Do you want to enjoy a lifestyle free from tenants, toilets, and trash? Maybe it’s time to invest in the self-storage business. Today, Michael Bowman of Anderson Business Advisors and Bowman’s Business Brief talks to Scott Meyers of Self-Storage Profits, Inc., which offers educational courses, events, and mentoring/coaching.
After becoming a penniless landlord in the single-family rental and apartment business, Scott began investing in self storage. He quickly sold all his single-family rentals and apartments to create a small empire of self-storage facilities nationwide. Scott focuses on syndicating self-storage deals and helping others launch their own self-storage business.
- What’s Scott’s story and evolution into investing? Shifted from being a hobby to business, but not as much cash flow and free time as anticipated
- What was the first downturn that Scott experienced? During the tech bubble and recession in 1999-2000, when most of his tenants left to buy their own homes
- Why are self-storage facilities in demand? During economic downturns, people lose their jobs, times are tough, and extra stuff is moved into storage until things turn around
- What are the details of self storage? Scott talks to and teaches people about the benefits of self storage and what not to do
- Why did Scott decide to teach others about self storage? Divine calling and mission field due to his story being similar to others struggling in real estate
- Is funding available for self storage? There’s no shortage of lending sources and supplying money flowing into self storage
- What are Scott’s tips and tricks to getting into self-storage business? Start sooner than later, know how to value market, evaluate numbers, get mailing lists to send out mailers, talk with brokers, and find facilities
- Why isn’t Scott afraid of aggregators? Nobody’s forcing owners to use aggregators; look at the market, Websites, traffic, and placement to spend money that draws people in
- What is Scott’s Self Storage Evaluator? Underwriting software that analyzes storage facilities and shows about 150 income and expense categories and calculations
Full Episode Transcript:
Michael: Welcome, everybody. This is Michael Bowman. This is the Bowman’s Business Brief. Today, I’m very excited because I’ve been trying to get Scott Meyers on the phone or at least on the podcast or the webinar for a long time now. In fact, I’ve known about Scott through a mutual friend. I always heard great things from clients. Also, I saw him live.... Read Full Transcript
To give you a little background of why I pressed so hard to get Scott on the podcast, I was watching him. One of my associates, Chuck Hall, comes up to me and says, “Hey, Michael. This guy is spot on. This guy’s legit.” In a mouth of two or three witnesses, I think all I needed was him confirming my suspicions that Scott was on to something. I love the way that Scott has a different point of view than most of the investing guru. I don’t even think Scott calls himself an investing guru.
I’d like to welcome Scott Meyers to our podcast. Scott.
Scott: Hey, Michael. Thanks for having me.
Michael: Absolutely. Thanks for being here. I think that the way you look at things and the way you are, your personality, it really conveys that you’re into helping people. If anybody wants to look at Scott, you can go to selfstorageinvesting.com and you can read his background. I think you’ll get the gist of why I feel the way I do about Scott.
Scott: Thanks, Michael. I appreciate that. I guess we don’t know how to do it any other way. We businesses as an opportunity to serve. At the end of the day, if you’re not serving your clients and doing it well, you’re either: (a) not going to be in business very long, or (b) you’re certainly not going to last in a downturn when everybody and all their flaws are revealed. We just continue to do what we do and the only way we know how to do it.
Michael: Yeah. It’s always amazing to me that people have a scarcity mentality. I have always thought that there’s enough pie for everybody. There’s not a limited amount of pie. We’re all in this together. I know that our clients are different types of people than the people who go to 9:00–5:00, get a paycheck, and that’s all they really care about. Our people want to make more money, help other people to make more money, and diversify. It’s always good to find another member of our tribe out there, for sure.
Scott: Agreed, Michael, and once again, I think now is very, very, timely. They were having this conversation so that I’ll let you lead the way. We can go back and forth, give our take where we are right now, and maybe what to expect.
Michael: The timing could’ve been better. In fact, this sounds weird but I’m glad that we waited so long or we just couldn’t connect and get our schedules aligned because now more than ever, I think that the way you look at things is a way that a lot of people need to start looking at things. A lot of people—I’m like you; I’m stealing your lines, Scott—who are in real estate want to get away from tenants and toilets.
Scott: Yup. That’s right.
Michael: And your mental paradigm shift is a great example for everyone else. Scott, I’ve read your background. I’ve talked to you a few times. I have followed up with other people about you. I know you. I feel like I’m a little bit of a stalker—don’t get creeped out—but in a good way. Can you just run through your story, what you saw, and your evolution in investing?
Scott: Sure. I’ll try to condense this in terms of what’s pertinent now and where we’ve been, and that is starting out. Like many folks in real estate, have a business and some have hobbies, if you will. I started buying single-family rental houses to supplement retirement back in 1993. We’d fix them up, refinance them, pull a little bit of cash out, and then put a renter in there, usually a lease-to-own program with the hopes of, at some point, they may buy the property. If not, then that was okay as well.
Continued to do that for several years but then realized that the gurus that I listened to, the books that I read—funny you mentioned that earlier, Michael—there wasn’t as much cash flow and free time as I had anticipated. I thought once I do this full time, I better ramp it up if I truly want to reach those goals. Once I did become a full-time real estate investor.
We started buying apartment complexes. We had several apartments here in Central Indiana, where I’m from, living in Fishers, Indiana which is right outside of Indianapolis. All it did was really compound the problem and magnify that. Now, I have almost 450 units in apartments and in single-family homes.
Then, came the first downturn that I experienced. That was during the tech bubble and the recession that followed it in 1999 and 2000. That one was particularly rough on those of us in real estate that had more of a renter model in mind rather than a retail model. I was a landlord. I had lots of tenants.
In order to get the economy reinvigorated again, the president at that time put out the Community Reinvestment Act which was the precursor to the 2008 recession because the Community Reinvestment Act was the act that allowed all these folks walk into the bank, who could fog a mirror, essentially get a loan, and roll their debt and credit into that.
That occurred for a number of years while we got out of that recession. During that time immediately, my tenants were leaving and buying homes. Who could blame them? It was the best time in history that they could become homeowners. This act allowed them to […] 100% loan-to-value, jam all their credit cards in there, any other debts, school debts, cars, you name it and the government would back it.
Fast forward several years later, all those loans were bundled up and sent up to Wall Street. We know what happened during this second one.
Michael: Yeah. I think a couple of dogs even got some loans for […] back then.
Scott: Dogs, people. Boy, you name it. Yeah.
As we were fighting through that, we have rehabbed these homes, spent $5000–$10,000 to rehab them, to make them rent-ready, and now we have to go back through and do that again except spend $10,000 to $15,000 to $20,000 to rehab them, to get the highest after-repair value, to now sell them, to take advantage of what was going on. Otherwise, we were destined to go down the toilet. No pun intended.
What we did is we turned that around, sold all of our houses, and many of our apartment complexes. Then, I started getting into self storage and saw the light when I could buy a self storage facility and have people move their stuff in. If they don’t pay rent, we put a lock on their unit and you sell their stuff off. You recoup your back rent and all your late fees. No tenants, no toilets, no trash, just a metal box on a concrete slab to clean out when we’re done.
I thought, where has this Cinderella asset class in real estate been all my life? At that point, we begin selling off the rest of our apartments while simultaneously building our portfolio of self storage facilities. It was during that time that we endured the second crash in 2008. Fortunately, we were out of apartments at that time and now have self storage facilities.
I say another unfortunate event is that we didn’t have the cash. We didn’t have the equity partners that we do now to be able to take advantage of what happens in the big land grab that […] real estate investors can make during a recession. The good news is we have self storage and there’s a rush to self storage during a recession like we’re seeing already. That is because when we do have a downturn economy, people lose their jobs, times are tough, businesses are tough, and individuals move back in with their parents or move in with each other’s spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, and then the rest of the extra stuff goes into storage until things turn around.
Businesses do the same. They sublease their space or maybe give it up for a time frame or close the doors when they put their stuff in storage—inventory and furniture—until things turn around again.
Storage, any time we go through a recession, the past four, essentially the storage has really been a business and recognized as part of the economy, it’s really in the top five. It’s always almost been in the top five in terms of sectors of the economy that benefits during a recession. Of course, we all know liquors are always number one. It has been every single recession. No surprise.
Self storage is always on the top five because we have that perfect storm where businesses and people are downsizing and at the same time the banks are tightening their lending. They still make loans, although at a slow pace on existing rental real estate that has the historical track record but new developments, speculative development, funding, just about those, by the wayside.
We have the perfect storm of huge demand and little supply in the marketplace. Self storage always does extremely well during a downturn. We’re already seeing hints of that. Our storage facilities are leasing up in a good clip. Thankfully, we’ve got funding in place for the development projects we have right now. Every real estate and investment prognosticator says they knew this was coming. While we’ve all known it’s been coming, it’s been three years overdue.
Michael: I just had that same conversation with a colleague of mine. Everyone knew it was coming. We just didn’t know when it was coming. We thought we’ve had a drunken party last for the last decade. We know these things are cycles. We just didn’t know it was going to come in the form of a virus.
Scott: No. Again, like the last one, we thought that happened quickly. When Lehman Brothers fell, we all knew it happened. Immediately, we were thrown into a recession. The domino started falling within days. We thought that we’re not in an economy that is falsely propped up like the last time. It’ll happen but it should happen a little more gradually and we were prepared.
Certainly, we’ve seen signs of that in the bond market, recreational vehicles, and other luxury goods, sales being down. There have been signs in the stock market with the yield curve for a while. Once again, we didn’t think that we’re going to get caught by heading off the cliff, whereas in a matter of weeks the entire world economy has been thrown into a recession and deep into it.
Here we sit, thankful, that I’m in self storage, but once again navigating somewhat unchartered waters as this one feels a bit different this time around.
Michael: Yeah. I’m going to play—this is going to be horrible—like a dummy. I’m going to ask you some questions. I talk to some other investors out there. A lot of people don’t know the details of self storage. Let’s, maybe, go to self storage for dummies a little bit. I’ve got some other questions here just going through and researching self storage that I have and play this like a layperson. Then, you can expound on the topics that I’m asking.
Michael: The first thing, was it tough to change your mindset before your doors, tenants, toilets, and things like that? Was it tough getting information out there about self storage? The follow-up to that question is one of the things that caught my ear and I verified with some of your clients, is that you like to teach people what not to do and drawing on the mistakes you’ve made. If people are interested in getting into self storage, how did you have the mental paradigm shift? You can take it from there.
Scott: We’ll handle the first one first, Michael, that is how do you get (I guess) the difficult message out or the message out to folks that it’s maybe falling on deaf ears. I failed to mention along the way in my long bio there that we do have two businesses, essentially. One is investing and investing in self storage since 2005. And along about 2008 is when we launched our education camp. I used to run a local real estate investor association here in Indianapolis and started teaching workshops. It really took off after that by producing home study courses, software, and live events.
To answer that first question which you were asking, how do we get the information out? How does that message fall on folks that are, perhaps, investing or not investing at all in real estate? It wasn’t easy. I’ve been talking about the benefits of self storage for years. That’s kind of the whole basis of our education company. It’s the top 10 reasons why to invest in self storage.
No fault of folks because I was in that exact same, I guess you can call it a track, Michael. I was moving up the real estate ladder. Buying houses, then apartments, then multiple units, and more commas and zeros, millions of dollars in real estate. We were looking to get into higher class multifamily and who knows? Maybe office buildings. I did buy an office building, cold storage, and warehouses.
When self storage came along, I thought, you mean them garages? Why? Why would I take a step back and want to invest in a bunch of metal boxes and concrete slabs?
Michael: Not too glamorous. It’s not like a fix and flip, and you come out with a beautiful product. It’s a lot less glamorous. A metal door and concrete walls.
Scott: Yeah. Even the folks that I talk to now when I still go out and speak in some of these large venues and to large groups of investors, it’s just not glamorous. It’s just not sexy. Some people turn away. Many folks get out, go to the bathroom, and never come back. And that’s fine. It ain’t sexy but you know what’s sexy? That’s cash flow.
Scott: Self storage cash flows. You know what’s even more sexy right now? I won’t say it’s recession-proof, but this is the most recession-resistant sector of all real estate, period. Bar none. If we were on a webinar or if I could hop online, invite anybody out to do this after this, go take a look.
Historically, you can look back. Just look up recession-proof real estate and up will come self storage of anything on self storage during a recession. You’ll see not only articles and narrative, but you’ll see the stats. Self storage does extremely well during a recession. That’s all I needed to give up my tenants and toilets and begin teaching people about that. I can be proud of a beautiful looking self storage facility that throws off a lot of cash. It doesn’t have to have a lot of tenants, of toilets, and trash in it, the beautiful signs out front, fountains, and landscaping. I’ll save all of that money, we’ll put it on a bigger boat, and more vacations for my family and I.
Michael: I love it. One of the things you mentioned is that you go and you teach a non-glamorous subject. The other thing that I’ve noticed about you, don’t get a big head because of this because I think you’re a humble person, I love that about you, but you have to have a mindset of a teacher and have the passion to be able to teach the subject or just be a teacher and have the desire to help other people become as successful as you become. The proof is you’ve been in business as long as you have. That says a lot about you, Scott.
Scott: Well, that comes from a different place. That is from the fact we did almost go under the first time around in 1999-2000. It was at that time when we were grasping at straws trying to save this business. We used up all of our savings, used up our retirement. I started going to Dave Ramsey classes and all kinds of other financial courses and classes to learn how to turn this thing around. It was by the grace of God that we’re able to do so.
Several years later, I had an opportunity. I began working with and teaching in Financial Peace University through Dave Ramsey’s organization in our churches, the two churches I belonged to. When he came to town in Indianapolis and had a large event, I had an opportunity to go behind the scenes and have a private 101 sit down with him. It gave us a range. He was sitting there and I went over there and sat with him.
Michael: Cool. I love that it’s organic like that.
Scott: It was great. I introduced myself and said, hey, guess what? My stories are your story except thankfully I didn’t go bankrupt. I came close. I didn’t lose my house. He had a Jaguar that got loaded up on a flatbed trailer and hauled all the way in. My 69 Corvette got loaded up in the flatbed trailer and hauled the way in. There is a struggle, everything else was a strain, and we went through that.
I told him about what I did and I came out on the other side of it. It was a meeting with him in which he’s sitting next to me, he turns, he starts poking me in the chest and looking at me in the eye, and says you need to go out and teach people about self storage. There are a whole lot of folks that call in to my radio and TV show, that are attracted to me and my story, that are in real estate, they have that story and your story as well. They may hear that there’s a different asset class to invest in before they get into that situation that you and I did.
Michael, it was really a divine calling. This is our mission field in our ministry is to go teach people that there is a better way to do it before they get into trouble like myself, Dave Ramsey, and many millions of other people.
Michael: Yeah. To get people to start thinking this way, if I said, you know what? Scott is making a lot of sense here, what would be my next step?
Scott: Yeah. It’s always education. There’s plenty of people that have been looking for a quick fix and a good way to make money right now. That’s why he traded stocks and he traded himself. He’s one of those services going through the roof.
Michael: You mean, I can’t just go ahead and look in Craigslist and find a self storage area?
Scott: Dang! I wish it worked that way.
Michael: So do I!
Scott: Yeah. There’s some education that needs to happen. A couple of ways, in terms of looking into self storage right now, you can be a passive investor and become a private equity partner. Folks like ourselves, that develop these facilities, buy them, come along for the ride, and come along with somebody like us. There’s other companies out there that do this. Certainly, you can go to RealtyMogul, CrowdStreet, FundRise, do crowdfunding, and be a part of that. If you’re active beyond the other side in making more money, it takes some heavy lifting. You need to learn how to value the asset class, how to market for it, and find it.
Also, both go hand in hand. Go out and find a facility. The multiple ways of finding owners, creating relationships with the brokers, and analyzing. Then, putting together the funding for it. The funding for self storage is there because the community banks, savings and loans, credit unions, those banks are still making loans right now. They will throughout this recession on performing cash flowing assets. That is in self storage. Self storage because all of those factors have the lowest loan default rate of all the other real estate asset classes as well.
Those banks, if they want to make money and they’re lending right now, they’re looking for self storage facility loans and to partner with you on those because those are the loans they want a portfolio, keep in their bank, and keep on their balance sheet.
We have no shortage of lending sources and supplying money flowing into self storage. If folks are willing to learn about the asset class, how to find them, and evaluate them, you’ll get it funded.
Michael: You said there’s not a shortage of money for it but is there a shortage of available properties? I say properties because maybe there’s actual existing self storage for sale or land to put one on there. Have you found any shortage there?
Scott: Yeah. We did up until about a month ago. Once again, self storage has come up to the mainstream and folks saw how well it has done during the last two recessions. That it is, I want to say the word easy but just less management, less hand-holding. You don’t have to spend so much time operating or overseeing the operations. For that reason, when folks could sell during the slow interest rate environment and get the most money for their facilities if they’re in the position to, they did. The low hanging fruit is gone.
We just saw an uptick last week. A whole bunch of folks that we work with and our students continue to send direct mailers out. One of them stated that he had a 22% jump in response rate to their mailings and their cold calling of folks that want to sell now. Either they’re: (a) they waited long enough and they don’t want to lose out now that their values are high because of the interest rate environment, or (b) they don’t want to weather the storm. They don’t know what’s coming with this and they’re scared. They’ve got equity in their properties and it’s time to get out.
Michael: You just said something very interesting. You said that people who are doing work, sending mailers out, doing calls, putting leg work into it. One of the things that I always tell people is when you’re a real estate investor or a business owner, you can’t just sit back, wake up in the morning, put your robe on, get your cup of coffee, look at your money trees, and pick the dollar bills off the tree. You actually have to put work into these types of things.
I get a little disgruntled when I hear people saying this didn’t work out. I asked them did you water the tree? Did you fertilize the tree? Did you maintain the tree? They’re like, no. I thought I was just supposed to get money off the tree every day. I think that’s the biggest thing about investing. You actually have to put some leg work into it.
Scott: See? That’s the biggest thing about everything, isn’t it?
Scott: When I was teaching our classes, courses, or seminars, I have this slide that I put up. It talks about […]. He said that most people aren’t successful because success looks like work and it wears overalls. I truly mean this. This isn’t just a guy now who’s over 50 getting at a soapbox talking like my grandfather did or my great grandfather and complaining about the generation coming up behind them.
I don’t know if you notice this, Michael, but I see fewer people that are willing to do the heavy lifting or at the very least, as Jim Collins calls it in Good to Great, to get their flywheel turning, to do what it takes to begin the business, go out there and start the process, and then enjoy the fruits of it afterward.
For that, all I see is an opportunity because that just means less competition. There are fewer people that are out there doing the work. It means that there’s more for those of us that do have that as you mentioned in Abundance Mentality. We’re heading into a time where this is the biggest land grab that we may ever see. Now is the time to go to work.
Michael: I agree absolutely. All right. I got to ask for the listeners out there. How about some tips and tricks getting into the self storage area?
Scott: We’ve been talking about that already. I think you’ll see that the most successful real estate investors are the self storage folks. When they look back and they talk about the great mistakes they ever made, it’s that they didn’t start soon enough. It’s starting. It’s going out and looking at meeting with some owners, sending out some mailers, getting some mailing list, talking with the brokers, just going out, and looking for facilities that are available in the marketplace. Then, you can begin to ramp up mailings and create those opportunities before somebody lists it for sale.
You’ll get really, really, good at understanding how to evaluate, not only the self storage facility, by taking a look at the numbers—P&L—for the last 12 months. Taking the income that it brings in, subtracting the expenses, getting into an operating income, then putting a factor on that, a cap rate, and putting a value on it, but also, understanding how to value the market.
If you want to increase the value, you have to increase some rentals, income, and all the other income streams, but you first need to know if you’re in a market to do that. Can you raise rates? What’s the competition like? Is it oversupplied? Is it undersupplied? Can you market it? Some of these mom and pop don’t even have a website. Just by the sheer fact of buying it and putting a website on it may be the thing that is needed to turn these properties around and create that value in them.
I don’t want to make it simple but the simple place is to take a step-by-step learning about it. Just like anything else, not jumping in. Not taking a sellers or broker’s words for the value or the numbers but truly digging in and understanding it. If you’ve got a basis for investment and putting valuations for commercial real estate, just learn this asset class, what the various income items and expense items are in self storage, and just immerse yourself in the business. Then, go out and do it.
Michael: Yeah. In most things in life and in real estate, in particular, the instant gratification may not come. You might have to send out some mailers a few months down the line. Then, you get the person who wants to get out and retire. Since you did the work, they call you up. Then, you get to your first property.
Scott: Yeah. We’re not in the microwave business. It takes a little bit longer than that. We’re in the crockpot business. But once you get the business rolling, it does throw off a lot of passive income. Now is the time to start.
Michael: I might steal that from you. I like that, not in the microwave business. I like that. That’s fantastic. If someone says, Michael Bowman said we’re not in a microwave business, you can take solace in knowing that that came from you. I like that.
Michael: To kind of have some fun. I’m putting you on the spot here. I used to watch those storage wars out there. You probably just cringe because you know where this is going. Do you have any funny stories about what you found in storage lockers?
Michael: I’m sorry I put you on the spot. I never even prepped for that. I just cracked up when I watched that show. In the past, when I watched that show I thought I got to ask Scott.
Scott: No worries. You’re not the first person who has asked that. I’d like to say that I do. I’m so removed from that now. That’s just at the operator level. We have auctioneers and our managers do that on our sites. From time to time, we do some stories about that. The only ones that really stick on my mind right now, Michael, is one in which it was a facility that we purchased. The two sellers ago, two previous owners ago, we have the ability and the right to actually buy the units as an owner.
The story goes around in this smaller town that two previous owners ago did buy one of the units. There was a coin and stamp collection in there and they bought it. The receipt, I don’t know how much they paid for it for the unit. Then, they ended up shortly after selling the self storage facility, and they built the absolute largest house in town from selling all that coin and stamp collection.
There’s one of the positive ones. That’s to go back to your comment about storage wars and auction hunters. I do know several owners in the industry that have had those folks show up on site. Let’s just say that reality TV shouldn’t be called reality TV all the time.
Michael: Don’t ruin it for me, Scott. Don’t ruin it for me.
Scott: I won’t. Just a small public service announcement. I can’t say anything comical. Maybe a few disappointments because we’re trying to sell these stuff off. They did leave and they just left us some junk in it, stuff that aren’t really treasures. Gosh, we have been the benefactor and saw somebody who bought a unit full of racing equipment. One of our facilities is over by where the NHRA headquarters are for all the racing teams in Brownsburg, Indiana. Somebody got one of those units and have literally engines in it, hoods, parts, and bought it for a couple of $100. It had all kinds of memorabilia and stuff in it.
There are some finds out there. I can’t say anything funny, never found any dead bodies or anything like that, but it’s not episode after episode like you see on TV.
Michael: What are the things in researching for this? I ran across how some people are scared of aggregators and you’re not. This is like a little insider information, but talk about aggregators and then how you feel about them.
Scott: Are you talking about aggregators by way of marketing? Like […] in our industry?
Michael: Correct. This surprised me because this might be a challenge to somebody, but then you’re looking at it from a different perspective.
Scott: There are a couple of ways of looking at it. First of all, you don’t have to use them. Nobody is forcing an owner to use them. Let me just give a little context for the folks who are listening. An aggregator in self storage is like the price line of travel. An aggregator—there are a few out there—when you click on their site, what they do is they aggregate the self storage facility owners in a particular market.
If you put in ‘Miami, self storage’ and below the big guys like Public Storage, Extraspace, and CubeSmart, usually next is one of those aggregators because they spend the money to advertise to get up closer to the top. What they do is they pull together all the member’s money. We as a self storage facility owner paid money to this aggregator to get up there. Then when somebody clicks on that aggregator site, then they’ll see my site and a few others that are close to where that potential client is looking. They pull the money together.
We can’t complain about it, Michael. We created them, so we pay to them. We pay them a fee. Sometimes their fees are hefty and it’s hard to break away from them for what they do provide. Some folks had some bad experiences with them, but at the end of the day, nobody’s twisting your arm and making you use these folks.
We look at the market. We look at our website, our web traffic, the placement, we’re doing our level best to spend money to draw people to our site so that we don’t have to use aggregators but simultaneously also paying money with them to make sure we’re up there as well. It’s a necessary evil and in some instances, it’s kind of productive, but hats off to them. You can’t downplay innovation and you got to pay to play.
Michael: I love your mentality. I love how you think and I think that the way you think, a lot more people need to think about and change their perspective on things.
Scott: Just tell me the rules of the game and I’ll figure out the best way to play it. That’s all I need.
Michael: Yeah, then you have the desire to help other people figure out those rules because there are certain gifts we have and if you can take those rules, interpret them, then help other people navigate them. I know it’s all about karma, right?
Michael: So selfstorageinvesting.com. I looked at some of the products on there and some of the classes. How long are your live classes for?
Scott: We do a three-day event.
Michael: Three days on metal sheds?
Scott: Yeah, go figure. But everybody is well prepared and we still don’t cover everything there is to know about how to find, evaluate, negotiate, purchase, debt structure, capital stack, and then the operational side of managing self storage facilities along with case studies. It’s commercial real estate, so no matter how you slice it, there’s a number of pieces you go into building a successful business model. That’s what we teach people in three days is how to go about doing that.
Michael: I don’t know if you’re assessing me out on this, but I’m actually asking somewhat on my behalf for some of these questions. I looked at the Self Storage Evaluator. What is that and what does it do?
Scott: The Self Storage Evaluator is our software. We created this back in 2007. It has become the standard in our industry. We got a lot of folks out there looking at analyzing storage facilities that are using our software. What this does is it’s an underwriting software much like a banker would have to underwrite a commercial piece of real estate. It takes in all of the income and shows you the income categories in a self storage facility which prompts new folks as to what they need to be looking at and looking for.
Then you fill in all of the expense categories. Same thing. It reminds you if the seller or the broker has not included some expense categories and even guides you as to what some of the industry averages are if they don’t, that you need to add in to make sure that you have dotted all your I’s and crossed all your T’s. Once you come to your net operating income, it will apply a market cap rate evaluation number for you and give you an idea of what the value is and then a sensitivity analysis that gives you a range of where you should be purchasing this compared to the market.
Beyond that, about 150 other different calculations that the bankers, lenders, and private equity partners do want to see, but at the end of the day, there’s about four or five that I need to see in order to buy it.
Michael: It all goes to keeping you from making costly mistakes, right?
Scott: Yeah, because in commercial real estate, those mistakes have more commas and zeros than they do on just a single-family home or a stock.
Michael: Absolutely and I love it. Again, not an infomercial. Actually, I wrote questions that I had while I was going through your stuff and wanted to find out why you had such a great reputation, so I appreciate the answer to these questions. Anything else you want to cover? Three days worth of stuff, right Scott?
When you start talking about structuring people’s real estate and their investments, people ask me one question and it leads to another question, and that other question leads to another question. People always ask us, how do you guys talk about law and taxes for three days? It’s actually quite fun. Be careful of the questions you start answering because it just keeps going and going and going, right?
Scott: Well, it does. Again, like any business, first of all, real estate is finance, so yeah, you can talk about finance and it goes the same for real estate and real estate finance. You already gave out our website, selfstorageinvesting.com. There are a number of tools and resources for folks that are looking to learn about the business if they want to invest passively or actively. It’s really the end that we’re on. It’s teaching people how to go out and actually do this.
We do have an offering that’s going to be coming out, most likely later this week. If not, early next that is an online-only version. We do have a home study course that includes tickets to our live event, but we wanted to put a recession-friendly and (oh my gosh) if you want to call it a pandemic-friendly course. There’s a lot of folks that are interested in storage now that they want to get something on their hands while they’re home and something that’s inexpensive that they want to dip their toe on the water. Just bundling and putting together all of our online courses and making that available. I guess keep an eye out and we’ll have that coming across for you soon.
Michael: That’s awesome. Scott, thank you for taking the time to be on this podcast. It took some time to get you on here and I’m glad that I persevered through it. I think that it’s another avenue for our clients to make money. If you guys have questions, you can reach out to Scott and his organization.
If you guys have questions regarding how to structure the self storage properly, please go to Anderson Advisors. We have a section there. You can request a consultation and we can take a look at your situation. When you’re doing self storage, there are a couple of different types of businesses and it’s important from a tax-wise and asset protection-wise standpoint to structure properly. There’s no reason to give uncle Sam a tip and lose all your assets in a lawsuit.
On behalf of Anderson Business Advisors and myself, personally, Scott, I really appreciate your time and I wish you guys the best of success in your investing and everything else you guys do.
Scott: Michael, thanks so much, and if I can do the same and return the favor. Some of our best allies are your firm and folks like yourself that are doing what you do because there are many strategies and tactics that we use in self storage, and we have that ability because it’s business and real estate.
Separating the two to protect ourselves from increased property taxes, but then also everything as you just mentioned in the asset protection side. When we dispose of these, there are so many options in self storage that aren’t available in other asset classes that folks, you do need to contact Michael and his folks. They are definitely allies in this business, so thanks again for having me on.
Michael: Absolutely, Scott. You stay safe and we’ll talk to you soon. Appreciate you.
Scott: All right, you too. Take care.
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