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March 1, 2007

2 Min Read
Mobile Storage Goes Dutch

This summer, along with tulips and warm days, mobile storage came to The Netherlands. When traditional self-storage was introduced to the Dutch nine years ago, the population was quick to grasp the concept. But some customers can’t or don’t want the trouble of hauling their goods to a facility themselves. The solution was obvious: Bring the container to them by combining the benefits of self-storage with transporting their goods in a mobile unit.

Following the trend in the United States, Extrabox Self-Storage in The Netherlands saw portable storage as a service that would complement the company’s traditional offering. The company introduced mobile storage in June after a short planning period using the established U.S. model.

The service is simple. A container on its trailer is delivered to the front of the customer’s home. Once the client fills the box, an Extrabox driver picks it up and transports it to an Extrabox store. The container is housed in a row, just like regular storage units. Customers have access to the store and their container six days a week. Cost is the same as renting a unit; prices start at €49 per month. The box can be delivered back to the customer when service is discontinued.

Small trucks and a trailer are necessary to navigate the small Dutch streets when boxes are delivered. As you may imagine, containers must be handled with precision, especially when brimming with a client’s belongings. Extrabox can deliver one or two of the 6-cubic-meter boxes per customer. The service is available in the larger cities of Haarlem, near Amsterdam; Rotterdam, Eindhoven and Den Bosch.

Since there is no local container manufacturer, Extrabox had to design and build its own boxes. Containers manufactured in the United States were too expensive to ship and have different dimensions for the trailers. Extrabox self-funded its new enterprise, as is the case with many innovations in the European self-storage sector. This allowed the company to launch the concept much faster than if outside financing had been sought.

Extrabox is a full-service company offering long- and short-term storage complemented with a broad range of ancillary services. Facilities are located in the center of a city, unlike many European sites. Customers can get free locks, a moving truck, insurance, wrapping material, etc. In addition to mobile service, the company offers to pick up small items at no charge.

Holland has 105 stores in seven cities, a number expected to double in the next five years. Most stores have 95 percent occupancy.

Extrabox, which was founded in 2002, is the first European company to introduce self-storage franchising. Although the company has no plans to build stores outside the Netherlands, it anticipates growth through its franchise concept. 

Erwin Fleer is a co-founder and board member of Netherlands-based Extrabox Self-Storage, which offers a complete franchise opportunity within Europe. For more information, e-mail [email protected]; visit www.extrabox.nl.

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