Inside Self-Storage

SEP 2018

Inside Self-Storage (ISS) is an information source for industry owners, managers, developers and investors covering news, trends, facility operation, finance, real estate, construction, development, marketing, technology, insurance and legality.

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Page 27 of 63

T here are a lot of factors that contribute to the success of a self-storage development project: a reliable feasibility study, the right location at the right price, a professional team of experts and contractors, zoning approvals, and more. But the real secret is to create and use a comprehensive checklist to manage the overall process. If you're thinking about or already building a storage facility and don't have a development checklist, start one immediately! If you've been conducting preliminary research—and you should— you're likely amazed at how much information is available on the topic of building self-storage. Every time you read an industry article or speak with an expert, expand your list to include any new or missing elements. As you develop your project, there will be times when it needs your attention around the clock. There will be other times, sometimes weeks, when much less of your input is needed. Having a comprehensive checklist will allow you to take advantage of down time and work ahead so you never have to rush, which can lead to costly mistakes. A solid list will help reduce stress, save money and ensure a winning project. Where to Begin At first, you may not know all the items that should be on your development checklist; but at the top should be "Assemble a team of professionals." This team will include an industry real estate broker, loan officer, attorney, civil engineer, architect, building manufacturer, contractor, insurance agent, consultant and others. As you hire them, ask for recommendations. What does each person need from you and other team members? You need to know everything that must be done to build a great self-storage facility on time and within budget. The goal is to create a thorough, end-to-end list, from groundbreaking to grand opening. Personally, I use a five-page checklist that covers 19 major categories: • Getting started • Financial review • Development team • Land requirements and review • Pre-purchase offer, site and zoning review • Land purchase letter of intent • Land contract • Due diligence • Site design • Local, city and state applications and permits • Architectural services for site-plan applications • Architectural services for building design, specifcations and permits • Bidding • Final contract • Loan/banking • Building permits • Construction • Pre-opening preparations • Pre-opening marketing Keep in mind each topic will be broken into subcategories. For example, I have more than 60 items just under "site design." As a professional engineer, I've designed many self-storage facilities and reviewed those designed by others, so I know which items are often forgotten or done incorrectly. Unless you have this kind of firsthand knowledge, it's critical to consult with your team regarding every step. Use their expertise to minimize mistakes and create a detailed, point-by-point list. For example, ask the city planner or engineer which applications are required, the components of each and timeframes for approval. Get copies of each application so you know what's required to complete them and can add those specific tasks. Ask your civil engineer and consultant the same types of questions. They'll have additional insight on timeframes and what's necessary to earn approvals. Creating a complete checklist to reduce stress, save money and build a winning project By Marc Goodin The Secret to Development Success ✔ LEARN MORE Learn more from author Marc Goodin in the video "Self-Storage Layout for Maximum Profit and Customer Service," available in on-demand and DVD formats exclusively at 26 ISS I September 2018

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