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Self-storage is a business system that allows people and companies to hire units in which to store possessions. The units are generally housed within a secure complex or large warehouse, and they can be anything from a large room to the size of a large crate or suitcase. Some of the larger, room-sized units can be used as workshops for small businesses and sole traders.
People can use storage units for a number of reasons. When moving house, there is often a period of time between homes, either in temporary smaller accommodation or with relatives. During this time it is vital to have a place in which to store bulky items like furniture, books and even boxes of personal memorabilia. Storage units can be a godsend at this point, providing a spacious and secure temporary home for the goods until the new home is available to move into.
Other short terms uses for self-storage are: storing the day to day clutter of the family while trying to sell the home and keeping possessions safe and out of the way while renovations are ongoing. Few prospective home-owners will be able to see past the lived-in look of a well-used home, preferring a glossy, show home, beautifully decorated and spacious. When a home is being redecorated or renewed, it is often necessary to remove all the furniture, carpets and knick-knacks to allow the painters and contractors to do their work. A storage unit will protect the goods without the need to cram them into a different room, making the whole house uncomfortable for the duration of the renovation work.
A longer term reason for using self-storage is to have a permanent home for precious possessions that are too valuable to throw away, but that do not have a place in the home, especially with homes becoming smaller over time. These can be precious reminders of deceased loved ones, or even items that are too delicate and expensive to keep in the home where they might suffer damage. A storage unit, especially if it is close to the home, is a useful solution in such a situation, offering secure storage with easy access when desired.
But it is not only individuals who can take advantage of the space offered by self-storage units. There is a growing trend for business to use self-storage units as part of their infrastructure.
For small businesses, with just one or two employees, the storage unit can serve as premises. Most self-storage companies permit the units to be used as desired by the client, as long as it is legal, so they can be fitted out as offices (complete with phone lines), workshops and even shop fronts – or even some combination of all of the above! Contracts for self-storage are cheaper than monthly rents on business premises, as well as being flexible and easy to end should it become necessary. Storage units are clean, well lit and secure, and usually found in parts of towns and cities that are easily accessible. A lot of modern businesses are entirely online, and using a storage unit for keeping stock and for packaging up orders can save a lot of time and money, keeping the stock safely locked up, instead of risking keeping it in a residential garage which could be easy prey to a thief.
Bigger businesses can also make use of storage units, keeping extra stock close enough for an easy pick-up, without needing to fill up an expensive high-street shop with boxes and boxes of stock. Using storage units for stock means that the entire high-street frontage can be dedicated to attracting customers with an aesthetically pleasing display, and maximising the whole space for sales. It may even be possible for the business to switch to a smaller business premises, saving a great deal in rent and overheads – more than enough to fund the hire of the unit.
Big Yellow offers units at 83 locations across the UK, with units ranging in size from 10sq ft. to 400sq ft. The premises are open for access between 6am and 8pm, with the option to pay extra for extended access between the hours of 5am and 11pm.With over 100 locations, there is unlikely to be anywhere too far away from a Safestore! Their premises are monitored around the clock, with 24hr CCTV, and each clean and dry unit can only be opened by the customer's key.
Lok 'n Store is something of a newcomer on the self-storage scene with approximately 25 locations, mainly centred around the south of the UK, and more opening up all the time. They guarantee to be the cheapest self-storage option available and welcome both personal and business customers.
Storage King have around 24 locations, spread evenly throughout the UK, with units ranging in size from, in their own words, 'a telephone box' to a 'tennis court'! Unlike many other self-storage companies, it is possible to access the individually alarmed units 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.What to think about when choosing a self-storage unit