A lot of people make a lot of money by investing in self-storage. How do you get started in it and collect mailbox money to put yourself into a different asset class and create retirement plans or a financial future that you’ve always wanted?
Today, Clint Coons of Anderson Business Advisors talks to Ryan Gibson, CIO of Spartan Investment Group, which has a half-billion under management and more than 300 million square feet of self-storage.
- What attracted Ryan to self-storage? 3 Es: Easy to own, easy to evict, easy to maintain
- Why did Ryan start Spartan? Less involvement and fewer restrictions from the government
- Is self-storage insulated from the economy? Self-storage tends to be recession resistant
- How did Ryan find and acquire his first deal? Off-market by sending letters to owners
- What due diligence did Ryan do? Learn about the industry from top operators
- Why did Ryan go the syndication route? To bring the opportunity to his investors
- What are the demographics for opportunities? Check demand, occupancy, underwriting
- Are there operators that handle the management of units? Yes, small and regional ones
- Is there a minimum size for evaluating units? Depends on price thresholds, expectations
- What should investors avoid? Flood zones, smaller properties, and overpriced facilities
- Is it worth it to build from the ground up? Yes, but the stakes are much higher
- What are the rents for self-storage units? $15 a square foot or higher per year
Full Episode Transcript:
Clint: Hey, what’s up, guys? It’s Clint Coons here. In this video, what I wanted to do is talk to you about self-storage investing. There are a lot of people that tell you how much money you can make in self-storage, and I have to be frank, I’m also invested in it. It’s a great asset class, but the key is how do you get into it?... Read Full Transcript
That’s the thing that challenged me at first. I didn’t know how to get started in self-storage because it was this whole other animal and it was really perplexing to me because I understand single-family and I do multi-family, but self-storage just kept eluding me.
Finally, I hooked up with an individual, became a client, and I found out when I started working with him, that he is just killing it in self-storage. In fact, he is the CIO of Spartan Investment Group. They have a half billion under management, and over 300 million square feet of actual self-storage.
In fact, it impressed me so much when I started looking at the company and what they were doing, I actually invested in them by way of full disclosure. I’ve made an investment into their self-storage and I did this because I realized, hey, I’m going to go to the experts. I just didn’t have the time to do it.
If you’re interested in self-storage, what I did is I asked Ryan if he could come on and spend a little time with me today to talk about what it takes to get started in self-storage so you can start collecting some of that mailbox money and putting yourself into a different asset class, and hopefully creating the retirement plans or the financial future you’ve been looking for. Ryan, thanks for joining me today.
Ryan: Thanks, Clint. Great to be here.
Clint: Perfect. I know you know our time is limited because you’re down there in Orlando and you’re getting ready to take your kids to Disney World. It was a big ask to get your wife to say yes. Don’t mind just giving us a little bit about your background. Let’s jump into what attracted you to self-storage?
Ryan: We love the fact that during the last four downturns in GDP, it maintained really great occupancy. We also like the three Es—easy to own, easy to evict, easy to maintain. We never have to do an eviction because the auction process gives us the right to move a tenant out and we don’t have the same restrictions that multifamily and single-family investing do. We never wanted to kick someone out of their home. We like that we don’t have to deal with people in their homes. We also like the fact that we’re on month-to-month leases and we can raise rents every month, which can help keep up with inflation, especially in today’s climate where inflation is probably double digits.
The last thing is just ease of maintenance and operations. We have 25,000 units and we have about maybe 25 toilets. If you had that many multifamily units, you’d probably have 50,000 toilets, so we loved the ease of operations. No countertops, cabinets, appliances, carpet, or things like that. It was just a really attractive asset class when we looked at all the different types of asset classes back in 2013.
Clint: If I’m going to take that and paraphrase that, what I’m hearing is you don’t have to deal with the government. There are no landlord-tenant laws that apply to you. You’re pretty much free to do what you want to make sure that your business is always making money. Is that one of the main attractions for you guys when you started this company?
Ryan: Absolutely. The one clarification is there are state laws, but as my business partner always says, no one cares about grandma’s dresser. When the pandemic hit, the government really wanted to protect people from being kicked out of their homes, which made sense, but nobody cares about the extra stuff in a storage locker so we don’t go under the same lens or the scrutiny of what the other asset class types get. I really like that.
When we went through the pandemic, we didn’t have any restrictions on who we could auction or raise rents or anything. We had none of that. I wouldn’t say that the government is completely out of it, but I would say they’re not touching it like they do other types of real estate.
Clint: Got it. You’re talking about the pandemic and about downturns and things like that. Just thinking about this as an asset class in someone’s portfolio or they’re looking to just get started in this. Would you say when the economy goes down—if we go into recession—is your business kind of insulated from that? When we come out of that and things are going strong, do you see gains on both sides or do you take a hit in one versus the other? I don’t know.
Ryan: I would say nothing out there is recession-proof, but I would say that self-storage tends to be recession resistant, meaning that usually when people use self-storage, it’s because they’re experiencing some bad life event.
They’re getting divorced, they’re relocating, they decided during the pandemic to pack up their stuff and move into an RV and travel the United States, or they were living in an urban setting and they decided to move out to a tertiary market, or out into the suburbs, or more rural market.
Or like me, my family was growing and I wanted to expand my home, and I needed self-storage while I had to move my stuff out while we were doing a home renovation.
I would say that self-storage is dependent on life events and when disruptions happen in the economy, self-storage is usually a beneficiary of those life events. When we had COVID, we had a global life event for a lot of people. Everybody underwent a lot of changes in their lifestyle.
One small story. I was standing in the airport in March of 2020 right when the global pandemic was starting and really kind of taking grasp. Airports were emptied out, and there was one person on my flight, and I had to ask the person hey, where are you going? There’s no one in the terminal. There’s a 200-seat airplane and you’re the only one on it. I’ve got to ask you, what is making you travel right now?
She said, well, my grandmother just passed away. I’m going down to Florida to move her stuff into storage and then just kind of sort through what we’re going to do. It really stuck with me because no matter what is happening, you’re going to have storage events.
I think what’s great now is convenience. It’s on every street corner. There’s actually more self-storage than all fast food chains combined and people know that self-storage exists, and it’s become commonplace in American society. They know they can just go down the road to their local storage and use a locker and it can make space.
One last thing I wanted to really hammer on is what happened during the pandemic. Everybody started to work from home. Everybody was forced to stay at home and now you have this house that you want to work out in. You got the Pelotons, you’ve got the rowing machines, you’ve got the mirror, so where are you going to put that? Well, you got to clear out a room. You have to make space for those types of things. You also might have to make way for an office at home.
With the rising costs of housing, guess what? You’ve got to make room for your stuff and you also want to keep your rent lower. Self-storage is just a great convenience and a great option.
I would probably say from a downturn perspective, in recent times, that’s what’s really helped it. Then obviously during good times, people buy toys, people buy boats, people buy all kinds of stuff they can’t fit in their garage. The statistic in storage is that 66% of Americans that use self-storage also have a garage. In good times and bad, it’s done pretty well.
Clint: Wow. Okay, so why don’t you tell us this? I’m curious because I haven’t heard this story. Your first deal, how did you find it? How did you acquire it? How did it turn out?
Ryan: We found our first deal off-market. I would say that the off-market is a big deal for us. The best projects we’ve had, we’ve found off-market. Just like residential, we would letter thousands and thousands and thousands of self-storage owners and try to be unique in our approach.
Our first existing self-storage was in Aspen. It was actually in Conifer, Colorado then we put it under contract in 2016. We were actually under contract for over a year because of zoning that we wanted to get approved before we actually purchased it.
We sent a letter to the owner. The owner liked our letter and he called us up. He was an 85 or so old man and also served in the military, similar to my business partner, Scott, so there was a bond there and he decided to sell the property to us.
It was really cool because he said hey, actually I will agree to sell this to you, but under one condition. I want to hold the note. I want to do seller financing because he didn’t want to pay the capital gains. He actually wanted the seller to carry back because of that so that was really cool. We didn’t even have to go to a bank and get a loan on it.
We said what’s important to you on this note? He said I just want to make X amount per month. We went back and studied an amortization table and figured out what was best for us. We approached him and said, how about a 4% interest rate and (I think) a 25-year amortization? Something like that. And he loved it.
He held back the note, we bought our first self-storage facility, and it was really cool. The project actually is in the mountains of Colorado. It’s called Aspen Park, Colorado, and literally at 8500-feet elevation, we had to use dynamite and we blew up the granite in the back of the property to build another 14,000 square feet.
It was 14,000 square feet existing and we added on 14,000 square feet. The property has been cash flowing to our investors well over 8% cash on cash paid monthly, which is really cool, 8% per annum. We’ve added a tremendous amount of value and equity to that deal over the last few years, just from raising rents, expanding the facility, and just operating it a little bit better.
One last little thing. What’s funny about the old mom and pops is he didn’t have the Internet connected to the facility. He had no revenue management. He had no online presence at all. He literally didn’t connect that facility to the Internet, so when we took over, we streamlined things quite a bit.
Clint: All right. It sounds easy, but let’s be frank, you said something there. We had it under contract. We had to do our due diligence. How do you know that? If I found a property I thought was going to be self-storage and I put it under contract, I wouldn’t really know what to look for. You kind of get a sense for how much money is coming in.
Then you said you did a raise, it sounds like, so you syndicated it. You just don’t fall out of bed one day and say, you see that property? I’m going to do my due diligence. I’m going to have that property, I’m going to syndicate, and I’m going to buy it within six months.
Ryan: We studied self-storage for three years before that deal.
Clint: Okay, what did you do? What did you study? Come on, tell us.
Ryan: As they say, a ten-year overnight success story. When we decided to go into self-storage, we didn’t know much about the industry, so we went to every single trade show, the ISS, the SSA. We went through seminars. We went through training tracks. We contacted the top operators in the United States and begged them for dinner appointments and to sit down with them and to learn from them.
We found friends, actually, in the local Seattle area that own self-storage and they were kind enough to show us how they ran their operation. We traveled the country for about three years and did nothing but learn self-storage. It’s not something we just dove into. That first deal took us like two years to find. It was a lot of work. It wasn’t just like we just rolled out of bed one morning and found self-storage.
The due diligence that we do, we actually share with everybody. If your listeners want to go to spartan-investors.com, there is a rate where it says invest in our values. Right below that, we have a due diligence tracker.
There are over 700 points, that’s all the things that we look for, why we’re under contract. Some of the things that we do before we put under contract, but that’s kind of our comprehensive list. You’ll find that not everything applies to every situation. If you’re not doing an expansion, you may not have to do a geotechnical study, for example.
We share that with our friends and investors. That’s kind of what you would do. We had a little bit of experience. We were developing ground-up condos and houses in Washington DC. From an entitlement and development standpoint, we had a prior experience in different real estate asset classes.
Clint: Got it, but then you funded it via a syndication. That’s a whole other component. Why would you go the syndication route if the guy is willing to owner-finance?
Ryan: He was willing to carry back, I think it was about 60% of the total purchase price. The other 40% we syndicated. We invested in that project ourselves, but we wanted to open it up to our investors. We have been talking to our investors about how we’re getting into self-storage and educating them on why we like it and why they should be interested in it.
We really wanted to bring the opportunity to our investors. So every single project we’ve ever done, we’ve shared with our investors, and we allow our investors to invest as little as $50,000 in each of our deals, and that’s basically why we did it and it’s been really great for them.
Clint: All right, then you give me some color now as to how this comes about. If I was considering going into self-storage, the first thing I’ve heard is that you better educate yourself. Spend some time to become familiar with that asset class, what it takes to find, or what it takes to run it, to determine whether or not the numbers work.
You probably recall that warehouse that my partner Toby and I purchased and we thought we would turn it into a self-storage facility. This is great, we’re going to make this self-storage. You said, yeah, I don’t know if I would do that if I were you. If I’m an investor and I want to get into this, what are some of the demographics of the areas or where should I look to find some opportunities?
Ryan: The easiest thing that you can do is check the occupancy surrounding your property. You want to do it within a five to ten-minute drive time and just see how the other operators are, see how full they are. Go to one of their locations and ask hey, I want to rent a unit and I want to run a 10×10 and see if they have any availability.
Go to every single property, check the occupancy at every single property—you could call as well—and just see how your competitors compare occupancy-wise to the subject property. If everybody’s full and per average unit size, everybody’s priced above your subject site, that might be able to prove a business plan that allows you to raise rents.
Then secondly, I always encourage people to do a feasibility study. Call up like a Bob Copper, or a Jay Graham, or somebody who in the industry does third-party feasibility studies and ask them to say, hey, can you do a desktop study for me and tell me if this is a good expansion opportunity or ground up if you’re building a new one, just to get a pulse on the investment.
I would probably say if you’re looking at a property, that would be the first couple of things I would do. If you don’t know how to underwrite, I would make sure that you hire someone that knows how to underwrite or you would learn that process. There are a lot, Clint, to be honest. When you guys brought us that deal, you guys were very sophisticated. You guys have hundreds, if not thousands of doors in your portfolio. Then obviously in your client’s portfolio, it’s massive, probably millions.
It’s really niche. It’s not hard, it’s just different. There are a lot of little nuances that you want to educate yourself on and know what you’re looking for and not completely rely on what the broker might be telling you or even the seller in that case. A lot of things to look for as far as demand, occupancy, underwriting, what your business plan is going to be and how you’re going to actually make a yield on that investment.
Clint: Okay, for those that don’t understand, when you say underwriting, what does that entail?
Ryan: You want to do four things. You want to figure out what’s your unit mix. How many 5x5s, how many 10x10s, how many 10x15s, 10x20s, et cetera, and you can do it on a spreadsheet. You have a tab on your spreadsheet and you run your unit mix. Now you know what unit sizes you have. Then you want to input what the rents are for those unit sizes. What is the seller collecting in those unit types?
Then you want to go into your assumptions on revenue and expenses, and then get your property tax expenses down. Talk to an insurance agent and see what the new insurance is going to be for coverage, specifically one that specializes in self-storage. You don’t want to just call any insurance broker. You want one that actually specializes in storage. That’s your revenue and expenses.
I always say the five things I look at revenue and expenses is how much revenue, what’s your expense-to-income gross ratio? If you’re making a dollar, how much are you spending to make that dollar? I want to see at least 40%, if not more, otherwise, it’s too light.
I always look at the property taxes because remember, when you buy that property you’re going to get reassessed at a higher rate, so your property taxes are going to increase when you buy it. You have to account for that in your financial underwriting, and your projections for how you’re going to do your business plan. Then insurance, make sure you’re well insured.
You have your unit mix and then you can say okay, this is what the seller is currently collecting on average for each unit mixe type. Then go to the market and say okay, what’s the average market getting on their unit mix type? You might find that my seller is charging $100 on average for a specific unit and the market is charging $130 for that same unit, and those properties are in worse condition than the sellers. You might look and hey, everybody is full. That might give you an opportunity to raise rents.
Then that might show you how you can make this opportunity run a little bit better. Of course, I’m assuming you’re a better operator, you know how to do marketing, you know how to answer the phone, and you know how to run a call center and all the things that go into self-storage.
That’s what I would map out in your underwriting. What’s your unit mix, what are your revenue assumptions, what are your expenses, and make sure that it reduces what you’re setting out and your return expectations overall on that investment. If you want to make a 15% return or something like that, you want to make sure that you’re getting those things.
Clint: Are there operators out there that would handle the management of the units?
Ryan: Absolutely. Your listeners and you probably heard of the big company called Public Storage. They’re the largest operator and owner in the world. They’ll do property management. The REITs will do property management for you. The Extra Space, CubeSmart, Store Quest, Public Storage, et cetera, all those operators will do third-party management. Then there are a lot of more regional or smaller operators that will run your property.
Here’s the thing, you just want to be careful because if the property is too small, you might have minimum property management that’s required that might wipe out all your profits. The property management has a minimum that they want to make on your property, and your property may not produce enough revenue to justify it and then another caution is just that the rates are good, but remember, they’re not motivated like you’re motivated.
There might be a little bit of an incentive misalignment because they care about a percentage of gross revenue. You care about the net profit. There might be a misalignment there so you just really have to make sure that you’re partnering with the right property management company, but they exist, they’re out there, and you can find the right one or you can try to do it yourself and that’s a whole nother thing.
Clint: Is there a minimum size someone should look for when they’re evaluating self-storage?
Ryan: It depends on what their price thresholds are and what their expectations are. If you want to justify third-party property management, I would look for facilities that have a $200,000 a year or greater gross revenue. That’s kind of the sweet spot for that because property management companies are going to want to charge minimally, probably $2500 a month to consider your property. That’s quite an expense. Then it goes up from there based on a percentage of gross revenue. Usually, it’s right around 6% is what the property management charges.
Clint: Got it. What are some things that you see it, you should absolutely avoid, turn around and walk, and not do anything? I’m sure you come across stuff like that you know by now hey, not even bother with that property.
Ryan: We kind of stay away from flood zones, but some people might not mind that. That’s just our preference. We look at demand. Income growth, job growth, and our ability to raise revenue and have rent growth, that is the thing that is making an investment successful. You want a rising market, a good market that produces that.
If you’re a mom and pop and you’re thinking about buying one self-storage, it’s 30 units, you think you’re just going to kind of put a revenue management system in place, and hire a third-party call center, that’s going to erode most of your income. Then if you try to run it yourself, you’re basically kind of buying yourself a job.
We avoid a smaller property. We want something that’s 40,000 (typically) square feet or greater, or something that produces (again) at least $200,000, if not more, gross income. I think we’re up to $400,000 as our cut-off. So that you can get the benefit of hiring somebody to run that property or you can get the benefit of hiring an external property management company, et cetera.
If you’re really trying to be passive, you want to avoid the really small properties. If you’re looking for something that you don’t want to run on your own and you want to be able to outsource, that’s a big thing.
You got to look at your demand study. You got to see if there are other pipeline facilities in your market. If there’s somebody building right down the street, 100,000 units or 100,000 square feet, guess what? You might have a really bad time raising your rent, producing more income, et cetera because you’re going to be fighting against somebody who’s trying to lease up their property. Getting that market study and understanding building permits in the pipeline, who your competitors are, that’s a really, really big thing.
We found really, really great deals. Then we show up in the market, we start doing our boots-on-the-ground research, and then it’s like, oh Uhaul is building a 150,000-square-foot facility down the street. I think that absorbs any excess demand and then it makes an oversaturated market, so that would probably be the biggest thing that turns us off on a regular basis.
Then really just the price. A lot of these facilities are overpriced. That’s why we look heavily off market because once it gets to the market, there are a lot of bidding wars, and overpricing is a big deal. Obviously, if it’s overpriced, even if there is a rent raise potential, you can be upside-down pretty quickly.
Clint: You said something that I picked up on. I think people that are watching this, listening to it should have heard that you don’t want to buy yourself a job. My sister-in-law is a realtor over in Idaho in the Coeur d’Alene area. She came to me about two years ago with a self-storage opportunity. It was about a seven cap and it was bringing in $35,000 a year. She’s like, look at this great opportunity. I said, yeah, but they’re owner-operators, so that’s not going to work for me because I live over in […] Harbor. We have to hire somebody. Really, I’m looking at a two or three cap.
Clint: And that’s key.
Ryan: That is so true because people are like wow, you guys are buying these at like a five cap. How are you making that work? That’s a really loaded question. Some people might say, well, look at this eight cap I found in the middle of New Mexico. It’s like yeah, okay, but you go there one time and now it’s a negative cap because what’s your time worth. I think that’s huge.
To think that you’re never going to go there, maybe you can figure that out, but we’ve done this 50 plus, 60 plus times now. You need to have boots on the ground. You need to have an understanding of your asset and how it operates, especially for your first one. If you’re just thinking about doing one, I would look for something that can justify property management or some kind of at least part time labor to go by.
We fully automate all of our properties and have a call center. You can book online and you can get gate codes and lock codes and all that to get in, but you still need somebody to sweep those units out to go buy the property. You’re always relying on somebody going there no matter what. Something is going to break, et cetera. To think that, I’m just going fully automated like I heard you can do. We do that anyway. We like to have stuff where you can still have a manager go by at least every once in a while and check up on the place.
Clint: How about building it from the ground up? Is that worth it?
Ryan: Absolutely. It’s funny, if I could choose what I would only look at as, I would only do ground-ups. I love ground-up development, but the stakes are much higher. If you do ground-up development, there’s a bigger payoff. It could be a bigger payoff, but the stakes are much higher.
There’s a lot of risk in ground-up development and if you’re not looking at it with a sophistication of entitlement, challenges, cost of permits, what the fire code is, and what you’re going to be required to do for sprinklers, or just what the design review elements might be, you might be in for a pretty full-time job trying to get your site approved.
Once you build your site, that’s great. You’re open and you’re empty. I always tell people, you could build this big beautiful $8 million facility. Now you have an $8 million facility with no tenants in it so you better have done your homework many years ago on market study and market demand because you’re staring down the barrel of a big loan with no revenue. There’s a lot of risk in it, but there’s a big payoff if you can find a site that you can entitle and build at a great cost and a market that’s underserved. That could be a really great thing.
We’ve made the most amount of equity in our portfolio from our ground-ups, pound-for-pound, but it came with a lot of work. Just know that you might want to go to the ISS, which has a development track you can take. I would tour as many as you can. I would talk to people who built these before. The lending environment is more challenging, et cetera, on ground-up development.
Here’s the thing about ground-up development that I just want to throw out there. It’s hard to make them pencil now because construction costs are up. I was just at the best ever conference and somebody came up to me and said, hey, we have this site in Utah and I want to do a ground-up development. I said, well, what are the rents per square foot on an annual basis? They said $8–$10 and I said, don’t do it. We don’t look at anything that isn’t $15 a square foot per year or higher.
It’s hard because construction costs are up and it’s not based on a certain market. It’s just more expensive for metal. It’s harder to find labor and materials so you’ve got to have at least $15 annual rents. The only ground-up construction we’re doing right now is actually $25 rents and that’s just outside of Portland. That’s kind of my disclaimer on ground-up, but I love ground-up developments. They’re great.
Clint: I’ve heard people talk about that as a possibility. The other thing I hear a lot is buying self-storage and hey, there’s such demand for RV parking and boat storage, and I’m just going to kill it by leasing out space to people that have these types of vehicles. What are your thoughts?
Ryan: There is so much demand for RV and boat storage and here’s why. Land is too expensive to justify boat and RV storage. I’m making a generalization. There are definitely edge cases in certain markets where you can build boat storage and make a killing, but generally, if you think about what’s required for an RV stall or a boat stall, it’s like 12×50 feet, if you have one of those big class ARVs.
You’re really only going to collect, in a best-case scenario, maybe $200, $300 a month and that’s a lot of square footage that you’re absorbing on that property to collect $200 or $300 a month. If you think about it, a 10×10 in that same market could go for as much as $200 or $150 a month. Think about how many 10x10s you can put on a 12×50 space.
The rent per square foot is typical—again, I’m using just really rough wet wags—about half. If you can build and there’s demand for storage, it always makes more sense to build the storage and not do the RV parking. Having said that, we have thousands and thousands of boat and RV parking stalls in our portfolio. The reason why they’re there is that we can’t justify building additional units there because the rents aren’t high enough.
We have this excess land and it works out great. We can put RVs and boats there, and it’s just ancillary revenue that we wouldn’t have otherwise received and it cost us nothing to do it. That’s usually where it makes sense and not from a standpoint of I’m going to just build a boat and RV storage. Your cost of the land is probably going to be really high and your cost to build and grade, may be put in canopies, if you’re going to do that, it’s really challenging to get that done. You’re going to have a tough time making it pencil, but you might make a pencil in some markets.
Clint: We had that conversation a while back, intuitively I thought you’d make a ton of money with all these boats and RVs out there, and then when you put it in that context, I realized yeah, that’s stupid. Just shut up, Clint, and leave it to the experts.
Ryan: As I said, it could work. I’m not saying it wouldn’t. I don’t want to make a broad statement about it, but generally it’s like if you can build storage, just build as much storage as possible.
Clint: Hey, man, I know you’ve got things to do down there. I appreciate you taking some time out of your family, time to come on here. Your company, just so everyone knows, as I said I’ve invested with Spartan on a few of their deals, and they are experts at what they do, they know it. I’ve been actually a little bit on the inside and see what’s been going on.
If you’re thinking about getting into self-storage, which after listening to this you’d think, oh, I don’t want to do it on my own. I want to work with an operator that has a proven track record and has the knowledge on how to find these deals. You may want to reach out and contact them.
I’m going to put your information in the show notes. Actually, I’m going to put down the stuff you were talking about, ISS and those other names you mentioned, how people can get a hold of them if they want to go in on their own. It’s all going to be there.
Is there anything, in particular, you want to tell people, right here to close it out, about self-storage or about working with Spartan that you think they need to know?
Ryan: No. I would just say, check out our education. We put a lot of stuff out there on the Internet for free. We talk about how we put deals together. We have our webinars on our YouTube channel. We have a learn page on our website. We don’t have a mastermind or anything. We just kind of share with the world what we do and I think you can learn a lot from that. You also learn a lot from being in our projects.
When we first got into space, our first storage deal, we invested with another operator, and we learned a ton because we put our money in and now you’re paying attention because you’ve got money on the line. We really dug into the financials and we dug into how the operator did it. I think that kind of investing in the space, whether it be passive or active, definitely passive, kind of gives you that front-row seat to the action without actually having to jump up on stage and run around and fix things.
Ease into it, I would say. As I said, we spent a lot of time getting educated, and then we took action by investing in it with another operator, and then the rest is history. We really have grown quite a bit since then, so it’s a great way to kind of get started in space.
Clint: Last question. It just came to mind. Let’s assume that I found what I thought might be a really good deal off-market. If I brought that to you, would there be a way, do you ever do that where you partner with someone that finds it? I realize I have to give up a lot to get that expertise but to show me what needs to be done. Do you guys do that anymore?
Ryan: Yeah, we wouldn’t JV per se. Just mostly from the standpoint of we do all the property management. We have our own construction company. We have our own asset managers. We have a team of over 100 people now, so we really don’t need someone to kind of help us, but you would learn a lot. I would say that by selling a deal to us or if you want to get an assignment for it, we would definitely do that.
If you wanted to maybe contribute some of that back into the deal—not required—be passive, and learn about how we reposition the property, we would be more than happy to help the investor along the way, really kind of learn how we put it together. The next time you can decide I’m going to flip it to Spartan or maybe I’m going to try this one on my own. I think you can learn a lot from that.
Clint: That’s what I really like about what you’re all doing is you have the Anderson approach, which is just pull back the curtain, show everyone what it is you’re doing, create your own competitors if you want to look at it that way. You’re so good at what you do that it’s hard for people to really copy where you’re at at this point in time, but there’s plenty of room in the space.
Clint: Again, thanks for being on. I appreciate and I hope you enjoy your time down there at Disney World.
Ryan: All right, thanks, Clint. Thanks for having me.