Beep beep! If you’re building a new storage facility or renovating an existing property, you may be considering adding more indoor or outdoor parking spaces for RVs, boats, and vehicles. RV sales are on the rise, and there are tons of benefits to RV storage - for one, you’ll be able to jump ahead of other storage competitors in search results by catering to more specific search queries, and two, you’ll be able to charge a premium rate for specialty storage amenities like 24-hour access, trailer wash bays, camper dump stations, and boat detailing. Plus, all you need to get started is extra space and an understanding of what RV and boat owners want from a self storage facility.

So how big of an investment should you make into RV and boat storage? Take the short quiz below to find out if RV, camper, boat, and vehicle storage is right for your storage facility. Be sure to keep track of your earned points for each question. When you’re finished, tally up all your points to get your score and find out if marketing to outdoor enthusiasts and vehicle owners is a good choice for your storage facility.

Let’s begin!

1. My storage facility’s outdoor aisles are ______ wide.

      20’ to 30’ (1 point)

      30’’ to 40’ (3 points)

      40’ - 50’ (5 points)

Why it matters:

RVs, boats, and camper trailers are large and difficult to maneuver, and narrow aisles and driveways just won’t do. Easy drive-throughs and parking areas are important in making your storage facility accessible to regular folks who probably aren’t experts at driving such a large vehicle. Many RV and boat storage facilities utilize medium sized aisles of 30 to 40 feet for all RVs, boats, and vehicles. The largest RVs (Class A motorhomes) range from 26 - 45 feet in length, and these vehicles may need a 50’ driveway for painless parking. Of course, the larger your driveways, the more space your RV and boat storage units will take up, and the higher cost per square foot these units will need to bring in to justify the size of the space. If you’re building a site with extra-large units and driveways, you might want to consider adding premium amenities like climate control, 24-hour access, firewood sales, and wash/dump bays to increase the value of your units so you can charge a higher ongoing rent rate.

2. True or False: My extra-large units and/or parking spaces are in high demand.

      True! (3 points)

      False. (1 point)

Why it matters:

This is simple: if you’re not currently seeing a high-demand for extra-large spaces that can hold a boat, camper, or vehicle, then it’s not a smart idea to add even more hard-to-fill units to your property. If you’re experiencing high occupancy in your extra large indoor storage units or current mix of RV, boat, and vehicle parking, it makes sense to assess the need to add more extra large storage space.

3. My storage business is located within _______ of popular outdoor recreation areas.

      One hour or less. (5 points)

      Two hours or less. (3 points)

      Three hours or less. (1 point)

Why it matters:

Location is key to a successful RV and boat storage business. If you’re in close proximity to lakes, state parks, campgrounds, national parks, or popular waterfront areas, you’re in an ideal location to cater to tenants needing boat and camper storage. The exception is large metro areas: large metro areas that aren’t close to water or recreation areas can still operate profitable RV and boat storage facilities because many families live far from outdoor recreation areas but want to store their boat or camper close to home. If you’re the closest big city to an outdoor recreation area (even if it’s two or more hours away), you might still be in a great market for RV and boat storage. If you’re in a community with tough winters and plan on adding RV storage, consider offering temperature or climate-controlled spaces. RVs and boats are expensive toys, and northern owners know the struggle of keeping a RV or boat in good shape while enduring harsh weather.

4. True or False: My storage facility has (or will have) 24-hour access.

      True! (5 points)

      False. (1 point)

Why it matters:

When the fish are biting, everyone’s going to want to head out to the lake early. Plus, all the good camping spots are taken if you’re late to the park on fourth of July weekend. Your RV and boat tenants are going to want to pull up to your facility before sunrise, hook up their boat or camper trailer, and drive out to the lake for a long weekend of fun and relaxation, without having to worry about obtaining special early access or calling a manager. 24-hour access makes it easy for renters to enjoy mini-vacations by picking up their RV or boat early on Friday mornings and returning it late on Sunday nights. Consider allowing renters to swap out their RV for their car to make things even more efficient - it’s ideal if they can park their vehicle on your property safely while they take the motorhome out for the weekend.

5. My facility’s security is...

      Very effective - I’ve got all the latest bells and whistles, like motion sensor cameras, cloud access control, tall       perimeter fencing, bright lighting, and partnerships with local police. (5 points)

      Effective - My storage facility features standard security measures, such as gated access and security cameras, and       we haven’t had any problems with our current security. (3 points)

      Not effective - My property has outdated security or very few security features, and I’d like to upgrade my facility’s       security in the near future to prevent theft and illegal activity. (1 point)

Why it matters:

When you have hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of RVs, boats, and campers parked on your property, it’s very important to keep a close eye on them at all times. If you’re looking to add RV storage to your facility, having top of the line security is crucial to your success. Your renters will expect modern gate access, 24-hour video monitoring, and secure fencing and bright lighting. But you can make their choice an easy one by adding more security features for your RV storage spaces, such as personalized key fobs, individual unit alarms, and relationships with local police who are willing to cruise through your facility after hours to keep watch. Your security features will give your top-paying RV and boat tenants peace of mind that their assets are safe inside your storage property.

6. True or False: I require (or will require) autopay at my storage facility.

      True! (3 points)

      False. (1 point)

Why it matters:

More and more storage owners are requiring autopay for storage unit rentals and rejecting cash payments altogether. If you’re offering premium storage spaces for RVs and boats, your rent rates should reflect that and RV tenants should be expected to pay on time. Rent typically ranges from $100 to $125 a month for an extra-large canopy-covered parking space. For indoor storage of RVs and boats, rent usually falls in the $125 to $150 a month range or higher. To keep rent coming in consistently, many owners also allow renters to secure their space for the season at your facility by prepaying for storage months in advance. If you’re offering month-to-month rentals of your RV and boat units, it’s a good idea to protect your investment by ensuring tenants are setup to pay their bill on-time every month with autopay.

7. My storage business has _________ self service tools for tenants.

      Many (5 points)

      Some (3 points)

      Few (1 point)

Why it matters:

Self-service tools like online bill payments, electronic lease signatures, online unit rentals, autopay, and login portals for account management make life easier for your tenants. In fact, most consumers prefer using online self-service tools over human contact when interacting with companies. Self-service tools make your storage website more user-friendly and actionable for tenants - they can find the information they need, learn more about your services, and make an action without ever leaving their home. It’s all about convenience, and you’ll find most of your RV and boat tenants would be happy to pay a little extra for a more convenient self storage experience.

8. True or False: I’m interested in RVing, camping, and boating culture and I’d like to get more involved in the recreational scene in my community.

      True! (5 points)

      False. (1 point)

Why it matters:

RV and boat storage is a niche offering, and to keep your units full year-round, you’ll need to build relationships within the recreational community. You don’t necessarily need to own your own boat or go camping every summer to be an RV storage expert. By going to your local outdoor expo, getting to know RV and boat dealers nearby, and learning more about your recreational renters’ needs, you’ll be able to establish yourself as the go-to RV and boat storage facility in your area. Get to know other RV and boat specialists in your area and learn all you can about towing, RV maintenance, boat docking and maintenance, and long-term camper storage and care to become an authority in the space. Make your website a mecca for RVers and boaters in your area by including maintenance checklists, information about local campgrounds and state parks, and more.


Ready to see your results? Start your engines...

Score of 30 or more: Your setup is ideal for RV and boat storage.

Way to go! Your business is well-prepared to offer high-quality RV and boat storage to your customers. You understand that RV and boat storage tenants have unique needs and higher expectations for self storage, and you’re willing to cater to them to provide an exceptional rental experience. If you haven’t already started offering RV and boat storage at your facility, it might be the perfect time to get started. Research the market in your area to find out if outdoor parking, canopy parking, indoor units, or indoor, temperature-controlled units are the right fit for your facility and your RV tenants.

Score of 20 - 29: Adding RV storage is something to look into for your property!

If you’ve been considering adding RV storage, you might be onto something. Your score indicates that you’re well-suited for RV storage, but there’s always room to improve. To make sure your investment into RV and boat storage space is a successful one, we recommend further research into your target market, building relationships with other RV and boat storage businesses in your area, and re-evaluating your facility’s technology and amenities to see if you can add more value for your future RV and boat storage tenants.

Score of 19 or less: RV and boat storage might not be right for your business.

Your score indicates your facility is facing a few challenges in adding RV and boat storage. But don’t be too discouraged - you might still be able to turn it around! Find out where you’re lacking and what you can do to increase your facility’s marketability to RV and boat tenants. If you’re lacking in self-service tools or modern security, consider upgrading your technology to be more convenient for your renters. If there isn’t a strong market for RV and boat storage in your community, you can still offer specialty storage options. Check out our other resources on niche storage to find ideas for your facility!

Thanks for reading! If you liked this blog post, you may also like: 7 ways to boost the value of your RV and boat storage facility, 4 niche storage ideas to explore for your new build, and What’s missing from your boat & RV marketing?