Boxit should be your place to go to for any of your storage needs, says Premlal Pullisserry, co-founder and CEO of Boxit Storage.
Dubai - Shoes, Eid decorations, winter wear? You name it, and Boxit can store it
When was the last time you were spring cleaning your apartment, and ended up being in sheer awe of all the stuff that you had accumulated over the years?
For Premlal Pullisserry, co-founder and CEO of Boxit Storage, one such cleaning adventure led to him imagining the idea for his very own startup.
"It all started when I had an issue with storing a few of my items, which we were not using regularly, but didn't want to throw away," he recalls. "In late 2014, I was cleaning my apartment with my wife, and I told her jokingly: what if we could store these items in our neighbor's house and take them back whenever we needed?"
It turned out that lot of Pullisserry's friends had the same problem. The next step, he says, was to see just how much of an issue this was with the general public.
"We started out by doing a survey in restaurants, apartments, in Avenue mall, and we even walked into some big companies and asked around 250 people if they would use our proposed services. Most of them said yes, they had this problem. Self storage was one of the solutions, but they are very expensive, plus you have to drive down and pick them up when you need them. Also, the standard room that you need to rent out for self storage was too big, and can't be used for the long term as they are too expensive and difficult to maintain," he explains.
It was at this point that Pullisserry and his team knew that they were getting into something big. "Our model was simple, we will give customers some standard high quality boxes, and they can then pack their items in the boxes. We then store them in a warehouse. Whenever they needed the items, we would deliver them," he says.
Asked about the biggest challenges that he faced in bringing his idea to fruition, Pullisserry pointed to talent acquisition and legal processes. "When we started, the biggest challenge was getting the legal processes done and getting the right talent to work with. We had to go back to India to develop the app and the website, which caused a lot of delay in the launch."
Pullisserry also revealed that he started his business with less than $20,000. His careful observation of the storage industry revealed that there are more than enough highly secured and insured storage spaces available in the market that were being under utilised.
"Since we are doing pick and delivery, it doesn't matter which location you store, as long as you serve your customers on time! And, this cost benefit is passed on to our customers," he says. "From a user point of view, in a traditional storage you rent a room, which will start at a minimum of Dh300, and you end up using only 30-40 per cent of the room. You also have to go yourself to drop and take the items, and even the payments are done in a traditional way."
At Boxit, he says, you only pay for the boxes or items you have stored, and that starts at Dh25 per month per box. "We do the pick up and delivery for you, and you have the option to make a payment online, and we will soon even introduce Bitcoin payments! Currently we've partnered with Aramex for our storage and we are in talks with few major players in the region."
Pullisserry revealed that he had launched the service in Kuwait in early 2015, and only four months back in the UAE. Boxit's main customers are couples living in apartments, and singles who live in a studio or a shared accommodation. "We have stored hundreds of boxes by now, and after our UAE launch, we are growing close to 100 per cent month on month. Our customers usually ask for more than six boxes on an average, and they store not less than 10 months with us."
Asked what is next on the cards for Boxit, Pullisserry said: "There are two major expansion plans for Boxit. One is geographical and the other is product. For geographic expansion, we are going to test launch in Cairo soon. We will be doing our soft launch in KSA early next year as well. We have lots of requests coming in from Bahrain and Oman as well. For the product expansion, we have started storing suitcases and paper boxes. We want to launch storage options for TVs, bikes, furniture, sofas, and other such large items very soon. We also want to introduce JetSki storage options by next winter."
"We also want to launch a few SME specific products, as SMEs are one segment which do not have world class warehousing access. We are working with a few companies now to see how best we can fit those storage demands," he revealed.
"Our dream is to store any personal items, right from your shoes to your cars when you go on vacation; your small boats or paintings; anything which you don't use regularly, you should be able to store with us for a very affordable price. Boxit should be your place to go to for any of your storage needs," he said.
How does Boxit work?Boxit gives you high quality boxes to store away things that you don't use regularly - but don't want to throw away - at a very affordable price, and in a highly safe and secure warehouse. The services start at Dh25 per month per box.
"Sign up on the web or on our mobile app, and order the number of boxes you need," says Premlal Pullisserry, co-founder and CEO of Boxit Storage. "We bring these boxes to you. While you pack your items, you can take pictures of the items, which becomes your visual catalog for future reference. You schedule a pick up and we pick it up for free and store them in our partner's warehouse."
He adds: "Now, we have started storing suitcases, customers' own boxes, paper boxes, kids bikes, and baby strollers, as well as smaller items. We don't store perishables, breakables, jewellry, very expensive watches, sensitive and legal papers like passports, certificates, and, of course, any illegal items."
What are Boxit's top five most commonly stored items?1. Bags, shoes and boots
2. Seasonal clothes
3. Toys and gaming gadgets
4. Kids/baby items
5. Festival and seasonal decorative items
What are Boxit's most unusual storage tales?1. A teenage girl storing nine boxes full of her shoes
2. A newly married couple storing 18 boxes of their wedding gifts
3. A mother storing seven boxes full of her children's 'first' items, such as their first shoes, toothbrushes, and many more