As a small business owner who uses self storage for inventory, the last thing you want to do is risk a major loss from theft, fire, or other unexpected events. In any case, your best option may not be to depend on your homeowners’ or storage insurance for coverage. These policies typically cover fire, lightning, theft, and vandalism, and have a limit of 50% of the policy’s dwelling coverage. Some policies cover less.
If you want the peace of mind that you’ll be reimbursed for the cost of replacing your damaged or stolen inventory up to the dollar amount you choose, consider a Storage Shield tenant protection plan.
A tenant protection plan is not insurance. It is a contractual agreement between a self storage facility and the tenant, with the facility assuming limited responsibility for the tenant’s belongings (in this case, business inventory) while they are stored in a locked unit. In other words, operators agree to pay customers for damages to belongings up to a specified dollar amount. For details, read The Benefits of a Tenant Protection Plan.
Even if you do purchase a tenant protection plan, there are additional measures that you can take to keep your business inventory as safe and organized as possible while it’s in your self storage unit.
Keep Your Business Inventory Secure and Organized in Self Storage
Running out of space for your inventory is a good problem. It means that your business is thriving and growing and that you need a storage solution. With a lower cost per square foot than commercial space, along with the flexibility of month-to-month leasing, self storage is the perfect solution for your business supplies and inventory.
If you’ve made the decision to keep your business inventory in self storage, the following are a few suggestions to keep it as safe and organized as possible.
Keep It Secure
Use climate control to protect temperature-sensitive items: If your inventory is delicate or sensitive and can be easily damaged by temperature and humidity extremes, lease a climate-controlled storage unit. These units typically maintain a temperature of between 55° and 85° F and a humidity level of 55%. Think of climate control as an air-conditioner, humidifier, and dehumidifier combination that will protect specific types of items.
Delivery acceptance is an amenity that you need: With an amenity like delivery acceptance, you can have packages delivered directly to your storage facility. You won’t have to leave packages outside of your home or business where they are vulnerable to theft and weather.
The convenience of drive-up access will save you time and money: Convenient, drive-up access will enable you to drop off and pick up inventory safely without having to carry it long distances, risking breakage or irreparable damage. The time and effort you save in moving and storing your inventory will free you up to worry about more important things, like running your business and watching your bottom line.
Purchase the best lock that you can afford: Look for a high-quality lock that is resistant to bolt cutters and does not have a long shackle (the loop that goes through the lock hardware). The type of criminal interested in breaking into a storage unit will look for subpar locks that are easily removed with bolt cutters.
Keep It Organized
Know what you’re storing. Prior to moving your inventory to a self-storage unit, create a spreadsheet to organize your stock. It’s much easier to plan for the right size and type of unit if you know exactly what you’re storing.
Streamline your inventory management. Add shelves to utilize vertical space and plastic bins to pack fragile items. After you’ve organized your space, designate sections for similar product categories. Place best sellers in the front and seasonal items in the back of the unit or on one of the top shelves. If you’re a clothing retailer, you can add garment racks. The type of items that you sell will dictate your storage organization. Remember to keep an inventory map of your unit so that you can retrieve items quickly. Hang it on a clipboard toward the front of your unit and keep a spare copy in another location.
Stashing your inventory in a self storage unit is the perfect solution for a growing business. You don’t have to rent expensive commercial warehouse space; and, with month-to-month leasing, you can move to a larger unit if your business grows or a smaller one during a temporary setback. Whatever you do, talk to the property manager about the advantages of a tenant protection plan. Don’t waste time and energy worrying about a catastrophic loss.