The First Self Storage Facility in Thailand Had Its Challenges Getting Started


Starting a business can be rough no matter where you are. Every state government has its own regulations you must follow along with the federal ones. Then of course there is whatever local and municipal ones not superseded by either the state or federal government. Those are just the legal hurdles that have to be overcome; there are many more depending on whether you are constructing or renting a facility and then some.

Now just imagine if you were trying to do everything it takes to start and run your business, but in a country like Thailand.

A couple months ago StoreGuard Co. Ltd. opened the first self storage facility in Thailand. Called My Storage, it lies in the Jungceylon Shopping Center in Patong, Phuket, Thailand. Much like entrepreneurs here in the United States the owners there, Sukanda Chiaranussati and Robert Akerblom, knew they had their work cut out for them.

The easiest part was probably in choosing their location. Any self storage facility in the United States will say that location is the key to success. Choosing to be situated in the largest shopping mall in Southern Thailand was a no-brainer.

“Patong was chosen because many people live there temporarily, especially foreigners, and they might like to keep their belongings secure,” said Managing Director Sukanda Chiaranussati

Their reasoning for getting into the self storage industry is logical to say the least. The two have said that they recognized that there was a lack of sufficient storage facilities for property developers, suppliers, buyers and sellers, and temporary residents. However, identifying the need for self storage facilities in Thailand was the easy part.

Being the first in the self storage industry while giving them a virtual monopoly on any and all business, it also meant that they had to figure everything out for themselves. There was no reference for them to see how others overcame the problems that arise. Out of necessity, they were forced to use self storage facilities in Singapore and Hong Kong as well as the trends evident in the business in the West.

Surprisingly, the construction costs in Thailand are actually somewhat higher than they are in the United States. Often times the construction quality is rather poor due to the methods that are often used. The lack of good building material and long lead times can make the delays rather costly.

In the end, when Sukanda Chiaranussati and Robert Akerblom were ready to open the doors to the first self storage facility in Thailand it cost just under $1.7 million.


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