Metal storage buildings - no bathrooms or plumbing - any market?

Would there be any market for metal storage buildings - say 1000 to 2000 square feet (way bigger than a mini storage unit would be) - with no bathrooms or plumbing? But say with electricity OR limited electricity? The concept would be simple - storage. It would be in a lower to middle income, light industrial area. A fence around the units may or may not be provided, though probably would.

Rent would be very reasonable, but would still make us a profit of course! LOL.

I imagine potential customers would be…

  • Plumbers
  • Carpenters
  • Painters
  • Electricians
  • Businesses with excess inventory
  • Car collectors/homeowners with way (and I mean way) to much stuff, yet they don’t want to throw it out
  • Any business that requires storing products?

I’m thinking something like this.

Nothing fancy

What do you guys think?

For a pre-engineered metal buildings. Google NCI, or Mid-West Steel Buildings. Also, no bathroom makes it real unattractive for any other use. As a developer you don’t want to limit the use unless you are building a specific project around a clients processes. Look at other space at that size and see what they offer for amenities and their sq ft rents. Then go from there.

It’s very possible that it wouldn’t be legal to rent them out without a fire suppression system. That takes plumbing.

Lower to middle income: they miight make nice meth labs.

Seriously, if businesses have employees going in every day, maybe several times a day, to pick up or unload materials, they are going to want a bathroom available.

Storage is generally for stuff you are going to leave for months and not look at.

The metal building with a roll up door is a great rental here, for just the type of business you’ve mentioned, but all of them have a bathroom and usually a small front office. I think they are all insulated, too, and have heating systems

I know a guy who does this already - he basically rents out ~800 to 1000 sq units (crappy looking, old units that are all interconnected) for $400 a month. He provides NO utilities…just an overhead door. He calls it “small business storage”. It’s in a (slightly) nicer area of town than where I’ll have my warehouses/storage units though. I need to check with him and see what his occupancy is, but he has about 20 or so units.

I just am going to build a few to start, if I do it.

MY DRIVING FORCE behind this relates to my own business that generates the vast majority of my earned income (non REI related). It involves storing lots of equipment, and rotating that equipment, which is all stored currently at a rented facility. My nor anyone that works with me goes into there for more than a few minutes at a time…so restrooms are definitely not required. But obviously electricity will be required for guard lights, an alarm, etc.

  • I’ll probably pay cash for the whole thing (it costs less than a single SFH!!!)
  • My goal is to develop this land to provide an opportunity for future expansion/growth of it and also to build up equity; you might say I could make it a small industrial park of 6-8 2000 sq foot buildings down the road. Initially I’d start with just a couple (2-3)…have one for myself and rent out the others for storage.
  • I want to earn just enough cashflow from the neighboring units to pay for for property taxes, insurance, etc. If I had no tenants it really does not matter anyway. It will not break me or hurt me by any means. This is NOT a giant project like you might think.
  • I can add a water line in the future, and bathrooms, offices and charger higher rent. Plus add more units. Etc.
  • They will be code compliant
  • I will be the GC on constructing the metal buildings. It’s very easy and requires little skill - but I have some skill. LOL.

Would you guys do this based on the above info?

I have thought about doing the same thing with tall doors for the purpose of storing motorhomes. There are none of these in our area but the doors would need to be in excess of 12 feet high. A building 20 X 50 would be big enough for this purpose. I’m not sure how to handle the electric (separate meters vs. landlord paying electric).


I would find a location for your building with extra land. Build yours because you want to anyway. Generate interest in the remaining land and build to suite on the remaining land. Know your zoning where your utilities are or aren’t. Have a pre-development meeting with the local govt before you close on the land. They may not want that type of development or at that density, set backs etc. I can tell you that build and hope they rent will cost you money I promise.

Good Luck

I have a beat up 1000 SF metal building on a lot with two other larger metal buildings. It has no heat nor water. I am going to do the same thing you describe (after a re-skin), or else carve it into mini-storage.

It sounds as if you can handle it without a financial strain. The only problem I see is that you will be attracting fairly low-end tenants, unless you find someone who wants it for storage.

What my facility has going for it is that it offers a half-decent commercial setting and some parking. So my hope is that someone will actually want to put something productive in it. But as others have said, without water and sewer, options are limited. There is a gas station with public RR right next door. I’m sure any tenant would be buying gas and snacks there so they’d probably be welcome to use the RR as needed.

I’d maybe just build two to start. Or better yet, just build yours, move in, and put a for rent sign on it. As soon as you get a renter, build him a building.


There’s a guy near me that does this, he has about a dozen or so units, a little bigger than you’re describing though, probably 2-3k square feet each on average.

A car painting service, sign business and small paving company are three of the businesses I know that rent it out. Occupancy is pretty good from what I can tell, but I don’t have specific info on this, and obviously this kind of thing is very location dependent.

It sounds like you have a pretty decent plan, start small and manageable and expand based on demand.

Could be retrofitted for light industrial, storage or covered parking applications.


Scott Miller