One growth area in the warehousing sector, which does not fit the classic supply chain model, is self storage. According to Self Storage Association UK, self storage is defined as ‘the direct storage by individuals and companies of goods in their own exclusively occupied, self contained, secured rooms / spaces, which form the major or primary use within a larger building or complex’.
Self storage warehouses cater for private individuals and for companies. They offer secure, individual storage spaces of different sizes where the key is held directly by the customer. Some self storage facilities allow access 24 hours per day; others only allow access during normal working hours. Self storage units can be rented by the day, week, or month, or for longer periods.
Most operators insist that goods in storage are insured and some self storage rental agreements include insurance cover as part of the contract. Reputable self storage companies offer high levels of security including CCTV coverage, alarm systems and access using swipe cards and PIN codes.
For individuals and families, this type of facility is ideal if furniture needs to put into storage between house moves, or if a business is being run from home and stock needs to be held for short periods. Similarly, for companies, particularly if their business is seasonal, self storage can be more cost effective for dealing with peaks and troughs than leasing warehouse space on a long-term basis.
Many older warehouse properties on industrial estates, close to centres of population, have been converted into self storage units and this trend is likely to continue.
Anybody considering the purchase of a warehouse, in order to develop a self storage business, will need to include the cost of dividing the property into smaller secure units in their business plan, when applying for a warehouse mortgage. While these costs may be high initially, they should be recouped quickly once the self storage units become occupied, because the rental return per square metre for self storage is generally higher than for a bare warehouse.
- Self storage facilities are becoming increasingly popular
- Self storage warehouses offer services to both individuals and companies
- Self storage units usually offer higher rates of return to operators than conventional warehouses