For smaller retailer, car booters and market traders the need for flexible storage solutions is essential. For all retailers, each change in season brings with it a challenge in respect of seasonal stock storage needs, but unlike larger retailers who have great warehouses with ample space, smaller traders have to think carefully about the impact of increasing the stock they hold.
For many, experience from previous years will dictate the amount and variety of additional stock orders, but if you’re a start up no matter how much research you do there will be an element of guesswork involved. And once you’ve decided you need more stock, you then have to work out where to store it.
Friends and family may let you use their garages or spare rooms short term, but if it’s Christmas time, the chances are they’ll be using all their spare spaces to store their own seasonal extras. In addition, you need to consider the weather and storage conditions and how that could impact or damage your stock. Garages are not great for keeping the damp out. You may be tempted to stack boxes high from floor to ceiling and squash as much as you can into the small space you have, but that brings its own problems. Access to the boxes you need at any given time may be difficult and poor packing and stacking could result in damaged goods.
That’s why many small businesses have turned to self storage facilities to solve their seasonal stock storage needs. Clean, dry watertight conditions, combined with more flexible leasing arrangements mean you have more control.
Yes, you will still have to pay a rental fee but it will be nothing like the rent you will pay on small commercial premises. And you have no business rates and no heat, light or water costs. You can come and go as you please, retrieving and restocking your unit as you need. And when your seasonal needs are over, you can either cancel your storage altogether or downsize to a smaller unit. You do need to check your contracts carefully before signing on the dotted line though; some providers are more flexible than others.
If you’ve decided to go down the self storage route for your seasonal stock needs there are few things that will help ensure you get the most for your money and reduce the risk of damage.
- Try and use uniform sized boxes. It’s easier than trying to stack lots of things of different shapes and sizes.
- Pack your items properly in their boxes. Don’t leave space for things to roll around as boxes are moved about.
- Stack your boxes properly. Heavier items and boxes should be at the bottom of stacks with lighter items on top and leave gaps so you can get between your rows of goods.
- Consider using racking. It make it easier to walk around and see what’s what
- Label all sides of your boxes. That way, you’ll always be able to see what items are where regardless of where you are in your unit or of which way the box has been stored.
- If you have fragile items make sure the boxes are marked ‘fragile’ and also ‘this way up’ (if using cardboard boxes)
You might find these tips for organising a self storage unit useful
There is also one important thing for you to check if you’re using self storage for business stock – your business insurance policy. Make sure it covers your goods for being stored away from your business premises. If not, you may need to take out temporary insurance cover.
Space Centre Self Storage has facilities in Bristol, Gloucester and Stroud and we have a variety of sizes of unit at each site. You can store your items for as long as you need and we do not ask for long term commitments meaning you have the flexibility to cancel or change your storage needs as required.
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