Making the move to unmanned self storage

Sep 06 | 2022

Gavin Shields, the MD of Store Stuff in Northern Ireland and founder and CEO of Stora, an online bookings and payments platform for the storage industry, offers advice on choosing the unmanned self storage route.

Gavin ShieldsThe future of self storage is self service, where you can count your weekly work hours on one hand. When I set up my own self storage business in 2019, my goal was to create a highly profitable, easy-to-run business that generated a stable, passive income. Almost three years later, I have two sites generating over £180k/year and I’m on track to get to ten sites and over £2M in annual profit by 2025. 

How much time do I spend managing these sites each week? Two hours total. How did I do it? I went all in on the unmanned model, building a nearly hands-free experience for both me and my customers.  

Creating an unmanned facility from the ground up is one thing. But how do you transition an established business with a traditional business model to an unmanned, self service one? I talk about this with storage operators that I meet at events.   Here’s the advice I give them.

Modernise your mindset
The biggest blocker to unmanned success that I see is a verbal commitment to the concept, but not a true mental and emotional commitment to it. They like the sound of more profits with less effort, but struggle to commit to the model fully, and so end up with diluted hybrids or bouncing back and forth between models from month to month. Then, when the numbers don’t deliver on the promise, they blame the model rather than its implementation.

Change can be scary. So I encourage operators to keep their nerve by focusing on facts over the feelings and continually remind themselves of what I call The 3 Bs ...

Photo: Gavin Shields.

Click here to read the full story in The Mover magazine.

Click here to read the next editor's pick.