Using Self-Storage for Your Home Business

Written by: StorageUnits.com Editorial Team - Published: Aug 9, 2022

 

Are you interested in renting a self-storage unit for your home business? Depending on what you plan to use it for, this solution might be more difficult to set up than you realize at the moment.

Below, we’ll review using your self-storage unit as an office, a studio for creative work, and for sales inventory to help you determine whether business storage units are a viable option for you.

 

Using a Self-storage Unit as Your Office

Unless you live alone, it can be quite difficult to run a small business from home. From the chatter of conversations and television to the clatter of someone using a home gym, roommates and family members have a knack for producing distracting noises right as you’re wrapping up something important for work. 

While you could try working in a coffee shop or some other public area, these environments  often throw off our focus just as much. Coworking spaces are also an option, but they tend to charge a few hundred dollars per month for a desk in a shared area. Any collaborative environment is going to come with its distractions, and upgrading to an enclosed private office would probably cost you closer to $1,000 per month.

This leads to many entrepreneurs considering renting a storage unit to use as their office. But in most cases, self-storage providers won’t approve of this arrangement — zoning laws typically don’t allow storage units to be used this way. Even self-storage units that include features such as climate control and power outlets usually fall short of the regulatory requirements for occupancy. Indeed, standard storage units just aren’t suited for holding meetings with clients or working out of for eight hours per day. 

There is an important exception to consider, though. In addition to standard storage units, some self-storage providers offer office solutions at a much lower cost than trendier coworking spaces. For example, at many LifeStorage locations you can find private offices available with attributess like private restrooms, kitchenettes, and the ability to accept mail and deliveries.

Using a Self-storage Unit for Creative Work

While most self-storage providers won’t allow you to use your unit as an office, there’s a better chance they’ll approve of you using it as a studio for creative work. This type of storage unit use generally doesn’t involve sitting inside your unit for eight hours per day, so it’s less likely to violate any sort of regulation regarding occupancy. 

In particular, self-storage units can be quite useful if your home business involves any of the following creative activities:

  • Music: You might consider your band a business if  people are buying your music online or venues are paying you for gigs. In that case, practicing out of a self-storage unit will allow you to hone your craft without driving your neighbors crazy. And if you’re a renter, your landlord may have strict noise policies that force you to find another space for band practice anyway. You could even invest in some soundproofing equipment to convert your storage unit into a do-it-yourself  recording studio. We recommend that you opt for a unit with climate control, as being inside a storage unit can be miserable without this feature even if you’re only working in them for an hour or two at a time.
  • Painting: If you’re a serious painter, it might be hard to find space for all your art supplies without cluttering up your house.  So you might consider painting in a storage unit instead — just be sure to keep the door rolled up for ventilation, especially if you’re using oil-based paints. 
  • Photography: Self-storage units can also provide enough room for all the supplies that are needed for photo shoots (backdrops, lighting equipment, and other supplies). If you don’t have the space for such a setup at home, business storage units are an excellent alternative.

Using a Self-storage Unit for Storing Inventory

Inventory is the most popular way to use self-storage units for a home business. If you’re running an e-commerce store, it’s easy to keep products in your house and ship them as needed when you’re first starting out. But as your business grows, you’ll likely find that there’s not enough room in your closets, spare room, or even your garage for all your unsold inventory. Also, if your products need to be kept at a certain temperature to maintain their quality, using your garage for storage probably isn’t a good idea in the first place.  

You could rent a warehouse for storing your inventory, but you might end up paying for more storage than you need. The bottom line is that if you have too much inventory to keep in your home but not enough for a warehouse to make any financial sense, business storage units are your best available solution. 

Pros and Cons of Using Self-storage for Your Home Business

If your business is successful, it will eventually start to outgrow your home. But even once you reach this stage, you still might not be able to afford traditional warehousing services for a while. Self-storage facilities can provide you with the infrastructure you need to maintain your business during this transition.

It should be noted that while they are relatively affordable, storage units aren’t free, and there may not be any self-storage providers in your area that offer options for office space. Overall, business storage units are best used for storing inventory, and they can function as a good studio space if you work in a creative field as well.

Pros Cons
Effective option for storing inventory While affordable, it will still cost you around a couple hundred dollars per month
Allows you to scale up without committing to more expensive warehousing solutions Usually can’t be used as office space
Can be used as a studio for creative work