What’s the Difference between Mini Storage and Self Storage?

05/20/2020

There's long been confusion in the self storage industry in defining what is the difference between "self storage" and "mini storage"? Are they the same? Are they truly different? Does it matter?

The short answer is that there really isn't a difference between the two! That said, there is a bit of a generational gap in the business and that is one part that has led to the different terms.

The self storage industry is a relative newcomer in the commercial real estate space, getting its start in Texas in the 1960's. They initially constructed some of these storage facilities to cater to the oil industry and their needs of storing excess supplies. Prior to that, there wasn't much of an option when it came to smaller storage spaces. Most of what was available in the market was full storage warehouses. This new product gave people and companies "mini warehouse storage" which was shortened to "mini storage."

It was common during the 1960's and 70's for storage businesses to have "mini storage" in their name. In fact, there's a good chance that if the property STILL has mini storage in the name that there operation could have been around since then!

As the industry evolved through the 1980's and 90's there was a shift in the naming and convention around the industry. Self Storage building manufacturers came into prominence and the more traditional corrugated steel buildings became mainstream. They began to be more commonly referred to as "self storage" properties which was in reference to the fact that they were self service storage businesses.

As far as today, most properties are still referred to as self storage facilities, but larger operators will also sometimes refer to their self storage properties as "stores." This is a nod to the service element in the business and the fact that it's less of a real estate play and more of a service business that involves real estate.

Whether you call it a "mini storage", "self storage", or a "store", we're all talking about the same thing. It just might show age differences in the industry or how long you've been in this business.

Are you considering selling your mini storage? If so, we'd love to talk to you! We buy mini storage properties direct, and would love to make you an offer on yours. Give us a call at (717) 687-1883 or contact us here!