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Customer Testimonial - John Gilliland

John Gilliland, president of Moove In Self Storage Facilities, Lancaster, PA, has been in the self storage business since 1998. He's used Flexospan as his sole supplier for all his self storage manufacturing needs since then. John talks about working with Flexospan's Self Storage division.

The Best Building For The Money"

That's what you get with a Flexospan self storage facility, according to John Gilliland, owner of Moove In Self Storage Facilities based in York, Pennsylvania. Gilliland has been in the self storage business since 1998 and he has been using Flexospan as his sole supplier for all his self storage manufacturing needs since then.

Though John's career as a commercial real-estate broker was going very well, the numbers soon convinced him to focus exclusively on brokering and developing self storage facilities.


John Gilliland & Co.
"It started when I sold two facilities for a customer and was evaluating those cash-flow numbers," Gilliland says. "I realized that in my 15 years as a commercial broker, I hadn't seen any numbers that were quite that good.

"The reason those numbers are so good is that while the cash flow on a self storage facility is about the same as an apartment, it's about one-third the cost to build," he says. John pauses, then adds the obvious, "The return on investment is phenomenal."

Gilliland emphasizes that self storage facilities are a new type of real estate and that less than 17% of all potential customers have ever used such facilities. He believes that number is likely to grow as demographics change across the country and people move more frequently, acquire more goods they need to store, or downsize temporarily to smaller housing units.

The developer has four facilities in the areas surrounding State College, PA, and three more under development: two in Lancaster and one between York and Harrisburg. John's business isn't limited to Pennsylvania, though. He brokers self storage facilities to other investors from southern Virginia to Central Connecticut.

Gilliland doesn't hesitate to recommend Flexospan to all his brokerage customers. In fact, he holds the record for recommending the smallest self storage facility, at 1,500 square feet, as well as one of the largest, which was 76,000 square feet.

Regardless of the size or complexity of the project, John knows that Flexospan offers the "best building for the money" and he ticks off several reasons why in rapid-fire succession.

Building Materials and Design are Superior

"Flexospan's standard product is either all galvanized or Galvalume® (rather than) red, or primer-coated steel," Gilliland says. "Red steel rusts over time and in shore areas (where there's a high atmospheric salt content), that's even more of a problem."

Gilliland also knows that Flexospan's load-bearing wall system is more stable and more cost-effective and, most important, more convenient for his customers.

"All of the walls on 10-foot centers (in a Flexospan design) are load bearing, so there aren't any posts holding up the roof," he says. "That makes construction much easier and the foundation doesn't have to have extra concrete to support those posts. Instead the load is spread throughout the building. That reduces the foundation costs.

"And, my customers don't have poles protruding into their units. They actually have more usable space," he adds.

Made in Pennsylvania

Unlike most self storage building suppliers, Flexospan is not a components broker. They manufacture all of the steel parts on site in their Sandy Lake, PA facility. That "made in Pennsylvania" factor is important to Gilliland's business.

John knows he is always welcome at the plant to see his product being rolled. More important, he can call up Flexospan to check on an order and he'll know its status in just a few minutes.

"It's not like I'm buying steel out of Seattle or Texas or Florida," he says. "If I have an issue, those people are a long way away. But Flexospan is within a reasonable driving time and they have direct control over what's happening.

"They don't have to call a broker in New Mexico who calls a plant in Florida to see what's going on. They simply walk back to the plant 150 yards away. That's important," he says.

On-Time, Fast Deliveries

Gilliland says that Flexospan's on-site manufacturing is critical to reducing delivery times. Flexospan is "head and shoulders" above other manufacturers (on delivery times), according to John.

"They're four to six weeks ahead of other manufacturer's delivery schedules," he says. "For my first project, that was crucial. We had a competitor who was going to build, but because we were able to get the buildings up so quickly, the other project was never completed."

Excellent Customer Service

Though John believes that the design and materials, Flexospan's convenient, central location and its ability to deliver on time have all contributed to his satisfaction, it's Flexospan's commitment to its customers that is most important to him.

"Andy Narlee (my Warehouse Consultant) ) has been great," he says. "When I first got started I didn't know anything. He and Pat Watson (Self Storage Division Manager), and the engineer worked closely with me to complete the pro formas, determine the best unit mixes and find the right building contractors. They even helped with my advertising strategy, all those things that as a new developer you'll need help with."

According to Gilliland, Flexospan continues to provide that level of customer service, even though he's an old hand at building self storage facilities.

"I can't say enough good things about Andy and about Flexospan's customer service," Gilliland adds.

It All Adds Up

John adds up all the reasons he's glad he chose Flexospan as "his" self storage manufacturer, then pauses.

"You know," he says, "I've recommended Flexospan buildings all up and down the East Coast. I don't get anything out of that, but when all is said and done (with Flexospan) you will get the best building for the money.

"They do a superb job of getting these buildings built and getting them out."

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