New Self Storage Business Model Becoming Popular

Posted on Dec 9 2013 - 10:56pm by Kim Kilpatrick

In 1969, the computer that NASA used to put a man on the moon filled a whole room. It had only 64 kilobytes of memory. Fast forward to 2013.  The iPad Mini is only 7.87 inches tall, 5.3 inches wide, weighs .73 pound, and comes with either 16, 32, 64, or 128 gigabytes of storage space. It’s an understatement to say that computers have drastically changed over the years since 1969.

Computers are not the only things that have changed over the years. The self storage industry has change — and is currently undergoing some remarkable changes.

In the past, the typical self storage business has been a facility that has rental units ranging in size from 5’ x 5’ up to a 10’ x 30.’ That business model is changing. The ‘next’ generation of storage models is popping up all over the place – models where people store a few belongings in a single box or store just skis or a bike.

These new business models are aimed at those who live in an urban apartment or condo. They are for people who have smaller storage needs, people who want a storage company that picks up their items to be stored and then delivers them back when needed. Four new self storage businesses with the ‘new age’ business model have opened their doors for business in the last couple of years: Clutter, Storrage, Boxbee, and MakeSpace.

Clutter was started in 2013 because the founder, Brian Thomas, wanted a simple, convenient way to access and keep track of things that wouldn’t fit in his apartment. He wanted a visual inventory of things in his storage and an easy way to have his storage boxes delivered to him. Their storage plans include boxes and what fits in either a medium- or large-sized van.

With Storrage, people can store items in a box or store just single items like golf clubs, skis, snowboards, or bikes. Everything is down via their smart hone app. This is their way of keeping their costs to a minimum. This business is meant for personal storage needs and they do not accommodate furniture, appliances, or oversized items.

Boxbee opened their doors for business in 2012 in San Francisco. In October of this year, they expanded to New York City. Sam Rosen, CEO, started this business after he and his girlfriend had a poor experience with a facility where they stored the contents of her flooded apartment after Hurricane Sandy. Boxbee delivers and then picks up and stores customers’ storage boxes. Their tagline is ‘storage that comes to you, by the box.’

With MakeSpace, they drop off storage bins for free. Customers pack them and then MakeSpace picks them up and takes them to their storage facility. They creates a visual online catalog of what was stored so their customers can easily see what has been stored. MakeSpace services most of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. They hope to expand to other cities.

The common element in these business models is a storage bin. The bins are picked up and delivered to the customer’s home. Ease and convenience for customers is a top priority for the businesses.

Sources Used:

“Startups Latch Onto Storage-By-The-Bin Services.” The Storage Facilitator.

“Just arrived: Cloud-like storage for your (real) stuff.” San Francisco Business Times; 13 June 2013.

“Man on the Moon: Technology then and now.” IT Pro; 17 July 2009.