Virtual sanity for SMEs

Virtual sanity for SMEs
Virtual sanity for SMEs

Whether you’re moving offices, or looking to store stock while you decorate, renting a storage unit is flexible and easy – and could be the answer you are looking for.

Suitable for both start-ups and established businesses, virtual storage is ideal for businesses not wanting to take on the commitment of long-term leased premises.

The Big Yellow Self Storage Company, founded in 1998, operates stores across a platform of 4.8 million square feet, which is principally rented on a freehold basis.

James Gibson, chief executive of Big Yellow, said: “We have 83 stores across London and the UK offering secure storage for merchandise, palletised goods, office furniture, eBay stock, archiving, warehousing and office moves.

“With our alternatives for traditional warehouse spaces there are no complicated leases to sign and no business rates to pay.”

Mr Gibson said that 90 per cent of turnover is generated from London and the South East, with 33 per cent of the company’s space occupied by business customers. He said that more than 85 per cent of enquiries are generated through its website, with the average length of stay per existing customer of 23 months.

Mr Gibson said: “The Group has pioneered the development of the latest generation of self storage facilities, which utilise state-of-the-art technology and are located in high profile, accessible, main road locations. Our focus on the location and visibility of our Big Yellow stores, coupled with our excellent customer service and our market leading online platform, has created the most recognised brand name in the UK self storage industry.”

Mr Gibson continued: “Big Yellow now has the greatest market share in the UK as measured by self storage capacity, occupied space and revenue. Given its bigger stores and that the portfolio is largely freehold, it also drives the highest operating margins in the industry.”

There are more than 50 Access Self Storage stores throughout the UK and most are open seven days a week, allowing customers to access their unit 24 hours a day.

Shiraz Lalji, a director of Access Self Storage, said: “Whichever store you choose, it will be monitored by 24 hour CCTV, while you enjoy free parking, use of trolleys and a full range of storage options.

“And don’t forget, we always try to match a better like-for-like storage quote, so contact your store for more details.”

Mr Lalji said that would-be customers should choose their unit type and length of stay and the use the company’s size estimator to help them choose the right storage unit for their business.

“All our storage units are individually secure rooms. Each is protected by 24 hour digital CCTV and two alarm systems (one for the building plus one for your individual unit), plus a range of fire and smoke detection systems,” Mr Lalji said.

“We offer flexible storage options, and you can hire a unit for as little as a week at a time. We recommend reserving your storage unit for just £10 online, by phone or in-store. This risk-free reservation fee is deducted from your storage cost, and it’s fully refundable if you need to cancel your reservation before you’re due to move in.

“If you find that your storage unit is larger or smaller than you need, you can change size any time, as often as you like – we’ll just adjust your monthly rates accordingly.”

Mr Lalji added: “Whether you've been using your storage unit for one week or several years, simply give us seven days notice in writing (an email is fine) when you want to vacate. We will refund you for any unused days.”

In tomorrow’s instalment in this series, we speak to Andrew Jacobs, chief executive of Lok’nStore…