Self storage was introduced to the country of Singapore in 2003. Since then, the Singapore self storage industry has been thriving, almost as if a recession was not going on in the rest of the world. Currently, there are about 20 self storage facilities scattered around Singapore, especially in Changhi, Kallang, Tampines, and Toa Payoh.
Inside Self-Storage reported yesterday that the first self storage business to enter the Singapore market, StorHub Self Storage, has seen its revenue climb from $900,000 in its first year of operation to $13.4 million last year. Its net profit has steadily increased from a loss of $1.4 million in 2003 to a yield of $2.4 million in 2009. Extra Space Self Storage of Singapore, which opened more recently, in 2007, has seen its revenues and net profits quadruple since then.
In addition to StorHub and Extra Space, Singapore is home to Big Orange Self Storage, a UK-based company that moved into the Singapore market at around the same time that Extra Space did, and to Lock+Store Self Storage, Self Storage Solutions, Store-It! Self Storage, Store Friendly Self Storage, Storage Buddy, and Steel Storage Asia.
Most Singapore self storage companies are subsidiaries of larger multinational businesses. For example, StorHub is a subsidiary of Hersing Corporation, Extra Space Self Storage and Big Orange Self Storage are connected with the larger companies that share their names, Lock+Store Self Storage is owned by Maple
tree Investments, and the newest addition to Singapore’s self storage market, Self Storage Solutions, which opened for business last February, is a part of SingPost.
Singapore self storage facilities have all the same features that have made self storage such a hit in the United States and Europe: flexible amounts of space, leasing contracts that can be for periods of time as short as one month or that can continue indefinitely, state of the art security systems, 24/7 access to storage units, etc. Many facilities are also trying to distinguish themselves with extra amenities, such as wine cellars, or with special discounts and deals, or rarely offered amenities. Lock+Store Self Storage has gone so far as to offer office space with work stations and cabinets included, free broadband Internet, free utilities, free parking for one vehicle, and a prepaid printer/copier.
Facility managers say that Singapore residents and commercial clients, not surprisingly, store much the same sorts of things that are stored by individuals and businesses in the U.S. Today, Felda Chay of AsiaOne Business quoted Extra Space Self Storage of Singapore’s chief executive, Michael Hagbeck, as follows: “The individuals are primarily people who have valuable things (monetary as well as sentimental value) that they want to keep, but just don’t have space for in their homes, or who want to declutter down to a more zen-like lifestyle.” Hagbeck said that his customers tended to store such items as guitars and wine collections, and he had once arranged for a special unit to be constructed for a customer to use to store a Harley Davidson motorcycle. But they also stored culturally specific items such as manga (a type of comic book) and paper prayer money.
Likewise, Jack Chua, the director of StorHub, commented in AsiaOne Business that m
any of his customers use self storage units to store collections that they do not have room for in cramped Singapore apartments: Hello Kitty collections, shoes, and sports cars were three collections that stood out in his memory.
Big Orange Self Storage of Singapore has tried to concentrate more on commercial customers, according to its chief executive, Angus Miller. Yesterday’s Inside Self-Storage quoted Miller noting that self-storage facilities are often more economical for business clients than warehouse facilities are, because businesses can adjust the size of their units up or down monthly, if they choose to, in response to changing inventory status caused by seasonal and market fluctuations.