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How To Use A Self Storage Association As A Resource

June 12, 2023

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How To Take Advantage Of A Self-Storage Association

As an investor in storage facilities, connecting with a self-storage association (SSA) can positively impact your investing journey and growth. Here’s how to use a local or national self-storage association to scale your storage business and make the most of this valuable resource. 

What is a Self-Storage Association? 

First things first: what exactly is a self storage association? 

A self-storage association is a professional organization for self-storage facility owners, managers, investors, and other people involved in the industry. They offer a range of different opportunities for members, including networking events, courses and educational materials, advice from experts and other self-storage owners, and even information about self-storage vendors and their products.   

A self-storage association: 

  • Discusses issues and problems related to self-storage 
  • Publishes resources on various self-storage topics 
  • Conducts research related to the industry 
  • Provides general support for owners and managers 
  • Helps professionals in the industry network with one another locally and nationally 
  • Hosts self-storage conferences, forums, and events 
  • Offers general education and training in self-storage investing or management 
  • Lobbies to influence laws that impact storage facilities 

Which Self-Storage Association Should I Join? 

In the U.S., the largest self-storage association is aptly named: Self Storage Association (SSA). SSA is a national self storage association that was established in 1975 as a not-for-profit organization and official trade organization for the industry. 

Becoming a member of the SSA is as simple: You just need to fill out an online form. There are several different SSA membership categories and packages offered, and the one you choose depends on your role in the self-storage industry. The organization also holds trade shows and a self storage association conference at least twice a year (spring and fall), at which members can network, exchange ideas, and develop communities with one another. 

The SSA also has several legal benefits. An SSA membership can get you access to the Self Storage Legal Network (SSLN) – a resource you can draw on for legal help related to your self-storage business. There are a variety of legal issues you might run into while owning and operating a storage facility, so access to this type of network could really benefit your business. Additionally, the SSA demonstrates its legal expertise and influence as the lobbying entity which represents the entire industry in front of Congress and other federal and state departments and agencies. Its members advocate for improvements in the industry, such as improvements to the lien process and tenant insurance sales, both of which have a great impact on you as a facility owner. 

The last benefit we’ll mention here is education. The SSA regularly publishes the SSA Globe, a magazine with monthly editions and blog articles about self-storage for educational purposes. You won’t find better first-hand accounts and knowledge about the industry anywhere else than within a self-storage association. 

State Self-Storage Associations 

Most individual states have their own self-storage associations as well. Here are a few: 

How to Use a Self-Storage Association as a Resource 

Now that you know what they are, you might be wondering about the best way to utilize all the resources and benefits SSAs have to offer. Below are a few tips to help you get started. 

1. Network Locally 

One of the primary benefits of getting an SSA membership is to meet other self-storage facility owners, especially local ones. Other owners in your area are likely experiencing the same trends, difficulties, and questions that you are, so being able to share your perspectives and hear others’ ideas is a crucial advantage. 

2. Educate Yourself 

Being a newbie in any industry can be confusing, overwhelming, and even discouraging. There’s much to learn and experience, and during this time it pays to have insightful, accessible resources. SSAs can provide those resources. Not only can you network with individuals who can share their experiences and knowledge, but you can also access a range of materials designed specifically for people trying to establish their footing in the industry.  

3. Stay Informed About Recent Laws and Trends 

State and local laws that impact investors change yearly, and it can be difficult to keep track of all your legal obligations as a self-storage facility owner. An SSA can help you stay in-the-know about these changes as well as potential tax strategies or savings you should be aware of. 

Trends in the industry also change yearly and seasonally. For example, what is the best or latest technology self-storage facility owners are incorporating into their units? You might have noticed that smart technology is quickly dominating the industry, and a self-storage association is the quickest way to find out which upgrades are next. 

4. Use Resources Instead of Creating New Ones 

Another benefit of joining an SSA is that you might get access to a range of document templates or other materials you can use in your storage facility. Why draft a lease agreement or addenda from scratch if you can use a template provided by your association? 

5. Get Storage-Specific Legal Advice 

Lastly, if you join an SSA, do not forget to take advantage of the legal advice you can find there. Whether it’s the SSLN or another resource, the best place to get legal advice is from people closely involved in the industry with the experience and expertise to mitigate any legal concerns you may run into as a facility owner. Legal fees can be highly expensive if you’re ever taken to court, so be sure you’re using all the trustworthy legal resources available to you. 

Conclusion 

Like REIAs, SSAs are invaluable assets to their members. From networking to free resources to legal advice, a self-storage association can give you the support and confidence you need to make even your most ambitious self-storage goals a true success. 

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