A household move ranks up there with death and divorce as one of life’s big stressors. Moving an entire office has its own set of headaches.

When an office relocates, it must be done quickly to avoid disruption of business. The costs related to such moves can be steep. Sometimes the move must be done in phases, requiring equipment, furniture and supplies to be stored temporarily.

It’s here that the self-storage industry finds itself in a sweet spot. Businesses that need storage for an office move view self-storage as an attractive option. They can store their business records, furniture and supplies relatively inexpensively without signing a long-term contract.


Self-Storage for Businesses

John Manes, chief operating officer of The Jenkins Organization Inc., a Houston-based owner and operator of self-storage facilities, estimates 35 percent to 40 percent of self-storage space is rented by commercial users.

“We get a lot of companies that use us when they are expanding or consolidating,” Manes said. “It’s not just major corporations but small mom-and-pops, like landscapers, architects or electricians who don’t want their stuff in their garage. It’s a perfect fit for that small business guy—or a large corporation downsizing a call center.”

Brad Sherman, managing principal of self-storage owner and operator StoreSmart, said his company provides amenities to help an office move go smoothly.

“We give them the use of a truck if they need it,” Sherman said. “Most of our facilities have loading docks. Our managers are very much self-starter types. They are there 24/7 to help a business in facilitating their move … and to help them at the time they are ready to move their stuff into a new office space.”

What to Consider

Businesses considering using a self-storage facility for an office move should consider more than just price, Sherman advised.

“If you are in any part of the country with high humidity, hot summers or really dry winters, it is important with business records and furniture that you use climate-controlled storage,” Sherman said. “I would discourage any business owner from choosing the least expensive option—the traditional roll-up door with no climate-control storage.”

Instead, a business should focus on amenities such as 24-hour access, on-site management, security, lighting and ease of access.

A business executive also should meet with the facility’s on-site manager to determine the most efficient size and space for the move. For example, instead of renting a bunch of small units, it would make more sense to occupy a smaller number of large units, as smaller units tend to carry a higher price per square foot.

Getting Employees Moved

Employees moving with a company to a new location also may need self-storage.

Philadelphia-based ETC Relocation helps such employees get settled with as little disruption to their lives as possible.

Patty Wilkins, vice president of operations, said ETC helps companies establish relocation policies, such as how much to budget for a move. The relocation company then administers those policies and helps the workers move.

“We find what we do is help people with the stresses around the relocation process—finding an agent, shipping their goods,” Wilkins said. “At the core is listening to the person you are trying to assist.”

ETC taps a network of suppliers to meet employees’ needs. In some cases, that means making arrangements for self-storage.

“Self-storage is a good option for some individuals,” Wilkins said. “It depends on the company and benefits that they allow.”

Temporarily storing belongings in a self-storage unit while waiting for permanent housing can be more economical than storing goods with a national moving company, she said.

Whatever the business decides on storage, good planning will help the move go well.

“To make it go smoothly, so much of that is internally driven by the business,” Sherman said. “But we ultimately try to make that process as effortless as possible for them.”