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The Self-Storage Hunger Games

Jun 04, 2012

by Ginny Sutton, TSSA Executive Director

You’ve undoubtedly heard about the blockbuster young adult book series called “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins.

The so-called hunger games in the book series—which I was surprised to find I truly enjoyed reading—is the name for a televised, fight-to-the-death survival “game” of randomly chosen young people pitted against one another. According to game rules, there can only be one winner who walks away alive.

Fortunately, very few parallels can be drawn between the gladiator-style game in the books and the “game” of running a thriving and profitable self-storage business.  However, with the downturn in the economy and the more competitive nature of today’s self-storage market, there are victors, mere survivors, and ultimately those who lose the game.

In the past, it was unthinkable for a self-storage business to fail and to be foreclosed on by the lender. In the new economy, some facilities built in overbuilt markets and unable to lease up quickly have not survived under the original ownership.  The financial institutions looking for new players to take over the debt are being more selective than ever before.

This bitter lesson was one many saw coming. Many industry veterans predicted the problems caused by overbuilding, even before the economic recession.  So, it’s more important than ever for new investors to do their homework and make sure new facilities are feasible in the market they are considering.

And more than ever before, education is critical.  The Executive Retreat TSSA is holding on June 27-28 is a good example of a fleeting opportunity to learn more about the investment and the market, as is the annual convention in October.  The victors will likely be those who go into this industry with their eyes wide open, and armed with information that can only be gleaned from a self-storage organization dedicated to providing opportunities to learn.

The rest may ultimately not survive the game.

1 Comment

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