Although small, independent storage companies exist across the country, a handful of major chains dominate the industry. These chains have facilities in several states and have enough room to hold a substantial amount of stored items. It pays to keep track of the “big players” in the storage business as they often have the largest auctions and the most units to choose from. Here are the top 10 storage companies in the country, ranked by overall square footage across their facilities:
1.) Public Storage Inc. This California-based company has 2,064 storage facilities in 38 states as well as locations in Europe. The company first opened its doors in 1972, and now it provides 142 million square feet of storage space to its customers. Storage units range from small lockers to 10 x 30 foot units and parking spaces for RV's and boats. In addition to offering storage spaces, it provides some basic moving supplies such as boxes and tape. Each Public Storage facility usually has an auction once a month.
2.) Extra Space Storage. This company's headquarters are in Salt Lake City, Utah. It operates in 35 states, with a total of 882 facilities containing 585,000 units altogether. The company has been in business for more than 30 years. In addition to storage units and lockers, ESS facilities include parking spaces for boats and vehicles. Extra Space Storage maintains a blog on its company website that provides information about the storage industry, including information for auction-hunters. The company's various facilities have auctions on a monthly basis.
3.) U-Haul International Inc. Perhaps better known for its truck rental service, U-Haul is a household name among people looking to move and store their personal belongings. The company's headquarters are located in Phoenix, Arizona, and it maintains 1,144 facilities across the country in all 50 states. In addition to the storage lockers housed on U-Haul premises, the company also stores “U-Pack” containers. These are customer-packed shipping containers that can be stored at the facility. Not every U-Haul location offers storage, but those that do will generally have auctions on a monthly or as-needed basis.
4.) CubeSmart. This company was founded in 2004 in Wayne, Pennsylvania and has already expanded to include 477 storage facilities in 28 states. Altogether, the company owns more than 31 million square feet of storage space across the country. CubeSmart offers different storage options for students, military personnel and more; it also provides vehicle storage and commercial storage spaces for businesses. Units range in size from 5x5' to 10x30'. The company has a storage listing on its website that provides details of upcoming storage auctions at each of its facilities.
5.) Sovran Self Storage Inc. Sovran is also known as Uncle Bob's, and the company has been in business since 1984. The company is based in Buffalo, New York and maintains 451 storage facilities across 26 states. In addition to private and commercial storage, the company also offers truck rentals and vehicle storage. Facilities hold auctions on an as-needed basis.
6.) Derrel's Mini Storage Inc. This company is based in Fresno, California, where it was founded in 1963. It is a major self-storage company in California, with 53 locations between Bakersfield and Sacramento. There are no facilities currently operating outside of California, but the company does have plans to expand. The company handles all of its auctions through Whittemore Auction Service, and details about upcoming auctions can be found on the auctioneer's website.
7.) Strategic Capital Holdings LLC. More commonly known as Smart Stop Self-Storage, this company has 120 facilities in 17 states. It was founded in 2004 and is now actively expanding throughout the U.S. and Canada; it is aggressively seeking more property to acquire as it grows its business. The company offers both personal and commercial storage as well as vehicle storage. The Smart Stop website offers a listing of all upcoming storage auctions for its facilities, updated on a weekly basis.
8.) Storage Mart. Based in Columbia, Maryland, Storage Mart has 132 facilities in 15 states. It is currently working on spreading and growing its business. Storage Mart has been in business since 1974 and is an active participant in local communities and charitable causes in every state it does business in, including offering a scholarship program for students. Auctions occur on an as-needed basis and are published in local media.
9.) Simply Self Storage. This company is headquartered in Orlando, Florida, and has facilities in 16 states. Overall, there are 116 facilities owned by this company, and an additional 20 properties have recently been purchased for expansion. Storage units vary from 5x5' to 10x30', and vehicle storage spaces are available for cars, RV's and boats as well. The company's website does provide auction information for its facilities.
10.) Platinum Storage Group. Located in Laguna Hills, California, this business manages 106 facilities in 15 states. It's more commonly known by its trademark name, Storage Direct, and has been in business since 2000. In addition to both climate-controlled and non-climate-controlled storage for individuals and businesses, it also offers covered and uncovered vehicle storage. Storage Direct holds auctions at local facilities monthly or on an as-needed basis.
As you get more familiar with the storage facilities in your area, experience will teach you which are the most valuable. Until then, this list can help guide you toward the biggest and best storage companies in the country.