This week's self-storage news includes several items regarding a touchy subject: mobile (or portable) storage. I say touchy because the jury is still out on whether this is a fantastic ancillary service to complement self-storage or a fiersome competitor snatching potential business.
But there's no doubt the offering is taking the country by storm, and "standard" storage operators everywhere will need to contend with this player in their markets. The industry now has its own association, the Mobile Self-Storage Association, spearheaded by President Randy Weissman. And one of our competitors, the Mini-Storage Messenger, has even launched a dedicated magazine for this niche.
If you read today's news feed, you'll see two stories highlighted: one regarding the expansion of SMARTBOX into the Jacksonville market, the other about the snowballing success of PODS, Portable on Demand Storage. The former now has franchises in four states, the later in 45. PODS is even planning to move into Canada and Australia. As you can see, this is not some fly-by-night service that will fade into the dawn. The sun has risen, and it seems to be shining brightly on mobile storage.
So tell me, all ye storage operators ... How are you feeling about the arrival of this "new child"? How is it affecting your business? Is the added exposure good for the storage industry as a whole, or is mobile detracting from your tenant base? Is anyone offering BOTH services? If so, please tell us about it. Inside Self-Storage is currently working on its October issue, which focuses on ancillary products and services. I'd love to include some feedback regarding portable storage when we post this issue to the website on Oct. 1.