Former firefighter Pete Warhurst started his career in self-storage with a traditional facility in Pinellas Country, Fla. But his claim to fame is PODS, Portable on Demand Storage, now a $200 million per year mobile-storage company serving the residential market.
Launched in 1998, PODS now has franchises in 45 states, and will soon expand to Canada and Australia. The company boasts 2,500 pickups and deliveries per day of its 8-by-12 or 8-by-16-foot contrainers. Built of heavy plywood over steel framing, they can withstand 110-mph winds and hold more than 3 tons of goods (they're moved via a specially engineered hydraulic lift system).
While PODS certainly has made a name for itself, it is only one of many companies offering mobile-storage services. The company has approximately 150 competitors of various sizes, including Mobile Attic and Door-to-Door Storage.
Is there anything to stand in the way of PODS' snowballing success? Perhaps only a few municipalities and neighborhoods that have attemped to pass laws or create rules against putting moble-storage units in residential streets and driveways.
Thankfully, the industry has its own supporting organization, the Mobile Self-Storage Association (www.ms-sa.org), lead by President Randy Weissman. The group's goal is to "facilitate and foster an atmosphere of cooperation between independently owned and operated mobile-storage businesses" as well as "bring awareness, education, integrity, peace of mind and value" to the customers the industry serves.