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How Many Portable Storage Containers Do I Need As A Starting Investment?

July 8, 2019

4 min

Portable storage is an excellent investment; the industry is growing fast, getting started is more straightforward than other business models, and it doesn’t require a substantial amount of money initially.

One of the first looming questions when starting in the portable storage business is “How many?” Thoughtfully deciding on how many units initially needed can make or break your success.

The best recommendations will prioritize a few factors that better align your business practices and your inventory.


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Who’s Your Target Market

Identifying and researching your target market will help to estimate the demand for portable storage in the area, as well as how many storage containers customers use on average.

Individuals and businesses can utilize storage containers in several ways. Having an accurate representation of both individual buyers and market size will help to gauge the potential inventory needs in your specific location.

For example, an individual who needs some short-term storage while moving across town typically requires only one or two containers maximum. In this case, if a lot of your target market is made up of students, then there is no need for many containers to start your portable storage business.

However, to successfully satisfy customers in large commercial niches like construction, more portable storage units are needed for two reasons:


More units per customer

These large customers usually need multiple storage containers at once because of project size or amount of resources.


More rental time per customer

The individual moving across town won’t need that storage for more than a couple weeks. Construction companies may require that storage for more extended periods as their projects take significant or indefinite amounts of time.

If unable to decipher the lifestyles of your target market then franchising could offer a way to operate with fewer containers. Franchises have the advantage of a notable brand name.

A brand name can give the needed exposure to your market providing sufficient business traffic even with a smaller number of portable containers. Brands often come with extensive company policies and time tested processes to optimize the customer’s experience.

If portable storage is a newer concept in your area a trusted brand may make for a quickly solidified investment. Franchising will have an initial fee to be factored in expenditures, but a recognizable brand will allow for the ability to require less portable containers at the beginning.


What Can You Afford?

You can do all the research in the world, but make decisions based on a plan that enumerates what you have saved or can borrow as well.

The initial investment will provide a budget for purchasing in regards to portable storage.

The size of your investment doesn’t just include the costs of the containers themselves, either; you need to think about other costs of running a portable business such as labor, equipment, location, and delivery methods for the containers.

Having a high quantity of containers to supply a vast market isn’t always possible with a modest budget. The particular “downside” of having a smaller inventory can become a benefit if you create the proper perspective for your potential customers.

In the case of having very few containers to start with, you can play to the scarcity of available portable containers with marketing techniques. Customers don’t want to “miss out,” especially if they think they’ll need your service down the road.

Use persistent language to appeal to your potential customers.

Collect and adequately database contacts that had inquired about your portable containers even when all of your units were out for rental. This smaller supply can be what prevents your fledgling portable storage business from going under by having a quick turnaround between uses.

With sufficient funding, having more containers could satisfy a broader market. Purchasing more containers up front helps you to feel more confident renting more units per customer.

A vast inventory will allow for more consistency between the business and return users helping to serve bigger, long-term customers.



It Comes Down To Your Business Goals

All in all, your business goals will heavily influence the number of containers you should invest in initially.

Is portable storage a way to add a side income stream without a considerable investment? If so, then you don’t need more than a few containers.

If you have the desire and capital to fulfill the needs of a big market, go all in on as many containers as you can house, access, and deliver.

Self storage is a known investment opportunity, but portable storage is explored less by operators. Portable storage can be incorporated into an established storage business, or it can be the basis for a new operation depending on market and location.

You can offer a unique and versatile experience in self storage by acknowledging that portable storage is a viable option.

Research the lifestyles and needs of people in your area, budget the amount you can responsibly invest, and set goals that directly relate to the size of your involvement to establish the perfect inventory quantity for your business.



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