Option for the totally spaced out

The Australian, Business: 30 August 2008

RENNIE Schafer, executive officer of the Self Storage Association of Australia, says the industry has enjoyed strong growth over the past six years.

 "It's really only been 10 years that the industry has gained such a presence," he says.

Schafer says that at any point in time, 290,000 individuals and businesses use storage services.  "There are in excess of 1000 self-storage facilities in Australia and New Zealand, ranging in size from small 10-unit sites in regional areas through to multi-storey 1000-plus unit centres in the major cities," he says.

Schafer says self storage in Australasia continues to be used primarily by domestic clients, looking to store personal items they don't have room for at home, or need to access away from home. There is an increasing demand from commercial clients, looking at using self storage as a business tool, with about 25 per cent being of commercial nature.

He says he is not surprised by the emergence of a niche mobile storage business.

"This has been around in the US for a while; it's a niche. If you need regular access to your goods then mobile is not a solution. But there's definitely a market," Schafer says. "Some people will like the idea of dropping a module at their front door."

Self storage is "location-driven". He adds: "People won't travel more than 10 minutes to get access to their stuff. There are big lifestyle changes where more people are living in apartments and where two people coming together need to store possessions."

He points to the fact that new houses, while offering space for open-plan living, seem to have cut out storage space. "There aren't attics any more and garages are needed for the cars."

Schafer says the self-storage industry has thousands of mum-and-dad operators who mainly work in regional Australia, with the three industry leaders accounting for about 35 per cent of total space.


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