What is Self Storage?
Self storage is a simple idea where customers rent out a storage unit at a secure site for their own personal use. Self storage is appealing because it is a low cost flexible storage solution. Customers control how much they store, for how long and can access their unit whenever they want.
Self storage has become popular across the UK but in particular the South West region, and the counties Devon and Cornwall, has seen an increase in the number of self storage providers in recent years.
Why is it so popular in the South West?
There are several geographic and demographic reasons why self storage is popular in Devon and Cornwall. The South West of England has large rural areas with several major cities, the most noticeable being Plymouth and Exeter. Rural areas have a large number of small businesses and self employed people such as builders and farmers. Often these types of businesses are run from small premises or homes and therefore do not have a great deal of on-site storage space. Small businesses and the self employed can benefit from commercial storage by storing tools, equipment, stock and archives at secure sites close to where they work. The low cost of self storage in North Devon outweighs the increased expenditure required for larger premises.
In the major urban areas like Exeter and Plymouth, many people use self storage to free up space at home. This is true for other areas of the country too but the average wage in the South West is lower than many parts of the UK. Therefore affordable housing is limited and many home-owners find it cheaper to rent secure storage units and free up space that way than move to a bigger home. This partly explains the popularity of and storage in Plymouth.
There is also a high number of second home owners in areas of Cornwall like St Austell. Often these properties remain unused during the winter months and their owners use self storage in St Austell to store summer garden furniture, hobby equipment and other seasonal goods. Self storage is secure and the storage sites are usually monitored by CCTV and access controlled by electronic gate systems.
The South West has an ageing population compared to other areas. The picturesque surroundings of Devon and Cornwall means it is popular with people retiring and looking to move down from other areas. Downsizing from a large family home is common among the retired as it frees up money for their retirement. But a smaller home means there is less storage space. Many people do not want to get rid of belongings they have had for many years but also do not mini storage want to clutter up their homes. Self storage is the solution for people in this situation.
It is not just business goods and personal belongings that can be put into storage. All types of vehicles including cars, boats, motorhomes and caravans can be stored too. Devon and Cornwall have long coast lines and maritime and tourist industries. This means there is a need for secure vehicle storage and equipment storage for shows and exhibitions during the summer months.
Self storage has grown in popularity across the UK and is considered by some to be recession proof as people look to downsize or close business premises. However, as illustrated, there are some unique reasons that explain the concentration of self storage facilities in the South West.