38 Businesses You Can (Actually) Run Out Of Storage Units

38 Businesses You Can (Actually) Run Out Of Storage Units

By: Andrew Mazzonna


November 10, 2021

Getting a business off the ground is expensive enough without worrying about where to store inventory, office supplies, and equipment. Can you run a business out of a storage unit?

As creative as it might sound, working or conducting business in storage units is against the rules at nearly all storage facilities in the United States. Storage units are affordable because they are zoned and intended for storage—attempting to conduct business inside a unit, like running a yoga studio, setting up an office, or running a mini bodega would be a legal liability and a very bad idea for all involved. Not to mention, storage units would be unsafe, unhealthy, and uncomfortable to operate inside of. Thankfully, storage units can be used for storing inventory for local and online businesses and can be used to store business equipment conveniently and affordably

It’s no secret that startups and budding small businesses don’t have the luxury of extra storage inside office spaces, and even established businesses pay a premium for renting large offices. Depending on your location, office space can cost roughly $25 – $80 per square foot per year, while storage units are far cheaper, roughly $6 – $15/sq. ft./year. As a business expense, you can deduct the costs from your taxes while saving time and money by using storage units for inventory and equipment storage for both local and online businesses. 

List of businesses you can run out of a storage unit

    Online Shopping & Ecommerce: Inventory

    Startups and up-and-coming eCommerce ventures have always coveted small spaces for inventory. Have you heard of Northeast 28th Street in Bellevue, Washington? Probably not, but you’ve probably heard of Jeff Bezos, who started Amazon in his garage at that address. You may not have a garage, but you can take advantage of storage units by using them as your inventory center and mini eCommerce warehouse. Storage units are easy to access for reloading inventory to ship out and are small and cost-efficient enough to consider for new online stores.

  1. Platform eCommerce sellers (Amazon, eBay, Etsy, etc.)
  2. Independent eCommerce seller (Shopify, Squarespace, BigCommerce, etc.)
  3. Local Reseller & Flippers: Inventory 

    Local resellers and house flippers can benefit from having a convenient way to store their merchandise, and even a nice midway point to meet up with their buyers. The most profitable items for resellers are often large home appliances such as dishwashers, ovens, washers and dryers. These appliances would take up too much space at home to be feasible for most people, which is why storage units make the perfect storage place before they are sold. Car flippers can also use storage units to store their inventory before selling.

  4. Garage sale flippers
  5. Craigslist flippers
  6. Local resellers
  7. Car flippers
  8. Electronic flippers
  9. Offices: Equipment, Supplies & Records

    Many types of businesses in office buildings and office parks can use storage units for storing records, supplies and extra equipment that isn’t immediately needed. Medical practices are required to keep patient records for a minimum number of years, which means that medical records will be piling up in costly spaces that could be better utilized for patient care.

  10. Medical practices
  11. Legal practices
  12. Corporate offices
  13. Marketing offices
  14. Accounting offices
  15. I.T. and Technology offices
  16. Startup offices

  17. Pro Tip: Since you aren’t allowed to work inside storage units, coworking spaces are an excellent low-cost solution for office space. Upsuite calculated that the average price for a floating desk at a coworking space in 2021 ranged from $50/month – $350/month, and private offices ranged from $350/month to $800/month.

    Local Retail: Inventory

    Whether you make it yourself or source your inventory, having easy access to your sellable products is a must for local businesses.

  18. Flea market vendors
  19. Catalog sellers
  20. Furniture makers
  21. Local craftspeople
  22. Art dealers
  23. Vending machine businesses
  24. Food Service: Equipment 

    Seasonal restaurants, caterers, and other foodservice businesses use storage units to store banquet equipment, tables, linen and tents in the off-season or between events.

  25. Caterers
  26. Restaurants
  27. Event organizers
  28. Food trucks
  29. Coaches & Trainers: Equipment 

    Sports coaches and personal trainers can use storage units for large amounts of equipment that doesn’t fit in their garages, or equipment that’s too smelly for home storage.

  30. Sports coaches
  31. Personal trainers
  32. Sales Representatives: Samples & Inventory 

    For reps who need to keep a large inventory on hand, storage units are an excellent solution to store samples and products. Climate-controlled storage units are preferred by pharmaceutical reps to keep products fresher longer. 

  33. Hired sales reps
  34. Independent sales reps
  35. Pharmaceutical sales reps
  36. Home Services & Contractors: Equipment 

    Home service equipment is often bulky and expensive. If you’re just starting your own lawn care company or pool cleaning service, then storage units are a great place to safely store your equipment.

  37. Lawn care professionals
  38. Pool cleaners
  39. Maintenance & Home contractors
  40. Construction contractors
  41. Real estate home stagers
  42. Tree removal contractors
  43. Local Creative Services: Equipment

    Up-and-coming photographers and videographers without studios for themselves need a place to store big and expensive lighting, backgrounds and camera equipment securely.

  44. Photographers
  45. Videographers
  46. Artists

Storage units are effective and affordable for many small businesses. Want to learn more about business storage? Check out the advantages and what to look for in business storage units and tips for moving your business to a new location.

andrew mazzonna

Writer for Store Space who enjoys the great outdoors and all things web-related, but scared of spiders.


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