Most people pass by dozens of self-storage facilities everyday without noticing them at all. While you might not pay much attention to self-storage facilities, the industry of self-storage is booming. In recent years, the self-storage industry has been rapidly expanding throughout Canada but especially in Ontario, as the number of storage facilities in the province continues to rise.
As the number of self-storage facilities in Ontario continues to rise, so does the number of jobs in these facilities. The self-storage industry offers numerous career opportunities for individuals with different skill sets and backgrounds. Whether you’re interested in customer service, sales, marketing, or maintenance, the self-storage industry has something for everyone. There are also a wide range of positions within the self-storage industry that would be ideal for people with barriers to employment such as physical disabilities.
Recent growth in the self-storage industry
According to Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) data, Ontario now has 37.3 million square feet of commercial self-storage space, which is the equivalent of the total ice surface of approximately 2,200 NHL rinks. In the last three years alone, more than 4.2 million square feet, an increase of about 11%, has been added to the storage footprint, with additional growth on the horizon.
The development of new self-storage facilities in Mississauga, Toronto, and Ottawa has been particularly pronounced as those are the cities with the largest concentration of condos. As more people move into densely populated cities, the demand for storage solutions increases. Toronto now has more than eight million square feet of commercial self-storage space, followed by Ottawa with three million square feet and Mississauga with two million square feet.
The career opportunities in the self-storage industry
There is a common misconception that the types of career opportunities available in the self-storage industry are limited to general labour jobs- this could not be further from the truth. Self-storage is a multi-faceted industry that features job opportunities from a wide array of different disciplines. Each new storage facility has a large staff with numerous positions working in different departments, which are all vital for making sure that the day-to-day operations of the storage facility run smoothly. Some of the most common self storage jobs include:
- Facility Managers: Facility managers are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the storage facility, which includes managing staff, maintaining the facility, and ensuring customer satisfaction. Facility managers also handle customer inquiries and concerns, set rental rates, and manage the marketing of the facility.
- Accounting Specialist: Accounting specialists are responsible for managing the financial aspects of the storage facility, including managing accounts receivable and accounts payable, preparing financial reports, and ensuring compliance with financial regulations. Accounting specialists must have knowledge of accounting principles and be able to work independently.
- Sales Executive: Sales executives are responsible for securing potential clients, developing best practices for sales and customer services, and working closely with management to design a strategy to onboard large accounts. Sales executives must have must have excellent communication and problem-solving skills and be able to work in a fast-paced environment. It is also very important that sales executives be able to work in a team setting in order to implement sales strategy.
- Maintenance Technician: Maintenance technicians are responsible for maintaining the facility and performing repairs as needed. Maintenance technicians must have knowledge of plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems, as well as the ability to troubleshoot problems and make repairs. As self-storage facilities incorporate more and more advanced technologies into their designs, the role of maintenance technicians has become incredibly important.
- Marketing Specialist: Marketing specialists are responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies to promote the storage facility. Marketing specialists must have excellent communication and marketing skills, as well as the ability to work in a team environment.
- Security Officer: Security officers are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the storage facility and its customers. Security officers must have knowledge of security procedures and protocols, as well as the ability to handle emergency situations.
Careers in self-storage for people with barriers to employment and physical disabilities
Stable employment can be vital to the well-being and independence of people with disabilities. However, due to their unique needs, disabled workers routinely face obstacles to finding and maintaining a job in traditional work settings. According to the Canadian Survey on Disability, over six million adults in Canada report some disability that limits their daily activities.
While there are positions in the self-storage industry that require physical exertion, there are plenty of job opportunities that require relatively limited mobility and would be ideal for employees with physical disabilities. One popular position in the self-storage industry that is available to people of all abilities is leasing administrator. Leasing administrator is one of the most important roles in a self-storage facility as these are the people responsible for responding to employee or guest requests and ensuring overall customer satisfaction. This role is great for people with physical disabilities as it requires relatively little movement but still involves working in a fast-paced environment where you will encounter a wide variety of people and situations.
This was just a very brief peak into the expanding self-storage industry. The self-storage industry will continue to expand and grow as long as people have things to store. In addition, self-storage continues to be one of the most stable industries during an economic downturn. While many businesses were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, self-storage remained relatively stable. The self-storage industry offers numerous career opportunities for individuals with different skill sets, backgrounds, and abilities. If you are interested in customer service, real estate, hospitality services, security, maintenance work, software development, or property administration, you should consider a career in self-storage industry.