Ben Cohn, 33, and Jeremy Rosen, 34, swapped their high flying corporate jobs for a warehouse when they set up revolutionary mobile self-storage business TAXIBOX in 2010.
The business delivers TAXIBOXES (storage containers about the size of a small SUV) directly to customers and returns them to one of the company’s five warehouses in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane.
The idea was hatched after Cohn, a former management consultant, travelled to the US and heard about a similar business in New Jersey.
“I saw what was happening in the US, where the self-storage industry is massive,” he said.
“Self-storage is hugely convenient and cost-effective. Storage is delivered in and out of people’s houses and they don’t have to hire a truck. Once Jeremy and I got the idea and the name together, we felt it was going to work here.”
Cohn had previously dabbled in property investment, but Taxibox marked a big career shift for him and Rosen, a former investment banker.
Neither Cohn nor Rosen had driven trucks or forklifts before but picked up the necessary skills quickly. The risk of starting up the business paid off, with rapid growth propelling the business forward.
At TAXIBOX, Rosen oversees finances, while Cohn is in charge of marketing and brand management.
The Sydney-based pair moved to Melbourne to establish the company. They set up a temporary warehouse, which they quickly outgrew before moving to a 3000-square-metre warehouse in the south-eastern suburb of Braeside.
Two years later they set up shop in a 1500-square-metre warehouse in Zetland, in Sydney’s south.
They invested thousands in delivery trucks and lifting machinery, but it was the thousands of Taxiboxes that cost Cohn and Rosen the biggest slice of their set-up pie.
The rapid growth early on saw the pair offered funding from a private equity firm and although the deal was very tempting, the pair declined and decided to stay private and grow organically.
Cohn and Rosen manage a team of 45 staff, some who have worked in warehouse and logistics for years.
TAXIBOX is a young company with a fresh approach. Cohn states, “We don’t run a dry corporate environment or have a rigid corporate structure.”
Cohn was just 25 and Rosen 27 when they started the business.
They say their youth has been a big advantage in today’s business culture.
“We’re switched on in advertising and marketing and we’ve been able to harness the online side of the business,” Cohn says.
“We’re creating new competitions on Facebook and have a lot of fun with social media.”
Cohn and Rosen have plans for Taxibox to expand into other major Australian cities and possibly south-east Asia.
“We made sure we built the business up so that it was scaleable and were careful to build a structure so it could expand,” Cohn says.
“Melbourne was the blueprint for the rest of the country. And right now we’re in the process of a pretty aggressive rollout.”
TAXIBOX was the first mobile self-storage company in Australia, being the first to market in Melbourne. Since expanding into Sydney and Brisbane, a number of competitors have come onto the scene. Despite the competition, Cohn says TAXIBOX is enjoying booming times with up to 159 deliveries made each day.
“We haven’t been fazed by the competition,” he says.
“Year on year we have grown our business by between 100 and 200 per cent. It’s just taken off.”
Article adapted from The Sydney Morning Herald