Overall Opinion of SpareFoot: SpareFoot Inc. has grown rapidly since being started in 2008 by a UCLA student and is now based in Austin, Texas. They currently boast of being the “world’s largest online self-storage marketplace.” Using an analogy, they operate similarly to how Expedia or Travelocity does in the travel industry.
Overall customer satisfaction is good.
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When the organization began, they initially adopted a business model that can be described as the Airbnb of the self-storage market. In recent years, they have transitioned to facilitating business between consumers in need of storage services and small or large local self-storage companies.
The company acquired SiteLink in 2018, which is a leader in the development of software specifically for the self-storage industry.
SpareFoot currently is involved in the following:
Individuals or businesses that require extra room may consider renting some storage space. Self-storage rentals may be short or long-term. The most common reason why people need self-storage is that they are moving.
Sometimes people need to move their belongings temporarily during a renovation project, are active-military members who are being stationed elsewhere for a while, and many others.
Self-storage options begin by selecting the size of the area needed. The following chart outlines the most common unit sizes and an estimate of the capacity and price:
|5’ x 5’||About the size of a small closet||Range of $30 to $70 a month|
|5’ x 10’||Studio or 1-bedroom apartment||Range of $50 to $90 a month|
|10’ x 10’||A two-bedroom apartment||National Avg of $97 a month|
|10’ x 15’||A small house, car, or boat||National Avg of $126 a month|
|10’ x 20’||A three-bedroom house||National Avg of $138 a month|
|10’ x 30’||A very large house or business storage||Range of $150 +++|
Other potential amenities include climate-controlled units, those that allow 24 hours a day access, drive-up access, and more.
The 5×5 and 5×10 units are the most common sizes for college students. Self-storage facilities near major universities often have seasonally-adjusted rates. Special student discounts may be available.
Car, Boat, and RV Storage:
The most common sizes for cars and boats are 10×15, 10×20, and 10×25. Recreational vehicles (RVs) typically need a 10×30 or larger space. Some of the options include whether space is outdoors, outdoors with roof coverage, or indoor.
Mobile or portable storage refers to renting a portable storage container, such as those offered by PODS and SMARTBOX. The storage provider will typically deliver the container using a trailer and place the unit at your home or business to be loaded.
The container may either remain at the site, be transferred to a moving destination, or be moved to a storage facility.
The SpareFoot website can be used to rent a moving truck. SpareFoot has a partnership arrangement with Penske; therefore, expect their truck rental options to be exclusively promoted. Customers who rent a moving truck may also make a self-storage rental at the same time.
SpareFoot offers moving supplies from uBoxes based on a partnership arrangement between the companies. Products include moving boxes, rope, adhesive labels, etc. The supplies are delivered approximately one to three days after ordering.
In efforts to be a resource within the storage and moving industry, SpareFoot has developed informational Moving Guides, which include guides that are specific to major cities.
The SpareFoot Storage Beat is (like the moving guides) an informational resource. Commonly discussed topics include storage industry news, updates on new products and services, etc.
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The Good: Platform Offers Many Options and Is Easy-to-Use
The SpareFoot website is very fast, user-friendly, and the photos are generally high-quality. The user simply enters a city or zip code to begin a search. In most major metropolitan areas, the searches generate many different options and make it easy to compare prices.
The Bad: Real-Time Communication Between SpareFoot and Local Storage Providers Needs Improvement
The most common complaints involved problems in updating the site. For example, customers who placed a reservation for storage units that they later found out were unavailable or where the current posted prices were inaccurate. Updates to the site should be made in real-time to minimize potential problems.
- Has expanded the scope of offerings available to include a tremendous variety of moving and storage services such as vehicle storage, supplies for moving, portable storage container rentals, etc.
- Customers needing services in the majority of mid-sized and large major U.S. cities will find multiple options available
- Members of AAA benefit from access to many discounts and rewards that have resulted from a partnership
- Has created a good collection of city-specific moving and storage information in Moving Guides that is free and accessible to the public
- Some of the posted pricing and availability information tends to be inaccurate
- In several service areas, they have partnership agreements with certain companies and do not offer customers other options that exist in the market. Examples include only offering truck rentals from Penske and moving supplies exclusively from uBoxes
- SpareFoot facilitates these reservations and transactions; however, they are a third-party that doesn’t have control over many factors that ultimately determine whether the customers are satisfied or not.
Two Distinct Customer Groups
SpareFoot markets its services to consumers that are seeking a local self-storage or related solution and to regional (and national) companies that provide storage solutions. The majority of the organization’s revenue is based on commissions or fees paid by the storage companies that accrue when a consumer places an order.
Smaller, local storage and moving industry companies benefit from being listed with SpareFoot to enhance their profile and marketing to better compete with the bigger companies.
The Austin, Texas headquarters location has a rating of 3.8 of 5 on Google. One dissatisfied customer explained that he booked a local self-storage rental through SpareFoot; however, upon arrival, he was informed that the storage units were all occupied.
Another complaint involved a customer who was told he would receive an Amazon gift card for booking through SpareFoot but never received it.
The reviews on Facebook are mostly positive there have been a few customers that claimed the price they were quoted through SpareFoot was lower than what the storage company charged them. Seems like there may be some communication problems or failures in coordination between SpareFoot and the companies they promote.
SpareFoot has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2009 and maintains a rating of A+. There were a couple of negative posts that related to pricing discrepancies between SpareFoot and the local self-storage company.
The majority of posted complaints were addressed directly from company management in efforts to resolve the problems.
SpareFoot has developed a “one-stop-shop” for customers seeking moving and storage services. The platform they have developed is easy to use and offers many different options. They also have become a good resource for useful information for consumers.