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The Cost of Building Steel Mini Storage Buildings for Your Self-Storage Facility

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The self-storage industry posts impressive revenues year after year. With nearly 9 percent of American households renting a storage unit (as of September 2016), it's not a surprise that annual self-storage revenues top $22 billion.

Getting your facility up and running requires an investment on your part. Specifically, you need to erect the actual storage units. Read on to discover average costs to erect a steel mini storage building, from raw materials to labor costs, as well as considerations before signing a contract.

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Raw Materials Average Costs

The price of steel varies based on a number of factors, including geographic location, building codes, and the general economy. For example, the 2008 recession caused a dramatic drop in the price of steel (though it's risen steadily since then).

Location influences the price of everything, of course, with large urban areas always being more expensive than small rural locations. However, it's more than that in the case of building codes, which tend to have stronger requirements based on climate. In other words, an area experiencing heavy snow during the winter has different building codes than locales with little to no snowfall.

On average, expect to pay between $5 and $8 per square foot for your raw materials. This does not include any land improvements, such as foundations, nor the land itself. A poured concrete foundation runs around $5 to $8 per square foot. If working with a general contractor, ask if the quote includes the foundation. If buying materials directly from a manufacturer, it almost definitely does not.

Pricing for the full package – foundation, construction, materials, and delivery – averages between $12 and $20 per square foot. If you add insulation expect to pay more, but also expect to save on energy costs if you plan to offer climate-controlled units.

Additional Costs

Unless you happen to be sitting on an unused parcel of land, you need acreage for your storage facility. Again, prices vary widely on this, even within the same county, depending on whether you establish your facility in an urban, suburban, or rural area.

The square footage of your land needs to be at least double the amount of square footage your storage units occupy, as you must include office and administrative space as well as parking and roadways for your customers.

All of that said, the per square foot cost of land averages between $1.25 and $3.25. Of course, all of these costs go into determining rental rates for your self-storage units.

Signing a Contract

It should go without saying, but always carefully read any contract before signing it. When building storage units, there are a few items to look for in particular. The contract should specify who is responsible for what. Make sure you understand exactly what you are responsible for, as well as the responsibilities of the manufacturer or contractor. You also want the contract to be very specific as to materials, including the brand and model numbers of every item listed, as well as its price.

Finally, look for substitution clauses, which may allow the vendor to substitute cheaper materials than what you chose. Any substitution clause should require your approval and include a phrase such as "of equal or greater value."

Always remember: the moment you sign that contract, you lose all negotiating power.

Things to Consider

Any large purchase or investment (such as building steel mini storage buildings) requires close thought and plenty of research. For example, verify building codes before buying the land if possible, but definitely before signing a contract or beginning building. Making changes to match code afterward is always more expensive than meeting code from the beginning.

When you're comparing prices, don't jump at deals that come in significantly lower than everyone else's does. You may be looking at a new contractor trying to get a foot in the door, or you may be comparing apples and oranges as far as what each contract includes.

Pay attention the seasonal trends in your area, as construction tends to follow a slow or busy cycle. You may get better pricing if you start shopping for contractors during the slow season.

If buying directly from a manufacturer, make sure the company has accreditation from the International Accreditation Service. You want the best building and quality available. This also means you should know when cost cuts make sense, and when pinching your pennies isn't the best idea.

Finally, get everything in writing before allowing anyone to deliver materials or start building. This is the only way to make sure you actually get what you're buying.

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