Around 1995, the internet started opening many new business opportunities. More than 25 years later, almost anyone can launch a website and start up a business selling goods online.
If you run a business out of your home, you may run out of space, and a cramped, cluttered work area stifles productivity. Even if you run a physical store, you may run into this problem, especially if online sales are part of your business model. Your store room may get too full of overstock.
Or, perhaps you’re just starting a business and you’re wondering if you can run it out of a self storage space and save a lot of money on office space.
The answer is yes and no.
The “No.” What you can’t do is sit in your storage space all day crafting and selling things. Self storage spaces are not offices or workshops. Think of them more like storerooms or small warehouses. In fact, the latter is where the term “mini storage” came from, the idea of self storage as a series of tiny warehouses for small businesses.
Why can’t you work out of your storage space? First, storage facilities aren’t designed for human occupation. They’re made to keep your belongings safe. Indoor spaces get no natural light, and drive-up spaces aren’t much better. They have no running water, no electrical outlets, no bathrooms, and the interior conditions are subject to the whims of the weather. Even climate-controlled spaces, which we’ll cover more in a moment, are made to keep your belongings safe, not to keep you comfortable.
Since you can’t work out of your space, you’ll need to work from home or find a shared office space company for that. However, a storage space can give your business a leg up by providing you with extra space at a reasonable price.
Keep in mind that per square foot, a storage space rents for less than residential or commercial space. Storage lets you free up room in your office so you can get more done.
When you have orders to fulfil, you head to your storage space, pick up what you need to ship off, and pack them up. Or, perhaps you run a construction company. When it’s time to handle a big job, go to your space and pick up the equipment you need. If you’re a pharmaceutical representative, you can keep your samples in storage and pick up what you need for the day. There are dozens of other business models that can use extra room, which is where self storage shines.
Here are a few tips to help you use your storage space effectively for your business.
Use Plastic Bins
Most types of sales inventory fit well into plastic bins. Also, bins protect against moisture and they stack easily. Wrap fragile items in bubble wrap or packing paper, and fill empty spaces with packing paper.
Label Boxes and Items
Label each box, so you know what’s in it. Also, you can place some items in plastic bags and label those bags. That way you don’t end up with stickers stuck to inventory, but you can identify items quickly.
Get a Climate-Controlled Space
We encourage you to find a space with climate control, which will help keep your belongings, whether they’re inventory, tools, or documentation, in great shape. Facilities keep the temperature in these spaces between 50 and 80 degrees, and the humidity between 30% and 50%.
Keep a Business Inventory
Keep an inventory sheet, using Google Sheets, Excel, or a similar program, that lists all your sales items and where they’re at home, in your shop, or in your storage space. Store the file with a cloud service like Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. That will allow you to access and alter it anywhere, without having to print pages.
Remember that the purchases you make for your business, and that includes your self storage rent, plastic bins, and more, can be listed as line-item deductions on your taxes. Keeping accurate records can save you money.
For additional information about business storage, organization, and more, peruse our many articles.