This research report, commissioned by SpareBox Technologies and conducted by Pinkston, provides insights into self-storage facility owners, operators and managers’ 2024 priorities regarding their operations and technology. 


Self-storage owners, operators and managers cite installation costs as main hesitation in embracing new technologies: 40% say installation is too expensive. 

Vast majority of Self-storage owners, operators and managers believe technology will boost efficiency and give them a competitive advantage: 92% say technology will make their jobs easier and companies more competitive.

Self-service: The future of Self Storage. 66% of self-storage owners, operators and managers currently utilize some form of remote management, while 32% are somewhat or very interested in adopting it.

Revenue, occupancy rate, operating costs and new technology are top 2024 priorities: 49% of self-storage owners, operators and managers report increasing revenue is their top priority followed by improving occupancy rate (47%), reducing operating costs (47%) and investing in new technology (46%). 

Many self-storage owners, operators and managers face similar challenges: 7 in 10 respondents believe they could be better at revenue growth, while half want to improve customer service and operational efficiency. 

AI in the self-storage industry: Some owners, operators and managers are beginning to utilize AI to outsource day-to-day operational functions for their facilities.

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Self-Storage Owners and Operators Survey Results

About the Research: In December 2023, Pinkston Research, commissioned by SpareBox Technologies, completed a survey of 150 owners, operators and managers of self-storage facilities across the United States. 

Participants included a range of profiles, from independent owner-operators to REITs with large portfolios, with a median of 7 facilities in urban, suburban and some rural areas. Respondents were recruited from business listings as well as B-to-B survey panels and completed the survey online. Results have an 8% margin of error. 

Owners, operators, and managers of self-storage faciliti(es) say investing in new technologies is one of their primary priorities in 2024 (46%), along with increasing revenue (49%), improving yield (47%), and reducing operating costs (47%). 

What are your primary priorities for 2024? (Choose up to 3)
Base: 150
Increasing revenue  49%
Improving yield, or occupancy rate, of storage units  47%
Reducing operating costs  47%
Investing in new technologies  46%
Improving customer service or customer experience  39%
Growth through acquisition of new facilities  36%
Reducing labor costs  21%

Section Question: 

Regarding your self-storage faciliti(es), how effective would you say your company is at each of the following? Please rate each from 1 – 5 where 1 is poor and 5 is excellent.

Seven out of 10 (69%) believe they could be better at growing their revenue, though most owners/operators rate themselves well (at least 4 stars out of 5). 

Growing Revenue
Base: 150
1 star    0%
2 stars    1%
3 stars  13%
4 stars  56%
5 stars  31%

Half (51%) believe they could be better at driving future growth potential.

Driving Future Growth Potential
Base: 150
1 star0%
2 stars0%
3 stars15%
4 stars36%
5 stars49%

Half (53%) believe they could improve their operational efficiency.

Operating Efficiently
Base: 150
1 star    0%
2 stars    1%
3 stars  11%
4 stars  42%
5 stars  47%

Delivering good customer service ranks highest, with nearly 95% giving their company at least a 4 star rating, but with half of self-storage owners / operators indicating they have room for improvement. 

Delivering Good Customer Service
Base: 150
1 star    0%
2 stars    0%
3 stars    5%
4 stars  43%
5 stars  51%

About two-thirds (66%) of respondents currently use some form of remote management at some of their facilities, and another 16% are looking to implement remote management.

Which of the following best describes your opinion on remote management of self-storage facilities?
Base: 150
I / we currently use remote management at some or all of our facilities  66%
I am a proponent of remote management but have not adopted it  16%
I have some hesitations about remote management but am interested  16%
I am not interested in remote management     2%

Owners, operators, and managers most frequently cite the cost of installation (40%), and required upgrades (38%), as well as a desire to keep an eye on their property (38%)  as reasons why they have not adopted remote management.

Are any of the following reasons why you have not adopted remote management system(s) in your self-storage faciliti(es)? Select all that apply. 
Base: 48 not currently using remote management
Installation is expensive  40%
It will require a lot of upgrades to our faciliti(es)  38%
Want to keep an eye on our property with at least one person on-site  38%
Concerned about the impact on customer experience  31%
Don’t want to let staff go  29%
The options don’t seem like a good fit for all our faciliti(es)  19%
Learning the system(s) will be difficult or time consuming  17%
Don’t know which options to choose  17%
The options don’t work well with our existing systems  10%
Don’t fully trust the technology    6%

About one in four has adopted a new technology to enable outsourcing, including security, supply chain management, online management and AI. 

In the past year, have you adopted a new technology that enables you to outsource key operational functions for your self-storage faciliti(es)?
Base: 150
What type of system have you adopted that enables you to outsource operational functions? 
Base: 58   Of the 39% who have adopted a new technology for outsourcing, the type of system is… (Open-ended, coded responses)
Security System22%
Supply Chain Management21%
Online Management System14%
Artificial Intelligence (AI)10%
Customer Management  9%
Human Resources  3%
Logistics  3%
Cleaning Service  2%
Enterprise Resource Planning  2%
Marketing  2%
Technical Support  2%
Warehouse Management  2%

Section Question: 

Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

Self-storage owners, operators and managers overwhelmingly agree that new technologies in the storage business will make their job easier: 92% agree, including half (49%) who strongly agree.

New technologies in the storage business will make my job easier.
Base: 150
Strongly Agree  49%
Somewhat Agree  43%
Neither    6%
Somewhat Disagree    2%
Strongly Disagree    0%

Self-storage owners, operators and managers overwhelmingly agree that new technologies in the storage business will make their company more competitive: 92% agree, including half (53%) who strongly agree.

New technologies in the storage business will make our company more competitive.
Base: 150
Strongly Agree  53%
Somewhat Agree  39%
Neither    7%
Somewhat Disagree    1%
Strongly Disagree    0%

Similarly, roughly 1-in-4 are overwhelmed by the amount of new technologies that are available in the storage industry.

I am overwhelmed by the number of new technologies available in the storage industry.
Base: 150
Strongly Agree  10%
Somewhat Agree  16%
Neither  13%
Somewhat Disagree  41%
Strongly Disagree  21%

Owners, operators, and managers of self-storage faciliti(es) are most interested in new technologies that can increase their revenue (30%), improve the customer experience (24%) or increase yield on their units (22%).

Thinking about new technologies that support self-storage operations, which of the following is the most appealing benefit?
Base: 150
Increasing revenue overall  30%
Improving the customer experience  24%
Improving yield, or occupancy rate, of storage units  22%
Reducing operating costs other than staffing  13%
Reducing headcount (on-site staff)  11%

Managing inventory, security, improving efficiency and reducing operating costs are the top challenges owners, operators and managers offer spontaneously. 

What are the three biggest challenges you face regarding management of a storage facility?
Base: 150 (Open-ended responses, coded)
Managing Storage Spaces / yield or inventory30%
Safety and Security18%
Employee Issues16%
Maximizing Efficiency14%
Operating Costs14%
Collecting Payments12%
Customer Service10%
Equipment (non-technology)  6%
Customer Issues  5%
Lack of Storage Space  5%
Regulations  5%
Abandoned Units  2%
Business Development  2%
Capital  1%
Lack of Customers  1%
Lack of Time  1%
Location  1%
Logistics of Multiple Warehouses  1%
Maintenance  1%
Reviews  1%
Transparency  1%

27% of owners, operators, and managers say they would like to replace their current revenue management system.

If there is one piece of technology you wish you could replace, what would it be?
Base: 150
Revenue management system  27%
Property management system  26%
Marketing platform(s)  24%
Gate system  15%
Website    8%
What other options have you considered for operational support? 
Base: 150 (Open-ended, coded)
General Management15%
Inventory Management12%
Automated Systems11%
Warehouse Management11%
Security Measures  6%
Training  6%
Customer Service  5%
Supply Chain  4%
Logistics  3%
Outsourcing  3%
Safety Measures  2%
Advertising  1%
Blockchain  1%
Crisis Plans  1%
Customer Perks  1%
Data Systems  1%
Health Measures  1%
Investors  1%
Progress Tracking  1%
Quality Management  1%
Strategic Cooperation  1%
Warehouse Evaluations  1%


Do any of the following describe you?
Base: 149
Owner of multifamily / apartment building    1%
Operator of multifamily / apartment building    1%
Manager of multifamily / apartment building    0%
Owner of self storage facility  66%
Operator of self storage facility    7%
Manager of self storage facility  33%
Owner of commercial retail building    1%
Operator of commercial retail building    1%
Manager of commercial retail building    1%
None of these    0%
How many storage facilities do you own, operate or manage?
Base: 149
Is your company any of the following?
Base: 150
Small business with single owner70%
Multi-property owner15%
Real estate investment trust / REIT  7%
Operator only (not owner)  3%
None of the above  6%
What is the total square footage of the self-storage facilities you operate?
Base: 150
≤ 2000  24%
2001 – 5000  17%
5001 – 8000  14%
8001 – 15000  17%
≥ 15001  28%
How many employees do you have per building?
Base: 149
1 – 5  33%
6 – 10  20%
11 – 25  21%
≥ 26  26%
What is your company’s total annual revenue from self-storage rental? 
Base: 150
≤ $250K  29%
$250K-500K  18%
$500K-1M  21%
$1M-3M  11%
≥ $3M  21%
Do you have facilities in…
Base: 150
Urban areas  55%
Suburban areas or small towns  49%
Rural areas  11%
State(s) where own / operate self-storage facilities
Base: 150 (note: respondents could choose multiple states)
Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT)     23%
Southeast (DE, DC, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, VA, WV)     36%
Central South (AL, AR, KY, LA, MS, OK, TN, TX)     20%
Midwest (IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, NE, ND, OH, SD, WI)     17%
West (AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, NM, OR, UT, WA, WY)     14%
Are you:
Base: 150
Male  82%
Female  18%
Prefer to self-describe0%

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