Self-storage Ideas for a Profitable Business Location

Self-storage Ideas | Business Location | Madison WI | A+ Storage

Whether you need a place for inventory storage, package handling or a photo studio to create sales images for online ventures, a self-storage unit fits.

There are dozens of businesses that benefit from additional storage space and applying creative thinking to self-storage ideas can lead to a less costly, more efficient and more profitable business location. Not every business model works in the limited space of a storage unit, but many do. And with climate controlled space and the addition of electrical power and other business-oriented services, more and more opportunities are opening up in Madison WI and the surrounding area.

Self-storage Ideas That Work for Business

The list of businesses that make sense operating out of a self-storage unit is growing as facilities evolve to meet the need for an innovative business location. Here’s a partial list of businesses that are being run from self-storage units after applying self-storage ideas from many angles:

  1. On-line Retailers — The Internet, especially eBay, has revolutionized the world of start-up business. Thousands of people are running sales organizations from their kitchen tables. Everything from homemade crafts to resale furnishings, clothing and publications. When an online business begins to take off, it invariably requires more and more space to store what it sells. There comes a time when the business (and the family?) outgrows the use of closets, garages and basements at home.

An Example:  An enterprising marketing professional found that she could purchase used books

Self-Storage Business Location | Madison WI | A+ Storage

Self storage units can have operational uses beyond storage.

for little or nothing at outlets such as Goodwill. Having found many out of print titles she offered them on eBay for several times what they cost her. It didn’t take long and she found this venture was not only profitably, but fun. And it quickly out-paced the available space in her apartment. She considered a variety of self-storage ideas and soon the majority of her business moved to a storage unit that now houses, inventory and shipping facilities.

The self-storage unit is climatically controlled and the owners have provided electrical power with independent meters for each equipped unit. She has lights and power for her postage machine. And, the owners provide a place where packages can be both received and picked up right on the premises.

  1. Publishing, Marketing and Content Development — Self-storage ideas lend themselves to businesses that deal mostly in intellectual property rather than boxes of products. Publishers of regional and neighborhood magazines and newspapers find a nearby unit an ideal business location for storing back issues, sales and marketing brochures, media kits and most anything else they need occasionally rather than daily. Some writers have even found the solitude of a storage unit ideal for creating written copy for everything from their self-published novels to blog content.


  1. Photography and Video Production — An open space with light-colored walls is an excellent business location for a photo and video studio. These two vocations go hand-in-hand with publishing and online retailing as well – nothing better than having your own studio to shoot product images to enhance your sales presentations.


  1. Community Theater Groups — A local repository for costumes and props is invaluable for small theater groups who may not have a permanent theater home. Rather than storing vital elements of its productions in the homes of part-time actors, a mini warehouse works well. Again, climate control protects the often fragile costumes.


  1. Handy Man/Cleaning Services — Individuals with special skills and training often put them to good use as weekend or evening businesses. A carpenter may build decks or take on remodeling projects, some college students create their own commercial lawn mowing businesses while others offer housekeeping services. Each has the need to store specific tools of the trade.

NOTE FROM A PRO:  Before entering into a rental agreement for the space you want, be sure you know and understand the restrictions that may apply – some storage units do not allow and flammable liquids to be stored there, meaning fueled power mowers and cleaning solvents violate the lease. Some seemingly excellent self-storage ideas aren’t practical.

These are just a few potential self-storage Ideas that lead to a creative business location. Reports from across the country include these unique self-storage options that have been put into play:

  • A small contractor who specializes in bathroom remodeling uses a storage unit as a mini display room for his vanity and sink options and an interior decorator uses one as a showroom for carpet, tile and vinyl flooring
  • A company that refurbishes copying machines uses a storage unit to hold the completed machines until they’re sold

Not All Self-storage Ideas Work

In many places, actually using the rental unit space as an office or retail space is not permitted by law. Special permits are required. In most cases, the uses are limited to such things as order fulfillment, packaging, shipping and related short-term tasks.

Check with the storage facility manager before committing to a unit if you plan to use it for very nontraditional applications. Here are some of the most common rules that are often broken:

  • Operating machinery, power tools and other equipment inside or adjacent to the unit – especially anything gas-powered
  • Meeting customers at the unit to demonstrate products or make sales
  • Installing special equipment inside the unit – computers, modems, etc.
  • Adding any wiring or electrical connections not provided by the owner

These seem to contradict all the previous notes on what a storage unit can be used for. Not really. They simply underline the need to be absolutely clear on local ordinances and regulations pertaining to the storage unit you’re interested in.

Done right, your self-storage ideas can often save money and provide flexibility to a small or startup business. Well-maintained, well-lighted sights with attention paid to security for both renters and content make a valuable business location.

Final thoughts:

  • Check all local zoning, business licensing and occupancy before signing a lease
  • Secure the required permits and licenses before moving anything in
  • Review all the available comprehensive insurance coverage available to cover the space and contents

As a company expands, the need for work space, supply and inventory storage or special equipment needs expand with it. There are many self-storage ideas that can come to life via the options in the Madison WI area. A+ Storage has units of all sizes available at three separate storage facilities. Two locations include climate controlled units. All are readily accessible to for Dane county residents in Waunakee, Middleton, Verona, Fitchburg, Oregon, McFarland, Monona, and Cottage Grove.

Call A+ Storage at 608-837-5113 in Sun Prairie or 608-442-7339 in Madison or email us for details on how your business location needs can be fulfilled through self-storage ideas and our local solutions in the Madison WI area.