2 Business Models for Getting Into the Mobile Self-Storage Industry

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The Franchise Option

If you’re more serious about the mobile-storage business, you should consider looking at a franchise opportunity within the industry. Franchising allows entrepreneurs to take advantage of a total business system that’s in place and allows them the best opportunity to succeed. A good franchise organization will provide three key elements to its franchisees—brand, operating systems and ongoing support.

A strong brand is critical to any businesses success. You need to be able to develop a brand in your market; it's essential for your ability to get customers. There needs to be a clear direction for your brand and a plan to grow and develop it.

As a franchisee, you benefit from the collective efforts and investment of the many franchisees as well as your franchisor. Through everyone's efforts, you gain great leverage. Remember, name recognition will allow you more opportunities to speak with potential customers.

Another important deliverable from your franchisor is the operating systems it has in place. Examples of these systems are marketing, technology, product delivery, business, customer service and accounting. These allow you to get your business up and running quicker and cost-effectively than if you were going to do this on your own. Think of all of the time and money you’ll save by not having to reinvent how you operate your business. You’ll get time-tested systems.

Most mobile-storage franchises will handle many of the important aspects of a franchisee's business, allowing them to focus on other necessary day-to-day business activities. The things they do on behalf of their franchisees help them save time, money and resources.

What to Expect as a Franchisee

Franchisees are expected first and foremost to provide the necessary capital to operate the business. They’ll have to do local face-to-face marketing in their territory to develop long-term referral partners. Franchisees need to provide customer support at the local level and, finally, they need to deliver the service and operate the storage facility.

Financing is available to franchisees, allowing them greater access to capital to grow their business. As a franchisee, you purchase the rights to an exclusive market for 20 years. A typical market is a population of 500,000. Mobile-storage franchisors are looking for entrepreneurs interested in building a successful business.

Before jumping into the mobile-storage industry, first consider your long-term goals. Are you looking to add a few customers or start a standalone business? Once you know what kind of service you’d like to provide, do your homework. Find out what mobile-storage operations already exist in your market, and talk to a variety of vendors so you can compare pricing, operations, container and delivery systems, and support. The mobile-storage industry is growing every day, and can be great source of revenue for entrepreneurs looking for their next business venture.

Robert Vespa is chief operations officer for Mango Moving LLC. He also serves on the board of directors for the Mobile Self-Storage Association. He has 20 years of experience in the moving and transportation industry. To reach him, call 888.330.0801; visit www.mangomoving.com. For information about the MS-SA, visit www.ms-sa.org.

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