In recent years, there is no doubt that self storage has become more and more popular as a solution for storing personal belongings. When we think of self storage we tend to immediately think of moving house and you wouldn’t be wrong - according to a recent annual industry report undertaken by The Self Storage Association UK more than a third of domestic customers used self storage for moving home (source: https://www.cushmanwakefield.com/en/united-kingdom/insights/uk-self-storage-annual-report).
Interestingly though, the report also highlighted the use of self storage by small retailers had seen the greatest rise during 2020 – 2021 as more and more businesses expanded their online presence due to the pandemic and a growing need to obtain goods through lockdown.
There is no doubt that the recent COVID 19 pandemic has changed the way we shop, more and more high street businesses are closing their doors each month and opting for an online presence instead. Smaller businesses have had a chance to flourish and so in lieu of this we looked at what type of businesses use and benefit from self storage.
Online Marketplace Sellers (eBay, Amazon)
We all know that sites like eBay and Amazon have a huge and diverse array of wares and the ability to access everything in one place proved to be a blessing for many during the pandemic.
Operating an online only business means there are no costly overheads such as rent or business rates - however, in order to fulfil the demands of the customers you will likely need somewhere to store all your stock (your spare room just won’t do!). This is where self storage proves to be a necessity for online retailers - whatever you sell, as long as it is not a prohibited item, you can store in a secure, easily accessible storage unit ready for packing and shipping to anywhere in the world.
Craft Sellers (Etsy, Folksy)
If you have been lucky enough to take your hobby to the next level and create a business doing something you love, then firstly well done! Many creative/craft hobbies-turned-businesses can require a lot of kit, equipment and supplies (pottery wheels, kilns, frames, looms, sewing machines and overlockers to name but a few) so a self storage unit can be a great solution for keeping it all in order and in good clean condition, after all it is your livelihood.
If you are also considering running workshops and don’t have the luxury of a suitable space at home, hiring a venue is the next best thing. With self storage facilities all over the UK it is now easier than ever to find storage relatively near to your venue location to store all your workshop equipment.
We have a great tool for finding self storage providers based on your location where we currently provide storage insurance to on our website. We also add new storage facilities regularly, however if a facility is not yet listed you can request to add it here.
If you are a self-employed tradesperson or perhaps you own a small construction firm, a permanent location can be a costly outgoing, especially considering that its primary use is for storage. Many smaller companies outsource their financial accounts, administration and recruitment so why is storage any different?
The potential benefits for independent and smaller construction firms utilising self-storage are huge.
- Self storage can be rented within a reasonable distance to virtually any location in the UK, this is great for a constantly changing location of work.
- Self storage will ensure that all tools and equipment are kept in a secure and safe location. The risk of parking your van overnight loaded with tools can be worrying, causing unnecessary stress.
- The majority of storage units are open 24/7, which is great for any early starts or late finishes.
- Some self storage operators have minimum periods, which can vary from 2 weeks to a month. However, some do not, so it is worth finding this out before you commit to anything. Some operators will also offer ‘long term’ discounts so again speak with the supplier and negotiate the correct term for you (It is a universal rule that you will always need a storage unit for longer than you first anticipated!).
- Remember to check with the provider what tools/equipment are eligible to store, not only will you be breaking the terms of the storage lease if storing prohibited items but also this will invalidate your storage insurance. For advice on what items can be covered by our storage insurance please contact us.
Food-Based Businesses (Street Markets, Mobile Vendors)
We are all spoilt for choice when it comes to food on the go - when it comes to takeaways there is a huge and diverse choice, with fantastic spices and aromas filling every city and town centre. We even have week-long events dedicated to food in many areas across the UK in the form of street markets and food festivals. So, how does food relate to self storage and can you even use a self storage unit to store food? The answer to this question is both yes and no.
Many self storage units will allow non-perishable food items such as tinned goods, dried spices, bottled juices and sometimes biscuits and confectionary. However, this is something you should ALWAYS check prior to renting a unit with your provider so you are clear on the terms and conditions of the lease. It is never advisable to store perishable food items or pet foods for example as not only will the condition deteriorate very quickly, it will more likely attract pests such as rodents and bugs, which most likely are not be covered by your self storage insurance if you attracted them there in the first place!
When it comes to food businesses however, self storage is great for storing any items such as cookware, stalls, kitchenware and tableware. In fact, at Store Insure we can cover you for the following items under our Kitchen, Cooking Food & Drink section of our policy which includes:
- Biscuits & Confectionary
- Bottled Juices
- Dried food, spices and preservatives
- Tinned foods
- Barbeques and accessories
- Kitchenware including storage items
However, in all cases it is imperative that you speak with the self storage provider prior to leasing a unit so you are clear on what you can and cannot store (food-wise). Failure to do so could result in forfeiting the terms and conditions of your lease and invalidating your storage insurance should anything go wrong.
Whilst mostly used for storing stock and equipment, when it comes to small businesses, some self storage unit providers are now starting to offer on-site offices. With wifi, communal kitchens and toilets - it is a great way to keep all sections of your business in one place.
With self storage becoming bigger and bigger each year, many purpose-built sites have staffed offices and will accept deliveries on your behalf when you are not around. These will then be transferred to a secure area which will be ready for you to collect when convenient.
So, in conclusion…
Whilst this article has focussed on the smaller to medium sized businesses there are many benefits for any business in choosing to use self storage. Being able to increase and decrease the storage needed at short notice, within short distance of many locations in and around the UK is a huge asset to any business.
As ever, when using any self storage specifically for storing stock or equipment for your business, it is vital to get the correct storage insurance cover. At Store Insure we have a huge array of advice and resources listed on our website, alternatively use our ‘Quote and Buy Online’ service for instant cover.