New data from Direct Line for Business has found that almost three quarters of SME business owners with stock to store have seen their homes transformed into warehouses.
According to the figures, of the 5.7 million SMEs registered across the UK3, 63% run a business that sells products. Of this number, 71% of SMEs has had to use their own home to store their products.
The most common rooms sacrificed to store stock for small or medium businesses are a spare bedroom (24%), the garage (23%) or a cupboard (15%), as these keep the stock out of sight. One in 11 SMEs (9%), however, admit to using their primary living room to keep business stock. Six per cent use their kitchen and five per cent even resort to using any available space in their bathroom.
In a bid to keep products close by 38% of SMEs with stock have converted a room in their house to specifically become a stockroom.
When it comes to theft and damage, unfortunately 27% of SMEs have had stock stolen or damaged when storing it in their own home. Even when storing products away from the home they are vulnerable, as 29% of SMEs have had to deal with stolen or damaged stock in an external storage facility.
The average value of damaged or stolen stock stands at £1,007, with the most common causes being accidental damage (26%) and theft (20%).
Carly Menken, from Direct Line for Business, said: “As more people are choosing to work for themselves, it’s no surprise that so many business owners are turning to rooms in their own home to facilitate stock as a cheaper alternative to external facilities.
Whether stock is being stored in the home or a warehouse, there is a risk of damage or theft so it’s important to have the right insurance in place. Typically, home insurance won’t cover damaged or lost business stock at home, so business owners should consider business insurance which can cover stock and equipment and also provides cover for loss of income if stock is damaged or stolen.”
London is a hotspot for theft or damaged stock as 42% of SMEs in the capital have been the victim of theft or had their stock damaged whilst stored at home. The average value of stolen or damaged stock in London is £1,589, the highest of any region and 58 per cent higher than the national average (£1,107).