The 'eBay of Storage' Enabling households to rent their extra space to people needing cheap storage.
|Location||London United Kingdom|
|Sectors||Home & Personal Mixed Digital/Non-Digital B2C|
|Incorporation date||2 Aug 2011|
Storemates is an online service that aims to match people needing affordable self storage with people looking to turn their spare household space into extra cash. Users use the website to rent out all or part of a garage, loft, wardrobe, spare room to people searching for cheap storage in their local area. We have put in place a range of safeguards and contracts to make the process safe and secure to use.
Storemates plans to disrupt the ever-expanding self storage industry by offering a cheaper, greener and more community focused alternative the large commercial storage warehouses.
Storemates is geared towards the many households who are challenged by the economic downturn and need extra space which they cannot normally afford. We think that commercial self storage is too costly and upgrading to a larger property is simply not an option for many. As people are increasingly turning to the sharing and renting economy Storemates hopes to become what AirBnB has become to accommodation, Whip Car has become for car sharing, Park At My House has become to parking spaces and eBay has become to second hand trading. Storemates also offers a secure and easy way for individuals to earn an extra income from their household - literally, cash in the attic.
Substantial accomplishments to date
Website (v.1) with multiple functions developed -currently testing.
Approximately 1500 registered users so far either actively seeking for storage or hoping to make money from their unused space.
Over 650 households from all over the UK have listed their spaces.
Widespread national press coverage.
The platform is web based allowing storage searchers and space providers to list and search for space for free.
Revenue would be generated by EITHER charging the storage owners the first two weeks of their listed storage rates, forecast average revenue £20 per transaction, as the current version is, OR through charging each storage a percentage of their rental income (like a lettings agent) - an option we would like to test with users. Secondary revenue would accrue by premium storage listers paying £5 for a premium listing upgrade. Additional income streams planned are affiliate deals with providers of auxiliary services to self storage, packing, moving, boxes, and a bespoke insurance product. Website banner display advertising would be considered once traffic to the website grows to scale.
Use of proceeds
To develop the website functionality in particular an efficient booking and payment system to ensure all transactions are processed via the website. Currently we feel it is too easy for users to transact outside the site and avoid paying the admin fee. We believe a tech solution needs to be developed to prevent this from happening. In addition we plan to develop a smart phone version of the site (or app) to meet the evolving patterns of internet use. Other proceeds would be on SEO to improve search engine rankings and some very focused marketing to raise the profile of Storemates (e.g online advert on Gumtree's garage rental section) plus a PR campaign aimed at the potentially lucrative student market prior to the Summer term break.
235,000 people currently use self-storage facilities in the UK each year (and this is growing by 14% each year). Our target market is a percentage of these people, as well as a percentage of society currently not using commercial storage due to the high cost. Storemates also targets households who may want to earn a second income through renting out some of their space e.g families with lofts, spare rooms, unused garages etc - A growing market in a recession.
Characteristics of target market
The Self Storage industry is currently worth £360m in the UK with over 800 facilitates. We have found that a percentage of these are open to using Storemates as a cheaper alternative, especially those looking for short term storage and seasonal items. Other pent up demand is being discovered by targeting the people put off by the high cost of commercial storage, such as students, people with young families storing baby items between children, and those wishing to declutter to sell property or create more space.
Targeted online campaign on websites where people currently search for storage, ie gumtree, and other local websites. Also more further testing of google adword campaigns. A small focussed PR campaign is also planned, as well as current press strategy used in localised areas as we promote Storemates across the UK.
We have built a robust site and continue to test and improve it, with the aim of it becoming the market leader in the 'collaborative consumption' storage space. With press exposure to date we feel we are currently the only credible player in this field. We would continue to innovate and develop the user experience to ensure that we stay as the 'global leader.'