More small business owners are deciding to operate out of self-storage units. They’re attracted by the flexibility, short-term contracts, and low costs that characterize the no frills, rough and ready space.

Before signing any type of contract or setting up any kind of business, be up front with the storage facility staff with what you want to do. Different storage companies have different rules regarding conducting business out of them. It’s better to be honest, so you don’t get stuck paying for something you can’t use. Using storage space to operate a business has become more popular and storage companies are happy to accommodate, but others won’t allow daily traffic and commerce. If the company allows it, here are a few businesses you can operate from a storage unit.

Any Kind of e-Commerce Store

Selling items on Amazon, Etsy, or eBay takes up a lot of space. More space is needed to store and package items with this type of business. Some storage companies have versatile and flexible rental agreements, which allows for an easy upgrade to a larger space as your business grows. If you have extra space, a makeshift photo studio can be added to take product photos to load onto the site.

Freelance Worker

The semi-seclusion and quiet of a storage facility is perfect for anyone that needs some peace to hold a thought in their head and get some work done. An electrical outlet, a light, a desk, and comfortable chair is enough to get started. Newer facilities come equipped with more electricity hook ups, and Wi-Fi is sometimes available. The self-storage industry is courting this new kind of entrepreneur and trying to respond to their needs with these extra perks.

Repair Shop

Operating a full automotive repair business from a storage space wouldn’t be very practical. The limited size would make it tough to get a car in and out and store all the necessary tools. A small engine or electronics repair shop would be perfect, though. There is space enough for a work bench and shelves to store spare parts, hardware, and tools.

Thrift Store

Not every place will allow this kind of business to operate, so ask the management before setting up shop. The concern lies in issues of excessive traffic in the parking lot, and the security of the building and the other tenants’ units, so you want to find one that allows you to set up a resale shop. Find the items you want to sell, set up some shelves and clothing racks, and you’re ready to go. Technology has made it easier for small businesses to accept credit cards, so there’s no need to have a register full of cash laying around either.

Cleaning Service

The ever-expanding home services industry always has room for more business. People are pressed for time now more than ever, and many people can’t find time to clean their home. Most businesses don’t employ their own cleaning staff, either. Your home or commercial cleaning business will need a place to store vacuum cleaners, mops, and the dozen or so different cleaners needed daily, and a storage unit is a great option.

Landscaping or Handyman Service

Since a lawn service goes to people’s homes, there is a need for trucks, trailers, and mowers, as well as a place to store everything. A lot of equipment is needed to operate any kind of landscaping or construction business as well, and there is only so much space in a truck and trailer. As the business grows, so will the number of machines and tools, so a storage container can help you stay organized.

Photo/Video Studio

The empty space and naked walls are ideal for setting up a studio space. Many spaces are large enough to shoot video content, and they’re also typically large enough to set up a still-photography studio. Bring in some lights and a versatile back drop to get started on your new business. Find a space large enough to include a desk to edit the footage right there to keep everything in one place.

Zack Applehans