When Expanding Or Building A New Storage Facility, A Rendering Is Better Than A Photo

Sometimes a photo can tall a thousand words. But sometimes none of those words are what you really want to say. That’s why developers have long used renderings when presenting ideas to city government and the public. But why not simply use photo mock-ups?

City hall likes a soft sell

Few things in life ever turn out in reality as good as they seemed in theory. They are never as attractive as you think they will be when built. So renderings (artistic renditions of proposed developments) allow you to show city hall the “dream” as opposed to a more precise “reality” (a photo-quality simulation). The bottom line is that the best way to get what you want is often to sell the concept more than the reality, and that’s what a rendering does.

“Ballpark” discussions are key

Another benefit of renderings is that they are – to a degree – non-committal. While they give a basic streetscape, they don’t really tie you down to any factual items as far as construction details. This keeps those who view the plans from making any particular criticism because there’s not much factual to review. The entire goal of a re-zoning is to get what you want, and sometimes those who vote can’t see the forest for the trees and will give pushback on your plans because they don’t like some minor detail of the building itself.

The ability to morph your plans based on feedback

Since the rendering is non-committal it allows you to shift your development as you go, simply changing your description of what it will be. If the city says “wait, those doors won’t be orange, right?” you can say “what color would you like them to be?” and then “well that’s exactly the color we chose”. This ability to morph your project into what those who make the vote desire gives you a powerful edge.


Artistic renderings are a great way to present your concept to city hall. They give you just enough color commentary but not too much. They allow you to morph your project to meet the desires of city hall. That’s why they’ve been a powerful tool for decades.

Frank Rolfe has been an active self-storage investor for around two decades, with self-storage units in many states throughout the U.S. His nuts and bolts knowledge of what makes for a successful self-storage facility has led to a three-decade career without a single failed property.