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3 Gotcha's for New Portable Storage Owners

August 13, 2019


3 Gotcha's for New Portable Storage Owners

4 min

As a new business owner, you may feel like you are walking a minefield. There are no straight and narrow pathways.

Instead, you’re dealing with a hazard zone full of potential pitfalls and hidden explosives that are ready to detonate at a moment’s notice— or with no notice at all.

It’s scary stuff.

However, knowledge is power, and if you know just where the mines are, you’ll be able to navigate around them.

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This article will list and identify some big pitfalls so that the road ahead can be a bit more clear.

So, here are three big ‘Gotcha’s’ that you’ll want to avoid when starting up in the portable self storage industry.


1. Ignoring Your Clientele

If your portable storage business is not taking off as quickly as expected, the problem may be just this: you’ve forgotten to make yourself visible to the more significant part of the potential customer base that can use portable storage containers.

It’s important to realize that clientele interested in portable are not the same as the clientele of a traditional self storage facility.

For one thing, it’s more spread out: there is a unique potential to serve a radius of 30+ miles from the center of your business’s location.

Harness this potential by getting the brand name out everywhere. Potential customers can see and read all about your company as containers pass them by on the interstate while out for rental.

Remember, portable containers themselves can serve as moving billboards. Having imagery and content plastered all over with mindful branding and pertinent information will be beneficial.

Portable storage container rentals tend to appeal to the 20-30-year-old crowd: people who have yet to put down strong roots to any single location. New apartments, new cities, new relationships keep these consumers always moving.

When they make their frequent moves, they find themselves with more time than money, and a ‘movable box’ is the practical option. However, this group is not the only possible clientele.

Businesses without enough warehouse space are often interested in the potential of expanding by using portable storage.

Events like craft shows or music festivals need somewhere to put equipment away after the big event, and a container that can be made available on demand is a perfect solution.

Also, families looking to declutter will often be grateful for the convenience of a portable storage unit delivered to their door. They can reorganize their home, have a makeshift shed, or have a temporary workspace.


2. Starting Too Big

One thing you should keep in mind with portable storage is that it is incredibly scalable.

There’s no reason to invest more than you can afford: start small, rent out containers, and then expand as your means increase and your market grows.

If you have an engaged customer base and are satisfying their lifestyle needs, then you will succeed.

There’s no reason to buy or rent much premium real estate— you can store your containers anywhere.

Containers can also be stacked, which has the potential to give them an even smaller footprint.

You will want to make sure that your storage containers are secure, and that the location is easily accessible to transportation.


3. Insurance and the Portable Storage Business

Do what you will, accidents happen.

Your portable storage containers move between your storage yard, the road, and client’s homes and businesses, and there is the potential for disaster to strike anywhere along that timeline.

There’s nothing worse than suffering a loss and then discovering that your insurance is insufficient to enable you to move forward.

Be sure that your insurance policy includes general liability as well as property coverage for your containers, whether they are at your location or rented out.

You should also make sure you have transit coverage and liability coverage for both your containers and the goods they store, while they are on the road or placed in your storage location if you offer that feature.

In general, you are not liable for the contents of the containers while they are in your client’s care, but if a fault in your container is shown to be the cause of property loss, then you may also become responsible.

Be sure your contracts with renters lay out the liabilities of both parties very clearly. Generally, people who are seeking storage understand the risks involved, and it is best to be transparent when talking about worst-case scenarios and insurance.




When an excited about an opportunity, it is easy to get ahead and focus on the wrong things. Slow down and make sure you are considering all sides of your new business.

It’s better to know exactly where the starting point is and then jump off feeling confident the groundwork has been thought out.

Do not let pitfalls be the reason you find your portable business stuck going nowhere because of an initial absent-mindedness. Here is a list of prominent solutions so that you do not get got by poor planning and make the best decisions for you.


- Do not ignore your potential customers and the reason they need your services.


- Begin and invest at your own pace and comfortable business size.


- Understand the unique purpose of portable storage and have the appropriate insurance to make sure your assets are always covered.

Ultimately, plan well, do the math before you begin, and there’s no reason you won’t be the next success story in portable self storage.



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