According to the Self Storage Association, the self-storage industry generated greater than $22 billion in annual US sales in 2011, through more than 49,000 self-storage facilities in the USA. There are roughly 58,500 self-storage facilities worldwide, along with over 1,000 in Australia and more than 3,000 in Canada.
The total rentable space in the United States is now greater than 2.3 billion square feet, which is better than three times the size of Manhattan. One in ten US households currently leases a minimum of one storage unit (a increased from 1 in 17 in 1995 – or an increase of approximately 65 percent in the last 15 years), and self-storage facilities employ nearly 169,000 people. For each man, lady and child in the United States, there is 7.3 square feet of self-storage space. So, with these amazing statistics, where did all of these storage facilities start from?
There is evidence of some concept of self-storage dating back 2,000 years to Ancient China. Apparently, thе Chinese would secure thеіr valued items іn clay pots, and consequently place these pots in an underground storage unit. Thеѕе underground storage unit facilities wоuld bе monitored tо ensure thаt nо оnе wоuld hаvе access tо these pots оthеr thаn thеіr owner. Thіѕ marked thе beginning оf Sеlf Storage facilities. Additionally, it seems that the British improved this idea by putting materials in dog crates inside of stables and had watchmen protect them.
In the late 1800’s, the Bekins brothers (John and Martin), established Bekins Business in Omaha, NE. The firm started with with 3 horse-drawn wagons and 12 employees. In 1895, Martin broadened the business and moved to Los Angeles. In 1906, the first Bekins Warehouse was built, and was one of the first of its kind in Los Angeles with reinforced steel and concrete. Throughout the first fifty years of the century, Bekins established numerous fire-resistant warehouses throughout Southern California.
After World War II, Bekins continued its pioneering efforts in the moving and storage business, growing its business model to include: neighborhood storage and moving within communities; long distance product and household moving; worldwide moving and storage for army workers and civilians; and various other related services, such as the storage of company reports, documents management, film storage, and office and commercial moving. It was this Bekins business model that pioneered the modern concept of containerized storage.
It wasn’t till the 1960s, that self storage centers started to appear in the United States. The first appearing in Texas to meet the needs of the rapidly growing needs of Oil Industry that required quick access to devices and supplies. Consequently, the baby boom was in full force, causing significant family transition and relocation. Thus, savvy real estate developers begin to development storage units facilities to meet the need of growing families and expanding neighborhoods. For example, In 1972, Public Storage was founded by Wayne Hughes and Ken Volk in Southern California. Public storage has actually become a multi-billion-dollar business along with 2,000-plus-locations spread throughout 38 conditions and several European markets. Essentially, Public Storage is considered the Sector Standard.
There are 5 public corporations operating in the self storage industry: Public Storage, Extra Space Storage, Sovran Self Storage, CubeSmart, and U-Haul International. These five companies operate over 5,000 self storage facilities or approximately 10% of the Business. Although the the industry has hundreds of mid-sized firms operating anywhere from 3-100 facilities; the substantial majority of owner-operators (72 %) run or operate 1-2 facilities.
Today, it is not unusual to see several self storage facilities found in most cities. As a result of consumers continuous demand for items and products, and their reluctance to get rid of them, our brand-new society of “pack rats” continues to fuel the rents for self storage properties, making self storage property acquisition and investing one of the most favored real estate investments. The self storage real estate business has been the fastest expanding segment of the commercial real estate industry over the last 35 years and has been considered by Wall Street professionals to be “economic downturn resistant” based upon its good performance throughout the most recent economic recession (which started in September, 2008).
(statistic sources: http://www.selfstorage.org/ssa/content/navigationmenu/aboutssa/factsheet/)