Who’s my self storage neighbor?

30 November 2017 by

Admit it, you’ve wondered to yourself while unloading a pickup truck full of boxes at your self-storage unit, who are these people who rent units next to mine?

We’re glad you asked. As it turns out, people who use self-storage units come from all walks of life, claim membership in all generational groups (well, maybe not toddlers or pre-teens), and all income levels.

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In other words, self-storage isn’t just for rich people with more stuff than they know what to do with, nor are they for only for folks who live in a home with limited closet space.

A recent survey shone a spotlight on the demographics of self-storage customers. The survey was conducted by Parham Group, a firm that provides construction services to the self-storage industry.

First off, the vast majority of the people who sign the dotted line on a self-storage rental agreement are women—about 84%, to be exact. But don’t think the men aren’t involved; nearly 95% of the folks who load and unload goods into a storage unit are of the male species.

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The self-storage customer skews to the younger side. Almost 90% of the industry’s customer base are in the age range between 21 and 55—in other words, very few AARP members. And lots of millennials. And Generation X’ers. And newly minted college graduates. You get the picture.

While there are lots of wealthy families who rely on the self-storage industry, the client base as a whole tends to skew to the middle class. About 78% of self-storage customers report incomes that are classified as either lower middle income or upper middle income.

Don’t think your fellow storage users are all individuals or families, either. A healthy quarter of all self-storage unit renters are businesses. That’s right, your local burger joint or barber or plumber may be renting the storage unit just across the way from your own unit. Ask them for a discount on your next cheeseburger!

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You may also be under the impression that all self-storage unit users are people who rent their primary residence. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. While it may seem like renters are more transient or might have less closet space in their homes, the breakdown is almost 50-50 when it comes to self-storage unit customers in the largest markets—that’s half and half among homeowners and renters who use self-storage.

So there you have it. The next time you find yourself lifting a 300-pound cathode-ray tube TV out of your minivan and into a storage unit and you wonder who’s doing the same thing a few units down from you, it should no longer be a mystery who your self-storage neighbors are.

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