Anyone who has dealt with self-storage knows how painful the process can be. While current storage options all have positives, each has their flaws.
Renting a self storage unit generally comes with peace of mind and ease of access, but also inconvenient locations and high prices. Lots of surprising and increasingly obscure charges generally get added onto the advertised rate. In addition, a customer might pay for a 5’ by 5’ space, but only need a fraction of it.
There is also the option of using an “On Demand” storage unit. A team of movers arrives to pick up your items, which are then stored in a warehouse until needed. This removes the user from having to directly interact with the storage process. It is convenient, but with a price. Prices are generally almost double that of a self storage unit for the same area, in addition to paying per mover per hour during for the service. There are also constraints that come with standard sizing (similar to self storage units) and duration of storage. Access is also limited to appointments that must be generally made at least two days in advance (at the minimum).
As students, our team is confronted with moving every year. We are well aware of the pitfalls that come with each scenario. We felt that there had to be a convenient way for us to store, without sacrificing price. We also wanted to provide people an easy means of earning a passive income. When looking for ways to solve this, we found that people were often most satisfied with their storage experience when they left their items with a friend for the summer.
Our solution is based off of this idea. We are building a peer to peer storage marketplace that allows users to find nearby space at a much cheaper rate. Our network of “hosts” will be leveraged to create a more personalized and dynamic experience for the user. Users are only charged for the space their items take up, so they aren’t paying for any wasted space that might occur when renting out a traditional (5’x5’) unit. Our platform works to provide a secondary stream of passive income for those who might have extra space. We want to help people reduce the amount of wasted space in their homes, and put all of their resources to work.
Our platform functions as a marketplace for storage, it allows “hosts” to list their extra space, which “users” can then use to store their items through the website. The hosts list space ranging from an extra room, empty garage, attic, or even a partially full storage unit and it is presented to users on the website. Users then reserve space via the website, and drop off their items in a specified time range. Both the host and user agree on the number of items being stored, and the user is charged for each item they store, not a set square footage like 5’x5’, or 10’x10’. The user pays through the website, which takes a commission for each item and then pays the host half of their total compensation. When it is time for they user to move out of the host’s space, they indicate the range when they will be arriving and move out their stuff. Once the user and host agree on their move out, the host is paid the remainder of their compensation. This is what the main user interface currently looks like: