As the nation’s largest third-party self storage management company, Extra Space Storage has the pleasure of working with incredible storage owners across the country, each bringing unique career experiences to the table.
Williams started his career as a minority partner for a utility and heavy civil construction startup while he was studying mechanical engineering at The University of Utah. In his four years as a partner with this business, he learned how to coordinate large construction projects—involving power plants, copper smelters, and paper mills—for multi-state operations.
Soon after, Williams founded nationwide specialty construction company National Welding Corp, which is based in Midvale, UT. The company contracted over 250 projects in 42 states under Williams’ lead, completing work on everything from tunnels under the New York Harbor to rocket stands for NASA. Williams continued in heavy civil construction until he retired in August 2019. The company, which has been operating for 22 years, continues today under the ownership of Williams’ key employees.
Because his business was successful, Williams was able to invest some of the profits back into his company. As for the remaining profits, he looked to invest elsewhere. Williams spent considerable time analyzing investment opportunities, such as alternate businesses, equities, and stocks. But he quickly realized these options would either require constant oversight, need time-consuming development, or rely too heavily on speculation—and that was more than Williams was willing to invest in his retirement.
That’s when Williams turned his eyes toward commercial real estate. Given his background in construction, he knew real estate would make more financial sense for an investment option—especially if the property choices were good, valued correctly, and could be leveraged to fit market trends.
Maintaining and improving properties to grow income was Williams’ main goal with investing in commercial real estate. “I have always targeted a good baseline return on each investment,” Williams added.
Williams was eventually introduced to self storage as a strong investment option when a member of his family who worked for a storage contractor told him about the industry—and about Extra Space Storage, headquartered in his home state. Williams learned that Extra Space Storage had partnership opportunities for third-party owners.
“As I had no interest in starting a new business that would require my daily involvement, this partnership was inviting and [seemed to] fit my future needs,” Williams explained.
Williams’ first step was to contact Extra Space Storage and educate himself on how their third-party self storage partnerships worked. At the same time, he was shopping for and purchasing a property, though he wasn’t yet convinced that self storage was ideal for this commercial space.
For Williams, a successful business venture is about three things: good relationships, reasonable risk, and good profitability. He wanted to make sure he would get all of these after moving forward with an Extra Space Storage partnership. Since developing a property and constructing a building would be a sizable investment of time, money, and risk, Williams believed there was a need for considerable investigation before diving in.
“I spoke with many groups, including architects, builders, competitors, and other developers involved in the storage business, and never heard a negative review about Extra Space Storage,” Williams said.
Today, Williams’ self storage property with Extra Space Storage is a top performer in the local self storage market. The property has been open for just over a year and has already reached 70.1% occupancy.
“There are challenges throughout this process,” Williams said. “[But] many are dependent on your own ability to thoroughly evaluate a plan and being methodical about your decisions. I have found a great benefit in meeting challenges head on.”
For new self storage developers and third-party owners hoping to get in the commercial real estate game, Williams has some advice: “Evaluate the project with a responsible sense of optimism. Use a sequential decision model by first performing your own rudimentary research on the land/area of interest. If it still makes sense, then hire an impartial feasibility company (not a builder). Trust their recommendations, and if you move forward, make sure to leave adequate financial reserves for unforeseen issues.”
Extra Space Storage recently added its 600th third-party managed store to the ManagementPlus platform. If you’re interested in a third-party partnership with Extra Space Storage, you can learn more about ManagementPlus here.