Daisy Santiago
February 3, 2020

easyStorage Is Now Available In Sussex: Meet James Norris, Our New Franchisee

The self-storage industry is growing and emerging quite impressively in the UK. It has 46% of the total European self-storage space. This industry growth is fueled by additional operators and the merger and acquisition strategies of other players in the market (SSA-UK 2019 Industry Report).

The occupancy and profitability growth manifests that the demand for self-storage service is growing faster than its supply. Also, data shows that at present, there are approximately 1,582 self-storage sites in the UK offering around 45.6 million square feet of space (SSA-UK 2019 Industry Report). It only means that the self-storage business is expanding quite fast and has a lot of potential for growth. Imagine, 35% of self-storage customers have kept their self-storage subscription for three years or more (SSA-UK 2019 Industry Report). The continuous patronage of these customers motivated the operators to expand their business and build up new storage facilities.

According to SSA-UK 2019 Industry Report, there are 12 storage companies with the largest number of stores under one brand. Around 30% of the UK's self-storage facilities are owned and/or managed by these large operators (managing 10 or more sites).

There's a lot of big players in the self-storage industry. Some already made quite a reputation and name in the business, particularly in terms of facility presence in various parts of London and across the UK.

Given the numbers, let's ask one of our franchisees, Mr. James Norris, why he has chosen easyStorage over the others who, without a doubt, already made big names in the self-storage industry.

Mr. James Norris recently franchised and started managing the first easyStorage branch in Sussex.

Let's know more about his insight and journey with easyStorage.

"I think it is the perfect balance between having that "freedom" that comes with running your own business, and also the support and sense of community..."

1. What made you buy a franchise business?

Having operated a franchise business previously, I was drawn to the many benefits of a franchise business model. I think it is the perfect balance between having that "freedom" that comes with running your own business, and also the support and sense of community that comes from working alongside other colleagues and partners.

"But I knew from the outset, easyStorage was going to be the one for me."

2. Why easyStorage?

After selling my previous business, I knew I wanted to run another business rather than taking a job. With this in mind, I looked at many established businesses that were on the market and spent invested many months in different ones. But I knew from the outset, easyStorage was going to be the one for me (once I came across it). I relished the idea of moving into a new industry the most. Having spent my career in either office-based or the catering industry, the storage industry struck a good balance for me. I am office based in my role so I can use my experience in marketing and general management to help the business to succeed, but I also have the operational side of going out with the drivers and loaders that will help keep it interesting, and me a bit more active and in shape.

"I have flown with easyJet and like many, I had a good experience and found them to be very good value."

3. What does the easy brand mean to you?

Like most people, I have flown with easyJet and like many, I had a good experience and found them to be very good value. I suppose it is the "value" that stands out the most. "easy" to me doesn't represent cheap but it does represent low-cost and good value. It is that value that I hope to bring to the storage market in Sussex.

4. What did you do before you bought your franchise?

I started my career as a Magazine Account Handler which is your typical 9 AM to 5 PM office job. Having just started my career like most young people, I took on a second job, which for me was as a Delivery Driver for a newly opened Domino's Pizza in Worthing. This is where I met my now business partner, Mike Groves. He took me under his wing and I rose to the rank of Operations Manager, looking after all the stores in the franchise group. I subsequently left the franchise group after Mike sold it and went on to form and run my pizzeria concept. I had several stores in Sussex when I came to sell the company at the beginning of 2019. I then looked for my next challenge and that is when my old employer Mike suggested we look at easyStorage together and as the saying goes, the rest, is history.

"...I was glad the easyStorage team was able to train me and my partners on the specific skills required for the storage industry."

5. What skills do you think you need to run a franchised business?

Flexibility is the key to run any business and to succeed in most workplaces, so that is always at the forefront of my mind and my planning. And of course, good people management and financial control skills, too. Any specific skills for each industry, of course, is required and I was glad the easyStorage team was able to train me and my partners on the specific skills required for the storage industry.

6. What are you enjoying about running your own business?

I enjoy the freedom most (I know it's a cliche as everyone says, but that's because it is true). Freedom, of course, comes with its downsides sure you can pick when you work but you also have to be available to work 24/7, but I don't mind that. I also enjoy not only seeing the "fruits of my labor," but also look forward to enjoying them in the years to come. A business is like anything else, you get back what you put in.

"We have quite an aggressive expansion plan... we will concentrate on gaining market share and re-evaluate our needs at the end of year one."

7. What are your plans for the business in the next 12 months?

We have quite an aggressive expansion plan. We are starting in just East Sussex, but will expand to the whole of Sussex within the first three months. Then about halfway through at month six, we are hoping to take delivery of our second van and crew and acquire a third party storage facility within West Sussex. Then, we will concentrate on gaining market share and re-evaluate our needs at the end of year one.

"...there are many other expensive towns in the southeast where our mobile storage operation should save a lot of people money..."

8. What are the biggest opportunities in your area?

Brighton, definitely. It is incredibly overcrowded and the current storage opportunities for people living there are very expensive. After Brighton, there are many other expensive towns in the southeast where our mobile storage operation should save a lot of people money, so we expect a lot of work to come from the major hubs within our territory during the first year.

9. Will you be naming your first van?

Yes, we are currently using another franchisees van but once ours gets here at the beginning of February (hopefully), then she will get her name from one of her first jobs.

Daisy Santiago

Daisy is our superstar blogger. With a marketing background and passion for writing, she loves to explore and research topics & put them into writing. Outside of work her hobbies include blogging, writing, blogging, writing. (We keep telling her to get out more)

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