When it comes to self-storage, Virginia Beach is truly a renter’s market. Including new facilities going in, the city has more than 430 facilities! That means a total of about 236,500 individual units of varying sizes from 5’x5’s to units for RVs and boats in a city of about 450,000.
As such, if a facility doesn’t close a rental agreement the first time a customer comes in, there’s a good chance that the customer will find another facility. Most people don’t rent any farther away from their homes than about a mile. Expect low prices and good deals.
A Coastal City
Since Virginia Beach is on the coast and gets hot in the summer, that causes evaporation over the ocean and humidity. There are often storm watches in place, and in the winter expect occasional snow and freezing rain.
The rarer conditions can cause people to simply stay indoors all day and make it impossible to get to a storage unit. Virginia Beach has very few snow plows, so if the streets get very icy or snow-covered, people stay put.
Basically, you will probably want to get climate control for your unit. Of course, this will depend on how long you plan to keep the unit itself. It’s common for military personnel and moving families to use storage for about three months, then move out. If they do so during the mild winter in an average year, they probably won’t need climate control. However, if you’ll be renting all year or during the humid months, spend the extra to keep your possessions protected.
Due to the sometimes-unpredictable weather conditions, you may want to be insured beyond what the facility provides. Third party insurance is a good idea. Also, check your homeowner's or renter’s policy to see if it extends to your storage.
On Storage Unit Sizes
In the last ten years or so, people in Virginia Beach have been storing more and more possessions. While 5’x5’ and 5’x10’ units used to be the most rented, now, 10’x10’ units are the most popular. If you need a smaller size, you should have no trouble finding a unit at all and will probably find good deals as many are vacant. In fact, new facilities may not have anything lower than a 10’x10’ at all because the lower sizes are so difficult to rent.
These days, people rent for a shorter amount of time, mostly for the purpose of moving. Only about half of those who rent for a move end up keeping the unit after three months.
If you’re in the military, ask about discounts. With the large military population in the area, including mainly Navy and Coast Guard, Virginia Beach facilities want to make sure that our military members have discounts.
Whether you’re military or a civilian, know that about half of the facilities in Virginia Beach will provide a box truck free to use during the move-in process.
Marketing to Students
John Warton, Marketing Director for American Classic Self-Storage, has used some innovative strategies to target potential renters. Many facilities rely on Yelp and other sites to get the word out, and that works well. Warton has made contacts in various Virginia Beach colleges, and those schools have put links to American Classic Self-Storage on their university website pages to help students find storage.
Sometimes, the company sets up a booth in a university lobby to give away freebies and market the company. In time, this social media advertising leads to word of mouth.
In Fredericksburg, a short drive from Virginia Beach, American Classic Self-Storage has a renter with several very large units including a 20’x80’ and a 40’x80’ to house antique fire trucks for parades. In Williamsburg, a company that has a conference center and indoor water park rents 21 units to store inventory and more.
If you run a charity, ask about what benefits a self-storage facility offers. For example, to help a burgeoning new charity, a facility may give up to three months free rent. Be prepared to write up a one or two paragraph letter explaining your charity and what sort of assistance you would like. Many facilities are happy to work with charities, as this creates good will in the community.