The Pros and Cons of Starting a Local Storage Unit Business

August 1, 2019

If you build it, they will fill it. At least that’s the idea that leads entrepreneurs to invest in launching a local storage unit business. Today’s storage unit industry encompasses many forms of storage, including long-distance moving, local containers, and local DIY moving. While each type of service has its benefits, the business of renting local containers is especially attractive. Periods of economic recession can slow people’s movement around the country, but demand for storage locally does not see the same decline.


Pros of Owning a Local Storage Units Business


Among the great reasons to pursue such a business are:


The demand stays strong: Whether one likes it or not, the fact is we live in a materialistic society. Possessions add up. Whether people need a place to keep their belongings during a move from one residence to another (such as from a larger house to a smaller dwelling), or whether they want to de-clutter their homes and just don’t want to part with their possessions, a local storage unit business enables them to keep their possessions safe. The numbers don’t lie: In 2019, the U.S. storage industry is projected to reach $32.7 billion in revenues, having grown incrementally over the last few years alone.


A low-stress venture: People open franchised business locations all the time, but their motives may differ substantially. Some entrepreneurs thrive on the customer-facing excitement of restaurants and amusement business that employ relatively large numbers of employees and are open into the night. For others, a local storage unit business is delightfully… boring.


Most customers sign up for a unit, store their belongings, and pay their monthly rental without incident or complaint. The business can keep traditional business hours during the day. A very minimal team can operate a storage unit business, and depending on the business model, the owner can be semi-absentee, profiting from the storage unit business remotely while working another full-time job. While customer service is important in a storage business, the level of interaction, even for an on-site manager, is minimal compared to many other businesses.


It doesn’t have to be your only revenue stream: Depending on the type, size, and zoning of the property where you operate your local storage unit business, an operator may also be able to run a separate business or businesses. Perhaps the owner is a realtor and bases his office there. Or maybe the owner also has an equipment rental operation next door.

You get to know and network with many people in the community: Think about new people and families moving to town who may have too much stuff for their new residence, especially if they are renting a small house, condo or apartment while they shop for a home to buy. They will need a safe, convenient place to store their things. The same goes for local businesses that transition from one building to another or renovate their facilities and need temporary storage in the interim. A local storage unit business is in a prime position to act as a hub for networking with just about everyone. This has added benefits for those who have complementary side businesses or offer services that many of their storage customers may also need. And if the storage business offers portable units for on-site storage during renovations or construction, all the better.


Cons of Owning a Local Storage Units Business


A few reasons to approach the storage unit business with caution are:


Location, location, location: Real estate costs are a big figure in opening a local storage unit business. The more units, the more property required. But that is not the case with a portable storage unit model like that of UNITS Moving and Portable Storage, which doesn’t require customers to store everything at a fixed location like traditional storage unit businesses. Instead, it delivers portable, durable, on-site storage containers to customers at the location of their choice, making it easier and more convenient for them to access their belongings. Further, a moving and portable storage facility doesn’t require public visibility, so owners can save on rent by locating in an industrial park if desired.


You have to trust your manager: This is actually a good problem to have when you consider how moderate but essential your employees will be. Having a great manager will not only help your business flourish but also gives you peace of mind. For instance, UNITS Moving and Portable Storage has a couple of business models including a “semi-absentee” option, in which the franchise partner can own the franchise while still working a full-time career, and an “owner-operator” model in which the owner is more involved. For the former, a paid manager handles daily operations of a staff that includes a driver, a customer service rep, and a salesperson. Obviously, in this setup, it is crucial that the owner be able to trust and rely upon the manager to make sound decisions and do the right thing in his absence. The good news is that with a solid manager, the owner can enjoy a relatively hands-off business operation.


Financial barriers to entry: As touched on above, traditional storage facilities require a lot of capital for real estate, construction, and overhead, which may include climate control, security, and more. However, a portable storage unit business such as UNITS Moving and Portable Storage involve franchise fees starting at $55,000 and required liquid capital of only $300,000. 


Founded by Michael McAlhany in 2004, the mission of UNITS Moving and Portable Storage is to provide personal customer service while supplying the most innovative equipment in order to eliminate the frustrations associated with moving and storage space issues.


UNITS Moving and Portable Storage currently has 24 franchised and three corporate territories across the United States. With a presence in more than 40 markets, and growing, the brand is looking to expand with the right people in the right markets.

For more information on how to take advantage of this opportunity, or simply to learn more about the moving and portable storage industry, visit and fill out the inquiry form. We will reach out to you to talk more about your interest in our brand, and how UNITS Moving and Portable Storage can help you reach your personal and financial goals.

Become a UNITS Franchise Owner

Excellent Territories Available

    Do you have a net worth of $1 million USD? *


    Do you have at least $300,000 USD in liquid capital to invest? *


    City & State of Interest:

    Where Will a UNITS® Franchise Take You?