Take a tour of the basement with the superintendent and managing agent. Examine all the rooms — noting each room's dimensions and whether there are overhead pipes, support beams, and possible leaks — so you can determine the best space in which to build the storage facility.
Don't Rush In
Ask a professional storage bin company to survey the room or rooms and submit a free proposal, which lays out how many storage bins can fit in each room and their size.
Next, survey the building's residents to see how many would be interested in renting storage space. Depending on the survey's results, as well as the maximum number of bins that can be constructed, you'll be able to determine how much to charge for each bin.
Build, Baby, Build
When you're ready to build, you have two options. You can either hire a contractor to build and rent the bins, or hire a contractor to just build them so that you can lease the bins to residents yourself.
Typically, if you have a contractor handle both construction and leasing, it costs you nothing upfront. But it means they keep as much as 75 percent of the total revenue, with the remaining percent going to the building.
This agreement generally lasts 10 to 15 years, and you should make sure the agreement stipulates whether or not your building gets to keep the storage bins once the agreement expires.
The flip side is for you to pay a contractor to build the storage facility upfront, but then receive 100 percent of the revenue.
Before you rent out the storage bins, have the building's counsel prepare a storage bin lease. The lease should include essential provisions that includes, but is not limited to, the following:
You must also address several practical problems:
Despite all the moving pieces and all the preparation involved in building a storage facility, the potential payoff in the long run is well worth it.
Adapted from "Is There 'Gold' in Our Basement?" by James Goldstick and James Samson (Habitat, February 2008)
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