The State of the Moving and Portable Storage Industry

January 23, 2020

As we enter a new decade, the self-storage industry, including portable storage, remains very strong and looks toward more growth. Bold Business reported that the $38 billion industry has enjoyed 7.7 percent annual growth since 2012, thanks to several factors.


As the report notes, baby boomers downsize, millennials move into crowded urban areas, and small businesses need temporary storage, for example. And often, temporary needs turn long-term, resulting in a “lock-and-leave” culture.


The Outlook for Growth


Ever-increasing materialism simply results in people owning more stuff. And it has to go somewhere.


Overall, according to the “United States Self-Storage Market — Growth, Trends and Forecast (2020 – 2025)” report, the self-storage market in the United States is projected to see a CAGR of 8 percent over the forecast period 2019–2024. The report states that the personal storage segment of the self-storage industry is expected to claim the highest share.


What Makes the Industry Thrive


Aside from the aforementioned factors that drive continued growth, self-storage, including portable storage, enjoys a certain resiliency even when market conditions dip.


Storage businesses typically remain profitable during downturns. As economists discuss when the “next recession” may hit, owners of self-storage businesses can avoid fretting. While it is predicted that the industry may not be entirely “recession-proof” or even as recession-resistant as it has been, it will continue to hold strong in hard times.


Need-based spending driven by life events doesn’t go away. People divorce, move, downsize due to financial misfortune, and encounter many other situations that require storage solutions.


The Scaling Advantage of Portable Storage


Portable storage businesses are far more nimble than fixed-location storage facilities in their ability to quickly capitalize on upward trending in market demand — and to control the business in a recession.


In boom times, a fixed-location storage business must add additional buildings or even locations. Mobile storage operators simply add containers incrementally as demand grows. The containers have a long service life, raising their ROI.


Scaling container by container in pace with demand this way creates little or no risk for the owner of a portable storage business. If a recession hits, the mobile storage purveyor isn’t stuck with an enormous new warehouse that can’t be paid for. Contrast that to the time it takes to build a new fixed storage building (potentially years) against adding containers for the same amount of storage space in only a few months.


The Franchise Factor


The major players in the portable storage segment of the self-storage industry include UNITS Moving and Portable Storage, PODS, Zippy Shell, and Pack-Rat. Joining forces with a franchise system can boost an operator’s growth rate as well as hedge their bets when the economy is not as strong.


Benefits of franchise ownership are many. UNITS, in particular, is a “turnkey” franchise, meaning if the owner gets a complete package with everything they need to get rolling, including help with site selection and lease negotiation, and all equipment, training, and business operational systems. 


Each franchisee benefits from the company’s web development team, which handles lead generation and supplies proprietary software to track, manage, and convert leads into sales. 


And the franchise system greatly enables the scalability discussed above. The franchisee incrementally can grow the business with more containers purchased through the company, both for an initial territory and to expand into others. This incremental scaling through the franchise is a major driver of sales volume and profit margins.


Founded by Michael McAlhany in 2004, the mission of UNITS Moving and Portable Storage is to provide personal customer service while supplying the most innovative equipment in order to eliminate the frustrations associated with moving and storage space issues.


UNITS Moving and Portable Storage currently has 24 franchised and three corporate territories across the United States. With a presence in more than 40 markets, and growing, the brand is looking to expand with the right people in the right markets.

For more information on how to take advantage of this opportunity, or simply to learn more about the moving and portable storage industry, visit and fill out the inquiry form. We will reach out to you to talk more about your interest in our brand, and how UNITS Moving and Portable Storage can help you reach your personal and financial goals.

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