution and structuring transactions to meet the needs of sellers. One example includes providing sellers the ability to extend closing to find a suitable 1031 exchange. On several instances we’ve allowed sellers to roll over a Q&A With Jon Pollan of goHomePort portion of their equity upon a sale so that they can take some chips off the table but still benefit from the future growth of the asset. We have implemented a variety of other tax structures to help reduce the tax burden for sellers that we would be happy to speak about on a direct basis with any potentially interested parties. We’re also open to partnering with owners to provide capital for their next phase of growth, be it an expansion or an additional acquisition.

While we are flexible from a structuring standpoint, we are also active buyers at various stages of the asset life cycle. We are actively negotiating certificate-of-occupancy deals–transactions where the owner is completing an expansion on our behalf, and we have recently acquired a stabilized facility. 

If an owner is contemplating a sale, what steps should they take to prepare their asset?

To prepare for a sale, we recommend owners address any deferred maintenance at the property. This will be discovered during due diligence and will have a direct impact on value. With better curb appeal, buyers are more likely to lean in on their pricing. We also recommend getting your books and records organized. The more granular the data and financial records you can provide, the easier the process will be to get a potential buyer comfortable with their pro forma assumptions. It is also beneficial to avoid entering into long-term agreements with tenants. One of the aspects of this asset class investors find attractive is the flexibility of the cash flow given the month-to-month leases. Lastly, we recommend making sure you’re staying on top of collections to reduce any delinquency. Significant delinquency raises questions about the long-term viability of the tenant base.

Why is now a good time for owners to consider a sale?

I don’t have a crystal ball, so my guess is as good as anyone’s on when the best time to sell is. What I will say is that we have a significant amount of capital to invest in this space, and that we are aggressive in pursuing the highest quality assets in their respective submarkets. I’d also add that while interest rates may seem high, the 10-year treasury forward curve is expecting no major decline but rather gradual increases over the next ten years. We are also in the early innings of this asset class and investors are catching on to the fact that there is an under supply of Class A Boat and RV storage in most markets. As such, the attractive supply and demand dynamics that we are witnessing in several markets will likely change over time as new developments are completed. 

goHomePortThe mission of goHomePort is to elevate the RV ownership experience by providing safe, clean, and secure storage options with helpful amenities and services onsite. The goHomePort team is focused on exceeding customers’ expectations in quality RV storage, service, and repair, whether they’re storing for the short or long term, or just want an RV Service and Repair shop they can trust. To learn more, visit goHomePort or contact Jon Pollan at JPollan@gohomeport.com.

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