News agents to earn an extra income by renting out their extra space

Convenience stores have often been just that – a local community hub offering an increasing range of goods and services to its customers at hours that suit them. In recent years we have seen services expand to travel card and phone top ups, cash points, currency exchange, photocopying, dry cleaning collection and even a local place where busy online shoppers can have their items delivered to collect after working hours.

Now a new initiative launched by online storage sharing site ‘Storemates.co.uk’ will also help local shops rent out their additional space to local customer who need affordable local storage. The scheme will give shop owners a reliable additional income while providing an essential community service to the many ‘space starved’ customers who prefer to store locally at prices they can afford. The service aims to undercut the fast growing self-storage industry by helping small businesses offer their own additional space as storage such as a stock room, loft, spare room or garage which can be rented for less than half the price of the well know self storage warehouses in order to entice customers to store locally.

As the recession impacts heavily on households, many people and in particular young families can no longer afford to upgrade to larger properties. Households require additional space for the things they use infrequently but cannot bear to part with. Typically Items cluttering up homes often include old books and records, children’s toys, exercise equipment, Christmas decorations and seasonal items like clothes and winter bedding. With the massive expansion of the self-storage industry, currently growing at 14% a year, it is a common site to see large out of town storage warehouses popping up on the outskirts of most towns. However the high costs of storage and their inconvenient locations still put this option out of reach to many space starved people who need something cheaper and nearer to them.

Storemates hopes to meet this pent up demand. Launched last year the site received wide media attention by helping neighbours open up their lofts and garages to those locally who needed cheap storage. The site enables people to search for storage provision locally by postcode and has strict safety and security safeguards built such as legal contracts, verified profiles, reviews and storage guidelines. This has ensured that there have never been any abuses of trust to date.

 

The idea was the brain child of community worker, Shaff Prabatani who saw the potential of people helping each other out with their storage needs rather than paying high prices for commercial storage. He now hopes to extend his scheme to enable small businesses like news agents benefit from this boom area at a time when most are feeling the impact of the economic down turn. He says:

“My father had a corner shop and we always had stockrooms that were only partially filled; looking back I can see that was a waste of a valuable asset. Now with Storemates everyone with spare space can become a mini storage company and start to make good money for very little effort”

For local businesses wanting to set up with Storemates the process is simple, they complete a profile online and detail the features of their storage offer. Storage providers will then contact them if they are interested and after signing up to terms and conditions, both parties will sign a legal contract that details all aspects of the storage arrangements such as what will be stored, access, rent, insurance and will include. The site specifically bans obvious items as well as items of high value choosing to focus instead on common household clutter rather than items needing additional security.

Storemates take a small one off admin fee at the beginning of the storage term, the equivalent of the first two weeks rent which is quickly recouped as the storage rent continues to roll in. The provider then can sit back and watch the rental income roll in, which currently averages at £100 per month per storer for a about 25ft square foot of space. A storage room the size of garage hosting 5 customers’ items at any one time can bring in an extra £3000 a year. A welcome help to most shops looking to beat the recession in 2013!

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