Innovation Abounds in the Self Storage Industry

Posted on Oct 10 2011 - 8:25pm by Tony Gonzalez

When the first car was made, just being able to get from point A to point B faster than a horse was considered sufficient. Now we have cars that can go from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds all while the kids sit in the back seat watching Sponge Bob on a DVD player. 

Innovation takes hold of ever industry once it gets established. The auto industry is a prime example of that, and the self storage industry is really no different. Now storage units will not take you zooming through the streets and entertain the kids at the same time;  they have become much more than the simple concept that Russ Williams had when he opened the A-1 U-Store-It U-Lock-It U-Carry-the-Key self storage facility back in the 1960s.

In order to remain or become competitive in an industry that grosses more than $20 billion, many self storage facilities have developed a more comprehensive approach to storage. Many will have climate controlled units available in order to keep the heat or cold from damaging your belongings. A lot of places will have trucks you can use for moving, packing supplies on hand, and 24-hour access to your unit.

As the aforementioned have become the industry norm, self storage facilities have had to try harder to stand out from the rest. Many are doing what they can to become as self-sufficient and customer friendly as possible, installing self-serve kiosk so tenants can rent units and pay their bill during off hours. More and more facilities are working at utilizing the popularity of IPhones, IPads, and other mobile technology as well.

Life Storage, a self storage company in the Chicago area, has come up with some forward-thinking ideas.

Like other companies, Life Storage offers self storage suited to specific needs, i.e. records management, as well as the typical home, office, and business needs. While offering records management to tenants helps them stand out from the masses, it’s one of their more recent endeavors that has them standing out from the rest.

In the last few years, self storage unit auctions have become pretty popular. They have even resulted in the birth of a couple reality shows like Storage Wars and Auction Hunters. Websites like have sprung up for the sole purpose of notifying those interested in the self storage auction closest to them. 

Life Storage has figured out a way to bring their self storage unit auctions as close as a person could want—they’ve put them online.

“We’re trying to see what the market is like for online bidding. It’s a different way of doing things and we’re researching it to see how effective it is… Not having to leave your desk is definitely a plus, but you don’t quite get the same experience as you do in person….” said Matt Clark, Vice President of Operations for Life Storage.

Sources Used:

“Self Storage Auctions at LifeStorage Soon Coming to You Every Month.” PRWeb; 07 October 2011.

“PhoneSmart Unveils New Self Storage Pocket Kiosk Technology.” PRWeb; 28 January 2011.