By Kevin Bledsoe
Over the last 25 years, the self-storage industry has experienced amazing growth, and it's more important now than ever for facility operators to get creative in their product offerings and differentiate their facility from the competition. One add-on business model gaining momentum is the pack and ship store concept.
A traditional pack and ship store is usually in a shopping plaza near a large anchor or grocery store. The anchor store helps generate business for the smaller stores in the plaza and can drive revenue for these smaller enterprises. A downside for store owners operating in a high-traffic plaza is the cost of rent, which can be very high and create difficulty in turning a reasonable profit. This is where adding a pack and ship store to your self-storage operation can be very lucrative.
Most operators probably have no idea how to run a pack and ship center. I had the same problem when I began looking at the concept. At first, I had very little desire to bring the pack and ship store to the self-storage facilities my company manages. But with time, practice and training, I embraced the concept and now believe this business model is one of the best to enter the industry.
This article will provide insight to the pack and ship model and help operators identify the various profit centers associated with this type of business. At the very least, it will give you something to think about and possibly research further to see if this is the right fit for your and business acumen.
A pack and ship center offers shipping services through providers like UPS, FedEx, United States Postal Service (USPS) and DHL. Store operators use these carriers to offer shipment services such as ground, express, international and freight. In addition, most stores generate revenue from the cost of packaging items for customers.
Most consumers are unaware of the difference between an inexpensive box from a local retailer and an approved shipping box that will keep the contents safe during shipping. As the store operator, it’s your job to educate the customer and offer to pack all shipments in an approved, secure manner. The shipping process will help you generate revenue through the sale of boxes, packaging materials, labor charges, shipping costs and any additional coverage purchased to guarantee the value of items in transit. You can offer the same products and services on international, express and freight shipments, which offer the highest profit margin.
Additional Profit Centers
Most pack and ship stores also offer a variety of other profitable services. For example, a good store will offer a number of digital printing and copying options. Why do you think Staples transformed a large portion of the front of its stores into a digital print shop? They make a huge profit!