Before they started their moblie self storage business in Australia, Ben Cohn and Jeremy Rosen had never driven a truck or a forklift. They were used to wearing suits and ties while working in executive offices instead of wearing Levis and hoodies and in working in warehouses. They weren’t used to managing older staff members and didn’t have any experience in the self storage industry. (Rosen was a former investment banker and Cohn had worked in property investment.)
But now, that is all in a day’s work for this pair of twenty-somethings as they manage TaxiBox Mobile Self-Storage. Taxibox was a huge career shift for them – and it has been a successful shift.
Cohn hatched the idea of TaxiBox when he went to the United States. In the States, he learned about a mobile self storage business in New Jersey. He saw what was happening in the self storage business in the United States and how massive it was. He shared his findings with Rosen and they partnered to establish TaxiBox.
They opened their first facility in a temporary warehouse in Melbourne. It was the first mobile self storage company in that city. They quickly out-grew that warehouse and moved into a larger one. When they opened a facility in Sydney, they had a bit more competition. There were at least four other self storage businesses there. But that hasn’t stopped them.
They bought delivery trucks and forklifts. They spent thousands of dollars on their mobile storage boxes and yet spent less than $1 million in set-up costs. When a private equity firm offered funding, they were very tempted to take advantage of this offer. However, they decided to stay private and turned down the offer.
They now manage a team of 15 employees. Some of them have worked in warehouses and logistics industries for years. Since they are just shy of being thirty-years-old, Cohen and Rosen realize their youth has advantages yet they need to be sensitive to managing older staff members.
Cohn is responsible for marketing and brand management. Rosen is over finances. They take advantage of social media to promote their business and to hold contests. Their focus is to carefully build a business structure that is scalable.
Since their business in Melbourne is successful, they are using that as a blueprint as they roll-out more facilities in Australia. They have opened a facility in Sydney and now offer moving services between Sydney and Melbourne.
They must be doing things right because year after year their business has grown between 100 to 200 percent.
“A storage story on the move.” Newcastle Herald; 31 May 2013.
“Self Storage Company Gets Innovative Down Under.” Self Storage Industry News; 3 December 2012.