All of us find ourselves complain about lack of storage at some point or the other, be it in the wardrobe or kitchen or even in the office. Ameya Davda and his partner, Devak Davda recognized this necessity of a storage facility and came up with their business venture called Space Valet – Your Storage Hub which recently found a mention in The Hindu newspaper. Space Valet provides an innovative storage solution to free up spaces in our homes, garage or offices. Their offering has specialized storage for businesses and households with an aim to provide a safe and secure way to store your goods.
Questions and answers
What was the reason behind dipping your feet into a new venture of creating storage facilities?
I was living in the US where the concept of Self-Storage facilities is already in existence since the 1950’s and is worth over $40 billion. My family was already established in warehousing and real estate, so we decided to use our shared knowledge and built on our idea of a state-of-the-art storage facility. Metropolitan cities like Mumbai are already squeezed short of space which has made storage places a necessity; that made us want to explore the idea even further. As a result, we decided to professionally design and import these storage lockers for India and it all started from there.
How did you come up with the name 'Space Valet', and what was your inspiration?
Our service is to offer a space for storage so having the word “space” in our brand name made sense and a valet is someone who is assisting or attending to your needs. So, we decided to incorporate the idea in our name as our storage facilities come with valet services. Our “Valet” service delivers or picks up even one single item from storage back to you all from the comfort of your own home.
What were some of the business strategies you used so that “Space Valet” reaches more people and comes to their convenience?
As our business idea was new to the market there were no marketing strategies we could learn from, so, we assimilated normal marketing channels along with Google ads and PR activities. Our strategy first was to educate people about the concept rather than focus on just our branding. As a result, we did a ton of PR activities to help people understand what storage facilities are about and how they differ from a regular warehouse. We also started educating the audience about our service by various tie-ups. Apart from that, WhatsApp forwards and word of mouth was also advantageous.
What do people use storage for? Can you also elaborate on the idea of The Box Storage?
People are using the storage facilities for multiple purposes, let’s suppose, household items like family photographs, memorabilia, children’s toys, winter clothes etc which are not needed immediately but are close and important to their owners. Other reasons include house shifting, renovation, business inventory and furniture.
We have two kinds of storage options; one is the Private Locker storage where you get your locker which is completely secure and of various sizes. The other is called “The Box” which is meant for smaller items. These completely sealable and tamper proof boxes are meant for those who have just small items they need to put into storage. Whatever may be the customer’s requirement, we work with them and come up with a customized solution for their needs.
“Space Valet” got featured in “The Hindu” about how the storage units are helping millennials during Covid 19. Can you elaborate on the benefits, especially in these challenging times?
The Hindu feature was very fortunate indeed; they picked our story as our services became very essential in these challenging times. During the ongoing pandemic there is no clarity on how long Work From Home jobs are going to continue, so people who have left the cities for their hometowns have found themselves being able to avoid spending large amounts of rent in the cities where they are employed. A lot of them have found our services advantageous for storing their household goods and letting go of the redundant houses.
How do you gain the trust of the customer about keeping their products safe and sound?
Gaining the trust of the customers is very important as they are always foreboding about their stored items so we assure them about the safety as we have 24 hours CCTV cameras, secure lock and key and 24 hour guards and biometric access to enter the facility to make sure no one handles their things. We also only allow authorized personnel and clients into the facility only if they are accompanied by our staff. We also send pictures and videos of our storage facility which aid us in making sure they understand that our warehouses are quality checked and are monsoon proof, leakage proof and termite-proof and rodent proof.
Does Space Valet help MSMEs? If yes, then how?
MSME’s are almost 40% of our clientele, a lot of these businesses are working from home and selling their products online but they need storage and warehousing facilities which is where we assist and help them keep their inventory. If they need something delivered we also deliver to them or even to their clients so it’s more like a one-stop-shop to keep their goods stored and safe and also dispatch it. We help them avoid cluttering up their homes and offices while ensuring that their stuff is kept safe and secure.
Sometimes decluttering becomes tough due to emotional attachment. How do you handle such clients for whom decluttering is necessary but painful?
Convincing the customers is a huge part of the entire process, we assure them that their products will remain safe and secure and will be returned whenever they need them back without fail. We also help them choose as most of the items have emotional significance but are not needed immediately, so we state the benefits and advantages of our service and that helps them make an informed decision. Cleanliness and upkeep of our facilities are of the most importance to us and our clients and as a result we make sure that they know how well we maintain our facilities so that they know their things remain clean.
If one needs their product back due to an urgency, how fast is “SpaceValet” meeting their customers’ demands?
Our forte is perhaps having a quick valet service. Upon calls for return of goods, we ensure same day or next day delivery without wasting any time. We understand how immediate the needs can be so our customers can even ring us at midnight and we are still ready and willing to attend to their needs.
Are you planning to launch any new services soon? Please elaborate.
We are making inroads into File Storage. For example, a lawyer might need a storage facility for his case files, a CA might need one for his tax letters, a business might need one for their tax returns – our new business offering provides customers with specialized durable cartons meant specifically for document storage and we charge them at a per box level.
1. Your favourite go-to movie – The Pursuit of Happyness
2.Favorite Book – Zero to One by Blake Masters and Peter Theil
3.When you don’t work, you mainly – Spend time with my family
4. Your best source of energy – My nephew who is filled with energy
5.Your journey as an entrepreneur is – A learning path