Lloydminster – Move over sea cans. There’s a new portable, quick build storage container solution on the market for a variety of oilfield, industrial, construction and residential uses.
Greg Yelland is the owner of QuickStor, a Lloydminster-based sales and rental dealer of The S.A.F.E. Co. containers in Saskatoon.
“S.A.F.E. Co. is an acronym for store anything fast and easy,” explained Yelland.
“We rent and sell portable storage containers and they come in a variety of sizes.
“They are all 7 feet wide and 7 feet high and range from 7 to 20 feet long. If people need more space, I can connect two of them together end-to-end and they can be lifted by a forklift.
“You can also put three side by side and they can still be lifted by a forklift.”
The forklift sleeves are built into the bottom so each unit sits off the ground about 3 or 4 inches.
“Water is not issue because they sit up. I will typically put up a 4 x 4 just to keep them up a little bit higher and to level them,” said Yelland.
The standout feature of the S.A.F.E. Co. containers that QuickStor markets is they come flat packed for bulk delivery and easy set up anywhere in about 30 minutes
Each container package stands about 11 inches high and includes two side walls; a back wall, a front door set, a one piece ¾ inch OSB floor, and a roof with an interlocking parts system.
The existing units are made in Germany from galvanized steel with no tools required.
The company is also introducing a new budget line of containers in April made in Turkey that will require a socket set and a screw driver to assemble.
“They take a little bit longer to put together and are a little less money,” said Yelland.
“But these ones from S.A.F.E. Co. have a C-channel on the bottom of the floor and the wall and they just snap together.
“The tolerances are very tight. When they are put together there’s 1/8 inch between the floor and the wall.”
That makes them rodent resistant with suitable ventilation space.
The oilfield applications for the portable containers include using them to cover gas wellheads.
“The Alberta dealer in Red Deer and Calgary has used them in the oilfield more than I have. He’s also put them out at pumpjacks as tool cribs. I’m just getting into working on that,” said Yelland.
Yelland launched QuickStor last summer for the oilfield market, but the sudden downturn in commodity prices caused him to expand into other markets.
“I’m actually working on three markets. One is oil and gas and I’m looking at producers and construction entities to start with,” he said with the second market being disaster and restoration firms.
“If you have a flood they need to put your belongings some place so they can fix your house,” he said.
“With my containers being flat packed, I can put containers in people’s back yards pretty much anywhere. There’s lot of place that you can’t put something like a traditional sea can.”
His third market is residential storage for motorcycle and quad storage and for garden sheds.
“My business is basically a two phone call service for rentals. Call me when you need something and I bring it out to you and put it where you want it,” he said.
“When you’re done with it you call me again and I come and pick it up and take it away.
“Pretty good” is how he describes the sales side of the business with seasonal ups and downs.
“Winter is a down season for the storage industry. People don’t like to put their stuff into storage in the winter and they also don’t like to take it out,” he said.
“Anything rented over the fall stays rented over the winter.
“I am happy that we’ve had some sales and I am certainly looking for some good sales to come.”
When interviewed on March 4, Yelland hoped to sell a ton at the Lloydminster Home Garden Sport & Leisure Show March 27-29.
There he can demonstrate the quick assembly and potential uses with spring and summer around the corner.
“When people take a look at these they realize you can pack it down, you can take it out to the lake, you can move it around in your yard, you can take it to wherever you want,” he said.
“You can use it is a garden shed so you buy it and put it up in one house and when you move to another location you can pack it. You don’t have to give it away with the house.”
One of his customers is using a 3 x 7ft. container for indoor gun storage.
QuickStor containers are delivered on a doubler wide snowmobile trailer towed by Yelland’s ¾ ton truck and lifted off in pieces by hand.
“I don’t need a picker truck. That’s one of the advantages over traditional storage containers,” said Yelland.
For the oil and gas market QuickStor sells or rent a specialty gas cylinder container and a hazardous goods container.
Available options include a vandal bar, shelving, windows and other accessories.
The units are priced from $2,100 for the 3 x 7 ft. shed to $5,200 for a 20 x 7ft. container that can be lifted with 3 ton load and $5,700 for a six ton load rating.
Rentals range from $135 for a 7 x7 ft. container to $250 a month for 20x 7 ft. unit. Yelland also charges $75 an hour for delivery and set up with a part time helper.
QuickStor is the fourth business that Yelland has owned including a couple of vending businesses.
He’s been a health researcher and program evaluator consultant for 23 years and has a PhD in health research and masters degree in sociology.
Several years ago, he lost his job as a program evaluator for Lakeland College and could have made a living consulting but there would be nothing to sell come retirement.
He’s 54 years old with a plan to build up his rental fleet to 100 containers then build a self-storage site using containers for storage instead of traditional bricks and mortar.
The master plan is to duplicate that growth fourfold over the next 15 years.
“That plan will allow me to have physical assets to sell when I want to retire,” said Yelland.
“I took a close look at this business before getting into it. I studied it for about two years. “
He said self-storage depots draw customers from about three to five miles around their business whereas QuickStor is limited by how much people want to pay him delivery.
“Based on the population of the trading area around Lloydminster there’s room for 160 portable storage containers just for residential use,” figured Yelland.
“When we consider the restoration use and the oil and gas industries there’s business for me to operate 200 to 300 storage containers.”
Currently Yelland works out his home by phone fax and email and stores inventory on a neighbour’s ranch north of Lloydminster while the business grows.