Newly launched online social marketplace sharemystorage.com gives householders the opportunity to rent out garages, spare rooms, basements and attics to like-minded locals seeking storage space. Its a unique service that empowers communities to meet each others storage needs whilst earning extra income and reducing the costs associated with self-storage.
As big-brand self storage providers such as Safestore and Big Yellow continue to post bumper annual profits the opportunity to earn extra income from what would otherwise be vacant space will come as a welcome fillip to many home owners continuing to struggle with the increased cost of living as a result of the current economic downturn.
Imran Azam, Founder of SmS, reveals the inspiration behind the service;
“Back in July 2010 a neighbour asked if she could store her children’s bikes in our garage whilst her home was being renovated. She explained that she had found it extremely difficult to find a storage facility that was close at hand and reasonably priced. We were only too happy to help but her story intrigued us so we decided to have a closer look at the big-brand self-storage industry. What we found was quite staggering; out of town industrial locations, premium prices, a neglect of rural and northern communities, and over priced packaging material and insurance. We thought there had to be a better way of meeting everyday people's storage needs; if our garage was suitable then why not other private spaces? It was really the light bulb moment that gave birth to sharemystorage.com.”
SmS has been termed the ‘ebay of storage’ as registered users are able to list, search, communicate and come to an agreement with other SmS members through the sites private messaging system. SmS members are also encouraged to build up their personal profiles with photos, background information and testimonials so users get to know who they are dealing with. The service is totally free for those seeking a storage solution with storage providers charged a one off fee equivalent to a weeks rent once a booking has been arranged.
‘Katherine’, a busy mother of four and GP in Manchester, recently used SmS to secure a local garage space with Mr & Mrs ‘Rose’;
“Initially I thought SmS was just a creative way of reducing storage costs. Of course we did manage to save a lot of money but the most pleasing aspect of using SmS was actually getting know people living right on our doorstep! The Rose family were extremely accommodating and although we’ve now finished renting their garage we still see each other regularly. It's strange to think we probably would never have met had it not been for the service provided by SmS.”
Whilst SmS members can benefit from cheaper storage costs the service also aims to target specific environmental issues associated with the self-storage industry. Co-founder, Nizam Patel, explains;
“Every year thousands of unnecessary miles are driven and tones of cardboard boxes discarded whilst using self-storage. It’s completely inefficient. Having teamed up with the UK’s leading reusable packaging supplier Eco-boxes and the carbon reducing haulage specialists uShip we can ensure all SmS members have the option to make a positive contribution to the environment.”
Sharemystorage.com is part of the global 'collaborative consumption' movement and one of a growing number of online services helping everyday people swap, share, barter, trade and rent all manner of goods and services through the latest technologies in ways and on a scale never possible before.