You aren’t alone if you are running your business out of your van or trailer and carrying around all of your equipment everywhere you go. This isn’t the worst way to go, but is it the best? What do you do as your business grows and you start hiring more apprentices & subcontractors to help you out? In my electrical business, I for one always hated the idea of leaving my tools onsite. Some of that stuff is expensive!! And it ain’t that hard to take!
The obvious answer to our problems is storing equipment at self-storage facilities. You choose your own lock and who to give it to, and then you tell your staff to go pick it up when you want them to. They don’t have to have you drop it off, or come to your current job site to pick up whatever they need. And you don’t have to take the risk of leaving all of your expensive equipment at different sites and risk it being stolen or lost.
Choosing a storage unit isn’t hard – but it does require a little thought and planning. So keep the following in mind:
- Location & Unit Size
- Climate Control
Location & Unit Size: You want to choose a facility that is located well. What’s your typical radius for jobs you do? And what’s conveniently located relative to your home? Find a place that’s, ideally, both on typical daily driving routes and also close to your various work sites.
Storage unit size is also critical. Are you doing a lot of earthwork and have expensive equipment that you need to protect especially during the winter months? You’re gonna need a big storage unit! Maybe get a large 20’x8’ unit. Are you an electrician like me and just have various handheld tools, coils of romex, etc? Don’t spend more than you have to, get a 10’x5’.
Climate Control is Key! You worked hard to afford some expensive equipment. Rust is not your friend, but it will find you if you don’t keep your equipment stored in a place that controls for both temperature and humidity swings. (Swings in temperature lead to conflicts between two localized atmospheres’ levels of relative humidity, and this then leads to condensation. Condensation creates moisture which, in turn, creates rust!) Beyond rust, moisture can also irredeemably damage your electronic control panels and lead to mold on anything you have that’s wooden.
Climate control is an important feature everywhere, but certainly it rises is relative important as the severity of your local climate rises. For example, storage units in San Diego, California may not face nearly the same amount of swings in outdoor temperature and humidity as storage units Waterville Maine.
Don’t be surprised if Climate Control may end up costing you a little bit more money. Remember, though, that this is a critically important additional service. It does take more investment by facility owners to create and provide this service. As contractors ourselves, we would never consider storing our items in conventional storage that didn’t offer climate control. Especially though if you’re storing anything with electronic control panels that is valuable, we really recommend that you invest the extra money to do this the right way.
Security: When you rent a unit, make sure you demand a certain level of quality in security from that facility. You need to have 24/7 video surveillance, a gate with keypad coded entry, strong facility lighting, and some on-site management.
Summing it Up: “Self-storage” units are in every town in America. Even in rural areas, they’re almost definitely within a short drive of you. Especially if you’re anywhere close to a large city, they’re probably within 10 minutes driving from you at any point in time. They can be such an awesome tool for you as you grow your business and looking for time-saving techniques. But make sure you choose wisely according to our 3 precepts above: location; climate control; security. Take a little time & money upfront to save & make a lot more time and money later on!
We Want to Hear Your Story! If any of you reading have experience with self-storage, we’d love to hear your story! Please send us your comments below!
partnered post • cc-licensed image by Scott Meyers