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Major Takeaways from Self-Storage Workshop Discussions

Recently there was a very informative three-day self-storage workshop put on by Scott Meyers. Scott has been doing self-storage for 10+ years and has grown quite a successful business along with his coaching / mentoring programs where he partners with students to help them with end to end acquisition, turning around the property and exit strategies. He has put together an “A” team of support mentors, most of whom are successful students that have been through his program. Several successful students presented their cases (experiences) with the attendees. Many highlighted the fact that it’s just like any other business where you need to understand what you are doing, get the right support, work hard and smart but prior experience is not required. It may not be a sexy business but the returns sure can be attractive.

Benefit from Mentoring and Coaching Programs

At the self-storage workshop, there was a women entrepreneur from Canada that purchased a property in Tennessee and who actually lives right on site to get her hands into everything including renovations and dealing with the renters directly in order to really learn everything about the business. She said you would not believe what was going on in that place before she got there which include someone living in one unit and another one prostituting herself out of another unit. This owner had no prior experience but with Scott and his team’s help she turned the eyesore around and made it into a profit-making machine. She was ready to market the asset and move on to the next project in just over a year.  She turned a $600K purchase into a million-dollar asset by tidying up the place, doing necessary renovations, and improving operational efficiencies that increased occupancy and rents.

Different Programs for Different Needs

Scott has various programs to meet the needs of his students. His high-end program costs $100K but targets only a limited number of students where you are in a direct partnership with Scott and he and his team hold your hand through the entire process. Scott takes 20% as a partner position while the student gets 80%. Despite the cost, they guarantee that you will purchase a property and be involved in all aspects of the project. This includes gaining access to their myriad of key partners such as specialty self-storage lenders and property managers to ensure your success.

There are other programs as well and one that was of particular interest was their mastermind group. This appealed to me because my two main motivations for attending was to get educated in this niche while networking with successful students and mentors who are piecing together attractive businesses who may need private equity to fund their acquisition plans. The mastermind group meets monthly (quarterly in person) and is run by Scott. The purpose is to bring deals and dollars together. Scott told me that they recently had 12 deals funded for $27M so this is a serious game. What attracted was the fact that this would expose me to a variety deals to analyze and accelerate my knowledge on what good deals look like while providing an opportunity to meet successful deal sponsors that may need capital from my growing investor base. The program costs around $25K.

How to get started in Self Storage Investing

For those wanting to get started, I believe attending a self-storage workshop like Scott’s program is worthwhile. You don’t have to feel pressured to sign up for anything but it’s worth exploring the niche further, see what success looks like, and how experts can get you there faster. I am usually skeptical about mentoring programs and coaching but having seen success in my multi-family apartment business as a direct result of hiring a coach to not only teach me the area but also provide opportunities to gain hands on experience, it has really made all the difference to me.

The one thing also that folks overlook or don’t think about are the new friendships and relationships that are formed with other like-minded participants at these workshops and seminars. Coming out of this meeting one might find a number of promising contacts that are already operating in the business of self-storage and who are looking to folks like myself who are interested in the area and have investors eager to help them grow their business in exchange for providing attractive returns on their investments.

Hottest Real Estate Investment Niche

Scott mentioned a few things to consider. One, self-storage is clearly the hottest area to be in today if you look at all the various real estate market niches.

Returns clearly are stronger than any other asset class and this has history behind it. You can play in this game as an operator or as an investor. With focus, passion and hard work all things are possible. One of Scott’s favorite lines for me, as he’s a racing care fanatic (Indy 500 as he’s based in Indianapolis) is that “F1 cars go faster when they are lighter, so taking things away instead of adding things makes all the difference”. Ponder that one. Beware of the shiny object syndrome. Find a focus area you are passionate about like self-storage, get a coach, invest in yourself, put the work in, be coach-able and anything is possible.

At LWS Investments, we target investments that are expected to deliver attractive risk-adjusted returns over the life of the project. Share this post with others so that they can get the inside scoop on investing in apartments.

Have questions or comments about investments in the Denver area? Leave your questions in the comments below or contact me directly for more information. I’d love to hear from you!

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