Of the 50 states, Florida Ranks No. 3 in Self-Storage Facilities


    When it comes to extra storage, many people in South Florida are forced to think inside the box. Storage facilities are continuously in demand throughout the area as residents find ways to make space in their homes, whether it’s because of too much clutter, tiny closets or the smaller homes that are being built. Florida ranks third in number of self-storage facilities, according to the Florida Self Storage Association, a nonprofit organization for people involved in the self-storage business. Only Texas and California house more locations. “[Florida] is a very transitional state,” said Joseph Sabga, president of Bekins of South Florida, a Fort Lauderdale moving and storage company. “People move around a lot. Many of them are empty nesters who are looking to downsize.” Robert Bret, the executive director of the FSSA, speculates there are about 3,200 facilities throughout the state with “around 75 percent of them being local mom-and-pop businesses.” Storage units usually are rented out on a monthly basis, and prices vary depending on the unit’s size and whether it is a climate-controlled space. A 5-by-5 unit usually starts around $40 to $50 while bigger units like 10-by-20 spaces can go for $150 to $200 or more. Marriages, divorces, death and relocations drive the bulk of the self-storage industry. “The industry is event-driven,” said Bret. “It’s either good events or bad ones that trigger people to use these facilities.” In South Florida, homes usually have small attics and few have basements, which forces many people to turn to storage facilities to help with clutter. “Builders in Florida don’t put too much emphasis on storage,” said Michael Cabak, chief operating officer for National Self Storage, which owns the local Broward company, Sunshine Self Storage. He adds that with the high population density in the South Florida region, people tend to build vertically, leaving less room for extra belongings. Many facilities also offer secure parking for boats, RVs and other vehicles. The housing bust and subsequent surge in foreclosures also plays a big part. Jennifer Bennett, a stay-at-home mom from the Kendall area, stashes extra furniture, musical instruments and children’s toys in her family’s 10-by-10 unit at Extra Space Storage. She says that the difficulty of buying a bigger home in this economy has led her and her family to use a storage unit for the past two years. “If jobs weren’t so scarce and homes weren’t so hard to purchase … we wouldn’t need to worry about storage units,” Bennett said. As a business, self-storage will continue to evolve, according to Caback. He sees facilities becoming more high-end and worries about overbuilding. “So many people are just building locations and not paying attention to the demographics of the area,” said Cabak. “You can’t create more demand for something, if it’s not there.” (via The Sun Sentinel)]]>


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