The key to storage needs.
Established in 2001 in Sedgefield, County Durham, U Hold The Key already has more experience than most in providing storage solutions to the business and domestic storage markets.
U Hold The Key offers a truly self-storage service.
It's as simple as you want it to be. As the name implies, you have the keys to your own store and you come and go as you please.
Established six years ago, the company now operates 10 sites in the North East with nearly 900 stores. Almost unique in the market, you can access your store 24/7, whether it's 9pm on a Sunday or 2am on a Thursday.
If you need to take a store you can at any time of the day by calling Free on (0800) 389-4319 subject to availability.
U Hold The Key operates its biggest site just a mile from Newcastle city centre on Benfield Business Park. Rates start from pounds 10 per week. Another feature of the U Hold The Key service is the "pay as you go" approach.
After only the first week of renting a store, customers pay only for the days they use.
This means if a business, such as a kitchen installer, suddenly finds it needs to store additional stock for a short time to meet orders, for very little outlay and maximum convenience they can take a store with U Hold The Key hiring and off-hiring storage space to meet orders.
There is no hassle, no long-term contracts, no utilities to arrange, no rates to pay.
Similarly for domestic customers. A house purchase falling through doesn't mean losing the sale. Short-term storage can be arranged until another property is found.
The business has gained its impressive market share by focusing on both price and service. Friendly and helpful staff are on-hand to offer free advice.
They will also listen to any special requirements and do their best to accommodate them.
This may be meeting a removal van in the evening after travelling from another part of the country, or installing shelving to store important documents or archives.
U Hold The Key is also a great service for small businesses. At a very reasonable price, contractors and owner-operated businesses can regain their garage or spare room. The convenient stores help get small businesses on their feet and provide room to expand providing an inexpensive solution to a common problem.
That one-off opportunity of essential stock at a volume price can be taken and stored away at low cost until needed, passing on the benefit into the bottom line profit.
Another big advantage is that all U Hold The Key's stores are at ground level and have vehicular access.
This means you can drive right up to the doors to load or off-load.
This type of self storage is very much the US model where a self-storage facility is almost as likely to be found on a retail park as a supermarket and a large number of Americans use self storage on a regular basis.
In the US van hire is complementary to the self-storage business. U Hold The Key see themselves very much at the centre of the DIY removal market.
The ideal customer would be one who books a store, arrives, parks the car, picks up a hire van, buys some packaging and moves house, returning the van in the evening.
Packaging has been on offer for sometime at U Hold The Key locations and customers are beginning to expect that they will buy their packaging for moving house from a self-storage business.
Six years is not a long time but in 2001 these ideas were new.
The self-storage market is growing year on year and customers now know what to expect of a self-storage business.
U Hold The Key has also found that broadband has played a big part.
Ease of access to the internet allows customers to find their facilities easily and coupled with their 24 hour service allows customers to make their storage arrangements at a time that suits them. www.uholdthekey.co.uk is a popular site.
Keeping pace with the market, U Hold The Key is looking to expand its existing facilities and open new ones in the region in the near future, taking its total stores over 1,200 in 2007. This matches its growth pattern to date.
Much of the company's business is repeat or from word of mouth and recommendations.
For most domestic customers, storage is a service they don't realise exists until they have a problem that needs to be solved.
When the self-storage solution presents itself, it is often timely, taking a load from their mind at a stressful time.