Popular in the south, easyStorage says there’s pent-up demand for its offering in the Midlands and North. Could you help bring the business to a wider audience?
easyStorage is the only mobile storage franchise in the UK. By the clever use of technology and a streamlined operation, easyStorage brings a reliable, secure storage system to a wider public. The price to the customer makes it hugely appealing when compared to traditional self-storage and the support offered to customers is invaluable for them. Moreover, they are guaranteed no price rises during their storage period.
The easyStorage franchise idea was pitched to Sir Stelios in 2017. The first pilot was run in 2018 and in 2019 the first franchisees joined. Since then the business has evolved.
The essence of any easyGroup operation is great service at low cost. There’s been a huge investment in technology to achieve this and customers can now book completely online at their convenience and a customer service team is there to support customers and franchisees alike.
Today, easyStorage believes that it is the only storage operation to allow the customer to book end to end online, which means the user knows that they are getting the same, fair deal. (Many past users of self-storage feel that they don’t get the same, fair pricing when they have to call a sales person to negotiate.)
With the backing of the easy brand, customers know what to expect. People in the easyStorage ‘family’ try to understand the customer, to empathise with them. There is an open culture and the public trusts the easy brand to be honest with them. In the event of any issues, we work together to find a resolution.
How the easyStorage franchise model works
easyStorage franchisees are awarded specific territories, with a minimum of 600,000 dwellings.
They manage their own businesses with easyStorage’s technology, support and procedures, ensuring a consistent experience for the customer. The key is business management - although it would be easy to assume that this is a ‘man with van’ type franchise, it’s far from it. While some franchisees enjoy getting hands on, the franchise is based on good management skills and a focus on business development.
To organise themselves well, franchisees need to manage staff and manage the ‘back office’ functions like accounts and ultimately property management. And although some franchisees prefer to, they don’t need a property for storage to start out. This is one of the many things that easyStorage helps with.
The ideal franchisee
easyStorage has taken out a lot of the risk for storage operations with the support and processes it offers, so for someone ambitious this represents a fabulous opportunity.
It is looking for business savvy franchisees: commercially aware, but who recognise the added value of the easy brand and way of working.
This is a youngish franchise, but with the easy group expertise, brand and people behind them - successful, ‘easy’, well established ways of working. People joining the franchise now will help shape the easyStorage of the future. There will always be constant innovation and investment in technology that helps all franchisees and the ideal franchisee is someone who would love to be part of that.
The franchise has already proved very popular in the south, with only Herts and Cambridge, South Wales and Cornwall territories still available. However, franchise applicants from the Midlands and the North are very welcome, especially Birmingham, Sheffield and Leeds where the company believes there is a pent-up demand.
easyStorage franchisees vary hugely in their background.
easyStorage Manchester, for example, was started by Graham Howard. Committed, experienced and professional, Graham has vast experience of the self-storage market and saw the lower cost entry into the market as appealing, as well as seeing the advantages to customers of mobile storage. He believes that once people wake up to the advantages of mobile storage rather than self-storage, there will be no looking back.
By contrast, Gavin Duke recently started up easyStorage Croydon. His background is marketing. The appeal of easyStorage to him was the variety of work involved in the franchise and being out of the office a lot. The appeal of Gavin to easyStorage is his creativity in marketing and understanding of the brand.
Both franchisees have a good understanding of business. They understand the need to follow the easyStorage processes and guidelines in order to succeed, while having freedom within those parameters to build the businesses they want.
It’s easy, therefore, to see (if you’ll pardon the pun!) that there is more than one way to join easyStorage. The company is evolving and adaptable and the essence is that franchise and franchisee add value to each other.
The start point for this is a one to one. From there, financial disclosures are made and a solid business plan developed by the franchisee in conjunction with a specialist franchise partner. This is then presented to the easyStorage team.
Training and support
To see whether the ‘marriage’ of franchise and franchisee is a good one, potential franchisees are invited to a Discovery Day, where the inner workings of the franchise and investments are discussed, along with both sides’ expectations.
Once franchisees are on board, training is free and can be repeated. It’s open to both the franchisee principle and their team members. Top up training is organised as required and telephone support is available.
The training covers everything from set up and resourcing, through to customer service, sales and marketing. Operations and accounts are an essential part of the business and vehicle management and practical skills are also offered.
A franchise in demand
Statista estimates that by 2024 the global self-storage market is forecast to be worth $49.24 billion, up from $37.33 billion in 2018. However, the US dominated the market, accounting for 90 per cent of self-storage inventory worldwide. This simply shows how underexploited the markets are elsewhere.
With a looming recession and people downsizing or combining households for numerous reasons, there is every reason to believe that the UK self-storage market will continue to grow.
According to a Cushman & Wakefield report in May 2020, the self-storage sector is proving more resilient than many other industries in dealing with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The reasons for this vary, but notably include movements in the housing market as people downsize or undertake home improvement projects rather than move. Around 45 per cent of people use self-storage simply because they lack space.
Annual turnover for the UK industry increased to £766 million in 2019. Add to that ‘removals’ storage, which accounts for around £350 million, the UK market is worth in excess of £1,116 million. With the saturated US self-storage market remaining buoyant, it is clear that the UK, which accounts for around 41 per cent of European self-storage income, still has traction - the concept of self-storage is an established one.
Mobile storage like easyStorage is an exciting market development, a relatively new concept. Its simplicity and pricing will take self-storage to a new market looking for more affordable options.
Previous economic downturns have presented opportunities for the sector. There is every reason to believe that this will continue. As the concepts of both mobile storage and end to end online booking gather popularity with consumers, along with the additional price benefit attraction, and topped off with a brand that they trust, there is every reason to believe that easyStorage will make a huge dent in the traditional storage market and help bring it to a wider audience.
At a glance easyStorage
Number of franchised outlets:
Location of units:
London, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Worcester, South Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester
Minimum required capital:
Louise Harris, Head of Strategic Partnerships. firstname.lastname@example.org easystorage.com/franchise