The past few years have had a somewhat tumultuous feel to them, largely thanks (or no thanks!) to the COVID pandemic. Before COVID hit, the UK population had a fairly traditional attitude when it came to working, with the majority of us leaving our homes each day to commute to an external place of work.
The lasting impact of COVID on the business world is still being unpicked, however when Lockdown first commenced in the UK, nearly all businesses were forced to make radical changes to the way in which they were operated. This included working out how and where jobs would be carried out, navigating new working practices, adapting to changing personal circumstances and planning for the return of staff to work safely. Everyone now knew what Furlough meant, we would ‘Teams’ people and lockdown was declared word of the year by Collins dictionary in 2020.
Now, nearly 3 years after the WHO declared the pandemic, some areas of life have returned to post COVID levels with relative ease, however when it comes to working practices the UK has really embraced hybrid working, with many companies now offering working from home as a viable option.
How can self storage can benefit businesses?
Lockdown inspired many people to set-up businesses, without the pressure of having to rely on monthly costs for premises or sites. Some businesses who had historically always used premises opted to get rid of these expensive overheads and chose to run from home or from a virtual space. This is where self storage has played a huge part, it is no coincidence that the self storage industry boomed during and since the pandemic.
Flexible working practices
Having a flexible space when running a business can be extremely useful, often much more economical than renting premises or a warehouse and with no added business rates, self storage is a great option for creating more space. For traders existing solely online self storage is a great alternative to property with many storage providers offering 24 hour access.
The flexibility of being able to rent more or less space through the use of self storage in line with your business requirements means that you only need to pay for space when you need it. This may be to accommodate seasonal fluctuations in stock for instance, using self storage facilities rather than a more traditional lock-up space to house your stock means that you can procure more space for a limited amount of time (most storage facilities will allow you to rent a unit from as little as one month), without having to commit to increased costs in the longer term.
Taking on a business lease is a big financial commitment and now, more so than ever, we are only too aware the fact that we don’t know what is around the corner. COVID has left us with a level of uncertainty when it comes to financial matters and the reluctance to commit long-term financially to a commercial lease is understandable. What if something happens to you and you are unable to maintain the payments? What if your business grows, shrinks or you need to relocate? Many self storage providers run on a month to month lease and so this make it much more flexible for you to adapt to any changing and unforeseen circumstances without having to worry about being tied into a contracted lease agreement.
Running a business from a storage unit
It would be against the terms and conditions of the storage provider to use your self storage unit as a permanent office or workshop (i.e working out of the unit on a daily basis, seeing customers there, operating machinery onsite etc). However this does not mean that you can’t use a self storage unit as an extension of your business and there are many businesses that would benefit greatly from use of a storage unit instead of traditional premises or warehouses. There is also the added bonus of no business rates to pay!
- Tradespeople - Safe, secure and often accessible outside of working hours tools and equipment can be stored within a storage unit with a range of options for multiple keyholders. However, be sure to check the terms and conditions of your agreement as some machinery will not be allowed, in particular, anything which requires fuel due to the risk of fire. Using a self-storage unit to store parts for customers can be beneficial - some providers even offer to receive goods on your behalf.
- eBay seller & eCommerce – Self storage units are an ideal place to house stock and sort orders for dispatch, especially if you solely trade online with no physical shop/store.
- Documents/Books/Art – For any business involved in the creation or sale of documents, art and books a self storage unit is a fantastic asset. With specialist units now available that will reduce humidity and maintain temperature, these delicate items can remain safe and secure, with no risk of damage, until required.
- Stock for a designer/artist/etsy -handmade clothing, art, ornaments and trinkets are very popular and the market has continued to grow. If you’re making money from your creative flare, set up your own place where you can store your finished products, this can help you to be ahead of the game and gives you the potential to sell more, expanding your business and its profits.
- Small publishers – books, brochures, magazines, they all stack up – so opt for a storage unit where you can label and box all items for optimal organisation and protection.
Check the terms & conditions
If you are thinking of using a self storage unit for any business related activity other than storage then it would be worth speaking with the provider to ensure you are not contravening any terms and conditions - different storage providers have different specifications on what is and is not acceptable so always check first!
Self storage insurance
Although you may already have some type of business insurance, this will not cover your goods when in a self storage location, you will need appropriate self storage insurance.
Store Insure offers a storage insurance policy created specifically to protect your business goods whilst they are being kept in a professionally managed storage facility. Whether your business uses self storage all the time, or just occasionally to cope with busy periods, it is important to ensure that your goods are properly protected against loss or damage whilst they are in storage.
By taking out Self storage insurance for business goods from Store Insure, we can offer protection against the specific risks associated with storage, as well as providing cover whilst your goods are in transit.
Our self storage insurance cover for businesses is flexible and is available from a minimum term of just 1 month through to a maximum term of up to 18 months, you can log-in to your online Store Insure account at any time and change your cover levels if required.
For more information on self storage insurance, to compare our cover or to get a quote go to www.store-insure.co.uk/storage-insurance, or give us a call.