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Anyone already working in the self-storage industry or looking to begin operating a self-storage location knows that self-storage construction is a significant part of the planning and development phase. There are many factors to consider when deciding which options and types of buildings to purchase or construct. 

However, remember that choosing the easiest path to construction may not permanently eliminate headaches. One of the most common options is storage unit building kits. These kits make the construction process easier and more efficient. Prefab storage unit kits take less time to put together and reduce costs across the board. 

Although these kits are perfect for some owner-operators, there is also another popular option. You can also order prefabricated self-storage buildings delivered, ready to rent. These relocatable self-storage buildings are an excellent choice for many reasons. 

The best reason to choose this route is that you can forgo much of the construction process and have your units up and running in no time. When you order a prefabricated unit that's already constructed, you have it shipped directly to you by truck. All you need to do is prepare the site according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Most of this process requires you to level the ground and provide the right surface, such as construction-grade gravel or rocks and place them in an area with good drainage and access. In contrast, using a kit to construct your self-storage units requires labor, tools, and materials. Additionally, kits take much longer to get up and running. 

Some benefits of using kits include more size options and saving money on production costs. For some business owners, it proves more cost-effective to have a kit shipped to them in sizes that match their needs. It's essential to analyze each option's cost and flexibility and choose one that provides the most benefit.

Storage Unit Buildings Cost 

There are several factors to determine storage unit building costs. According to Mako Steel, the self-storage construction cost per square foot ranges between $25 and $70.¹ Some standard costs to consider before you begin the build include the following.

  • Land
  • Single or multi-story
  • Labor
  • Materials
  • Climate control
  • Prefab or kit


The price of the land is significant when creating your budget. Land prices can differ greatly depending on location, traffic, convenience, and elevation, to name just a few factors. Carefully choosing your site may be the difference between success and failure. Be sure to have enough funds to select an excellent centralized location with convenient access for the best results. 

Single or Multi-Story

The cost of building a single-story storage unit is much lower than a multi-story unit. It may be easier to build a single-story unit and spread it out, but if you choose an urban location or popular area, space may be limited. Weigh the cost options and land availability against the cost to build each option. 


Your labor costs can fluctuate depending on the number of crews and factors such as the weather. Labor for a simple prefabricated unit is much lower than the cost of construction kits. Leave plenty of extra funds for unexpected labor-related expenses.


The material cost depends on how you build your self-storage unit. If you choose a kit, you may need extra materials not included in the kit's price. Add the cost of the materials needed to prepare the ground and weigh against the option to ship prefab self-storage units to your site.

Climate Control

The cost to build climate-controlled storage units is much higher than non-climate-controlled units. However, the ROI for a climate-controlled unit is much better than a non-climate-controlled unit's ROI. Factor the approximate operating and construction cost against the potential revenue generated to determine if climate control is the right avenue for your self-storage build. 

Prefab or Kit

When choosing your options for your self-storage construction, you can choose to ship kits, or you may want to expedite the process by getting prefab self-storage units shipped to you already assembled.

The prefab version works well for single-story small storage facilities. It can save both time and money. However, if you plan to have a larger facility, you may opt for a kit or even consider an independent build. 

Storage Building Cost Estimator

Many tools and estimate calculators are available online to potential self-storage business owners. These simple calculators help you understand the critical elements involved in the cost of building and operating your self-storage unit. Some examples of tools available include the following:

  • Basic investments calculators
  • Advanced investments calculators
  • Demand calculators
  • Conversion Investments calculators
  • Concrete calculators
  • Complete estimate calculators
  • ROI calculators
  • Storage building cost estimator

You'll need to know basic information about your specific proposed build to use these calculators effectively. However, they can provide detailed information about the area you want to know about.

For example, they can tell you how much does it cost to build a 100-unit storage facility in your area within a reasonable margin. That way, you won't go into the project unprepared while trying to secure your financing. Nobody wants to look like a newb in business.

Additionally, you can tell the difference in the cost to build a single-story self-storage versus a multi-story build. These tools and calculators can help guide your path and allow you to clearly understand costs vs. profit over time and for the immediate construction process.

Use metrics from your third-party management provider or CRM dashboard to gain further insights once you're operating.

Annual Income Owning Storage Units

The annual income owning storage units can vary depending on the size of the construction and number of units. However, to get the annual average income, you'll need to know the initial cost to build and the ongoing operating costs.²

On average, most people earn approximately $361,000 to $798,800 annual income owning storage units for small to medium-sized facilities.³ If you want more accurate figures, you'll need to consider operating costs and even your ability to reduce spending and stick to a budget without higher ongoing operating costs.

When you save money initially, it may add to your operating costs down the line. For example, if you choose used mini storage buildings for sale, they may come with some preexisting issues that require more overhead costs in the long term.

If you want to avoid buying a used storage unit, check out self-storage building manufacturers to estimate the cost of a new unit versus a used one.

Opting for self-storage buildings for sale in good condition can help reduce those associated costs and help you line your pockets better each year. You can also consider selling self-storage companies' stock if you turn your business into thriving multi-site companies. This can help you earn more and stabilize your business in the industry.

Best Self Storage Manufacturers

Here are some of the best self-storage manufacturers and builders across the country. They include the following companies.


  • DonahueFavet Contractors, Inc.
  • Arco Construction Co., Inc.
  • A&E Construction Co.
  • Construx Inc.
  • DAI General Contracting

Located in Mandeville, LA, DonahueFavet Contractors is known for their impressive construction standards. They also deliver outstanding customer service by establishing bonds with each customer. They are a leader in the field for the southeastern region. 

Arco Construction Company is at the top of its industry. This company has won many awards during its time in business. They are considered an elite builder in the Midwest and attribute their success to the careful planning and execution of their projects.

A&E has been in business since 1970 and has forged a stellar reputation as a self-storage builder. They have a high repeat customer rate and thrive in the U.S. Northeast. 

Construx Inc. is one of the best metal building manufacturers in the Northeast. They take pride in delivering exceptional customer service and a quality product that lasts for years to come. 

DAI is Damato Associates Inc. and works from their California location. They have over three decades in the self-storage construction arena and have a stellar reputation. 

You can get a good idea of how to model your own business by checking out some of the top storage units operating in the country today. In terms of the largest self-storage companies today, they include a long list of recognizable names.

Most of these companies have a location in major cities in their region or section of the country. Some have locations in most cities in the nation. Consider this short list of self-storage companies.

  • Life Storage Inc.
  • U-Haul
  • Public Storage Inc
  • Extra Space Storage
  • National Storage
  • Global Self Storage
  • Simply Self Storage
  • StorageMart
  • CubeSmart Self Storage




These companies know the formula for success, and it helps to learn how they tackle construction and daily operations to streamline your new endeavor.

How We Can Help.

These facets of construction and operation are only one part of the formula for success. Harnessing the power of a SaaS, especially for promoting and advertising your self-storage company, is key to attracting business and building your brand.

Access easy PPC advertising that helps you promote and increase your bottom line. Find out how our knowledgeable and helpful team can get you started on the path to storage-unit operation success by contacting us today and scheduling a demo.


  1. https://www.makosteel.com/blog/bid/84411/cost-to-build-self-storage
  2. https://sweatystartup.com/179-how-profitable-is-a-self-storage-facility/
  3. https://www.comparebusinessproducts.com/briefs/why-are-storage-units-considered-one-best-income-producing