We’re all familiar with self-storage units and chances are that at some point, we have all used one. Whether it’s for storing excess furniture, paperwork, unwanted items or possessions that we just can’t bring ourselves to throw away – units up and down the country are full to the brim with our possessions.
Storage companies were first seen in the USA in the 1970s and the popular concept later spread to Australia and then finally to the UK about 20 years ago. It’s only in the last decade however that the industry has really started to boom and it is estimated that there is now more than 30 million square feet of storage space in the UK again.
Some savvy business owners have started to use self-storage units to their advantage by using them as their premises. Even though it doesn’t draw up images of a nice comfortable office space, when you consider the flexibility, short notice periods and low overheads, you can’t really blame businesses with little cashflow who are being drawn into this idea.
One such business owner is Hiren Patel who runs e-commerce gift company, Sent 4 U. In the run-up to Christmas he is frequently packaging up to 12,000 items a day and sending them to destinations all around the world. It’s a round-the-clock operation that requires the help of 20 staff members but for a seasonal business such as this, self-storage units are the perfect solution.
As well as having a handy place to store excess stock for the rest of the year, Hiren also enjoys the fact that you don’t need to pay council tax and the reassurance that if business isn’t going well, you can move on or reduce your space with very short notice.
Whilst the High Street has been suffering for years now thanks to an increase in online shopping, the market for self storage units has continued to boom as online retailers realise they are a convenient and cheap alternative when it comes to storing their stock.
Although they might not provide a prestigious business address, for many companies that operate solely online – these basic units are absolutely ideal. Helen Cockle and Helen Gilbert from South West London moved their children’s clothing business to a storage space when their stock outgrew the kitchen table. Three years since doing this, the duo has expanded their space by almost 10 times.
Another benefit of using self-storage units as a business premises is that they frequently provide a front-of-house reception area that will take deliveries for them. This means that people can be out and about running their business and don’t have to waste time awaiting delivery of stock.