Submitted to Investment Real Estate by Matt DePrato, Vice President of Affiliate Services, Storage Construction
Selecting the right construction company when building your self storage project is crucial for the overall success of the project. Select a quality company and the construction process will run more smoothly. Select the wrong company and your project is guaranteed to encounter headaches. So, what makes a good construction company? One that utilizes the most economical process for your needs, one which has a qualified network of subcontractors, and one with relevant self storage construction experience. Find a company that checks all of these boxes and you’re sure to be in good hands.
Ask Questions and Get Answers.
When selecting a self storage construction company, you need to understand the right questions to ask and also understand the correct answers you should receive. First and foremost, make sure you have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve. You should know what you’re able to spend, what you want to build, and what your required timeline is. Having this information prior to selecting a construction company will allow you to drive the selection process and provide you with the knowledge you need to successfully get your project to the finish line.
Set a Project Budget.
Have a budget in mind? Great! Make sure you’ve spent enough time on building and understanding your budget and ensuring it’s realistic. Slice it and dice it several different ways to provide you with the confidence that the project will succeed if your budget is adhered to. Once you’re satisfied with the numbers, stick to them! Don’t let a construction company try to strong arm you into increasing your budget and create ‘cost-creep’ with your project. If your budget is realistic, then don’t settle on a construction company unless they can stick to it. If your budget is not realistic, then you may have to revisit the feasibility of the project.
Decide on Project Specifics.
Next step, make sure you understand what you want to build. Are you looking for a multi-story building? Single story buildings? Temperature controlled? Over-under buildings? 20,000 square feet? 100,000 square feet? All metal façade? Masonry and stucco façade? Understanding your market and your municipality’s requirements and conducting a good feasibility study will help provide answers to these questions. Establish your goal of what you want and need to build, ensure it fits into your budget, then stick to it!
Establish a Timeline.
After you have your budget solidified and your construction goals set, make sure you have a good understanding of the timeline you’d like to achieve. Make sure you understand when you plan to start your project and when you anticipate finishing up. Make sure it’s realistic and stick to it!
Now that you have your budget, your plan of what you want to build, and a realistic timeline, it’s time to find the right construction company. Some questions you’ll want to ask prospective construction companies include whether they utilize the design-build process or the design-bid-build process, if they have a qualified network of subcontractors, and what their experience is with building self storage facilities. The answers to these questions will help qualify the right construction company.
You need to comprehend design-build vs. design-bid-build construction methods and understand the differences. If the construction company follows the design-build construction method, that means they’re a one-stop shop and are able to provide you with a full design of your construction project; and then take the project through the entire construction process, start to finish. Simply put, they can design it and build it. The other construction method is the design-bid-build process where the construction company works with an unaffiliated design contractor – such as architects, engineers, and MEP designers – to build your project. One entity designs the project while another entity – the construction company – builds the project. This creates a disconnect in the process and creates room for errors. You’ll have a better chance of success with your self storage project by selecting a design-build construction company.
Find a construction company with friends in the industry. By that, I mean find a company that has an extensive network of qualified subcontractors. And by qualified, I mean subcontractors who know what they’re doing when it comes to self storage buildings. Self storage buildings are unique and require someone with experience to understand the intricacies and nuances of building them. So, make sure the construction company works with subcontractors who have experience working with self storage buildings – not just commercial real estate.
Experience matters and your construction company should have it. Like I mentioned above, self storage buildings are unique. They’re simple, but they’re unique and they have their own set of intricacies and nuances. Make sure the construction company you select has built self storage buildings before. And more importantly, make sure they have experience building the type of self storage building you’re planning to build. Single story buildings are different than multi-story buildings which are different than over-under buildings.
Planning for a new self storage project can be challenging. Selecting the right construction company for your project shouldn’t be. Make sure you have a well thought out plan. Know what you’re able to spend, know what type of project you need to build, and know what your timeline is. Arm yourself with as much knowledge upfront so that you know exactly what you expect of your self storage construction company. Follow these pointers when selecting your construction company and you’ll be in good hands.
If you have questions about self storage construction and would like more information, you can visit Storage Construction’s website or contact them directly at 855-588-4330 or via email at [email protected].
About the author:
Matt DePrato is the Vice President of Affiliate Services at Storage Construction, a design/build construction-management company he helped launch in 2015 which serves the mid-Atlantic and New England markets. Matt also oversees Storage Construction’s sister company, Automated Security, which provides sales, installation, and service of gates and security automation for the self storage industry. Matt also served as Director of Operations at PFG Capital and was responsible for the operations of a large self storage portfolio.