Over the past few years, SecūrSpace has grown from a niche marketplace with a handful of locations in Los Angeles to a nationwide network of hundreds of facilities offering on-demand access to yard space.
ITS Conglobal was one of the early contributors to the SecūrSpace marketplace, listing their facility in Los Angeles ahead of the SecūrSpace launch in August 2018, eventually expanding to Chicago, Oakland, and beyond.The SecūrSpace partnership with ITS Conglobal is a great example of what is possible when combining latent industrial real estate with an innovative platform capable of facilitating and tracking an unlimited number of parking customers and transactions.
ITS Conglobal offers a range of intermodal, depot, auto, drayage, and maintenance & repair services. Since intermodal hubs are typically located in major metropolitan areas, the real estate required to offer these services can be costly. Maximizing the use of the space to drive ROI is among the company’s highest priorities.
While most of the space is committed to ITS Conglobal’s core business, their yards are often not fully utilized. They need the ability to flex for seasonal purposes while accounting for the growth of the business. Optimization would require opportunities to generate revenue on a short-term basis while not over-committing and hindering core operations.
One possible solution is working with subletters that use the additional space to park and store shipping containers. Not only does ITS Conglobal have the necessary real estate, but also provides a depot service, meaning an operation is already in place to accommodate in-gating and out-gating equipment. Prior to the partnership with SecūrSpace, ITS Conglobal would use this option opportunistically with larger, long-term customers. The benefit was not only the additional revenue but the simplicity of working with a single customer, making tracking equipment and collecting payment easier. The downside is that longer-term deals can significantly reduce flexibility in the yard, a major deterrent.
Most drayage trucking companies are small and medium sized businesses (SMB’s) that are priced out of real estate near major ports. In an ideal world, ITS Conglobal could work with these SMB’s to give them access to space that would help them run their businesses more efficiently while generating higher margins on a per space basis relative to larger block deals. Small, short-term commitments also ensure ITS Conglobal maintains control over their real estate and increases the likelihood of reaching maximum utilization.
The challenge with extending this service to smaller trucking companies is that managing so many transactions is a logistical nightmare. The specifics for each transaction – the company, number of spaces, reservation dates and more – would need to be collected. Contracts would need to be in place, invoices sent, and payments tracked. Usage also has to be recorded, as overuse of the reserved space is common. Customer support would need to be available to address any issues that arise. All of this must be in place to handle dozens if not hundreds of customers that are booking for only a few days or months at a time.
As a result, it simply was not possible for ITS Conglobal to take advantage of this opportunity without scaling their operation considerably.
Understanding that the market for moving freight is incredibly fragmented, SecūrSpace built a solution that would maximize the use of a facility like ITS Conglobal’s, addressing the complex nature of providing on-demand access to yard space to so many customers. SecūrSpace aggregates the administrative, legal, and financial aspects of parking and storage into a single platform, allowing customers to book the space they need when they need it. By streamlining these business processes, SecūrSpace partners only need to handle the on-the-ground operation, which for ITS Conglobal was already in place thanks to their depot service.
Here’s how the SecūrSpace platform simplifies the transactional nature of parking and storing freight equipment:
- Bookings – Similar to booking a hotel room, customers can search online for locations in the area where they need space and book ahead of time. ITS Conglobal receives a notification and can choose to accept or decline the reservation based on yard availability. These bookings simplify tracking a large number of customers by providing information on the company, how much space they need, what type of equipment they are storing, and how long they plan to use the space.
- Payments – Customers pay up front when booking space through ACH or credit card, so there’s no need to invoice or worry about payment collection. Monthly customers on a recurring booking are automatically charged on the first of the month until their booking is canceled.
- Legal/Liability – Each company offering space in the SecūrSpace marketplace may have different requirements for yard use. Before listing in the marketplace, partners upload a Reservation Agreement to their profile that customers must agree to prior to booking the space. Any liability policies are included in this agreement. SecūrSpace provides a template that partners like ITS Conglobal can choose to use as-is, amend as needed, or simply use as inspiration for their own Reservation Agreement.
- Gate Management – To improve operations, SecūrSpace provides a Gate Management System (GMS) that allows partners to check equipment in at the gate under a customer’s booking. In this case, ITS Conglobal’s guards have tablets at the gate logged in to SecūrSpace. When a driver arrives, the guards find the company’s booking, ensure they have a reservation and record the container number, trailer number, license plate, etc. Customers can log in to their account and see current inventory and interchanges, which means less work for ITS Conglobal to provide this information. Overages are also tracked through the GMS and automatically charged to ensure all revenue is collected.
- Customer Support – Handling a large number of transactions across hundreds of customers requires support. The SecūrSpace team, available 24/7 by phone or email, is the point of contact for all issues related to marketplace customers, easing the burden on ITS Conglobal staff. When ITS Conglobal needs to relay operational information to a customer or group of customers, the SecūrSpace team is always ready to assist.
When ITS Conglobal first listed in 2018, wheeled storage at their facilities was nearly non-existent. In the first five months as an active partner in the SecūrSpace marketplace, ITS Conglobal earned over $600,000 in revenue. Since joining the marketplace, over 7,300 Bookings have been placed at ITS Conglobal facilities generating total revenue of over $26Million. Since the operation was already in place to accommodate this new business, additional operational costs have been minimal, meaning marketplace revenue has had a material impact on ITS Conglobal’s profitability.