Whether you own a boat, RV, ATV or anything else, there is always one similar problem: What do you do with your vehicle in the off season? Long-term vehicle storage can be challenging, and most people choose one of two solutions. Some rent storage at a dedicated storage facility, while others buy their own storage building and keep their vehicles at home. But which choice makes the most sense?

Boat Carport

Choosing Between Renting and Buying Vehicle Storage

Storing a boat or RV through the offseason isn't quite like putting your lawnmower or patio furniture away for the winter. Vehicles need some special care and consideration in terms of storage. Whether you're renting or buying, you'll need to think about these facts:

  • Space - Boats, trailers, and long RVs require more space to park and maneuver than a car or truck. Make sure you have enough room to turn and park comfortably.
  • Headroom - Depending on the size of your vehicle, you'll need to make sure your storage solution has enough vertical room to park comfortably and safely.
  • Temperature - If you live in a cold climate, you'll need to think about protecting your vehicle from freezing temperatures. Ice and snow can cause damage over time, especially as they melt and refreeze. Make sure your storage solution gives you adequate protection from the cold.


Many people choose to rent storage spaces for their vehicles when they aren't using them. This can be a good solution for a short time or when buying your own storage isn't an option, but it usually isn't worth it over the long term.

The biggest benefit of renting your vehicle storage is simplicity. When you rent a storage space you only need to sign some paperwork and pay rent. Everything else is provided for you. It also costs less than buying a storage building - at least at first.

Unlike buying your own building, storage rentals require you to pay every month you use them. Their costs never go down, and in some cases they can go up (such as if your rental company raises their rates).

Another downside of renting storage is protection. In many cases, boat and RV storage rentals are just spaces in an empty lot with no protective covering. Others may have roofs but not walls or doors. Fully-covered storage is less common, and it can be expensive. Finally, you have no control over who else has access to your storage building or lot. You have to rely on the storage company to protect your vehicles for you.


In contrast to renting storage, buying a storage building might seem impractical. It's true that buying a building requires more money up front. But unlike renting, when you buy a storage building you only pay once. The lifetime cost of owning your storage building is much lower than renting. Steel storage buildings also have very low maintenance and upkeep costs. This makes them cheap to own and simple to take care of.

Buying a storage building also gives you full control over how your vehicles are kept and treated. Nobody but you has access to your vehicles, and you can access them any time you want. You can also customize your building how you wish, such as with insulation, lighting, electrical and water hookups, or even heating and A/C.

Which One Should You Choose?

For most recreational vehicle owners, buying a storage building is a better choice. The control and customization you get from buying outweighs the higher initial cost, and the low maintenance and upkeep of steel buildings makes them cheaper over time. Renting is really only a good idea when you don't have the space to build a garage or building of your own.

Want to learn more about getting a great storage building for your RV, boat, trailer or other vehicles? Call Bargain Barns USA today at 405-872-0338 and find out more. You can also visit us on Facebook to see more recent posts, news and projects we've been working on.