Self storage facility data has become more widely available in recent years. It is becoming invaluable to developers and operators for identifying trends and making smart decisions. Having a comprehensive platform that provides annualized rates, competitor mapping, and the pipeline of supply has been instrumental to us in our business. It’s also become an important resource in our relationship with third-party management clients and potential clients. In our experience as a third-party manager, we’ve found our conversations are immediately more productive when developers and operators have this data at their fingertips.

Industry data is becoming more sophisticated and affordable

It wasn’t long ago that the storage industry was manually gathering the competitor and development data. In fact, it’s still common practice – our facilities still receive calls from neighboring competitors to shop their rates. Developers tell us their intelligence on competitors and development came from scouring building permit records and rumors from associates in the area.

At some point, we’ve all looked enviously at the data platforms for locations and rates prevalent in the Hotel and Apartment industries, and wished for them to arrive. Now that they’re here, it’s remarkable how valuable they have become to our systems and analysis. We’re able to pipe the data into our analytics permanently, and I shudder to think of the loss of accuracy and efficiency we’d have without it.

There are now platforms that exist where you can review data on a per-use basis. It’s tremendously easy and cost-effective for a developer or facility owner to get real industry intelligence on competitors, development, and rates without a large commitment that might be preventative. In our conversations with current and potential clients, it makes them much more confident to independently verify the analysis we’re doing for them.

How third-parties use data with their clients

Our Third-Party team leverages data sets for different purposes than our Operations and Revenue Management teams. We use it to build rate and competitor studies for our clients. These studies analyze which competitors will be the most viable based on proximity, operational sophistication and rate trends throughout the year. When working with a potential client, we’ll leverage those studies into the Pro Forma projections themselves.

The data can lead to difficult conversations – especially for developers who are talking with us about feasibility. It can be problematic when the research they’ve conducted doesn’t match what our data is showing us. In the past, that data wasn’t accessible to the developer, and a conversation about feasibility might be side-tracked by doubt in the research. Now we can lend them the tool, and the transparency our data program offers settles the doubt.

Today, we see more and more clients using data proactively. It’s a great advantage to us because the process becomes less about feasibility and we can jump right into planning. We’ve seen an influx of third-party management clients reaching us with incredible opportunities in markets we had not considered or had not found potential development partners. Ultimately, we want to grow relationships that are destined for success – and leveraging powerful data has been an essential part of starting that process.


Eric Carlson

Eric started working for Life Storage in 2013 as an owner relations manager. In 2018, he began working as sales manager for the company’s third-party management platform, Life Storage Solutions. Eric is a skilled communicator with a vast background in sales, client relations and account management.