Why More B2Bs Are Harnessing Self Storage
Self storage is growing rapidly across the world – the UK now has as many self storage facilities as it does McDonald’s restaurants (around 1,200) and the total self storage floor space in this country alone adds up to 40 million sq ft. Most importantly for B2B’s, is the surge in business customers: the Self Storage Association reports an increase in over 16% since 2010. So why are companies turning away from traditional storage – warehouses and industrial units – and investing in self storage instead?
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
It’s ironic that most businesses, when they start looking for more offsite storage, discover the problem is there’s just too much of it. Traditional warehouses are usually one size fits all – old barns or converted open plan buildings – and business customers will often be expected to take a whole floor, irrespective of how much space they actually need. Finding a space that suits your requirements, therefore, is difficult. Self storage facilities, on the other hand, have a greater range of sizes: from small rooms up to large warehouse sized spaces (10 sq ft to up to 5000 sq ft). Most facilities will have a range of up to 20 different sized rooms, so make sure to view several to find one that serves your needs best.
Less Complicated, Easier to Budget
Contracts for traditional storage spaces will typically include costs for security, utilities, business rates and service charges. They might also require a large upfront deposit (or bank guarantee). Compare this to self storage – no business rates, a small security deposit and one fixed price for everything else, makes it much easier to budget. As a national customer, you’ll often get an account manager, a single master contract and one invoice covering all locations and 30 day settlement for easy accounting – plus discounted rates (talk to your Store Manager for further information).
Safe, Secure, Sorted
It goes without saying that security is vital – you might feel placated by the fact your warehouse or industrial unit has alarms, but who goes to check it if an alarm is tripped at 2am in the morning? Storage Facilities will bundle security into the overall cost and the best ones provide CCTV, security doors and perimeter fencing to give you peace of mind. Insurance might be cheaper if your expensive equipment or merchandise is stored in a Self Storage Facility too.
Adaptability Is Key
Ultimately, however, the real benefits of self storage all come down to flexibility. Use storage the same day you sign up for it and upsize or downsize without penalty – so long as the room is available, it’s just a case of signing a new contract. This is especially useful if you’re using your self storage room as a hub (such as reps on the road who need drop off/pick up points or B2B wholesalers moving stock quickly) – when you no longer need the room, shut it down or move to a smaller, cheaper one until new equipment or products arrive. Some self storage facilities will also sign for deliveries if you can’t be there (let the store know ahead of time and make sure the packages have the company and unit number marked clearly on the goods).
Storage Is Not Just for Stock
When we think of storage, we usually imagine a cavernous space filled with widgets, but a self storage room can have a much greater range of functions. If you need a few extra desks in your office quickly, make the space by putting furniture in storage. Documentation can also be stored safely (contracts and hard copies for tax returns). Self storage can also be a short term solution if you’re moving premises, as a distribution hub (with extra space to turn around stock) or a place for installers or engineers to keep spare parts. Storage companies can also offer other additional services such as a PA service (to take phone calls) and flexible office spaces too.
About the Author
Drew Davies lives in London and writes for Big Yellow Self Storage, which has 76 purpose-built self-storage sites across the UK. For more information see their business storage section or blog.
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