Many years’ experience in the self storage industry, means that we have navigated through the ups and downs of recession and witnessed many trends in the economy and customer habits. But, a pandemic, this has been a new one…
Like many companies, we had no idea how coronavirus would impact the self storage industry. To our surprise, self storage has been helping individuals and businesses in a variety of unexpected and positive ways.
Working from home has become the ‘new normal’ for many people. Initially viewed as a temporary measure, it has become a more permanent way of working for many companies.
People have been clearing their homes to make space for home offices. While some have been having drastic clear outs to make space, others have items that they want to keep but don’t use regularly. Self storage has been a real asset for accommodating these possessions whilst still giving people easy access to their things if required.
Online retail is very strong at the moment. Many physical shops may have sadly been closed during lockdowns, but that hasn’t stopped people’s desire for some ‘retail therapy’. Shopping habits were already changing, but coronavirus has accelerated people’s desire to shop online rather than venture out to the High Street.
Online shopping has been a necessity for many of us, and even smaller independent retailers reacted quickly to continue trading by taking their businesses online.
It has been a time of change too. Some individuals, who have been made redundant or decided on a change of career, have spotted opportunities for new online retail ventures.
These online businesses, have identified business self storage as an affordable and secure way of storing stock, without the financial commitment and risk of a long-term investment commonly associated when renting a business property.
Businesses dependent on ‘pick and pack’ operations have also been quick to see the benefits of using self storage, with the ability to upsize or downsize storage units as required.
Many businesses have had to adapt the layout of their facilities for social distancing. For offices, that has often meant taking out desks and clearing spaces to allow for the 2 metre rule, and in some cases, creating one-way systems.
Pubs, restaurants and cafes have also faced the same predicament and have been using self storage to accommodate surplus furniture and equipment, in order to comply with social distancing rules.
The situation, as we all hope, is not permanent and self storage is providing a temporary, flexible solution to help keep some businesses trading.
The impact of coronavirus has forced many businesses to restructure and re-evaluate their overheads, which for some has meant downsizing or vacating their premises.
Downsizing can present immediate storage issues for bulky or larger items such as archive files, office furniture, exhibition equipment and so on.
Businesses that have either already downsized, or are in the process of doing so, have recognised the practical and financial benefits of using self storage.
We’ve also moved many businesses into storage that have been really struggling. For example, sound engineers, bands, DJs etc. who have been unable to work but need to keep their equipment for better times ahead, have turned to self storage for affordable, flexible space.
With more time at home during lockdowns, and fewer options for travel, many people had little choice but to opt for a ‘staycation’ this year.
‘Not going out’ has saved some people money. With time on their hands and a little extra spending money in their pockets, there has been a significant increase in home renovation and DIY projects – the sort that normally gets put on the backburner!
These projects have not been confined to inside the home. In the summer, gardens were landscaped and redesigned on an unprecedented scale, outbuildings were erected or transformed into office space for home working; and the list goes on.
Self storage has proved the ideal solution for temporary furniture storage and other household items whilst work inside and outside the home was carried out.
Fuelling this property market, has been the stamp duty holiday for residential properties valued up to £500,000 which has led to mortgage approvals running at a 10 year high.
People have used short term household storage to help phase a house move and take some of the stress out of moving. Others have used storage whilst they’re waiting to move into their new home or for it to be built.
Throughout these tough times, our priority has been to keep our customers even more safe when using our facilities.
We have implemented new procedures such as remote, non-contact move-ins, payments and vacations.
Our large storage facilities are naturally spacious and self storage does not attract large amounts of people at any one time. You are therefore unlikely to encounter someone when you visit and if you do, keeping 2 metres apart is easily achievable. Surfaces are being cleaned regularly and hand sanitisers are provided throughout.
The pandemic has been an interesting and unexpectedly busy time for self storage. It has also been a rewarding time helping keyworkers and local companies supplying frontline services but also other people and businesses navigating through the many challenging circumstances created by the pandemic.
In short, we’re open and ready to support your storage needs (whatever they might be).