Disruption can be characterised as innovative new businesses sweeping away old ways of doing things. The emergence of several new-wave providers in urban areas of East Coast Australia has created a peer-to-peer storage market which matches spare space in a room, home, backyard, office or garage to consumers over the net.
Disruptors should not be confused with self storage industry providers, the majority of whom are members of the Self Storage Association. The Association pioneered an industry-standard legal agreement that only allows access to a rented space to the signed-up client – and no one else – and has a code of conduct that defines and protects parties to a storage transaction.
Whilst a cheap rental and proximity to the bright lights may be drawcards for people used to immediacy in this digital world, the safe storing of goods in a unit accessible only by the renter provides real security. The Association’s legally robust and thoroughly-tested rental agreement defines the access, use, rights and responsibilities of parties. Can peer-to-peer disruption guarantee such a relationship?
Whilst this may not be paramount to people accustomed to and active in the current digital economy Association members offer such benefits as a matter of course.
Competition will always exist and be refined as a market matures. The latest disruption is described as the uber of storage. It may well find many users in urban areas where space is at a premium but in my view it will not replace formal self storage providers just yet.
The Association and the self storage industry in Australia and New Zealand continues to evolve. The latest disruption should be seen as one of those evolutions as we all change and adapt to the world we live in.