When Portable and Self-Storage Combine Forces

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When Portable and Self-Storage Combine Forces

By Rod Bolls, Boxwell

Years ago, I wrote about how portable storage and self-storage combine forces. At the time, the notion of using portable or relocatable storage units within self-storage facilities was new. However, over the past decade, the line between portable and self-storage has become increasingly blurred. The rise of storage in general, coupled with changing customer needs and economic conditions, has led to more competition and interaction between these industries. Despite their functional differences, portable and self-storage share commonalities in terms of convenience, economy, and innovation. And the key element that unifies them is the storage container itself.

By leveraging the capabilities of the storage unit, portable and self-storage combinee to provide a solution that caters to a wide range of markets. Various rental methods are already shared among these industries. For example, a self-storage operator might use a moving truck, a moving company may employ portable storage containers, a portable storage company might offer self-storage, and a self-storage facility could use relocatable storage units instead of permanent structures. This article explores the convergence of portable and self-storage and highlights the advantages and opportunities of a hybrid model. 


Convenience plays a significant role in the storage industry today. These days, customers are choosing to do things for themselves without relying on professionals. Storage solutions exemplify this convenience, as customers can order a storage unit and have it delivered to their desired location when moving. Portable storage units are equipped with features like wall vents, vertical e-track, and tie-downs for safe item transport, making them ready to move. And customers can pack the unit at their own pace, after which it is transported to their chosen destination. Similarly, self-storage facilities operate on a self-service basis, enabling customers to load their vehicles with goods and access them at their convenience. Customers prioritize easy access and security. With a drive-up storage unit, it is easy to load and unload on-site. Plus, portable and relocatable storage units often come with roll-up doors that are compatible with smart, hands-free entry and locking systems.

Customers want self-handling storage that is secure and convenient. And there is a growing demand for a hybrid model that combines the benefits of portable and self-storage. This shift in customer preferences, along with the increasing overlap of commercial and residential customers, necessitates the merging of these options to provide a unified storage solution. One example of when portable and self-storage combine is what we call a relocatable unit. It is durable enough for relocation, flexible to fit in unconventional spaces, and customizable to match a business’s existing aesthetic. Another example of offering the best of both worlds to customers is by offering both portable storage units and self-storage units at your facility. Businesses that have hybrid storage offerings will be able to cater to a broader range of markets and help fill today’s demand.


Since my previous article, the economy has further spurred how portable and self-storage combine forces. Both sectors are experiencing increased demand, as people are using more storage and looking for cost-effective solutions. The rise of the storage hybrid model within the industry is fueled by the desire to create profitable self-storage facilities using portable and relocatable units in innovative ways. Both portable and relocatable units are designed for transportation, made from durable materials, and can be locked to ensure the security of their contents. To thrive in today’s market, they also need to be adaptable for use in permanent self-storage environments as well as portable storage and moving environments.

Portable moving options, compared to full-service moving, offer a more affordable alternative. While it places more responsibility on the customer, this option is gaining popularity due to its lower cost and reduced involvement. In the self-storage realm, market demand is driving additional development within storage facilities. People need to store more things! Storage operators can choose to add more buildings or incorporate relocatable self-storage units into their facilities. Relocatable units provide savings in terms of coordination, costs, and time compared to stick-built or brick-and-mortar storage, which requires extensive permitting and local zoning knowledge. Construction materials are expensive, permitting approvals are slow, and labor shortages exist. Additionally, classifying relocatable storage units as equipment allows self-storage operators to benefit from tax advantages like the Section 179 tax benefit.


At the heart of how portable and self-storage combine lies the innovative storage unit. When I started my business in the storage industry, I looked for areas in the market that were underserved. What are the ways we can improve the experience for customers? What updates can be made to storage units? How can we differentiate ourselves from the competition? I discovered that there was a need for less compartmentalization of storage products. So, why not manufacture storage units that have it all? Imagine a storage unit that is adaptable for use in both self-storage environments and portable storage and moving environments. Storage that is durable enough to move from location to location, flexible enough to fit in a storage facility where no other storage units would fit, and customizable enough to match a business’s existing look.

Enter relocatable storage units. Designed to be moved from one location to another, relocatable storage units can be placed and assembled at a facility with little-to-no foundation or major site preparation. They are durable, weatherproof, secure, and beautiful. They are made of steel and come in a variety of sizes to accommodate different storage needs. So, when a brick-and-mortar self-storage facility needs more rentable space, they can add on easily with relocatable units. Relocatable storage units can be used side-by-side to create an effective and efficient drive-up or walk-up storage operation. Some relocatable self-storage manufacturers will even help you design the layout for your site to see just how many units you can fit on your property.

The best storage units serve multiple purposes. Portable storage and relocatable self-storage units are used in several ways, and people are taking advantage of their versatility. The storage hybrid model combines convenience, economy, and innovation to meet the evolving needs of customers. Businesses that embrace this hybrid approach can thrive in the changing storage landscape and provide comprehensive solutions to a diverse range of customers. By staying adaptable and leveraging the advantages of portable and self-storage, storage businesses can position themselves for success in the future.

Rod Bolls is Founder & CEO of Boxwell, the Boulder-based B2B manufacturer of innovative storage solutions. Boxwell produces portable storage and relocatable self-storage containers at both domestic and international Boxwell facilities to offer a wide range of products, customization, quality control, and shortened lead times. Rod and his team raise the industry standard by continually exploring innovative technologies, services, and features. Work with a Boxwell representative to decide your ideal unit mix, custom colors, door configurations and more. Not long after you place your order, your mobile storage units are delivered, installed, and ready to rent. Boxwell believes that anything is possible and works for the success of their customers. Check out boxwell.co or call (303) 317-5850 for more information.

About Boxwell

At the core, Boxwell uses a hands-on approach to business that is carried throughout everything we do. When we need to talk, we pick up the phone. If there are questions, we demo our product. And when we’re intrigued with something new, we give it a try. If a team member needs help, we offer it. When our community needs support, we lend our resources. With compassion and innovative ways of “thinking outside of the box,” anything is possible. That’s our culture.

When building Boxwell, Rod Bolls set out to create a company that prioritizes a balance between working hard and playing hard. He aligns a strong business model with a strong team and a sustainable work environment. To achieve an ideal company culture, Rod nurtures every relationship. For example, this includes customers, partners, vendors, local non-profits, neighborhood sports teams, and museums. Our products include drive-up self-storage unitsrelocatable self-storage unitsportable storage containersmoving containers, and restoration containers.

Boxwell units can help you increase your business’ revenue-generating space with units in a variety of sizes, including our new 10 x 20 units and our 8 x 20 units. Our portable containers and relocatable self-storage units are flexible, stackable, and beautiful! Boxwell is here to ensure that our products help you achieve your business goals.

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