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Running a small business? Self storage is the way to go

The way we work is constantly changing: from remote working to freelance, gone are the days of traditional office settings and structures. 

More and more people are opting to work for themselves by starting a small business; in fact, recent times have brought about an upsurge in creativity, with new small businesses in every industry imaginable springing up across the country. 

So how do you manage to run a new business when you don’t have the space at home, but you don’t want to rent a large premises?

Self storage is the answer!

From reclaiming their living room space from hordes of stock to not having to worry about multiple bills each month, we spoke to three small business owners about running the show from a storage unit.

Small businesses are booming

It’s no secret that 2020 instigated a vast amount of change in most people’s professional lives. From working from home to redundancies, most of us were forced to adapt to our new situations quickly. 

As with any drastic upheaval in society, a new flurry of creativity was born. Small businesses boomed throughout the year – in fact, 5,482 new small businesses were registered between July and September 2020 alone. 

Entrepreneurs in Ireland are proving they have the skills and ideas needed to begin their own enterprises. Getting set up, however, isn’t always plain sailing. 

A plethora of aids for new small businesses have sprung up over time. When you’re just getting started, small business grants from Enterprise Ireland have helped multiple businesses get off their feet and grow, and Google’s latest offering specifically for small businesses helps them get online successfully, too. 

Whether it’s from day one or down the line, if you have stock for your business, you’ll need a place to keep it, and many small businesses can’t justify paying for large warehouse spaces, nor afford staggering rent prices. 

Storage units offer the perfect solution to this issue, providing secure spaces to store stock, files and other essentials whilst you concentrate on running your business. 

Running a small business from a storage unit

The reasons for choosing a storage unit when it comes to running your business are multiple. 

Some choose to run their business from a storage unit due to rapid growth. “Powercut had grown exponentially throughout lockdown and we needed additional space immediately” says Craig Mulhall of Powercut Clothing. Rather than spending weeks or months looking for a space to house your extra stock, choosing a storage unit is a quick and easy way to gain more space. 

The same goes for business owners looking to reclaim their home space from mountains of stock for their business – Passion Beauty’s Managing Director, James Parletti, had started his business in his garden shed, but as it expanded he quickly realised space was becoming a problem at home. 

“The business was starting to take over the house, so to continue to grow and also to have our house back, self storage was a great way to grow the business to the point where we were able to open a store,” says James. 

Other small businesses enjoy the ease of access that a storage unit offers; Lucas Sobolewski, owner of SOS Office Supplies, cites easier deliveries both in and out as his main reason for choosing this option. 

The benefits of running your business from storage

Small business owners point to a number of benefits that helped them choose storage as the best option for their business; from security to have one simple bill each month, the benefits are numerous. 

In a nutshell, business owners who choose to operate from a Nesta storage unit can expect:

  • Ease of access for multiple employees
  • Suitable space for their needs, scalable with business growth or seasonality
  • No high rent charges 
  • Security on site when it comes to CCTV and access
  • Offices and storage for rent in one location

Speaking about the storage unit used to run his beauty business, James says in addition to having more space at home “it felt more secure, and I could add or reduce storage space at times of the year when more or less space was needed.” Seasonal demand for products is a key consideration for many small businesses, so having a scalable space is paramount to the success of operations. 

The team behind Powercut Clothing agrees: Craig Mulhall says “Aside from the increased storage space, Powercut benefited from the additional security provided from Nesta. Access codes were required for each storage area and CCTV is present within the main corridors and around the external perimeter. This gave us the confidence that our business and products would remain safe and secured.”

Not only does Craig appreciate the additional security, he mentions the staffed reception area as a game-changer in how his business operates. Rather than have staff waste precious time hanging around for deliveries and collections, Powercut Clothing were able to let reception staff handle any incoming or outgoing packages whilst they ran the show elsewhere. 

“All outgoing packages were securely held at reception ready for collection by our courier partner. The reception area was manned and managed during business opening hours. This meant that staff weren’t required to be present at all times while waiting for our courier to arrive. All incoming packages were managed in the same way, either held safely within the reception area or delivered by Nesta staff, directly to our garage unit.”

Not merely for storing stock, however, small business owners also appreciate being able to rent office space in the same location – and in one neat package, too. 

“Nesta had everything we required, (garage storage, overflow storage and office facilities) without the commitment of a long lease term required by most other industrial units,” says Craig. James agrees, stating “If you’re growing or starting a business, storage is a great way to start so you don’t have long leases, you get one bill and it gives you the flexibility to grow at your own pace.”

What kind of business can you run from a storage unit?

At this point, you’re no doubt wondering ‘can I run a business from a storage unit myself?’ so let’s take a look at how our business owners are utilising their spaces, and what kind of businesses can work well in a storage unit. 

Following on from the benefit of secure storage for products with easy access for team members, most of our business owners declare storing stock and running dispatches and deliveries as their main activities in their storage units. 

“The garage is used primarily for packing and dispatching orders. Removable racking is built within the unit allowing us to utilise the space as much as possible. Products are piled on the racking keeping everything at hand and enabling quicker dispatching times” mentions Craig. 

Both Lucas and James also point towards storing stock and deliveries as their main activities. 

Craig also points out that when overstock becomes an issue, the scalability of a storage unit works wonders for operations: “Overstock was moved into an additional storage unit so space was freed up within the garage for easy movement. When stock was required from the overflow storage unit during replacement times, the unit was easily accessed.”

In fact, Craig says the right storage solution within their unit was key to their success. “Running Powercut business from a storage unit has been one of our best steps for growth and progression. For anyone considering running their small business from a storage unit, I would recommend utilising the space provided as much as possible. Install the correct racking and use the vertical space provided. Contact local racking suppliers to find out more about the best storage methods for your business.”

So what kind of businesses can benefit from a storage unit?

  • E-commerce businesses who need to store stock and organise deliveries
  • Furniture sellers, upcyclers and vintage dealers looking for space and security
  • Any trade that uses a large amount of equipment: videographers, DJs and tradesmen will all benefit from having extra space for their equipment
  • Vintage or small scale clothing businesses selling online

Storage companies offering office space for rent nearby can also be useful for a myriad of businesses looking to keep space and cost flexible; with so many different options available when it comes to storage unit size, it’s likely your business will benefit from the services storage companies provide. 

Getting started: How to set up your small business in a storage unit

Need more space for your business? If you’re still wondering if a storage unit is the right choice for your business, our Frequently Asked Questions will tell you everything you need to know. 

If you’re ready to get started running your business from a storage unit, setting it up is quick and easy. 

  1. You’ll first want to assess how much you actually need to put into storage. Go through your stock or equipment, declutter wherever necessary and gather the rest in one area. 
  2. Have a think about how you’ll want to store your items – on shelves, in boxes? Try to gauge how many of these you might need for your stock. 
  3. Once you have an idea of exactly how much space your items and storage solutions will take up, it’s time to pick a storage unit size
  4. Rent your unit in just a few easy steps, and pack your items for moving. 
  5. Once you’ve accessed your unit, it’s time to unpack, get organised and get down to business!

Ready to watch your small business thrive?

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