A wise businessman keeps abreast of the news and the changes in his industry. So it is in the best interest of self storage owners to become aware of Roost, a new self storage startup in San Francisco.
Roost is an online marketplace similar to Airbnb, a company that allows people to rent out their home to others for a short-term stay. But instead of renting out living quarters, people use Roost to rent out the extra space they have in their attic, garage, or basement to people needing a place to store things. The premise is to provide a storage option that is closer to home and is more affordable than conventional storage.
Roost has about 200 storage options, which are mostly located in garages and attics. Space can be rented by the hour, day, week, or month and the cost is generally half of the going rate of a self storage unit.
People with extra space log on to the Roost website and create a “host” profile. Hosts undergo a background check to ensure they can be trusted. They provide information about themselves and the space they have to rent. Customers give ratings and user reviews of storage hosts. Potential customers read the reviews to determine which host would work best for them.
Users log on to Roost to browse for a storage space according to location, size of space needed, and what kind of access is desired. When customers find what they need, they make payments online and then make arrangements to take their belongings to the host.
When customers fail to pick up their items, they will be charged. After 30 days, the host can confiscate, sell, or donate the items to charity. If customers have difficulties picking up their belongings (e.g. a host doesn’t answer his phone or has left town), Roost helps the customer take legal action to recover their belongings.
Currently Roost is only available in the San Francisco Bay Area. The company is using its hometown as a beta test. They eventually plan to open offices in other major urban markets like Seattle, Chicago, Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C.
Will Roost impact the self storage industry? Will there be significant and long-lasting changes because of this company? Or will it just be a small blip that momentarily flares up but then goes out and is soon forgotten? Only time will tell.