Is your expanding business in need of additional warehouse space? Or do you simply need a protective shelter for your RV, airplane, or personal belongings? No matter your storage needs, metal storage buildings are the perfect solution. In fact, purchasing a storage building can be a much more economical investment versus renting the space space over a number of years.

In order to determine whether you should buy or rent a storage building, it’s important to consider the following three questions:

1. What do you need to store?
2. How long do you plan to store it?
3. Do you have a property to build it on?

If you discover that building a new storage building is the right choice for you, one of our standard buildings for sale may be just what you need or you can price a customized building in 3 simple steps.

Question 1: You Need Space…What for?

Did you know that there is 2.3 billion square feet of rentable storage space in America? That’s enough space for every man, woman and child to stand inside the available space. So it’s safe to say, if you need space, you’re not alone. Lets examine the four basic types of rentable space and why each type is in high demand.

Personal Storage BuildingPersonal

The Great Recession of 2007-2009 created a countless need for personal storage space as millions of Americans were forced to downsize their homes. Today, as much as 10% of America is now renting mini-storage buildings to store personal effects that is usually stashed in a garage or basement.

RV Storage BuildingRV and Vehicle

According to The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, there were close to 36,000 RV sales in February 2016. That total was the highest number for February in 39 years and up 12% over last year. This figure is followed up closely by the 10% year over year growth in classic car collecting. Not to mention only 15% of the roughly 130 million homes in the US have a garage. That leaves 110 million homes needing a garage space to store their RV, classic cars and vehicles.


The development of e-commerce as a mainstay in America is increasing the need for warehouse buildings every year. With companies like Amazon and filling up the available space in many cities, independent business owners with expanding operations are forced to pay higher rent or build a new storage building.

More on the Warehouse Industry

General Steel Warehouse Building


Aircraft sales in the United States have held steady for the past 5 years resulting in 204,000 of the 362,000 private planes worldwide being parked in the US. More impressively, according to Aeroweb, of the 5,000 airports in America commercial jets serve only 400. That leaves a huge number of privately operated aircraft in need of hangars.

General Steel Aircraft Hangar

Do You Need Storage Space for Something Else?

The types of storage needs discussed above only scratch the surface of why private individuals and businesses call General Steel when they need space. This is because our metal building kits are customizable to address the specific needs of our customers.

Question 2: Time is Money

If your need for extra space is short-term it may be best to rent. However, if you plan to utilize a storage building for a number of years, renting can end up being expensive. In fact, according to our research below, renting storage buildings can actually cost more than owning your own.

Rent vs. Buy: Personal Storage

Storage SizeMonthly Rental RateYearly Rental Cost 5 Year Rental Cost Cost to Purchase Similar-Sized Building
10’x25’$286$3,432$17,160$7,000-$8,400 (20’x30’)*

*Base building package only, does not include any components. Local codes and loads may also change the pricing.

Rent vs. Buy: RV, Camper and Boat Storage

Space RequiredStorage SizeMontly Rental RateYearly Rental Cost5 Year Rental CostCost to Purchase Similar-Sized Building
Up to 45’ (Class A)60’ x 20’ (indoor)$550$6,660$33,000$9,600-$16,000*
50’ x 20’ (pull-thru)$100$6,240$31,200$9,000-$16,000**
55’ x 20’ (heated indoor)$520$1,200$6,000$8,800-$14,000*
16’-25’ (Class B)30’ x 30’ (indoor)$300$3,600$18,000$7,200-$12,600*
30’ x 30’ (pull-thru)$65$780$3,900$7,200-$16,000**
35’ x 35’ (heated indoor)$380$4,560$22,800$9,800-$17,150*
20’-33’ (Class C)40’ x 40 (indoor)$400$4,800$24,000$12,800-$22,400*
40’ x 40’ (pull-thru)$85$1,020$5,100$12,800-$24,000**
45’ x 40’ (heated indoor)$450$5,400$27,000$14,400-$25,200*

*Price ranges vary due to added components as well as local codes and loads including wind, snow and seismic ratings.

**The price of a pull through carport can carry an increased cost due to loading the building for upward wind force.

Rent vs. Buy: Warehouses

Building DetailsStorage SizeRate per Sq. Ft.Monthly Rental CostYearly  Rental Cost5 Year Rental CostCost to Purchase Similar-Sized Building
Distribution Facility100,486 sq ft$3.75 SF/YR$31,402$376,824$1,884,210$803,888 (300’x335’)*
Warehouse Facility54,624 sq ft$3.90 SF/YR$17,753$213,036$1,065,180$450,000 (250’x225’)*
Stand-alone Industrial Space10,800 sq ft$13.00 SF/YR$11,700$140,400$702,000$80,000 (100’x100’)*
Warehouse Facility23,463 sq ft$5.98 SF/YR$11,692$140,304$701,520$192,000 (80’x300’)*
Warehouse/Distribution Facility7,396 sq ft$6.25 SF/YR$4,133$49,596$247,980$60,000 (70’x100’)*
Warehouse/Distribution Facility5,642 sq ft$6.75 SF/YR$3,174$38,088$190,440$54,000 (60’x90’)*

*General Steel warehouse buildings can be clear span up to 300’ and at larger sizes your price benefits from economies of scale. Price estimate is for a base building package without accounting for local codes and loads.

Rent vs. Buy: Aircraft Hangars

Space RequiredSquare FootageMonthly Rental Rate Yearly Rental Cost 5 Year Rental Cost Cost to Purchase Similar-Sized Building
81’x112’x20’9,200 sq ft$7,500$90,000$450,000$64,000 (80’x100’)*
120’x60’x18’7,200 sq ft$7,200$86,400$432,000$57,000 (120’x60’)*
60’x60’x18’3,600 sq ft$3,600$43,200$216,000$36,000 (60’x60’)*
80’x80’x24’6,400 sq ft$1,200$14,400$72,000$64,000 (80’x80’)*
39’x30’x10’1,170 sq ft$400$4,800$24,000$14,500 (30’x40’)*
48’x48’x20’2,304 sq ft$350$4,200$21,000$20,000 (40’x60’)*

*Hangar price estimates are for the base building package only and do not include bi-fold doors or any other components. Local codes and loads may also change the pricing.

Should You Rent or Buy?

If you plan on renting a storage space for 5 years, purchasing a metal building is almost always the best investment choice. In fact, in some cases above, you could have bought a prefab building with the money spent after only 2 years of renting. This analysis does not however take the price of land into account, which we will explore now.

Question 3: Where Will You Build?

When you decide to build a metal building you have two choices: you can either lease a property or purchase land to build it on. Obviously leasing land doesn’t make much sense if you’re going to build a personal storage building, but it may make sense if you are going to build a warehouse, aircraft hangar or multiple RV storage buildings.

Inspect a Property for Storage Buildings

The cost of land can make or break a project. Therefore, you’re in luck if you already have some extra buildable space next to your home or a cheap property you can take advantage of. Here’s a great tool to help you find the right parcel of land for your project. Simply find the address, then input your storage building’s length and width. Next, tap “place your building” to see how your project would look while evaluating access points and setbacks.

Note: This app works best on a desktop or tablet device

Need More Help with Your Storage Project?

Our building experts have helped thousands of individuals and businesses evaluate their need for storage. Our Project Consultants can be reached at 1-800-745-2685. You can also send us a tweet using @gensteel to arrange a discussion.


Article Name
Rent vs. Buy Storage Buildings
With 2.3 billion square feet of rentable storage in America there's no shortage of available space. Should you join the 10% of Americans renting their storage space or should you buy a metal storage building? In most cases it's a wiser investment to own rather than rent.
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General Steel
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