We previously discussed the first parts of setting up a storage container business, which included the planning and business plan creation. The next steps in starting a storage company with shipping containers are where the hard work kicks in.
The first stages of getting a storage company up and running are heavily involved with planning and market research, once these hurdles have been crossed, it's time to start executing the stages of the business plan.
If you're company is starting from scratch, it's likely that you'll need to raise some type of funding to get things off the ground. Financing a traditional brick and mortar storage company is a little easier than financing a storage container company, simply because banks like to finance larger scale projects that can easily be foreclosed on should the business no be successful. At its heart, it's a commercial mortgage on a large property. While this may be easier for the bank, it means that the full amount would be dispersed at one time and there would be little time to scale things up and leaving the chance for negative cash flow during the first few months. A storage company with shipping containers will be a little harder for a bank to understand for a few different reasons. First, the containers may not be fixed and could be harder to foreclose on. Second, it's a non-traditional building structure, so finding comparable businesses could be difficult. Lastly, the full amount wouldn't need to be dispersed on day one, as storage units (shipping containers) can be easily added as needed.
One approach to financing a shipping container storage company is through line of credit. The interest rate may be higher due to the loan being unsecured, but it can be paid off faster and drawn on faster as the money is needed or paid off.
The best chance for financing is to approach a local bank with the business plan and explain to them your goals and business needs. A local bank, as opposed to a larger national bank, may have some flexibility to find a better loan for local markets and unique situations.
With your roadmap (business plan) in place, and funding secured, it's time to get things started. The site needs to be acquired, cleared and graded, and some type of foundation needs to be put in place. A solid foundation for a shipping container is important, especially for storage units, because if the container isn't sitting squarely the doors can become hard to open.
Once the foundation is in place, it's time to start marketing to potential storage customers. With a few storage containers in place, (as well as any lighting, insurance, and other business requirements) and customers moving in, you'll need to manage the occupancy rate to keep enough storage space available. Too many empty containers will cost money, but not enough available containers on site could mean missed business opportunities.
If you've made it this far, things are looking great for the future. With a good occupancy rate, happy customers, and well maintained business operations it's time to decide if your business is running at its optimal level, or if it's time to expand with more shipping containers or another location.
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