Self Storage Association 


The Self Storage Association (SSA) is a not-for-profit tax-exempt organization formed in 1975 under Section 501-c-6 of the Internal Revenue Code. For nearly 40 years the Association has served as the official trade organization and voice of the U.S. and international self storage industry.

The SSA is the registered lobbying entity representing the U.S. industry’s more than 48,500 facilities before the U.S. Congress and federal departments and agencies. The association is also quite active in representation of the industry before state legislative and regulatory bodies. The Association has spent more than $3.0 million in the last several  years modernizing more than 40 state lien laws, as well as adding specialty licenses for the offering of tenant insurance, and authorizing reasonable late fees, dealing with abandoned records and vehicles and fighting the imposition of sales taxes on self storage rents in a dozen other states.  The respective state lien laws govern the operation of self storage facilities and the customer relationship. Many of these laws were written 25-35 years ago as the industry emerged. Outdated legal language in many laws is cumbersome in the light of state-of-the-art communications – such as the Internet, smart phones, email notifications, etc.  Therefore, the SSA and its state affiliates are working diligently to revise and modernize these lien law statues.

The national SSA is formally affiliated with 40 state and regional associations within the United States and several other international organizations representing another 12,000 self storage facilities situated in Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, Latin America, South America and Japan.  We are also working with the self storage industry in China and Brazil.

The self storage industry in the United States generated $27.2 Billion in annual U.S. revenues (2014). The industry has been the fastest growing segment of the commercial real estate industry over the last 40 years and has been considered by Wall Street analysts to be “recession resistant” based on its performance since the economic recession of September, 2008. The industry pays more than $3.25 billion each year in local and state property taxes.

There are six public corporations operating in the industry: Public Storage, Extra Space Storage, CubeSmart, National Storage Affiliates Trust, Sovran Self Storage (Uncle Bob’s) and U-Haul International. In addition, the industry has some 4,500 large and mid-sized firms that own and operate more than one facility; yet there are still more than 26,000 one facility owner-operators.

The SSA is governed by an elected Board of Directors including seats for the President & CEO and the General Counsel. The Board meets at least three times each year and the Executive Committee meets more frequently, as needed. The Association has a staff of 10 professionals headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. The annual budget of the Association is in the $6 million range.

The Association has several areas of core competency:  Collecting and disseminating industry data, advocacy and lobbying at the federal, state and local levels, conducting conferences, trade shows and educational seminars/webinars, issuing periodic membership communications and publishing a monthly magazine (SSA Globe with a monthly circulation of 16,000), conducting executive education and employee training programs, developing research, maintaining an internationally utilized web site and maintaining relations with 40 other industry associations, as well as publishing books, manuals and various industry studies, providing legal education and information.

SSA membership comprises more than 5,000 companies that own, operate and/or manage some 24,000 self storage facilities in the U.S. and internationally. The Association conducts three national meetings per year – a Spring Conference & Trade Show, a Fall Conference & Trade Show and an annual Winter Executive Ski Workshop – please see our SSA Web site ( – “Upcoming Events”) for locations and dates.  The SSA Globe magazine is distributed monthly to  industry leaders and a weekly electronic newsletter is disseminated to SSA members. The Self Storage Legal Review (available to direct members only) is published 6 times each year.

Lastly, a recent survey indicated that 95.4 percent of current self storage owner-operator members would heartily recommend membership in the SSA to their market competitors.

The SSA has several subsidiary organizations:

  • The Self Storage Association Foundation (SSAF) [IRS Code section 501-c-3] oversees the educational programs of the Association and the publication of the monthly SSA Globe magazine.

SSA International


The Self Storage Association International (SSAI) is a new subsidiary that maintains membership relations with five (5) international associations representing Asia, Australia, Japan and twelve European countries, Latin America and South America. SSA has members in more than 30 nations across the globe, providing them with electronic news and information and other specialized services. There are approximately 10,000+ self storage facilities outside the United States. Special International memberships are available via

  • Self Storage Association Enterprises (SSAE) Self Storage Association Enterprises (SSAE) houses the for-profit enterprises of the Association including its Web site (, its advertising revenues and business programs.
  • Self Storage Association Political Action Committee (SSA-PAC) is a registered political action committee for federal office candidates.

2015-16 SELF STORAGE INDUSTRY FACT SHEET  (as of 07/01/2015)

  • The self storage industry has been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the United States commercial real estate industry over the period of the last 40 years
  • There are now over 48,500 “primary” self storage facilities in the United States as of year-end 2014; another 4,000 are “secondary” facilities (“primary” means that self storage is the “primary” source of business revenue – US Census Bureau)
  • There are approximately 60,000 self storage facilities worldwide as of Q2 – 2015; there are more than 3,000 in Canada and more than 1,000 in Australia.
  • Total self storage rentable space in the US is roughly 2.5 billion square feet [more than 210 million square meters].  That figure represents more than 78 square miles of rentable self storage space, under roof – or an area well more than 3 times the size of Manhattan Island (NY)
  • U.S. self storage facilities pay a total of more than $3.25 billion in property taxes to local government  jurisdictions.
  • The distribution of U.S. self storage facilities (Q2-2015) is as follows:  32% urban, 52% suburban and 16% rural.
  • The average revenue per square foot varies from facility to facility; however, here are the data for Q2 2015:  $1.25 PSF for a non-climate controlled 10 x 10 unit and $1.60 PSF for a climate controlled 10 x 10 unit.
  • Occupancy rates for self storage facilities as of Q2 2015 were 90% (percentage of units rented per facility) up from 86.8% at year-end 2013.
  • In fact, about 9.5% of all American households currently rent a self storage unit (10.85 million of the 113.3 million US HHs in 2013; that has increased from 1 in 17 US HHs (6%) in 1995 (20 years ago).
  • U.S. self storage facilities employed more than 170,000 persons, or an average of 3.5 employees per facility.
  • The average (mean) size of a “primary” self storage facility in the US is approximately 56,900 square feet.
  • Of over 10,000 facilities surveyed, approximately 6,000 are single-story facilities and approximately 4,000 are multi-story facilities.
  • Of over 10,000 facilities surveyed, the mean facility size is 546 units and the median facility size is 517 units.
  • Of over 10,000 facilities surveyed, 18.7% offer Boat / RV parking and/or storage.
  • Of over 10,000 facilities surveyed, 31% offer truck rental.
  • The top-6 self storage companies, including 5 real estate investment trusts (Public Storage, Extra Space, National Storage Affiliates Trust, Sovran and CubeSmart) plus U-Haul (a public company / non-REIT), own, operate and/or manage some 5,800 self storage facilities, or about 12% of all US facilities.  Several public companies are now offering third-party management of facilities owned by other investors.  Hundreds of facilities are now being managed by the three public companies that have moved into this service area.
  • In addition to the public companies in the industry (above), there are more than 150 privately held firms that own and operate 10 or more self storage facilities.  In addition, there are some 4,000 firms that own and operate from 2-9 self storage facilities.  Lastly, there are more than 26,000 firms that own and operate just one facility.
  • There is a total U.S. self storage space capacity of about 21 sq. ft. per American household.
  • There is 7.3 sq. ft. of self storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation; thus, it is physically possible that American could stand – all at the same time – under the total canopy of self storage roofing.
  • About 13% of all self storage renters say they will rent for less than 3 months; 18% for 3-6 months; 18% for 7-12 months; 22% for 1-2 years; and 30% for more than 2 years.
  • Some 68% of all self storage renters live in a single-family household; 27% live in an apartment or condo.
  • Some 65% of all self storage renters have a garage but still rent a unit; 47% have an attic in their home; and 33% have a basement.
  • Some 47% of all self storage renters have an annual household income of less than $50,000 per year; 63% have an annual household income of less than $75,000 per year.
  • More than 1.5 million self storage units nationwide are rented to military personnel (6% of all units); however, in communities adjacent to domestic US military bases, military occupancy can be from 20% to 95% of all rented units.
  • SSA members value military personnel as self storage customers and traditionally extend special incentives and discounts to those with a valid military ID card, such as: 10%-30% discounts off rental rates, free months of rent, gift certificates, free use of moving truck, "one-dollar move-ins," no rent increases while deployed overseas, waiver of security deposits, administration fees, etc.
  • It took the self storage industry more than 25 years to build its first billion square feet of space; it added the second billion square feet in just 8 years (1998-2005). 
  • 83.9% of all US counties (or 2,634 out of 3,141) have at least one "primary" self storage facility.
  • (And here’s a stat that SSA is rightly proud of) – 95.4 percent of current SSA direct members say YES! They would recommend SSA membership to other self storage owner-operators.  (There’s still room for improvement, though.)

SSA Sources:

  • Quarterly SSA surveys of member and non-member companies conducted by Conquest Communications of Richmond, VA
  • Self Storage Demand Study” – © 2013 Edition (Available for sale via the SSA Website -
  • National Facilities Database (NFDb) - 12/2014 © 2014
  • Reis, Inc. (quarterly reports for over 10,000 facility responses through Q1 2015)

The above facts are merely a light sampling of industry data available.  Much more detail may be gained by reviewing the above SSA studies. Copies of these studies are available for sale in SSA's (see Online Store- Publications).

Related Files
Fact Sheet 2015 (Adobe PDF File)
© 2014 Self Storage Association