Buying is smarter than renting. A lot of people will raise their eyebrows when talking about the real estate business. Many who have been hopping from one rental to another think getting into the property business is beyond them. But many successful real estate entrepreneurs trumpet how they started with renting too and ended up racking millions.
The story of Barbara Corcoran, founder of the Corcoran Group, who started with just an itty-bitty studio for her to stay in, is a glorious example. She just needed a place to stay. But that studio doubled in value a few years later, and soon she had enough cash to pay 50% of a simple one-bedroom apartment. Today, she owns a ten-room penthouse on Fifth Avenue.
Obviously, opportunities matter in real estate. Still, it takes a certain discipline and cunning to make the most of these opportunities. As promising as real estate is, the wrong investment can turn billionaires into paupers in record time.
The good news is there’s a new real estate boom in town that you might want to make the most of. We’re talking about truck parking. It may sound off. But truth be told, millions of commercial trucks in America need a place to call home, albeit temporarily. Even better, there may not be a better time to explore as no one has claimed of becoming a millionaire in this business yet.
Consider the Numbers
You might find its prospects funny, but looking at the number of trucks distributed all over America should tell you truck parking has its bright spots. American Trucking Associations data shows more than 36 million trucks are operating in the whole United States. That’s a lot of trucks. The thing each one needs a place to park. Put in the mix of e-commerce and online ordering, and you know there is definitely a viable business here.
As observed, many trucks are being parked on highway shoulders, unable to get their space in overcrowded truck parking lots. In a 2013 survey that involved about 4,000 truck drivers, a whopping majority (83%) claimed it takes them more than 30 minutes to find ample parking. Meanwhile, 39% detailed that it took them more than an hour.
To note, the pandemic has more than quadrupled the reliance on door-to-door deliveries setting a bigger responsibility on the shoulders of America’s trucks. Cities, for one, have been booming with big-box stores that harbor 36-foot clearance heights, a welcome sign for big trucks. Indeed, raising the roof has made all the difference in America’s warehouses.
Let’s not forget, however, that warehouses are meant for loading and unloading and not for truck parking. More often than not, you find several truck parking lots across these loading docks. Certainly, these spaces are lacking if you factor in off-road storage for trailers and those still to be loaded.
Making the Most of Truck Parking
Take note that the sheer number of trucks operating in America makes for great business. A good example here is the supply of needed reliable parts for diesel engines. The majority, if not all, of heavy vehicles that take up a lot of miles in a day rely on diesel engines. Their greater ability to move heavy loads more than any other engine on the market is spot on, thanks to its powerful torque.
Though there are truck parking businesses that cater to the growing need for parking lots, the industry itself is fragmented. It’s currently made up of small operators acting independently.
That can sound like a window of opportunity. Even better, the attention of big-time supply-chain players such as Prologis is focused elsewhere.
A Golden Example
A glorious example of a foray into truck parking is Cary Goldman, the investment firm founder of Timber Hill Group. Seeing the opportunity, Goldman started National Truck Parking. In 2019, NTP bought a 51-acre truck parking facility somewhere in Northwest Miami. The place itself is close to Miami International Airport and the famous Florida Turnpike. It was a good buy with the seller, F & M Parking, receiving about $8.1 M for the property as it was an off-market deal.
Goldman managed to distinguish his market early on. He divulged a difference between by-the-hour parking and truck stops where drivers stay for longer and even shower. Specifically, he targeted trucks that needed overnight parking. He had 1,300 parking lots complete with 24-hour security and on-site property managers.
A year ago, he charged a $200 monthly fee for parking in a 70 ft. by 11 ft spot. He has increased it to $300 since then. His clients? Amazon, the Hub Group, and JB Hunt are just some names. Indeed, quick math should tell you his business is earning well — more than well, to be exact.
Knowing these things can make you see how this idea can be profitable. Learn what you can about getting into this business and consider starting a venture.