Start-up companies and small businesses in the United Kingdom are increasingly looking for managed office space within self-storage facilities, according to U.K. self-storage operator Access Self Storage. The company has experienced twice the volume of inquiries for office space in the last few years and counts a menswear retailer, a printing business and a moving company among its commercial tenants, officials said.
In addition to self-storage, Access offers post-box addresses, phone-answering services, IP telephony and shipping services from DHL.
“We have doubled the number of business clients in the past few years alone and the majority is start-ups,” said Kevin Pratt, marketing manager. “It’s an exciting but daunting time for them. They have an idea and they have raised some funding, but they’ve got to keep their overhead low.
“In many cases, business owners are skeptical about setting up physical or even virtual offices in storage facilities. They think they will find themselves in one of our metal-lined, windowless lockers. In fact, our offices are light and airy and a really cost-effective approach for small businesses that need more space. We have a range of units that can be rented for any length of time for a minimum of one month, with business rates, heating, lighting and service charges all included.”
Clarke & Co., a moving company serving several English counties, is based out of an Access Self Storage facility in Mitcham and uses additional storage space at another Access location in Guildford. “Finding an office and storage space for a removals company is not an easy task,” said founder Patrick Clarke. “We were not in the position to buy our own premises and did not want a very costly lease that would tie us in for years. I used to drive past our local Access store, as it is local to where I live; so one day [I] just decided to go in and have a chat with the manager.”
The convenience of temporary storage next to affordable office space also attracted The Chapar, a member-based, online menswear retailer that sends trunks of clothes to club members. The company rents space from an Access facility in Chelsea. “Although we have all of our stock in a warehouse off site, at times we do need the ability to store deliveries for short periods of up to a month, and Access Self Storage was the only place where we would be able to do this alongside our office space,” said founder Sam Middleton.
PDC UK, a printing and delivery company with a network of stores across the U.K., uses several Access facilities to increase the efficiency and speed of its services. “We needed to be able to deliver across the U.K. and provide a timely and cost-effective service,” said Simon Raine, managing director. “To achieve this, we knew we needed a solution that would allow us to keep the stock nearby to its delivery area. Through Access Self Storage, we have been able to become a company that is truly nationwide.”
Access Self Storage operates more than 50 facilities in the United Kingdom, with a large concentration in Greater London.