Many newer or smaller businesses reach the point where operating from home is no longer feasible (whether that’s due to having too much stock, taking on extra staff, or simply needing more space to expand). However, taking that step to rent out an office or business premises can be expensive.
In these circumstances, it may be best to consider alternatives. For example, some people choose to run a business from a storage unit. The major advantage to using self-storage for business use could be witnessed during the pandemic. When many businesses had to close shop altogether during lockdown, the no-contact nature of self-storage meant the industry skyrocketed.
Businesses running from shops were unable to shift to the new status-quo, but businesses operating from a storage container could continue to access, pack, and ship their stock even throughout the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.
In the UK, there are a number of businesses that you may be able to operate either fully or to some extent from a storage unit. Here, we’re going to cover whether what’s legal and what’s not, plus some examples of businesses thriving in storage facilities.
- Benefits of using self-storage for your business
- Businesses that may benefit from renting a storage unit
Can you actually run a business from a storage unit?
Businesses can use self-storage to store inventory for online stores, or to store excess inventory if you are operating from a physical store. While storage units are a cost-effective solution for securely storing stock and business equipment, it’s not always possible or legal to actually operate your business out of a storage unit (i.e. meeting customers there, working from the unit itself).
There is no set rule to this, however, so contacting storage facilities around you and finding out their individual policies is recommended. Overall, the rules regarding operating from a storage unit seem to be a grey area, so we’d always advise you to do your own research and ask your storage unit directly as their policies may differ.
Benefits of using storage for your business
There are a number of benefits to using a storage facility to base your business.
- Greater flexibility
Renting a storage unit for your business gives you a lot of flexibility. You can choose what size storage you know you need, with the option to increase or decrease the size of your unit depending on the needs of your business.
What’s more, you can also choose what contract length you need to have your storage unit for, as opposed to having to sign a lengthy contract as you would have to do with most business premises leases.
What’s more storage facilities are often well lit, clean, secure, and manned by CCTV 24/7, making them generally a very safe place to keep your stock and business files when you are not on site.
Read our article on how safe your belongings really are in a storage unit for more on this.
- More space
The big advantage of using a storage unit for your business is the additional space it gives you – something you may be short on if you’ve been running your business from your front room or garage!
From storing business documents and archives to having a clean, dry, and secure space for your stock and equipment, a self-storage unit can provided a lot more room for your business to grow.
- Reduced costs
The UK Self-Storage Association 2022 Report revealed that 84% of businesses that use self-storage have 10 staff or less. With an average rental rate of £29.13, businesses operating from a storage unit can save a significant amount compared to renting an office or shop.
Is it legal to run my business out of a storage unit?
It is always a good idea to check with the facility manager what rules are in place regarding using self-storage for business unit. For many storage facilities, you are only able to store stock within your unit rather than actually work inside the unit.
If you’re hoping to use your unit to actually run your business you may need to either find a facility that accepts this or reconsider whether renting an office lease is a better idea – or storing your stock in the facility while working from home instead. Read our post on things you should never put in a storage unit.
Most popular businesses using self-storage:
Running an eBay or Amazon fulfillment business out of a storage unit is an extremely cost-efficient way of running a business. Storage units are perfect for keeping large amounts of stock without cluttering up your home.
Running a business selling vintage furniture or clothing fire boot sales or other thrift style events a storage unit can be the perfect place to store your stock when not in use.
Likewise, if you run an outdoor sports club for example in a nearby park or field having a storage unit nearby to store your equipment can be a fantastic idea. This will save you having to bring your equipment to in from your home every time you run a class and can also provide a safe place to store items as your business grows full stop
When hosting events around the country, having a storage unit to keep hold of your stock such as tables, banners, podiums, and other equipment is a good idea.
A storage unit will allow you to save space in your own home as well as providing a safe place to store your stock for all of your staff to access at all times.
Finally, if you sell stock online having a storage unit can be the perfect solution to keeping your stock safe and secure without taking out large expanses of your home full stop
Is a good idea to make sure your facility is close by as often you will be going to and from your facility every day so well you will be saving money on storage you want to make sure the facility is within easy reach at all times.
Whatever your reason for using a storage unit, having a storage insurance policy that covers the value of the items you are storing is essential. In recent years, fires at storage facilities have left customers with a basic insurance policy (or none at all) looking at thousands of pounds worth of goods lost, not to mention no means of replacing sentimental items.
Our storage insurance allows you to calculate a quote based on the value of your items, so you can live life confidently knowing that your goods are covered.