19 businesses you can run out of a storage unit in 2019

19 businesses you can run out of a storage unit in 2019

Why base your business in a storage unit?

Perhaps you’ve just set up your business and know that working from home simply isn’t going to be practical. Or maybe your business was doing well, based from home, but is now growing to such a degree that it’s taking over your whole house and you need more space.

If either of these scenarios applies to you, you may be looking at alternative premises for your stock and/or the day-to-day running of your business. Commercial leases can be costly and don’t take account of the fact that income can fluctuate massively from month to month for SMEs and start-ups — come what may, you’ll have to pay rent and bills on premises that might, in any given month, be bigger than you really need. 

Let’s say you sell clothing on eBay — you know that some months (typically at the beginning of a new season) are busier than others. During those busy periods, you need a lot more space and have the extra income to pay your bills. During lulls, though, you may end up paying for empty storage space you don’t really need. 

Benefits of basing your business in a storage unit

Choosing to base your business from a storage unit allows greater flexibility: you can increase or decrease the size of your unit so that you’ll only pay for what you need, and you can keep your unit for just a week or for as long as you need — there are no lengthy tie-in contracts involved and no business rates to pay. 

Modern storage units are clean, well-lit and secure, manned by helpful staff and covered by CCTV. Some also have office space to rent on site, so you can use dedicated office space for doing your paperwork and making calls, and a storage unit for your stock if you need it.

Businesses that may suit working from a storage unit?

These businesses may suit working out of a storage unit and/or empty office space but do double-check with your local self storage facility as not all may be able to accommodate these businesses.

1. eBay sellers - whatever you sell (as long as it's not a prohibited item), you can store it in your storage unit and pop a desk and a laptop in there to work from so you’ll never miss an order.

2. Repair work - whether you repair mobile phones, computers, bikes or clothing, your storage unit will give you the space to work without interruption and have room for all those spare parts you need to have to hand.

3. Vintage clothing/furniture sales - if you take your products to fairs, car boot sales and auctions to sell, keep your stock in your storage unit and use it as a base to complete all your paperwork, too.

4. Bookkeeping - a storage unit is a clean, dry space where you can safely store paperwork. It’s also secure and accessible only to you, meaning that your clients’ accounts are safe.

5. Vlogging - the walls of your storage units can provide a neutral background to whatever you want to vlog about. Film your vlog and edit it in your storage unit, and then upload it there (if you have WiFi capability) or wait until you get home to do so.

6. Freelance writing - many writers find it too difficult to concentrate at home or in coffee shops (where there are far too many tempting cakes): working out of a storage unit can aid concentration and boost productivity. 

7. Crafting - maybe your hobby has attracted a lot of attention and you’re ready to mass-produce your products. A storage unit will give you somewhere to store your equipment and plenty of space to make your amazing creations.

8. Virtual customer service - you can answer phone calls, organise diaries and provide online support from a storage unit if you bring your own WiFi hotspot, or from office space fitted with WiFi.

9. Charities - store donated stock to be sold in your stores and keep records there to monitor stock flow, Gift Aid receipts and turnover.

10. Fundraisers - use your storage unit or office space as a base of operations for your next fundraising event. Store marketing equipment, raffle prizes and donations, and have a professional address from which to communicate with potential sponsors.

11. Heating engineers - keep your spare parts for boilers and ovens somewhere easily accessible, and use the storage unit as a space in which to carry out repairs that can’t be easily done in your customers’ homes.

12. Musicians - need somewhere to practice? Store your instruments and get the band round to rehearse for gigs.

13. Uniform Shop - use it to store, sell and swap second hand uniforms.  Fit it out with some clothes rails and racking for an instant pop-up shop.

14. Fashion designers - your storage unit will have plenty of space to store your materials and make up your designs.

15. T-shirt printers - store blank t-shirts, inks and your equipment and use the space to print your designs. 

16. Gift card makers - Design your cards and keep everything you need to make them in your clean, dry storage unit.

17. Event organisers - if you organise events around the region or nationwide, you can base yourself in a storage unit (typically located close to rail and road networks) and keep all your advertising equipment in one place where you can also work on marketing strategies and plan your next event.

18. Market stall holders - keep your stock safe and keep on top of your paperwork by recording sales, purchases and turnover.

19. Sports club organisers - if you run after-school or breakfast sports clubs, use a storage unit in a central location to store your equipment, plan lessons and sell your services to schools. 

What you’ll need to run your business from a storage unit

Depending on the nature of your business, if you are working from a storage unit or empty office space, you might need:
  • A desk
  • An ergonomic chair
  • Noise-cancelling headphones
  • Mobile WiFi or hotspot
  • Laptop 
  • Battery pack (storage units do not normally have a power supply)
  • Webcam
  • Stationery
  • Printer
Many storage units have staff on site who will accept deliveries on your behalf, so you’re not tied to having to stay with your unit all day, every day; some will also allow 24-hour access. So what's stopping you from looking for a storage unit as a base for your business this year?  Find a storage unit near you!

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