Self-storage owners all face a common challenge: how to make their facility stand out. Despite being a low-tech but highly competitive business, it can be difficult to differentiate one facility from another. Here are some strategies to consider for increasing visibility and foot traffic.

Adding Complementary Business Operations

Consider incorporating complementary business operations to increase foot traffic. These operations can range from filling propane tanks to hosting a UPS franchise. The success of these additions largely depends on your location and the surrounding customer base. Business centers and pack-and-ship operations are particularly effective at boosting revenue and foot traffic. For instance, UPS stores average between 500-800 customers a month, providing significant exposure for your facility​ (RVIA)​.

Benefits of adding a UPS franchise include:

  • Increased foot traffic from UPS customers.
  • Attraction of small businesses, which are typically long-term renters.
  • Additional revenue from sales of boxes, shipping supplies, and moving assistance.

Advertising with Billboards and Cell Towers

Billboards and cell towers offer less labor-intensive options for supplemental income. If your facility is located on a main road with good visibility, a billboard can be a great advertising tool with minimal additional work. Cell towers are another viable option, as self-storage facilities are often close to residential areas and already have commercial zoning.

Advantages of cell towers include:

  • Potential for a 20-year lease with a 3% annual rent escalation.
  • Monthly rental income ranging from $500 to $1,000​ (Tower Leases)​​ (Cell Tower Lease Experts)​.
  • Minimal effort required to maintain the lease.

Considerations for On-Site Businesses

Adding an on-site business comes with its own set of challenges and potential pitfalls. It's important to have good staff and management to ensure the success of any additional operations. Evaluate whether the new operation will require extensive staff time and resources, and consider its impact on customer service for your self-storage renters.

Key considerations include:

  • The potential for increased phone calls and truck maintenance needs.
  • The time required to manage day-to-day operations.
  • The impact on customer service for self-storage renters.

Trends and Research

The trend of adding sideline businesses is relatively new and varies by location. While some add-ons may work well in certain areas, they may not be as effective in others. It is crucial to research and understand the requirements and potential benefits before committing to any new business operations.

Research steps to take:

  • Assess your customer base and their needs.
  • Investigate the operational requirements of potential add-ons.
  • Evaluate the potential impact on your primary business.


Self-storage facilities must evolve to stay competitive. While traditional advertising and operations have been successful, exploring new revenue streams and marketing strategies can help differentiate your facility. Take the time to research and carefully consider any new additions to ensure they align with your business goals and customer needs.

By implementing these strategies, self-storage owners can increase their facility's visibility, attract more customers, and boost overall revenue.


By Frank Rolfe

Frank Rolfe has been an active self-storage investor for around two decades, with self-storage units in many states throughout the U.S. His nuts and bolts knowledge of what makes for a successful self-storage facility has led to a three-decade career without a single failed property.