As we talked about in a previous blog post, we have remained open during the lockdown to help those who urgently need to access items held in one of our self storage units in Leeds, York, Huddersfield, Harrogate or Wakefield. These include the NHS and emergency services, charities, businesses and of course individuals who may be in the middle of a house move or major home renovations.
According to the Self Storage Association (SSA UK), our industry body, only 48 per cent of people in the UK claim they have a good understanding of self storage. That means more than half of the population don’t.We appreciate not everyone spends as much time thinking about self storage as we do (although we think those people are missing out…) so we thought it might be helpful to share some insights about who is most likely to be typing ‘self storage units near me’ into Google.
As we’ve already said, self storage customers are split between those using the space for personal reasons and those using it for business reasons. Every self storage centre will vary in terms of its customer split and it will depend upon a number of things, including location, style of self storage centre and services offered. But according to the Self Storage Association’s annual survey 2020, on average, a third of self storage space is occupied by business users.
If we look at personal users, many will use self storage linked to a big event in their life. Interestingly, the survey revealed that 69 per cent of self storage users are aged 40-79. One in three self storage customers (32 per cent) are in the process of moving house. Divorced or separated people are twice as likely to use self storage. Self storage can be a big help if you’re between properties or need to declutter for a period of time. Similarly, it is used by many during building work or home improvements, allowing rooms to be emptied while work takes place.
Some use self storage when downsizing, or perhaps if they’re moving into residential care or are undertaking a house clearance. Sometimes people need more time to decide whether they want to keep items or to work through things to sell, hand down or donate.
For other individuals, self storage might provide ongoing, much needed space – now many have converted garages, sheds, lofts and spare rooms into home offices and playrooms, more storage space can often be appreciated. Others might use the storage for items needed for a hobby, particularly if it’s something big!
Across the industry as a whole, the SSA’s annual survey revealed that the majority of businesses using self storage were from the retail or professional services industries. However, businesses making the most of the extra space ranged from healthcare, construction and media to wholesale, charity and education.
This is certainly our experience. Many professional service organisations legally have to keep hold of documentation for many years, which can require a lot of space. We can offer self storage solutions – or even document management services, where we manage the archive storage process for them.
Other businesses may have equipment or stock they need to find a home for. Office and retail space is expensive and at a premium, so why would you use valuable square footage just to store things you don’t currently need?
Many small businesses use self storage. In fact, the survey showed that 72 per cent of businesses which use self storage have less than 10 members of staff. Many entrepreneurial businesses have set up selling online, maybe on sites like eBay, Amazon or Etsy. At McCarthy’s we have a lot of ‘pick and pack’ operations – the self storage unit becomes somewhere to store items and someone from the business regularly comes to fulfil orders ready to be sent on. We can provide WiFi, heating and power so that technology can be tied in with this where required.