We don’t know about you, but we feel like the last few years have just zipped by. It wasn’t that long ago that we were living through unprecedented times. The whole world stopped for a while – and it’s been on fast forward ever since. There’s been a huge amount of change in such a short time, and we’re still adapting to it as families, as businesses and as nations.
Of course, we know that sometimes change is scary. Sometimes it’s not that great. But it can lead to exciting things – it’s a matter of uncovering a new perspective. In the self-storage industry, as with all businesses, we are impacted by events in the world. So, what changes have been happening in the self storage industry, and why are we looking forward to the future?
A change in the way we see things
The pandemic hit us all in different ways, and many businesses are still finding their way back. In the self-storage industry, we’ve seen a number of changes in the way people use our facilities as a result.
For a time, almost all office-based workers were sitting at their kitchen tables trying to work remotely. It was a new experience for many – and apparently a popular one, as many of us didn’t want to go back to the routine of a daily commute. That means turning what was a temporary solution into a more permanent one, as we carve out spaces in our homes for desks, ergonomic chairs and a fixed home office. And all the things we kept in the spare room or the living room corner are moving out to storage.
But that’s not the end of the home office movement. As those who have worked from home for a long time know, having your office at home makes it a lot harder to switch off. There’s been an increase in small business owners moving out of the home and making a workspace in self-storage units. And self-storage companies are rising to meet demand, with many now adapting units or creating office space on site. And it’s not just computer-based businesses who need a desk and WIFI– units are being adapted for all sort of industries; if all you need is space, what could you do with a unit?
So, whether you need more space at home or an alternative option for growing your own business, the storage industry may be the unexpected solution.
House moves are not slowing down
Interest rates are rising and house sales are slowing down, although this has not necessarily impacted the number of people moving. Instead, as the cost-of-living increases and budgets get tighter, more people are downsizing or staying in rented accommodation for longer while waiting for rates to improve before jumping on the property ladder.
This means that more people are storing their excess belongings in storage, and often for longer than they planned. But that’s not a bad thing, because it means you don’t have to make snap decisions, and as storage is more often cheaper than you would be spending on a larger property, you’re still saving.
Thinking about health
Another result of the pandemic is the hugely increased awareness of mental health. Something that had been quietly growing for decades suddenly became the focus of the nation, as it should. We’re more aware of the impact of isolation caused by working alone for some, or the stress caused by returning to work on others. But we also need to recognise that the state of our homes can also impact on mental health.
Living in clutter or working in a messy environment has long been shown to negatively impact on our mood and our productivity. Clearing unnecessary items out of homes creates a more welcoming space and relives stress – all good for our health.
But that doesn’t mean we should just throw out everything in the house. By using self-storage, you can keep items safely put away for another day – clothes that will come back into fashion, furniture that is too sentimental to sell but too bulky – or ugly – to have at home, children’s toys that will keep for the next generation. By storing items long-term, you not only preserve memories, you also save these items from going into landfill.
As we look to the future and ongoing changes, the self-storage industry has a place in the circular, sustainable economy and that can only be a positive for the planet.
Self-storage is changing, and we’re excited to be a part of it
The self-storage industry is rapidly growing in the UK. As more homes are built across the country, more self-storage facilities are opening as well.
Successful companies are adapting and embracing the changes, from showing our customers new ways to use the space available, to adopting new technology such as mobile entry apps and state-of-the-art security.
In the ever-evolving landscape of the modern market, Cookes self-storage has emerged as an indispensable solution for individuals and businesses alike. As space becomes an increasingly precious commodity, Cookes comprehensive self-storage services offer a secure and accessible option for storing belongings, inventory, and valuables. With our state-of-the-art facilities and customizable storage options, Cookes aims to cater to diverse needs while ensuring utmost convenience and peace of mind. For more information and personalised assistance, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0121 250 5055. Our team of experts is ready to provide tailored solutions that meet your unique storage requirements.
For an industry that is relatively young in the UK all this change is happening fast; it’s exciting and we can’t wait to see what more we can offer.
Beautiful Stratford-upon-Avon is a known for its fabulous views, a charming town centre and, of course, its theatre. It’s built on history and tourism. But, what keeps it thriving is the multitude of businesses, small, independent and high street brands, that keep the streets vibrant and commerce flowing.
Our own business, Cookes Storage Service, opened here around five months ago. We’re a family-ownedbusiness started by Cookes Furniture, which has over 75 years of experience in exceptional customer service. And, as a family business we know the importance of being part of the community. So, we’ve taken time to get to know exactly how we can be part of Stratford-upon-Avon, and how we can give back as well.
The face of Cookes in Stratford-upon-Avon
It’s important to us that when you come into our self-storage facility, for a look about or to pop into your own unit, you’re greeted by a welcoming face. Those faces are likely to be either Louise, our site manager, or Carl, our sales assistant.
Our team are ready to answer all your questions about self-storage and our flexible contracts. The most common question has to be “Which size unit will I need?”. We do have a handy guide on our website, but we are always up for the challenge of a little mental maths as we help you calculate square feet. We’re also pretty good at advising you on packing, so you can maximise on your space by safely piling things up as well as around your unit.
Cookes in the community
We love being involved in the town. It’s our home as well as place of business. Cookes is a proud member of the Stratford-upon-Avon BID, which allows us to be a visible part of the community. We work alongsideother businesses to support initiatives and events that bring in visitors and keep our town buzzing.
We are also members of the Chamber of Commerce, which is another great way for us to meet local business owners and find ways to work together. Small businesses are the lifeblood of the local economy, and we are always keen to help them out.
Self-storage offers so much potential for a small business. Being a secure facility means we are a far better option that your garden shed or commercial van for keeping all your tools and equipment safe, or as a spare room to keep boxes of stock out of the way of your family. Open your own small storage unit and you’ve got a home for your business that’s cost effective and closes when you want it to.
That’s why we offer 10% off the original quotation if you are a local business. Just come on in to find out more.
Supporting local charity
Cookes is also committed to supporting local charities. Since they opened in 2015 our sister store in Sutton Coldfield has been helping charities in the Midlands by collecting funds, offering discounted storage space or acting as a drop zone for seasonal donations.
Now it’s our turn to help charities here in Stratford. We’ve recently provided discounted space to a charity after their own building was knocked down. But we know we can do more. So, if you are a local charity that needs a helping hand, please get in touch to see whether we can help. We consider every request.
Proud to be part of the Cookes family
We have very much enjoyed settling in over the last five months. We’ve been welcomed by the local community with open arms, and we can’t wait to be more involved. So, whether you’re a business in need of a home, a family in need of a spare shed, or just moving home, we have a solution for you. Give us a call. We’re here to help you.
When you look for a self-storage unit to start up your business, keep your stock or to just move your furniture into for a short time, you probably don’t think much further than the cost. But there’s more to finding the right unit that meets the eye.
If you’re familiar with the Cookes brand, you’ll know that we are a family business. After 70 years, we’re proud that the 3rd generation is now running the day-to-day operation, and you’ll often find the 4th generation visiting their parents at work whenever they can.
All of which means we’ve got a family atmosphere running through the business, including our team – and that warm, welcoming ambience becomes obvious to customers, just as soon as you walk in.
A hands-on family attitude
So what does that mean for you? Well, you’re always assured of a warm welcome, where our team are professional, but relaxed, and customer service is natural, not just terminology.
In days gone by we’d have been the first out to carry every item of your furniture into your unit for you, and although modern day regulations have restricted us, we’re still happy to offer a helping hand where we can.
Personalised business approach
You’ll notice the difference between Cookes and other self-storage companies in everything we do. We’re not restricted by corporate culture, over-bearing behaviours passed down by a remote head office or the cold, impersonal touch of a chain.
If you’re running a business and you need something different for your unit – extra lighting maybe, a few plug sockets or something else – all you need to do is ask. Our contracts are flexible, and we can work with you to find a solution. After all, as a local business, we know the importance of community, and we’re personally interested in helping your business grow.
We’re not 9-5
The personal touch is more than just having a coffee for you when you walk in – although we do that too. It’s about putting a name to a face and lending a helping hand. If you need an extra half hour, or have to come in early, then we can work with you to make it happen.
Community, to us, is about working together. Cookes has grown to be a recognised name in the local area, not only for our business, but by working with the people who live here. Cookes Storage is proud to carry on that name – we’ve just celebrated our 3rd birthday and we’re still growing. We’re involved in supporting charities, including the Great Midlands Fun Run, the Buddy Bag Foundation, Toys4Tots and so many more.
If you’re looking for storage – for business, for personal use, to move home or as a place to keep your stock – come down to Cookes and see the difference the family touch makes.
To all of our customers, the people we meet out and about, and to every one we’ll meet in 2019 – we wish you a very Happy New Year.
Deciding to branch out on your own in business and becoming self-employed can be a daunting, but equally exciting experience.
There’s a few things you need to consider. Getting your finances in order, employing a good accountant, getting your marketing and branding correct – and finding the right base to work from.
If your business relies solely on a laptop, your front room or kitchen table may be adequate to get started. Hot desking is an option that has also become increasingly popular, and means you can keep your work life and home life completely separate.
However, when your business involves products, equipment or quantities of marketing materials, working from home might not be an option. When boxes and equipment start to fill your hallways, and you feel that you never find a place to switch off from work – then it’s time to consider business premises that don’t cost the earth.
Running your business from a storage unit is a really great alternative to separate offices. No business rates, no council tax and no overheads – just one simple monthly fee, and all the floor space you need to keep yourself organised.
Not sure it would work for you? Here’s just some of the businesses that can be run from a storage unit.
Handyman and fix-it professionals
If you have a business which involves fixing, mending and helping others with jobs around the house, the chances are you have a lot of heavy and bulky equipment, which could take up valuable space in your home – and can’t be left inside a van at night for risk of theft.
The safe and secure premises of a storage unit can be the perfect solution, and with long opening hours throughout the week, you can start your job at whatever time suits you during the day, knowing that you can pick things up and drop them off at your own convenience.
If you have an eBay or Etsy store, a unit for your stock will free your home of boxes, especially if you buy in bulk to sell on for a small profit.
With simple shelving solutions you can keep stock in order, have an area for wrapping and posting, and you know your product will be kept dry and safe, whatever the weather is doing outside.
Look about for the right storage provider – some provide the shelving if asked, and can include wi-fi and lighting in your unit, making it easier to do everything in one place.
Anyone who has converted furniture from shabby to chic will know that while the end results look flawless and effortless, the process in-between is anything but. Bulky items take a lot of work to transform, from filling and fixing, sanding and painting.
A storage unit is the perfect place to store larger items as you are transform them for sale, without getting in the way at home. Some storage providers can offer a choice of units with outside access as well – giving you ventilation for a workshop and easy access for deliveries.
Lawyers, accountants and medical professionals
You may not think that this kind of profession needs much in the way of storage, but all that paperwork soon piles up – and in many cases businesses are required to keep paper records for set amounts of time, long after they need daily access to it.
While keep boxes of files piled up in your home, or in your inner city office, where you pay inner city prices for every square foot. Storage units are far more cost effective, and great for archiving files that you just don’t need cluttering up the place.
A unit is a great way to get started as a photographer. You’ve got space to hang a white background, power for lighting and all the space you need for stock and product photography or model shoots.
If you are thinking of starting your own business or need a bit more space in your office, look around for the right storage provider. You’ll get indoors units, particularly helpful if you will be working from the unit in the winter, all the flexibility you need to expand as you grow, and a secure, PIN controlled place to call your own.
Thinking about starting your own business and need some storage advise? Call us on 0121 250 5055
Although we all use computers in business today, many industries still generate large amounts of paper records – much of which has to be kept for long periods of time.
Financial, legal, insurance and medical records, as well as tax records, architectural drawings and project information – whatever your industry, you probably have a lot of files that you need to store.
There’s no need to use your valuable office space, particularly if you’re paying premium city rates for every square foot. Self storage units offer you a cost-effective and secure place to keep your confidential and important documents.
When you start looking for a self storage unit, don’t assume all operators have the same offer. It’s worth looking about to see what you need.
Distance from your office
While your first thought might be to look for the closest storage unit to your office, in fact this may be the least important consideration.
Many industries need to store files for up to 10 years, but the paperwork is rarely needed during that time. Choosing a storage operator outside of the city limits will result in the benefit of lower costs that outweigh the distance to go for the occasional file.
External or internal units
Some storage units are external lock ups, while others are indoor units. If you do choose an external lock up, you’ll need to be aware of potential damage to your files from damp and rodents.
An indoor unit will mean that your paperwork stays dry and rodent free, so there’s no chance of mould or chewing to ruin essential files.
Another advantage of indoor units is that you are not only relying on your padlock to keep your data secure. Check that the operator you are considering offers CCTV both inside and outside of the facility. Some facilities, like Cookes, are manned throughout the day and have PIN code access, providing another layer of reassurance.
Room to grow
The great thing about self storage is that not only are the contracts flexible, so is the space. So, as your business grows and your records increase, you can easily expand the size of your unit.
If you do need to access your records, you’ll want to be able to get hold of them easily. You can be sure that if you just pile boxes on top of each other, the files you need will be at the bottom of the heap.
Adding shelving to your unit will allow you to easily access individual files, and means boxes won’t get crushed and damaged. At Cookes, our archive units are prepared for you with pre-installed racking – giving you one less thing to do.
Make sure you clearly label each box before it goes off to storage. Whether you mark them by year, by project name or some other system, number each box and set up a simple record system on your computer. Then, if you do need to retrieve a file, you can easily identify the right box.
Once your boxes are full, you’ll need to get them to your unit. Paperwork can be surprisingly heavy and inconvenient to move about.
We have a simple solution – our removals team will collect your boxes for you, and move them into your unit, secure and stored until you need them.
With the deadline for GDPR compliance coming in May 2018, firms are reviewing their data storage right now. No matter where you store your confidential files, the onus is on your business to keep them safe. Make sure the storage firm you use has a clear understanding of GDPR, and how they can help you keep your files secure.
Cookes Archiving Solutions
At Cookes we have a ready make archiving solution for businesses, including pre-installed racking in your unit, a supply of extra strong archiving boxes, a padlock and marker pens, and an LED light to help you find your way. Once you’ve packed your boxes, our removal team will collect them for you and install them in your unit.
Call Cookes – we’re here to help your business grow.
Fresh starts, new beginnings and plenty of vigour – the new year beckons with potential. So many people will be thinking about a change in their career or starting a business right now, we thought it would be a great time to introduce one of the amazing entrepreneurs who is growing a business right here at Cookes.
Malik is the owner of Urban Design UK, a retailer with a shopfront on eBay. With a growing range of genuine branded cosmetics, Malik has joined a thriving platform to become one of the 3.4 million sole traders in the UK. His business has expanded from a modest home business to a successful store, taking over three storage units at Cookes. In 2018, Malik plans to increase his online presence on other platforms and with his own website.
Of course, launching your own business is hard work and gaining a foothold on a platform as busy as eBay isn’t easy. Malik began his business some years ago selling mobile phone accessories, before moving into men’s accessories and cosmetics. Over time he refined his range and is moving towards high-end brands such as Max Factor and Revlon.
Tips for selling on eBay
Time, patience and a strong, reliable customer service are the cornerstones to the success of Urban Design. Malik also offers his best tips for selling on eBay:
“You need a good description and pictures. Use your own, so that it’s clear to buyers you have genuine products and make sure the lighting is a natural as possible so that the real colours show up. Avoid sellers who just use stock images if you can’t be sure their products are of good quality.”
Quality pictures do require a good camera, and Malik has invested in photography equipment, and of course, his laptop. However, by selling online he avoids expensive outlays on city centre rental prices. Having a self-storage unit does have its advantages though.
“I started the business from home, and moved into a storage unit after just a few months. It means the house is free from boxes of stock, and I have set business hours. Plus, storage units are not that expensive, I can expand the size of my shop when I need to, and there is no long term commitment, so I feel in complete control of my business,” Malik expands.
Self-storage for eBay businesses
Malik original launched Urban Design UK in London, before moving to the Midlands with his family. He also tried a couple of different storage providers before settling at Cookes.
“Originally I was looking for low costs and a company that took in stock deliveries for me, which most of them do. However, after spending some time in the unit packing deliveries, I quickly realised that I also needed professional level lighting, wifi and, most essential, heating. It can be very cold in some of those units even in the summer.
When I found I was too cold to work, I had to do something about it. The place I was using at the time were a chain and that made them a little inflexible. When I spoke to Cookes they were really helpful and professional, working out the best solution and fitting lighting for me with just one week’s notice. As it’s indoors the building is warmer, even without additional heating. I’ve been here 15 months now and expanded into my 3rd unit recently.”
Urban Design UK sell on eBay under the seller name of Urban Arc. Malik stocks only genuine cosmetics, and only lists anything he has in stock, so it can be sent out quickly. He is also happy to discuss any products or concerns with customers, usually via the eBay messaging system.
“Fake cosmetics are a concern on eBay. Why risk putting something untested on your skin?” he says. “If you are looking at unknown brands, it might be harder to tell. A regular user of a Revlon foundation will easily notice the difference in a fake. Always check the seller feedback and, if you have doubts, don’t buy from them.”
If you are thinking of starting your own online business, then 2018 could be your year. To discuss storage options, just call the friendly Cookes team on 0121 285 5197.