Relocatable Storage Units: Financing The Latest Growth Opportunity In Self-Storage
As an investor in self-storage, I recognize the many advantages of relocatable storage. You can place them in areas that can’t have permanent structures built, such as easements, right-of-ways, and setbacks.
by Terry Campbell EVP – Small Business Banking at Live Oak Bank
Over the course of my 26-year career in the self-storage industry, I have experienced many changes and plenty of progress. When I first got into the business, everything was single-story, non-climate-controlled storage. The facilities were not huge: back then people considered a 40,000 square foot facility a whopper. As time went on, I started seeing bigger projects, and climate-controlled units were becoming the next “big thing.” Then came more than one-story, bi-level built into a hill, and two-story facilities. After that came the elaborate multi-story buildings that we see today. Now, we’re watching relocatable storage opportunities develop. These are also known as “relocatable,” “moveable,” or “portable,” because they move about a site as needed.
As an investor in self-storage, I recognize the many advantages of relocatable self-storage units. You can place them in areas that can’t have permanent structures built, such as easements, right-of-ways, and setbacks. Another benefit is that you can deliver them to your site and assemble them much faster than an actual permanent building. Additionally, you can often avoid permitting issues and delays. Relocatable units don’t have to be relegated to areas where you cannot build a permanent structure. You could (and people do) use them as the primary storage units for the business. I have seen them put on land and assembled so that they look like a storage building.
With relocatable units, you can write them off your taxes in five to seven years as equipment or personal property, but there can also be some cost-segregation advantages. It’s possible to write it all off even faster, which is helpful while you lease up.
At Live Oak Bank, our team finances this type of product. These relocatable units are often used in mobile storage businesses where the unit is actually delivered to the end-user’s location and then picked up again as needed. Financing for this type of product can sometimes present unique challenges, because there is no land involved in the loan for this product. Nonetheless, Live Oak is committed to providing capital for these units.
There are a few different types of ways that Live Oak Bank approaches a loan for these relocatable boxes.
These loans typically require a good bit of equity from the buyer and will probably have a short term of years to repay the loan. Most likely, commercial loans include loan covenants and require your business banking accounts to remain with that same lender, in-house.
Occasionally, leasing companies will buy the product, lease it to you, and at the end of the lease offer it for purchase at a lower amount. Here’s an example of how it works: If you were buying $100,000 worth of units, the collateral value would be $75,000. So, let’s say that you brought in 10 percent equity on this purchase. You would have brought in $10,000. Subtract that $10,000 from the $100,000 and that leaves $90,000. $90,000 minus $75,000 collateral requirements would leave you with $15,000 of collateral shortfall that you would need to come up with. You could use other real estate that you have equity in to cover that shortfall.
The SBA loan program can be beneficial for the reasons mentioned, but banks also sometimes have minimum loan amounts. Be sure and check with your lender to see if your business needs align with what they can offer.
I have actually seen some people put the purchase on their credit card, depending on the size of the purchase. This is sometimes a good option, because you can scale the purchases and do a little at a time.
If you buy an existing facility that has some room on the site for more units, it’s a wise move to consider adding relocatable units. The cost, speed, and ease of adding these units make them an attractive and feasible way to expand your business. Relocatable units have proven their value and earned their place in the self-storage industry. Live Oak’s team of self-storage experts understands this unique industry, inside and out. We want to invest in you when you’re ready to build, buy, or expand your business. To learn more or to contact a member of our team, visit Live Oak Bank.
Over the years, Boxwell has developed some very important partnerships with a variety of businesses who help with new software, financing, communication, technology and consulting. We know the value of these trusted relationships, and it’s with their help that we are able to complete our mission each day.
Boxwell proudly partners with Live Oak Bank and works with Terry Campbell. As both a lender and an owning partner of six storage facilities, Terry Campbell has helped people see things in their potential acquisition or new building that they may not have seen themselves, which can save them time and money.
Work with a Boxwell representative to decide on an ideal, moveable storage unit mix, custom colors, door configurations and more. Once you place an order, we deliver and install your Boxwell relocatable self-storage units. You’ll be ready to rent them in no time.
At Boxwell, we pride ourselves on providing customers with the highest-quality storage containers on the market. We set out to reinvent storage and prove that a great product can be created through innovation and perseverance. As a team, we strive to evolve with our ever-growing industry.