There are increasing numbers of stories about using self storage for business; how it can save you money or how entrepreneurs are operating from self storage units. But beware, there’s a clear distinction to be made between operating or running your business from a self storage unit and using self storage to help run your business.
One is perfectly alright and the other can get you into deep water and could even result in legal action if the facility is not set up for it.
So what is the difference?
Most self storage facilities in the UK are set up for storing things. They don’t always have electricity and they don’t have heating, water, drainage or full ventilation systems. Basically, they are not set up for people to spend long periods of time in them, they are there for storage. So you can’t set up your office desk and hold client or customer meetings in your unit. Nor can you employ staff and send them to work all day in your storage unit. What you can do is store stock, paperwork, tools, fulfil orders (getting items, wrapping, addressing etc.), store furniture; you can see where we’re going here.
You can use them to help you run your business – you can’t run and operate your business from inside them.
If you’re an ebayer or trader most facilities are happy to allow you have people collect directly from you at your unit, providing you are not actually running your business from your unit and there’s no major impact regarding traffic or parking. The odd pick up or drop off is fine, but multiple customers hourly or daily may well become a problem.
When it comes to picking and packing, again restrictions apply. Someone going in to a unit to pick and pack items for a short while is fine, but not possible full time on a 9 to 5 basis. Most units are not geared up for people to be in them all day.
That’s not to say that there aren’t some places that allow you to do this, there are and they are increasingly appearing in the bigger cities, but you have to check. They are normally run more like shared office suites and buildings; providing storage with movable walls to allow for easy flexibility regarding storage requirements, but most importantly also providing communal office space, meeting rooms, coffee or cafe areas and toilet facilities. All things that are essential and legally required if people are going to be operating a business from the premises.
Some businesses have always used self storage facilities to help run their businesses, but the economic climate over the last few years has meant that more and more people are choosing the self storage option to help them keep their business costs down. There are no business rates, heating, lighting or water costs with a self storage unit. It’s ideal for start ups, ebayers or self employed tradesman who run their businesses from home and do not have clients or customers visiting them. They simply need somewhere to store stock or tools. It makes more sense to use a self storage unit than to take out a lease on a small business unit with all those overhead costs.
If you’re in Bristol or Gloucester and are a start up business or at that point where you need more space to store stock or tools we’d be happy to help. We have many different sized units and do not tie clients in to long term contracts and you can change the size of your unit to suit your needs. We are happy for ebayers or traders to meet customers at their unit to accommodate collection of larger or heavier items.