Is it Legal to Operate a Business Out of a Self-Storage Unit?

Self Storage

Ryan Moore
December 9th, 2021

If you’re starting a new business venture or running a small online or repair business you want to save every penny possible and you may be looking into renting a self-storage unit. Storage facilities offer low prices, short and long-term contracts, and secure 24-hour access. But is it legal to operate a business out of a self-storage unit? In this blog, we’ll discuss what is and is not legal to do in your storage unit business office.

Living In Your Unit: Not Legal
It is illegal to live in your storage unit, due to federal housing laws, because it is unsafe for humans, pets, and animals. There is no ventilation system, no natural light sources, and the doors lock from the outside. If you’re trying to save money to run a business, this is certainly not the way to do it.

Operating a Business Out Of Storage-Unit: Legal
If you’re starting a business or running a product-based small business, such as online sales or vintage and antique trading, a self-storage unit is a great option! It’s extremely cost-effective and allows you to choose the time length of your contract. If you want to ship products but need a place to keep the products while you wait for the orders to come in, look into storage facilities in your area. This is particularly helpful for people who work from home but are being overrun by the number of items that they have to keep in their living space. Keep in mind that if you sell plants, succulents, or any living items, you cannot store them in storage units as they don’t have the proper ventilation and are subject to water damage and mold.

If you’re a handyman or run a repair business, you may have tools that are for specific projects that you won't need every day, a small unit is a perfect place to store them. This allows you to visit the unit on your way to the project location and drop them back after you’re finished. Keeping tools and specialized parts in your home year-round can be risky because they are subject to theft and damage. A storage unit helps handymen and repair business owners keep their tools safe from water damage and fire while having 24-hour security.

Running Day-To-Day Operations Out Of The Self Storage Unit: Not Legal
Although you can operate your “warehouse” functions out of a storage facility, you are not allowed to work in one. Desks, laptops, fax machines, and copiers all have to be kept at home. Generally, storage facilities don’t want you in the unit for too long a time period, because it isn’t safe, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t serve an important function in running a business.

Overall, a self-storage unit is a helpful tool in saving money and space while running a small business, you just can’t actually use it as your day-to-day office. Business owners who have products that are valuable, specialized, and or large, will benefit greatly from having a unit that’s cost-effective and secure within a storage facility.

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