Self Storage needs in Manchester

In the summer of 2016 the Self-Storage Association (SSA) published its Manchester Self Storage facilitiestenth consecutive survey of the sector. The UK market is considerable with an annual turnover of £440,000,000 and 1,077 locations providing an average of 0.59sqft per head of population.

The survey also determined is that awareness around Self Storage is limited, as it captured consumer input alongside operator statistics. Most consumers had an appreciation for the nearest operators branding or location, yet less than 1 in 4 understood the service provided.

53% of respondents understood that there a wide range of room sizes – typically ranging from 25 to 2,500sqft. Operators offer the larger sizes initially reducing over time as their stores mature. 35% of consumers understood that contracts are flexible – typically open ended with an installed notice to vacate ranging from 1wk to 3mnths. Any only 30% appreciated that only they could access their goods, as the units are controlled by the customer not store staff.

It’s fair to suggest that Self Storage experienced its first boom during the property explosion of the early 2000s. Yet the trends have now changed. Businesses and Residential customers sit side by side in modern purpose built facilities. Those storing household items and business have the same need – temporary, secure, flexible space.

In Manchester for example, services are designed with businesses in mind. Services such as on site fork lift trucks, offices alongside warehouse space and super-fast broadband, can now be found and utilised short medium or long term. Customers can move up or down unit sizes as their business demand dictates. This creates financial benefits clearly, but also the intangible benefits around efficiency and effectiveness.

There are now numerous examples of businesses working with Self-Storage operators with great success. However, from the kerbside it’s difficult to appreciate. Online Retailers as a place to store, pick and pack or be based. Retailers and Wholesalers as a location nearby for surplus stocks. The hospitality industry stores furniture or low use items and offices typically requiring a cost-efficient document storage solution / stationary cupboard / home for the Christmas tree and redundant overhead projector.

What is clear, Self-Storage fulfils a gap in the market and is here to stay. In the US where it started in the 50’s one in ten use Self Storage as part of their everyday life. In the UK its currently about one in two hundred. This will clearly change as awareness increases. Properties are becoming smaller, garages are being converted to living space, business need to be more flexible and opportunistic.

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