How to Start Your Own Storage Business

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starting storage business

Rising numbers of us are needing to use the services of a storage business. Ever wondered how can start your own? Let’s find out.


With a surge in people using sites like eBay, Etsy and Gumtree to run their own business, there is increased demand to be able to store stock securely. In fact, the number of self-storage facilities in the UK currently stands at 1,500, which does exceed that of fast food giant McDonald’s. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that 68 percent of customers are less than 20 minutes from their nearest storage business (SSA & YouGov). Before we get into the nitty gritty of how you can start your own storage franchise, we take a quick look at why it’s such a great idea in the first place.

Why is starting a storage business such a great idea?

1. Less spacious new build housing

In general, new builds are getting smaller. This means there is less storage space in homes, and a higher demand for self-storage containers for personal items.

2. It’s a relatively stress-free business venture

Compared to running a busy restaurant franchise unit, operating a storage business should be less stressful and demand less from you on a day-to-day basis. If that’s what you’re looking for in a business venture, then the storage industry could be the perfect fit for you.

3. Can have multiple revenue streams

Depending on where you set up your storage business, you could also have another separate business on the side. Maybe you have an insurance business and can base your office there? Or rent out factory equipment from a location next door?

Top tips for staring a storage business

1. Examine the competition in your local area

By looking at your competitors, you can get an understanding of where customers already seek storage facilities and how much they are prepared to pay. Think about ways you can make your business more visible, or maybe even offer lower prices.

A storage business that is clearly advertised and in a populated area is likely to receive more trade than a business in the middle of nowhere. Also, if there are frequent passers-by, you won’t need to spend as much on advertising.

Of course, it won’t be possible to launch a storage business with 1,000 shipping containers in the middle of a city centre. But keep this in mind and be sure to firmly establish how you will attract custom.

You could place your company near small business units. Often, during busy periods like Christmas, they will need extra storage space. You can capitalise on this by being their go-to storage facility.


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2. Decide what type of business you want to start

There are three main types of storage franchise you can launch. These are:

  • Metal shipping container

The biggest shipping container is around 160 square feet, and it can be divided up into smaller spaces. They are usually in a secured area with enough space for customers to park next them and unload easily.

Some businesses may run a large site with hundreds of shipping containers, or they might deliver them to their client’s desired location. They can either stay there, or the business can pick them up and take them back to its headquarters.

Shipping containers are convenient and cost effective, usually being cheaper than warehouse storage options.

  • Warehouse storage

This is a popular type of self-storage and the one used by many storage companies in the UK. They are essentially a large building split into individual units. There can be hundreds or even thousands of them and they vary in size.

You can usually find this type of storage in a convenient location and, due to the sheer volume of units, many offer access 24/7. They are often temperature controlled too. For the customer, all these perks come at a heftier price tag compared to the other options.

  • Lock-up garage

These are generally purpose built and are often slightly less spacious than the other two. Generally, they don’t vary in size, and come in at around 124 square feet.

This is usually a cheaper alternative to warehouse storage options and found in more residential areas. However, depending on the quality of the door, the security may not be as high at the other two options.

3. Think carefully about the material of storage containers

If you’ve chosen the shipping container storage business, then using new one trip containers made from Corten steel should help your product last up to 20 years without much maintenance. Customers will want to leave their belongings somewhere clean, where they can retrieve them in the same condition they left them in.

Keep the roof clear of debris and touch up the paintwork at least every two to three years if you want your containers to last.

4. Decide how you are going to keep your storage facility secure

You could offer your own padlock range, where padlocks are individually keyed and numbered and controlled with a master key. Make sure the padlocks are of a high quality too.

Some storage businesses let customers use their own locks. This could be their own preference but there are some drawbacks to this option. For instance, if the customer misplaces their keys or the police have a warrant to search it, the container will get damaged when the lock is broken.


5. Pick a supplier who is respected and reliable

Get your containers from one supplier and use one colour for all. Uniformity should help make your business look more professional. There are lots of manufacturers to choose from and the design will vary between the different ones. Two of the main ways they differ is the number of locking bars on the doors and the number of vents.

Start your own storage business today

So, there you have it – our top tips to keep in mind when starting a storage business in the UK. If your next step is browsing franchise opportunities, check out the top three self storage franchises in the UK. Remember that if you choose to invest in a franchise rather than starting from scratch, you will be supported through the entire set-up process and can operate under a trusted brand.

>> Read more articles on the Self Storage sector

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