Pivoting Your Self Storage Business During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought changes to all spheres of our lives. In this episode of the Self-Storage Podcast, we talk with Gary Edmonds about the “new normal”, his self-storage pandemic tips, and what he sees in the future for the self-storage real estate market.

Gary has been in the business for 20 years and is a part of the Mastermind Group. He is also in charge of organising aid mission trips to Mexico and making sure they are hassle-free. With a background in banking, financial services, and construction, he is the owner of Pike County Storage, All-Star Mini Storage, and Puro Mini Storage in Illinois.

Why Self-Storage Is Profitable During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The self-storage business is known to be resilient to recession. Gary reinforces this idea by talking about how his storage business sailed right along through the last one in 2008.

The last recession was unkind to a lot of people. However, as they lost jobs and the economy plummeted, storage rentals continued to perform well.


Self-storage is a predictable business model. But to have a profitable business, you must be equipped with the right knowledge and tips.

You should also note that the further you delve into second and third-tier markets, the more predictable the model becomes.

How Are Rural Markets Performing in the Pandemic?

The major employers in rural markets are agriculture and manufacturing. Gary, who often invests in rural markets, says that despite not being immune to COVID-19, they are somewhat sheltered from drastic swings in the economy.

The competition in rural markets is also not very strong. There are few new investors in rural markets and no constant influx of individuals moving in and needing a storage unit. The market base is thus more established than in primary markets, as it is isolated, easy to budget, and easy to predict!

Gary also mentions the “chief pretty officers” for his storage business who make the sites tidy. And, choosing to be location independent, he uses management software to sign leases virtually. Indeed, managing a rural self-storage facility during the pandemic has never been easier!

What Are the New Opportunities in Self-Storage?

Though people have not been moving frequently, there has been a surge of those looking to rent units. Working from home has made it possible to move in with your parents in sunny Florida while needing a space to store belongings from your New York apartment. 

Also many businesses that had storefronts have been forced, by the pandemic, to move online, andare  in need of a place to house their goods. To this crowd, storage units have been incredibly popular.

What Will the Future of Self-Storage Be Like?

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Gary believes that the storage industry will fare well in the near future. He adds that new markets will develop and bring investors into storage. With businesses moving online, many of them will stick with the internet model and need storage space.

While storage facilities are getting bigger and costlier, Gary says that investing in smaller markets becomes appealing and profitable. With lower capital investment and lower competition, smaller markets provide a good space to start.

If you are a self-storage unit owner, it is important to be mindful of the pandemic protocols when it comes to your customers and workers. Using sanitizers, masks, maintaining social distancing, and following the guidelines in your area could help curb the spread of the virus.


It is important to make wise decisions that take into consideration current trends in the storage unit industry and get to work to take advantage of the real estate climate. To learn more about the self-storage and how to invest during the present crisis, sign up for our FREE Online Training today!