Inside Self-Storage

OCT 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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Teri L. Lanza, Vice President T hey say it's lonely at the top. That doesn't appear to be the case in self-storage. In gathering data from hundreds of industry owners and management firms for our annual Top-Operators Lists, what we're seeing is unprecedented growth, not only in portfolios owned and operated by the real estate investment trusts, but by dozens of other companies taking advantage of fresh investing strategies to build their businesses. "The top" is starting to look crowded. I won't go into detail here about our findings around the 2018 lists. ISS Contributing Editor Tony Jones does this for you on pages 40 to 45. Instead, I'll take this opportunity to remind you of a few points that are essential to understanding the value of these resources, as well as what they may mean to you and the industry as a whole. First, participation in the lists is completely voluntary. We solicit data from as many storage companies as possible, sending direct inquiries to anyone in the existing database and polling the audience at large via our magazine, website, newsletter, social media and online community. Anyone who owns storage facilities or manages them on behalf of other owners can update their past listing or submit a new one for consideration. That said, there are prominent entities that aren't represented in the results. Either they weren't aware of the campaign, or they chose not to contribute. If your company didn't participate this year and you'd like to be contacted when we begin gathering data for the 2019 lists, visit and choose "Top-Operators Lists" from the main menu. Once on the page, click "Add/Edit Listing." If you need assistance, contact me at the e-mail address below. Second, the ranking of each list—one identifying the top 100 facility owners and another the top 50 management companies—is based on total square footage in each category. This decision was made by the brand founder when the first list was published nearly 25 years ago, and it has never been challenged. There are those who argue that total number of facilities or units is more significant for various reasons; however, we follow an "if it ain't broke" policy. What this means is "top" in the list context refers to bulk. It isn't a statement on company quality, customer service, branding, financial performance or anything else. When it comes to "Top Ops," size is what matters. Third, there may be minor inaccuracies in the ranks because of companies that use rounded numbers. For example, on this year's ownership list, we had a pair of ties at Nos. 4 and 97 due to duplicate square-footage submissions. In these cases, we applied a second level of data to the rank, factoring in total number of units. The resulting order of listings may not be strictly precise, but sufficient to our purpose. Finally, for more than two decades, Top Ops was a single list of 100 operators that combined facility owners and management firms. Though we provided breakouts of owned vs. managed property, it was difficult to create a meaningful comparative analysis. Last year, we decided to finally separate these categories and provide a more complete, illustrative picture. We've done the same this year and will continue to do so moving forward. Why should you care about these lists, particularly if they're not all-inclusive? They're a testament to the power and health of the self-storage industry, which continues to flourish regardless of rising costs, market saturation, intense competition, rigid municipalities, changing codes and legislation, and other obstacles. The lists are a "who's who" of industry players, which can be invaluable if you're watching development patterns, seeking investment partners, scoping acquisition or sale opportunities, or job hunting. These precious contacts have been responsible for making lucrative connections across all segments of the business. To list or not to list is a question you need to answer for your own operation, but I encourage you to join in 2019. Show fellow professionals where you stand in the industry landscape and showcase the success you've labored to achieve. There's no need to be lonesome … Claim your space at the top! All the best, THE INSIDE VIEW A View From the Top Community Storage in Pendleton, Ind. (Photo courtesy of Trachte Building Systems) 4 ISS I October 2018

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