Tips on how to build a mini-warehouse

December 21, 2014

The need for self-storage services is on the rise, and so you’re going to make a go of it in the business. What do you need to know to build a mini-warehouse?

What is the ideal location?

In the self-storage business, as in all other business sectors, location plays a major part in any strategic planning. If you choose a site away from the city centre, choose a location that is easily accessible and visible. Check on the number and the type of competitors there are in your area of choice.

What are the needs of your customers?

Now that you have chosen a venue, you should assess your target client-base before starting your business. This will guide you in your choice of services to offer and will help you build a mini-warehouse that meets the needs of your customers.

Would they like 24-hour access with automated entry? Would they prefer personal service with a constant presence on the premises? What is the amount of space they require? Should you build a mini-warehouse for shipping containers and offer a mobile storage service?

What services would you like to offer?

If your warehousing services include several floors, you’ll need a freight elevator and trolleys. The security level can vary. Have you planned for a camera surveillance system and fire protection? Will you provide insurance or require your clients to have insurance? Are your storage units semi-open or fully closed?

As with any other business, it is possible to choose a type of service that ranges from low- to high-end, with corresponding costs and revenues. You should survey the local market’s needs before you even start construction.


These tips could increase the quality and profitability of your rental space:

  • If you have access to a large enough customer base, opt for a larger building so you can save on the cost of construction per square foot. For example, a 100,000-square-foot building may cost up to 50 per cent more to build than one with a surface area of 600,000 square feet.
  • Request a quote from several contractors to obtain the best value for your money. Ask about the skills and experience of the construction site managers they’ll be using.
  • Closely monitor the construction schedule. In your contract with the builder, you should agree on penalties for missed construction deadlines and incentives for work that's finished on schedule or earlier than predicted.
  • If the building isn’t air conditioned, consider installing high-volume, low-speed ceiling fans to help with air circulation.
  • Choose fluorescent or compact fluorescent lighting, inside and outside the building, to save on long-term energy use. You can also include a motion sensor that turns the lights on and off automatically.

These are just a few tips to help you build a cost-effective mini-warehouse. To ensure that your project is truly well-rounded, you may want to call on the services of a business startup consultant or a franchisor.

Tips on how to build a mini-warehouse
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