Things to Consider When Starting a Storage Business

Storage businesses are popping up all around the country and there is a good reason for that. Self storage businesses can be very profitable and they provide you with a consistent stream of income month on month if you get them right. If you have ever considered opening a self storage business this is the post for you.

In this article, we have even reached out to owners of self storage businesses for their tips and tricks too. If you like this article, please be sure to share it on your social media.

1) Land

Scott Evans of Pink Storage in Cardiff says that “If you own land, having a storage business on top of it is an excellent investment. Not only are you getting an income from your storage units to pay for the land but you’re also going to see an increase in land value over time too.”

We like this tip from Scott because it’s something we hadn’t put many thoughts into in terms of it also being an investment. We talked to Scott and realised he had over 12 storage locations mainly in South Wales including two of its largest cities Cardiff and Swansea.

Scott told us that the average cost of a shipping container is around 2 years of full occupancy, after that the container is paid for and all profits can go into buying new containers or new land.

2) Choosing the right location

Choosing the right location for your storage company can make or break it. Being in an area with no need for storage would be problematic while being in an area that’s already saturated can also cause problems.

Alex from Urban Storage in East London told us that “Having storage containers in a busy city is just part of it, you also need to make sure you are providing the right type of storage that your users need. Our storage units in east London are close to many of the Universities in London so we have catered some of our marketing on being towards student storage.”

We also agree with Alex on this, if you plan on operating in a space with businesses, students, or if you are close to peoples homes you may want to cater your services towards your local area.

3) Choose the right containers

Choosing storage containers is difficult but you should discuss this with your supplier. Try to get storage units that fit your budget but also have a long-lasting life. A good quality storage unit can last for 10-20 years. Having looked back on what Scott said earlier in this article if it takes 2 years to pay off a unit and they last a further 18, that means that you are in profit for those 18 years.

If you pick a cheaper unit for example that only lasts 5 years then you are missing out on all that profit and it will slow the growth of your business.

4) Use the same supplier for discounts

When you spend more with your storage suppliers you have more bargaining power. The more units you can buy the cheaper you can get your units for.

Having a good relationship with your supplier will mean that you not only get the best discounts but you can also be told about new products before they hit the market. Spending money in one location can have many benefits so do your research first and then use your buying power to negotiate better deals.

5) You will need security

The range of items that are stored in your units will differ from one site to another, as a storage unit owner it is your responsibility to keep all of these items safe. Laurence Weekly a private investigator and security expert in London had this to say:

“When planning the security of your storage facility you will need to pick the best measures that reflect your budget. It’s important not to hold back here either as having a more secure location than a competitor could help your business sell more storage space.

When considering security you could look into an ANPR camera system that offers 24/7 monitoring, you could use fingerprint or iris scanning for your customers to open their units and you can also install security measures that protect the inside of the containers if electricity was to be cut or there was a rapid change in temperature such as a fire.”

Laurence makes a good point here, not only do your guests expect high levels of security but it’s also a good selling point to sell to your customers who have valuable assets they want to store with you.

6) Make it easy to sign up

In this day and age having an easy signup system is a must. No one wants to spend time writing out and signing long contracts when your competitors are offering a quick and easy signup system online.

If your business is using old technology or you are considering using an old paper-based system to manage your customers you are just asking for headaches further down the line. Get an online system that allows for easy signup and order management. There are many of them around, you will need to research the one that will work best for your business.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.