Since launching in 2013, MakeSpace has been the vanguard of a new and emerging industry: full-service storage.
Also called valet or on-demand storage, the concept of full-service is simple. Customers are delivered empty plastic bins, which they then pack full of the belongings they wish to store. MakeSpace returns to pick up the bins and takes them to a secure storage warehouse they control. The company also picks up large items like furniture and exercise equipment.
When you need your stuff again, just make a request using the mobile app, online or by phone. Not sure what you stored? MakeSpace creates a photo inventory of your belongings to make access easy.
“We catalog all of your items so you never forget what’s in storage,” said CEO and founder Sam Rosen. “You can schlep to Extra Space or Public Storage, or you can ‘never visit a storage unit again’ with MakeSpace for less than the price of your local storage provider.”
— Propeller (@PropellerFest) April 14, 2016
Story of a Hurricane
Rosen decided to launch MakeSpace in New York City in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. After his girlfriend’s apartment flooded he used a traditional self-storage facility to help stash her stuff—he found the experience to be a terrible one to say the least. MakeSpace is ideal for customers who don’t need frequent access to their items. The company has a three-month storage minimum and charges a flat fee for return delivery. Rosen said customers that decide to use MakeSpace are similarly dissatisfied with traditional self-storage.
— Jess (@JesMolina) May 22, 2016
“We keep hearing time and time again the same reasons why customers hate any storage facility that isn’t MakeSpace,” Rosen said.
According to Rosen, ex-self-storage customers complain about how inconvenient it is to go to a facility during their free time, that they don’t have help moving their stuff in or out, and they don’t like raising rates either.
“These are all the problems I had,” Rosen said.
With MakeSpace, Rosen hopes to offer an alternative for those dissatisfied with self-storage, including himself.
Rosen keeps a seasonal wardrobe change in his MakeSpace bin, along with his hockey bag, camping gear and photographs from his childhood. He also has a spare mattress for when he eventually moves into a 2-bedroom apartment.
— Tom Trainer (@moveology) April 22, 2016
Growing Up Fast
Investors, including celebs Carmelo Anthony and Ashton Kutcher, seemed to share Rosen’s vision of a better, more convenient storage option—the company has attracted more than $27 million in venture funding to date.
That funding has allowed the startup to expand to Chicago, Washington D.C, and most recently, Los Angeles.
The company has also expanded its capacity to store more and more types of items.
At the start, MakeSpace only offered storage for its signature green bins, and light oversized items like bicycles and golf clubs.
“Amazon started with just books before moving into everything else,” Rosen said, “If you don’t start simple, especially when building a logistics company, it’s very difficult to scale.”
Into the Future
Rosen said it was always in the plan to enable customers to store anything they needed to, but it was necessary to develop “operational excellence in multiple cities” before taking on larger and bulkier items like couches, dresses and appliances.
Now that milestone has been reached, Rosen can’t help but look further to the future. Much further.
“Imagine a day when there are self-driving trucks. Do you really think your Christmas decorations or that chair you inherited from your grandmother will sit 20 minutes away so you can have 24/7 access, which involves climbing over boxes to find them and paying a ridiculously high rate?”
Rosen doesn’t think so. Instead he believes technology and demographics will support the long-term success of his vision.
“Instead your possession will be in a MakeSpace facility further away at a less expensive price, but everything is nicely catalogued in our app. We will completely change the perception of what a storage experience should be,” Rosen said.