Self storage is a much bigger industry than you might expect. At present, there are over 115 facilities providing over 6 million square feet of space in the Metro Vancouver area alone. That equates to approximately 2.4 square feet of storage per person in the Lower Mainland.
So who uses all this storage space?
- Small Business
- marketing companies
- pharmaceutical reps
- professional advisors like lawyers and accountants
- interior designers and home stagers
- importers and exporters
- service clubs like Rotary and Lions Club
- sports clubs
- community foundations
- Personal Users
- empty nesters
- condo owners
- busy families
Small to mid-sized business is one of the fastest growing segments in self storage. In today’s economy, business owners appreciate the flexibility, peace of mind, cleanliness and convenience that a modern, well-run self storage facility provides.
One of the key advantages is the length of term. Since storage is rented on a month-to-month basis, there is no need to commit to a long-term lease or to provide personal indemnification. For a small business, this is a huge advantage.
Another advantage is the choice of room sizes. It is quite common for a business to start with a smaller unit and then to grow into a larger unit or units as the business expands. Expanding and contracting can be done with ease and without penalty.
For small business owners, there is also the convenience of commercial delivery acceptance. Once set up, shipments can be delivered directly to the unit by the courier company, saving valuable time.
Rents are very reasonable and are on a gross basis, so security, utilities, property taxes and maintenance are all included. There are no surprising operating and tax recoveries after the fact. When you have limited cash flow, this is appreciated.
Modern self storage facilities are built with climate-controlled, individually-alarmed units, hospital-sized elevators and big retail showrooms. More cameras, sophisticated access control systems, covered loading and music in the hallways are standard. Tools like dollies and pallet jacks are available.
As we near 2012, you’ll be able to reserve online, pay online and interact with these facilities on social media. The days of the retired couple sitting behind a counter are long gone.
So you see, self storage isn’t about CSI episodes where police are led to a locker where someone has met an untimely death. Plywood lockers lining poorly lit, narrow maze-like corridors are very rare. It’s also unlikely that you’ll find a motley crew of “Storage Wars” auction hunters bidding on some poor family’s treasures. A self storage unit can act as an economical, convenient and clean warehouse space for your inventory or business records. In addition, the security features and on-site managers will provide you with the peace of mind you need to focus on your business.
Tracy McEvoy is Director of Maple Leaf Self Storage, one of Western Canada’s largest self storage companies, with 12 state-of-the-art facilities serving small business owners. Maple Leaf has been working with businesses and families in Canada for over 30 years.