What’s the Price Per Square Foot for High-Density Storage?

By Stuffey | January 7, 2020
Instant Gratification is defined as “the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay or deferment.” Basically, it’s when you want it, you want it now. The world we live in today is so fast-paced and only getting faster. When budgeting for a particular project, the need for getting information quickly continues to grow and it can be difficult to keep up with—especially in the design industry. I think I speak on behalf of all designers when I say there are two factors that weigh heavily on every project we produce: Deadline & Budget. The purpose of this post is to provide you with an easy solution for calculating the cost of a storage system from the comfort of your own office on your own time.

Step 1 – What are you storing?

This may seem like a silly step to include, as we know if you’re coming to us you have stuff to store! We store all types of stuff these days – from museum artifacts and football helmets to parachutes and surgical gowns. But to keep it simple for this exercise, we’ll go with traditional paper as our “stuff” of choice and cater it toward those interested in Letter and Legal depth high density filing systems. The process, however, is applicable to any situation. Now…get your calculators ready.


Step 2 – Calculating Available Floor Space

This is the most important step in this formula. Say you’ve measured your space and its 16’0” x 15’0” with the door located on the 15’0” wall. The door location is significant because you’re going to deduct six feet to allow proper aisle space in the front of the system. ADA Accessibility Guidelines require a minimum of five feet around any door swing and deducting six feet leaves some extra wiggle room for the system. So after a just a teeny bit of math to start, we’ve determined there is space for a 16’0” wide system and 9’0” long carriages.

Calculating Available Floor Space

Step 3 – Measuring Ceiling Height

This is also a very important step to consider. Code requires a minimum of 18” below a sprinkler head. So, in a space where sprinklers exist, we must stay below that 18” requirement. Most sprinklers are roughly 2 inches alone, so (as a little advice) we generally like to make this minimum 20 inches. Get your calculators ready again. We will pretend the ceiling height is 104” with a deduction of 20 inches; we’ve determined there will be an overall maximum height of seven feet.

Step 4 – Determining Cubic Footage

First, let’s have a recap of the first three steps. We are budgeting for a storage system storing letter (or legal) size files, there is enough available space for a 16’0” wide system with 9’0” long carriages, and can be a maximum 7’0” tall. Time to brush up on some high school algebra. Cubic Footage = WIDTH X LENGTH X HEIGHT. So, we plug in our numbers and get 16’ x 9’ x 7’ = 1,008 cubic feet. Keep this number handy!

Determining Cubic Footage

Step 5 – System Drive Preference

The System Drive refers to the way a system is accessed and used. We offer two drive types: Manual and Powered. Mechanical assist systems allow a carriage to be moved left to right with a three-spoke handle with very little effort. An electrical powered mobile system allows carriages to be moved with the simple push of a button. In the end, it comes down to preference and ultimately what is in the budget. Because everyone knows options are great, we are showing one for both!

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Step 6 – Budgeting

Remember that overall cubic footage number? Get it ready. The numbers shown below reflect the average cost per cubic foot of our standard product offering based on all of the information above—available space, ceiling height, etc. This last step is just basic math. Cubic Foot Number X Selected Multiplier. We keep things simple!

  • Mechanical Assist, Letter Depth Multiplier = $36 per cubic foot
  • Mechanical Assist, Legal Depth Multiplier = $35 per cubic foot
  • Eclipse Powered, Letter Depth Multiplier = $48 per cubic foot
  • Eclipse Powered, Legal Depth Multiplier = $42 per cubic foot

(Note: These numbers are based on a 1,800 cubic foot footprint or less)

I mentioned at the beginning of this article that the goal of this exercise is to help put together a budget for future planning and the key term to remember is budget. If you find yourself in the position where you’re interested but not quite ready to commit to a design, I fully encourage you to use the formulas above as a starting point. Remember that every system we create is unique and designed to meet your specific needs, so never hesitate to contact one of our product specialists for all of your storage needs.

Happy Budgeting!

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About Stuffey

To say that Stuffey was made for this role would be an understatement. A life long hoarder, Stuffey understands how the Laws of Stuff can wreak havoc in the real world of an organization’s space. Now as part of his reformation, he is committed to passing on to you his secrets in our battle against the tyranny of STUFF.

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