Frantic RV and Boat Owners Run Into a Major Problem With Storage Units

After the summer comes to a close, it is time to store and winterize boats and RVs. Of course, if you are a year-round camper, you don’t need to do this, as you likely have space on your property. However, people who live in apartments or crowded metro areas need to look into storage units. Unfortunately, the demand seems to be outpacing the supply.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused an RV bonanza

An RV storage unit in Compton, California
An RV storage unit | Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

As a result of the pandemic, RV sales exploded as people discovered a way to travel while remaining socially distant and healthy. RV companies, such as Winnebago, which saw a $21 million profit over a three-month period, experienced dramatic increases in sales. Additionally, even as things get better and vaccines are made available, the RV bonanza is continuing. In a “once bitten, twice shy” way, many people likely do not want to take a chance on hotels, cruises, and planes, after last year seeing significant back and forth on things opening and then closing. However, due to an increase in RV owners, some areas are seeing a shortage of storage units as people look for winter storage.

In Sioux Falls, SD, available storage units are coming up short

According to Keloland, with school starting and fall and winter approaching, Sioux Falls residents are trying to find places to store their boat or RV for the weekend. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of options available currently due to demand. Black Dog Storage, which opened in Harrisburg in 2018, has been adding storage units since they first opened. Dalton Allen, the owner of Black Dog Storage, said, “I get those kind of frantic calls ‘hey I just bought a boat and we have no where to put it.’ Its really tough for us when we don’t really have anywhere to put it either.” It has been so busy that Allen also said, “We have waiting lists on that kind of stuff virtually before we even start the building.” 

Mason Svennes, property manager for Store Sioux Falls, is opening up outside storage specifically for RVs and boats and said, “it’s not open yet but I already have a pretty good-sized wait list for it.” Along with the new outside storage, Store Sioux Falls will also be adding two new buildings. Svennes went on to say, “It is very limited. The units that do come available, get filled pretty quick, the consensus is, everybody’s pretty full right now.”

More people moving has also filled up a lot of storage units

It isn’t just people looking to store their boat or RV that are having a hard time finding a storage unit. The housing market is really hot right now, and many people are moving and need a place to store stuff temporarily while their house is on the market. One homeowner, Lee Lewis, said, “Planning on moving and need to get some of the clutter out of the existing house before I sell it.” Allen reports that for people who are moving, “The smaller units seem to be more temporary units for people moving houses, so there’s more turnover in those.” 

Whether you need a storage unit because you are moving, or you need to store a boat or RV, if you find a unit, hold on to it. Allen reports that “We’ve had some people store it over the winter months, then they take it home over the summer, but then when they come back in the fall that spot is not there.” If you need the unit long-term, the only way to guarantee it will be available is to hold on to it, even when you aren’t using it. He also recommends getting on a waiting list a few months before you need it. The early bird gets the worm after all.

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