The self-storage industry isn’t particularly well understood by the American public, yet it generates billions of dollars in revenue each year and enables countless consumers to store their belongings in a secure fashion. Given that it’s not particularly glamorous or a part of everyday life, the self-storage industry and its major players are largely unfamiliar to the general public, yet they’re suffering immensely right now thanks to the coronavirus.
Will COVID-19 spell out the end of the self-storage industry? There are reasons to believe its leading companies are already in serious financial danger. Here’s how the coronavirus is diminishing the vibrancy of this often-ignored yet nevertheless important industry.
Unused storage space is growing
The most important thing to realize right now is that the overall amount of unused storage space is slowly but surely growing now that the coronavirus is seriously disrupting our economic and social practices. Prices, too, are declining at the exact same time that many companies are being faced with financial difficulties that would be hard to weather even during the best of times. According to one analysis, in areas such as Houston, Texas, prices for self-storage units have already plummeted by an abysmal average of 45 percent.
This decline in storage unit pricing will be disastrous for small self-storage providers. While major companies like Public Storage have more to lose in terms of overall economic losses, they also have bigger nest eggs they can rely upon when times get tough. Smaller, more local self-storage operations may never recover from the financial chaos that COVID-19 brought with it. Additional economic relief from the government may not be forthcoming, either, though liability protections may soon materialize for certain business owners.
Whether this crisis will lead to serious long-term shifts in the usage of storage pods remains to be seen, as nobody can predict the future with absolute certainty. It’s nevertheless clear that big changes are coming to the industry, especially when it comes to embracing automated self-storage facilities that enable as little face-to-face interaction as possible in the hopes of reducing transmissions.
The reasons to automate your storage facility are becoming more apparent by the day, and the continued spread of the coronavirus will likely accelerate the rate at which business owners are automating their operations. As overall storage space that is empty continues to grow, and as storage prices decline, companies everywhere will feel increasingly compelled to embrace the digitization and automation of their facilities.