Blockspace Uses Stora To Achieve Healthy Profits in 5 Months
Who are Blockspace Self Storage?
Blockspace Self Storage is the first ‘keyless’ facility in Exeter, England. It’s ideally situated to offer secure, 15-175 sq ft units to local businesses and students in Exeter’s city center.
- Stora website: blockspacestorage.com
- Located in Exeter, UK
- Unmanned facility
- 72 units
“To build on the Blockspace brand and implement more sites around the South West of England.”
In February 2022 we caught up with Lizzie Jenner from Blockspace, Stora’s first ever customer and the first ‘keyless’ facility in Exeter.
Blockspace has fully embraced running an unmanned facility, so we were particularly interested to hear how their business and their use of Stora to automate key tasks is going so far.
Lizzie and Jeff Jenner, the founders of Blockspace, are busy parents with young children. They identified self storage as a business with great potential. They hoped it would be profitable enough to provide a steady income for their family, but still give the flexibility they needed to do the school runs, help with homework, and everything else in between.
Together they discovered a site close to Exeter city centre that had previously been used as a car garage. To ensure it was suitable, they conducted preliminary market research. With student accommodation less than 200 yards away and the city center full of independent small businesses requiring storage, it was a perfect fit.
Lizzie delved even deeper into the typical behaviours of the student demographic to gain an understanding of their needs. It became apparent they’d be seeking a low cost, flexible contract storage solution, one where they could book and pay for everything online and get self-service access to their storage unit.
Armed with this information and their desire for flexibility, the need to operate in an automated, unmanned way was obvious. It would let them give their customers the experience they crave and keep staff costs low, unlocking the ability to price competitively and appeal to their market.
“Access via an app was important, and a keyless system was preferable so that there were no people needed on-site during a full day.”
Lizzie and Jeff’s desired approach was on the cutting edge of the self storage industry. A software platform capable of automating their booking and move-in experience was essential. They had a look at what was on offer on the market and struggled to find the modern tools to create the experience they needed.
“We needed an up-to-date, technology-based business. With many young customers, speed and ease of use are paramount.”
Lizzie was pointed in the direction of Stora by a friend already in self storage. This turned into a conversation with CEO, Gavin Shields. On the call, they learned how he’d created his own unmanned, automated facility much like their own, and decided to create Stora in answer to his own frustrations with the self storage software already on the market.
“Stora seemed to be a tried and tested solution for us, and we were impressed with the system and Stora’s knowledgeable personnel.”
The similarities in their journey resonated with the duo, and after a walkthrough of the Stora system they signed up. In no time they had set up their Stora Backoffice, added content to their website provided by Stora, and blockspacestorage.com was born.
“We expected it to take months to set up and cost a fortune. Then we discovered Stora and it took minutes… And all for a low price that scales with our sales.”
So how has Stora benefited Blockspace on their entry into the world of self storage? Lizzie explains:
“Stora has given us a technologically-advanced solution that has made it easier to enter the market than we anticipated because it provides a genuine one-stop solution.
We were online and selling units in under four weeks, and we have reached full capacity and are turning a healthy profit after just five months!
…Because so much of our custom comes from students, we have a heavy season outside of term time and then quieter periods where we sit at around 60% occupancy, which is still profitable and easy to manage.”
What do you like most about Stora? Do you have a favorite feature?
“You can see how many times the site is being used daily and break it down to individual customers and usage.”
Has running your self storage business felt less of an operational or administrative burden than you predicted?
“Definitely less operational input than we expected. As for the administration, a rental can be done with very little input from me.”
If you could offer one piece of advice to other startups getting in to self storage what would it be?
“Be patient and know what you’re trying to achieve before you commit to any hardware or software.”
Want to learn more?
We’ve onboarded startup facilities and mature enterprises across the UK, Europe, Australia, and North America. If you’d like to discuss how Stora can work for you, set up a demo call today.