Expanding into Portable Storage

July 3, 2019

Expanding into Portable Storage@5x
4 min

Self storage owners and operators have options to expand their business and increase sales.

Purchasing additional facilities or adding moving trucks on the facility are thoughtful expansions. Offering amenities such as boxes and packing tape or requiring insurance for tenants can be ways to increase any facilities rental potential and sales.

An emerging self storage venture becoming increasingly popular and is one of the fastest growing segments in the self storage industry is portable storage.


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Portable storage is a straightforward concept. It usually takes the shape of renting containers, delivering containers, the customer taking charge of loading and organizing the container, and when services are no longer needed the container is retrieved. The convenience and customized experience help make portable storage a solution that is gaining massive traction in the self storage industry.

Whether you have one or a fleet of facilities serving an area, portable storage can increase operating radius and brand presence. Because delivery is a unique benefit, you can offer storage services to a broader audience because they can utilize your business without having to find you or be responsible for coming to you.

“Typically, traditional storage draws customers from 3 to 5 miles, with visible doors a key source of business. Portable storage serves up to a 30-mile radius, greatly expanding the potential customer base. Containers in service, branded with the business logo, phone number and website, serve as important marketing tools”.

Portable storage as an addition to a current facility can be a sound and easily recognized investment to make use of any unutilized real estate on grounds.

To begin expanding existing facilities or preparing to create a new business endeavor then it would be appropriate to focus on relevant portable storage factors.


Key Considerations

Portable storage needs dictate that you begin by pinpointing additional space, budgeting for trucks and employees, and purchasing the portable containers.

If you operate a facility, then additional space can be utilizing existing real estate on your property. You might even convert parking or underperforming RV and boat storage if portable presents a lucrative enough venture.

Various types of trucks, lifts, and trailers can be purchased or rented. The specifics will depend on delivery methods, access to containers, and location. Industry vendors can provide a customized truck and options for whatever works best for your portable business needs.

Typically, portable containers are commonly accepted to be the freight containers used in the commercial shipping industry. They are cost-intensive, heavy, and designed for long distance travel.

Self storage consumers might think to make use of freight containers, but they would not be the best choice. Portable storage operations can use valuable industry resources and conscientious practices to guide productive expansion.

In terms of containers, portable self storage markets standardized unit sizes that align with consumers representative storage needs. For example, recognized dimensions are eight, twelve, sixteen, and twenty feet. Portable customers will often arrange for multiple containers to store belongings, facilitate travel, or utilize them for business applications.

Portable operations can find containers to stack or collapse between uses and rentals to manage inventory properly. Containers can be wood, plastic, or steel depending on customer’s needs, wishes, or environment of use.

Each type of container will have limitations and advantages. Thoughtfully considering options in tandem with your customer’s needs will best suit business decision making.

For example, wood containers cannot be outside for too long and should be stored at length in a warehouse. If you have a warehouse, then this option is viable. If your customers desire wooden containers then budgeting for a warehouse or finding a reliable substitute to satisfy them would be a priority.

A suggestion regarding the initial container purchase is to standardize your container sizes then factor those dimensions to your trucking and real estate capabilities. A company like Boxwell Co. is a resource to get a quote for containers.

There are a few abstract business components to consider, like;

Portable storage will require familiarization with local zoning and transportation laws.

Examine and analyze local competition and identified national brands that have an established presence in your area.

Expanding may call for investing so coordinating possible funding and budgeting with portable storage assets in mind is essential.

Financing portable storage is detailed differently than traditional facility storage. Portable is inversely subsidized through short-term loans to fund equipment, trucks, and containers explicitly.



Vital Expectations

As an operator, you can prepare with certain expectations for portable storage.

Portable storage offers unique benefits that are taken advantage of by giving proper attention to logistics, complicated delivery schedules and deadlines, truck and container maintenance, and managing laborers.

Altering your perspective to acknowledge how portable operations differ from other self storage solutions can help start any expansion with the best foot forward.

Portable storage is scalable, and it is easy to add more units when you have more demand. This versatility is great because you can scale slowly to capitalize on the nominal upfront costs. A possible expense avoided is conventional facility construction.

As one owner put it the “company has been able to add the equivalent of an additional 1.5 self-storage facilities in net rentable space for approximately 40% less upfront capital”.

Portable storage can be a significant source of revenue for your facility. It can also be your introduction to the self storage business industry. You can supply versatile storage to underserviced areas. You can offer flexible storage for unique customers and their lifestyles.

Factor the needs of your customers with your desires and filter them through these critical considerations about assets and reasonable expectations to advance with portable storage as an expansion.



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