Opening a small business is a large task. Small business owners put everything they have into building that business from the floor up and they can use help wherever they can get it! In the beginning, space is precious as you purchase materials and machinery you need for the operation. But, as time goes by, some of those things begin to multiply, such as documents, files and paperwork. The same goes for machinery. You may find overtime, that some pieces are used every day and others just now and then. But, it can add up around the office and suddenly you are looking at piles of stuff everywhere! The following are a few suggestions to help grow and expand your business by using a storage unit for business.
First, your office space should not also be used as a storage space. You can help the professional appearance and office decor by reducing clutter and moving the extras over to a business storage unit. Many businesses require you to maintain important files and documents for years and these boxes pile up in corners of offices and coffee rooms. Office space is valuable and has better uses. Storage units for business are a great option for keeping your documents you don’t need every day safe, organized, and out of the way. When you decide that it is time for this unit, pack your files and organize the documents in a way that makes sense to you and, if they are referred to fairly often and you need access, place them near the front of the storage unit.Business samples, office supplies, extra furniture and file cabinets can also be moved to the unit. Anything that takes up floor space and is used only on occasion, should go.
Using a climate controlled unit can be the ideal storage location for things like pharmaceuticals, valuable documents and other marketing materials. Or, you may have extra computers or sensitive work equipment that need to be stored away and used at a later date. Climate control helps protect and preserve your office items from outside elements including humidity, pests, and dust. If anything is susceptible to mold or material cracking such as leather chairs or damage from moisture such as computers, should all be stored in a climate controlled unit.
If you have a retail store, you can use the extra space to sort and organize the delivery of products, shipment of products and the overall inventory. Storage units have enough space to have large industrial shelving and long clothing racks. It is perfect for seasonal changes in inventory and storage of holiday decor. Keep everything in your storage unit itemized and on record so that you know exactly what is in there and where it is located so that you can find it quickly. You will want to label boxes and know the quantity of each item in them. Trying to dig out Christmas decorations for the office that are stuffed in the back of the unit is not fun. Using shelves and office type boxes can make organization very easy.
Using a storage unit for your business also helps if you are renovating. Instead of working around piles of merchandise or office equipment that is covered in sheets of plastic, just move it completely out of the way into a unit. Storage facilities offer very short term leases and you can use it month to month. Or perhaps you have a construction company and need a place between jobs to store equipment. A restaurant always needs extra space for equipment, catering gear and furnishings. Again a unit can serve your need.
Working out of a storage unit as your homebase can be up to the facility. At first glance, working out of a unit seems like it would be ideal. The rent is cheap and there is plenty of wide open space. But, most facilities will not allow it. Although, more and more are taking notice of some interesting ideas. Many businesses use the units for other purposes and may throw a desk area into the arrangement. Bands have used the unit for practice and artists for their studios or at least the storage part of their studios and if notified, facilities may work with some situations that could be categorized as the main location of the business. Some storage facility owners have design certain locations to have designated retail and office space available where businesses are allowed to operate as a full fledged operation, not just for storage.These spaces are designed to offer amenities like restrooms and conference rooms, utilities, parking for tenants and customers, all with good street visibility.
If you do decide that a storage space is exactly what your business needs, there are some written and unwritten rules in the industry. Commercial storage unit have rules that are a bit different than a regular home user. As stated previously, most facilities will not allow you to work or conduct any business inside the storage unit. They have been built and licensed for storage only and not occupancy. Most commercial units are limited to just storage and order fulfillment.
Your rental contract will have all of the rules and regulations in it and you should refer to a manager before you attempt things such as operating machinery, power tools or other commercial equipment. Most storage companies will not allow you to meet customers or conduct sales out of your unit. Facilities have coded gates and they don’t want people who are not on the contract nor have a unit, coming in and out. Telephones, computers, televisions, and other electronics are not allowed to be hooked up. You can not wire your own unit for special uses. That becomes a fire hazard to the entire facility.
On the positive side of things, there are lots of businesses that benefit from a storage unit. The local landscapers and contractors don’t want to take all of their equipment and tools home with them and clutter up their yard. So, a storage unit is a perfect place to not only store items, but to organize it in such a way they can find what they need and use it on the job the next day. Much of the stuff that they use in their businesses are bulky and odd shapes such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, drills, saws, wood, and on and on. The space in a truck bed or van is limited and not easy to get to. So, as a landscaper or contractor grows their business, the demand for space will increase too. They can store everything they don’t have room for in the truck or at home. Most storage facilities have extended access hours or 24-hour access. Companies that start work early in the morning or work late into the night, will still be able to access the facility grounds and get to their storage unit. The owner of the landscaping or contracting business can set up the unit so that their employees have access as well. When they have a day off, employees can stop in and grab whatever it is they need to get their work done for that day.
Sales people and service professionals are good candidates for using a storage unit for their business. Often, a sales person has lots of paperwork, samples, inventory and other marketing materials that they use for their job. And, they need this material for jobs and appointments in other cities and territories. Instead of using the back seat or the trunk of their vehicle, having these things stored and organized in a storage unit makes it easier for access and gives them the ability to take only what they need. If the sales person’s territory is large, they may store their business materials in multiple storage facilities that are located closer to their clients. This is the same for service professionals that provide services like repair, cleaning or restocking. They will benefit from having multiple storage units spread across various locations. Someone who repairs industrial sewing machines, may have clients across several states. Instead of hauling every single tool they have to every single location, they can distribute their parts and equipment to different storage facilities in each of their service locations and when called on repairs, this will shorten response times. Renting a storage unit is more affordable than finding larger commercial real estate to store more products and supplies. In fact, storage doesn’t need to be a major expense for these businesses. Storage facilities offer spaces as small as a locker that rent for just a few dollars per month.
Independent publishers and book dealers have lots of boxes of books waiting for posting, distribution and storage. When a book or magazine is printed, it gets shipped to a central location before being sent out to its readers or to the retailers who sell it. A self-storage unit is perfect for a publisher or dealer to store inventory and extra boxes and supplies. Instead of filling a garage or an attic with these products, the company can keep everything in a climate controlled storage unit to better preserve products in retail condition. As the company and its work grow, so can the storage unit. Storage units are offered in sizes that are very small to huge warehouse sizes. Most storage facilities will allow the publisher to arrange to have their product shipped directly to the storage unit without being present to receive the shipments. The service is called Delivery Acceptance and the storage facility will accept the delivery, give the key to the driver and then get the key back after the delivery is finished securing the shipment.
Artists, theatre companies and art galleries have all found their way to the world of storage units. Stage sets and costumes take up a massive amount of space backstage and art galleries have a backlog of not only marketing materials but display pieces, paintings and sculpture Artists have also found themselves being overwhelmed by the amount of equipment and artwork that takes up valuable space in their studios. Storage units have come to the rescue. Climate controlled units allows the paintings, costumes and paper to all be stored without worry of mildew, heat or damage. There is enough space that a theatre company could actually build the stage set inside the unit and store it until it is needed. Costumes could be hung, categorized and put on racks organized for the show. And art gallery has the option of building painting racks that could hold the largest painting or sculpture giving them much needed floor space at the gallery. All of these units provide the temperature and humidity required to preserve an oil painting or a silk costume.
So many people today work from home as online retailers. This has given rise to a whole new wave of crafting. With sites like f Etsy and eBay, people can open up shops and work from home. When an online shop finds success, the need for greater available inventory builds. And when the people running these small online businesses are producing so much, they need a place to store their inventory. Many of these businesses start from home, but as their success builds, so does their need for more space. The dining room table was wonderful for the very beginning and the craft room was perfect for a sale or two. But when the kitchen and the garage started to become full of boxes and tables had to be set up in the driveway to make room for packing and shipping, it was time to look at storage units! A storage unit is a perfect way for online businesses to keep their product safe and organized while waiting for shipment. It can also be used for storing supplies and paperwork. A corner of a unit can be set up to take pictures for listings by using white poster board and sheets. Keeping a home working space clean is essential to the family and the well being of the business. Having a storage unit as a place where everything else goes, makes the whole operation easier.
A storage unit for business use is the perfect partner for success. They are versatile in their usage and they can help improve and grow the business. Many more businesses than the ones mentioned here can benefit from self storage, you just have to use your imagination.