A SELF-STORAGE company has announced plans to launch a national franchise programme as part of its long-term business growth strategy.

During Covid, there has been a surge in demand for self-storage and U Hold The Key has accelerated the development of its franchise plans.

This will allow businesses to open official U Hold The Key sites in new territories around the UK.

The first franchise is expected to open this summer.

Founded by County Durham entrepreneur Ean Parsons in 2001, U Hold The Key has grown into one of the UK’s leading self-storage firms, and is a division of the Parsons Containers Group.

The company has around 1,500 container stores on ten sites in the North-East and an eleventh in Grantham, with two more due to open this year.

The company experienced a 15 per cent increase in occupied storage units during 2020.

To develop and launch its franchise programme, U Hold The Key has teamed up with Richard Pakey at the Lime Licensing Group. Pakey is a franchising expert, with deep knowledge of both sides of the equation, and has worked closely with Mr Parsons to devise a bespoke package for the U Hold The Key brand.

U Hold The Key franchisees will buy exclusive rights to a UK territory and will be given extensive support to get their business up and running.

A dedicated U Hold The Key consultant will work with them to secure tenure on land, manage legal matters, and provide the necessary training for any staff.

Franchisees will source their container stores from the brand’s parent company, Parsons Containers, which has one of the UK’s most reliable supply chains for a wide range of sizes of high quality shipping containers.

Mr Parsons said: “U Hold The Key celebrates its 20th birthday this year and it’s a success story that our region can take great pride in. The brand is now very recognisable and well established and over the years, we’ve fielded many queries from outside the North East. Parsons already operates on a national basis with container sales and we know that the growth in demand for self-storage we’ve experienced here is replicated elsewhere.

“Taking the franchise approach to expanding the U Hold The Key brand will attract committed, ambitious entrepreneurs – that’s who we want to work with because it reflects the history of the Parsons Containers Group, and the reasons why the business has succeeded. Richard is the ideal partner for this enterprise and we anticipate helping our first U Hold The Key franchisee to launch in the very near future.”

Any business or entrepreneur who is interested in launching a U Hold The Key franchise should call Richard Pakey on 07904-697591.