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Creating a Boutique Records-Storage Center in Your Existing Self-Storage Operation: High Yield at Very Little Cost


By Cary F. McGovern

Adding a boutique records-storage center to your existing self-storage operation can yield a high return per square foot with long-term contracts. It requires very little capital and no additional manpower. Read how records storage can generate add-on profit for your business.

We live in a world of accelerated change. Business processes evolve frequently because of new technology and the adaptations of old ideas to accommodate it.

Records storage has gone through several changes in its 60-year history: slow growth, then fast growth; consolidation, then hundreds of new players; and then another round of consolidation lead by private-equity companies. Each time, the features and benefits of records storage have shifted.

Now there’s a new opportunity in the market: the “boutique” records-storage center. It offers all the frills of international records-storage companies but at less cost and greater convenience for the customer. This article explains how you, as a self-storage operator, can create a boutique records-storage center as part of your existing business.

Records-Keeping in 2011

The idea of keeping records of business transactions dates back to ancient Egypt. In the modern era, changes began after World War II when the U.S. economy began growing by leaps and bounds. Government regulations, corporate best-business practices and the growth of litigation elevated the simple storage of records to an essential part of every business, large and small.

The commercial-records management and storage industry has matured, and the companies are all after growth and more volume, but they’re the top-feeders. The nature of a traditional records center is it must continue to feed itself with new business or growth of existing business. The “cost of sales” keeps sales representatives after customers who represent the higher levels of volume.

The American economy is made up of a huge number of small businesses. These have never been the target of the larger international, national or even regional records and information-management (RIM) service providers. Half of the market is available to small boutique records-storage operations that can provide the same services at a much lower cost (with a much higher profit margin and without competition). That seems incredible, but it’s not.

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