Self-Storage for Small Businesses: Managing Inventory and Supplies

13 February, 2024

If you run a small business, then you may find that you end up experiencing a lot of issues with space. This can cause you real problems going forward, because you may find that you end up struggling to store inventory and that you’re not able to scale as quickly as you’d like. Luckily, there are solutions. 

 

What Issues Do Small Companies Experience with Space?

Small businesses may find that they need more storage space so that they can house all of their inventory and supplies. Lack of space often translates to disorganisation and clutter, which can make it difficult for you to find important items when you need them the most.

Workspace Congestion

Other issues include workspace congestion. Low workspace can hinder your productivity, not to mention that it can make it much more difficult for you to collaborate. When employees are crammed into very tight quarters, this can lead to distractions and a reduced level of efficiency overall. Creative thinking can bottleneck, and eventually dry up.

Inventory Management

Limited storage can make managing any inventory you do have a nightmare. Businesses may find it difficult to keep up with stock levels and this can lead to several supply issues, such as overstocking. This can result in you experiencing less sales as well as poor customer satisfaction overall.

Expensive Space

Renting or even purchasing commercial space in the right location can be expensive if you run a small business. It’s very easy for high rental costs to eat into your budget, which leads to less funds for other areas of your company. 

Lack of Flexibility

Traditional leases often come with a huge range of long-term commitments. Limited flexibility won’t leave you with much wiggle room at all. Small businesses may find themselves stuck with spaces that do not meet their requirements due to downsizing, growth issues and even sudden changes in operation. 

Compliance 

Depending on what type of company you run, you may have certain requirements when it comes to your workspace. Space limitations can make it very difficult for you to implement the measures you need, and as a result of this, you may find that you run into a huge range of legal issues. 

Less Creative Spaces

Some companies, especially those who work within the creative sector, need spaces that encourage creativity. Lack of collaborative space can hinder your brainstorming sessions and it can also inhibit idea generation and the general development of new products. 

Clothes hanging

Benefits of Self-Storage

Self-storage isn’t just a solution for those who want to move house or even for those who need more space at home. It’s also a solution for those who need a bit more space when running a business. Take a look below to see what benefits you could take advantage of, if you invest in self-storage today.

Saving on Business Costs

Every business wants to be able to save money at the end of the day. If you are renting or if you are leasing a commercial storage space, self-storage can probably save you a great deal of money. The great thing about self-storage is that there are no long-term commitments and you don’t have any utility bills associated with it as well. You have more flexibility and more security overall which is great, to say the least.

More Office Space

More often than not, when you run a business, you will have to deal with equipment, boxes of files and clutter. If you want to help yourself here, then you can invest in a self-storage unit. This will help you to store all of the materials that just have no place in your office. If you can keep that in mind then it will help you out a lot later down the line.

Security Of Goods

Self-storage units have advanced systems in place to ensure safety and security. Sophisticated CCTV and even storage centres are great if you want to protect your business goods. Pin code access, storage unit alarms and even patrols are all common features that you can expect when you look into self-storage. In fact, leaving your valuable documents and stock in a self-storage unit is often way more secure than leaving them lying around an office premise, so make sure that you keep that in mind.

Providing Flexible Storage

Self-storage, at the end of the day, is highly flexible. It is ideal if you want to take advantage of long-term and short-term solutions. There are no commitments when you rent a storage space. It doesn’t matter what you need either because you can upgrade or downgrade as you see fit. This is great, to say the least, as it could make a major difference to your company overall.

Improving Office Safety

It’s very likely that all of the stuff that you have lying around the office is contributing to more accidents. Storing lots of documents and paperwork can increase the risk of fire and on top of this, it can also create more health and safety issues. Having secure and offsite storage can help you with this as it can greatly improve the safety of your company overall. 

Shoe store

How to Organise Your Self-Storage Unit

If you want to get a self-storage unit for your business stock then you need to make sure that you keep everything nice and organised. If you keep an inventory spreadsheet then make sure that you organise it according to the frequency of your sales. Items that are in high demand have to be the easiest for you to keep track of, so make sure that you keep that in mind. As your company grows, you might want to invest in a system to help you manage your current inventory. This is the best way for you to automate your recordings and it also helps you to avoid duplicating orders. You could also consider investing in inventory tracking software so that it becomes easier for you to know where your stock is. 

You can also invest in shelves to help you with organising your self-storage unit. This allows you to store some of your smaller items in labelled boxes, so you always know how much of each you have. When the time comes for you to replenish your stock, all you have to do is move your older items to the front and then the new items underneath and at the back. Simple steps like this will aid you in accessing stock, so you can find it when you need to.

Think about the Layout

Your bestsellers have to be easy for you to access. Place them as close to the door as you can. You can then put your seasonal or your less popular items toward the back. Make sure that you use vertical storage space by installing some floor-to-ceiling shelves. Keep the central floor area nice and free so you can move around safely when the time comes for you to replenish your stock. Heavier items have to be on the lower shelves, with light ones being on the top so you can avoid damage or injury if something should happen. Folding step ladders are great if you want to access your top shelves too. 

 

What to Look for in A Self-Storage Unit

A key part of organising your stock is to make sure that everything is accessible yet out of the way. This is why so many companies opt to store their inventory in a self-storage unit. One thing to know about self-storage units is that they are very flexible and they are also way more cost-effective when compared to leasing a warehouse. You can rent any size of storage unit you need and this means that your inventory can easily grow alongside your business. If you know that you plan to stay for more than a year then you may be able to get a long-term discount too.

Location is Everything

When the time comes for you to choose your self-storage unit, you need to make sure that it is away from the city if you want the best prices. If your business is located in the city then balance the need to have your stock close, with the price differences between storage units. As solid as your company business model might be, you have to remember that your customers want their goods fast and this means ensuring that they are delivered without delay. If you want to help yourself here then one thing you can do is make sure that you assess where your unit is, so you can make the best decision.

The Size of your Unit

When it comes to choosing a unit for your business, size is so important. Underestimating the size you need can be a major mistake. Half-empty units are not cost-effective at all. If you want to avoid this then make sure that you come up with a list of all the things you need to store and the size of them. You should also leave some extra space so you can accommodate any future additions you may want to make. Going for a small unit may make sense right now but moving everything to a bigger unit is a major hassle. For this reason, you need to choose a unit that allows you to grow a bit before you have to move.

Security

Security for your business self-storage unit is crucial. You need to ensure that your items are going to be safe from theft as well as damage and other risks. When you are choosing a self-storage unit, make sure that you opt for one that has strong security measures. This should include access control systems, CCTV and even fire safety.

Unit Features

Next up, features. Some units come with desirable features that you will want to take advantage of. Climate control is a big one. If you are storing electronics or if you are storing things that could get damaged by extreme temperatures, such as humidity then this is very important. Even wine has to be stored at a certain temperature to maintain quality, so you need to check to see if this is going to be an issue for you or not. If your storage unit doesn’t have humidity control and you try to use it for electronics then you may find that you end up experiencing rust, corrosion and even damage, which is the last thing you need.

Another feature to look for would be drive-up space. The ability to park your car, or van at the front of your storage unit is always a good idea, especially if you have a lot of inventory to deal with.  24-hour access comes with this too, so you can get whatever you need out of business hours. On-site management is also very good, as it means you can take advantage of security in regard to your stored items.

No Hidden Costs

Before you go ahead and choose a business storage unit, and before you sign the contract, you need to make sure that there are no hidden costs at all. Ask to see if there is a detailed breakdown of the conditions and what you have to pay, such as administrative fees, deposits and even insurance costs. You should also check to see if there are any additional fees that you might have to pay. This way you can avoid any unpleasant fees later down the road.

Self Storage units

How to Choose the Right Size of Storage Unit

Now you have a solid idea of what you should be considering when trying to choose a storage unit, you need to move on to what items you need to store. Will you be adding even more items in the future? Are you in need of short-term or long-term storage? Do any items need special storage conditions? When you have answered questions like this, you will then have a clear idea of what unit you are actually in need of. The smallest unit available tends to be 5’ x 5’. This is usually most suited to clothing, boxes or even small furniture. 5’ x 10’ is very similar in size to a walk-in closet. Units of this size can hold the contents of an office with ease. Next, you have 10’ x 10’. This can hold the contents of a small house, with each size up being more suited to bigger items. If you are storing inventory, take into account manoeuvrability space as well as space to walk around and organise your unit. If you don’t then you may find that you end up going for something which ends up being far smaller than what you need.

 

One good way for you to assess how much storage you need would be for you to calculate the boxes you have and then work out which ones can be stacked. Most of the time you can add shelving to your storage unit so you can keep items high up as well as putting them on the floor. Remember, not all items can be stacked so if you have fragile items then this is something that you will need to take into account.  If you want to get a storage unit on a budget then one thing you can do is try and opt for a storage unit that is one size up for what you need.  You can then try and vacuum pack your goods, and organise them in ways that get you the most out of what you have to store. By sizing up, you may end up spending more, but your goods will be way safer if they’re not cramped. The cost savings will speak for themselves, as you won’t lose as much inventory. You can also access your goods with ease, and even potentially downgrade your office space, which will translate to even more cost savings. By considering the bigger picture rather than just your immediate needs, you can be sure to make the most out of your self-storage unit, and your budget.

Storing Vehicles

If you need to store a vehicle then it should be easy for you to calculate how much space you need based on the vehicle you have. Storing a business vehicle is easy to do and it is often much safer than kee[ping it on your business premises. Keeping inventory in your car can be risky but if you make deliveries on a regular basis then you may find that this is your only option sometimes. You can store your vehicle, as well as its inventory in a storage unit if you want, as this gives you a great deal of protection all-round.

Contact us Today

If you want to make sure that you have the best storage unit for your needs, or if you need to store a vehicle or business inventory then the only thing you have to do is get in touch with us at Wallaby Storage today. We can advise you on vehicle storage as well as helping you to secure the best deal. Call us at (03) 9045 6229 to find out more.

 

 

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