I’m building a physical prepper business where people can ship us things to store

We just started a website to put together a community of the prepared. The initial idea was to provide a place for people to go who might occasionally need relocating ( hurricane, flood, tornado). This gives them a prepaid long-term place to go without having to purchase or maintain property away from their home. Since then we have added a prepper dedicated storage facility. Its a simple concept. You ship us what you want us to store, we put it in your unit, we mail you a key, then you can either have it shipped anywhere you want when you need it or pick it up in person.

our website is http://www.graywolfpaylake.com/bug-out

The website is new and as you can see needs some work. But I was hoping to get some advice on how to better provide for people that need a bug-out location or storage. Any input is greatly appreciated.


  • Comments (16)

    • 6

      Just to let you know I changed the title to be more accurate so people know what this conversation is about. As long as it’s kept non-spammy and you’re here to learn, we think there’s an interesting conversation to be had here. So I’m leaving it up.

    • 11

      This is an interesting idea and one that i’ve thought about before. I’ve wanted to cache some of my preps in another location, like a storage unit, so that if my house and neighborhood is taken out by a natural disaster, I won’t have to start from nothing.

      You are different than just any ol’ storage unit though because of the ability to ship my stuff anywhere, that is a nice feature. Shipping costs could get pretty expensive though. Are you just shipping USPS? or do you have a cheaper option if I have hundreds of pounds of supplies?

      I also do not see where you are located if I wanted to pick up locally, that would be nice to have on the website.

      Other things I would want to know before trusting my preps in your hands would be security and insurance of my items.

      I do like the full privacy of names and inventory though. I’ve heard of storage units giving out people’s names and that can be dangerous if a burglar knows I have a storage unit and my name and is calling around to different different units looking for my stuff.

      • 4

        We are looking more into shipping. That is a big concern for us. Shipping rates are ridiculous for the stuff we want to do. Again we are open to suggestions from anyone on how to improve the cost or the best way to move large or heavy shipments.

        I added the address to the website. I’ve typed it in while setting everything up so many times I must have forgot to actually add it to the site. Thank You very much for pointing that out. We are in south central rural Ohio. 

        As of right now we dont offer any insurance policies. And would expect our customers to get a renters insurance. They are usually pretty cheap. But we do plan on having meetings with insurance companies ourselves to try to workout something we can offer.

        Thank You very much for your help.

    • 5

      Preppers are going to want to store their food/water storage with you, and some of them maybe even their guns. Climate control would be important for them.

      Some food can’t get too hot as that kills the lifespan, and not too cold as it will freeze and could expand and break the container it is in. 

      Guns and other prepping items too don’t do well in moist environments or high humidity.

      If I was going to store my guns/tools in a storage unit, I would pack the heck out of them with silica gel packets. I wouldn’t want my guns to be vulnerable if the storage unit had a power outage and their dehumidifier was down for a few days. As in most prepping, we need to prep for the worst and not rely on others too much. 

    • 6

      If shit really hits the fan, do you offer an option for bidding on lots? I’ll put $50 on Stokes’ kit sight unseen, escalation clause to $100 over highest bid or person with 1K more .223 rounds than me 😉

      But seriously this is a nice concept, although my logistics brain is sounding alarms at the thought of relying on preps being shipped to me during a SHTF situation. 

      I also wonder about the fact that you’re advertising the storage of preps, which seems to paint a pretty bright target on you should shit get rough. Granted, you don’t seem like a soft target, but still one more layer of your own situation to manage (while also being responsive to clients’ needs). 

      A cool idea, for sure, hoping you find a good path forward with it–keep us posted!

      • 7

        You are right to be concerned about having all your preps shipped to you during SHTF situation. We believe, like most, that 2 is 1 and 1 is none. We would recommend anything you ship to us either be secondary preps or supplemental. If you follow the P.A.C.E. concept (Primary, Alternate, Contingent, Emergency) we think we should fall into the Alternate or Contingent category. I would never place my primary preps in the hands of anyone else.

        As for security if things get rough, we have in place a group of people on site, along with heavy construction equipment, and a plans for a rapid construction of barricades, choke points, check points, look outs, and other goodies.

        And no we wont be bidding on lots lol. In fact during a SHTF situation any rental expirations will be temporarily suspended. So if you have a year rental for 100 Sq Ft of space. And your rental is going to expire in a week. But suddenly you get hit by, or have bearing down on you, a hurricane, you let us know, we verify your emergency, and until you are in the clear your space is still reserved to you. Even if you don’t intend on renewing your space. We wont cancel it, or charge for the extra time. And we realize that in a really bad SHTF situation it may be months or even years that we hold onto your space and stuff in it. At no cost to you. Also, realize that if shipping companies stop, we wont be putting your stuff in our trucks and taking it to you, so you may have to come and get it yourself. But if you can fight your way here, it’ll be here for you. And if you have paid for a cabin, you will have a place to stay when you get here.

        With that said one of things I wanted to have a discussion on is vetting our customers. What level of application do you all think we should have? I mean we wouldn’t want to have an entire community of 90 year old stock brokers right. So how much should be skill based, family unit based, location based, contribution based? We’ve spent some time thinking about this. Right now we need capital but we don’t want it so bad that we put our community now or in the future in jeopardy by just accepting anyone with a checkbook.

    • 7

      Joseph, I’m a major supporter of business development.  It is a major undertaking but worth it.  Could not access Greywolf hyperlink.  Not critical for basic discussion.

      Some commentary; 

      Offering both a bug-our location and a storage program is capital intensive. Check your finances and have a “third party” … someone not involved in venture … also check and discuss with you.

      Storage means dealing with HAZMAT, from a couple of boxes of propane fuel cannisters to bear and wasp sprays. Do review your business plan and arrange to meet with a state/regional fire official.

      A bug-out location means evacuating preppers with their pets.  Whatever your website’s sales literatures explicitly says, some with arrive with 2 horse trailers. Plan to meet with your state’s area representative re animals.  Your local area I’m sure has officials who can provide some thoughts and give you copies of regulations.

      Recommend to physically meet (as quarantine provides for in your state/area) with your state’s Dept of Business Development … sometimes titled “Economic Development”. This type of organization is typically throughout the entire state.  Sometimes the local area’s bricks and mortar library’s bulletin board has info on this type of org.

      Recommend to physically meet with your area’s regional branch of state department of emergency management.  You will leave this meeting with loads of information, pamphlets, and good contacts.

      Recommend to have a “no-obligation” meeting with an area insurance company that handles your subject matter such as storage. You’ll learn about what causes the problems and what does not.

      As business plan gels, return here for for additional early morning ramblings.

      “Not taking risks is life’s greatest risk.” Anon

      Don’t forget:  It’s worth it !

      ~ Bob

      • 5

        Thanks for the feedback Bob,

        I had the link in wrong, it was trying to link to a page on this site. I fixed it. But you will see that our website is new and kind of rudimentary for now.

        We have the land necessary for what we have planned. On it is two decent size ponds stocked with catfish. Our main business is a Catfish Paylake.

        We are very rural. Our local fire department is all volunteer. We know most of them on a first name basis. This is a small community. So I can definitely have a conversation with them. 

        We actually have better accommodation for large animals like horses, cows, goats. All of which we raise ourselves. As far as pets like dogs, cats, and birds. We are open to suggestions. Im not sure if we need a separate kennel type setup or should expect people to be able to house their pets with them in the cabin they have.

        We have several members in our family that have Federal Emergency Management experience. Around 40 years total. And have had personal relationships with State EMA personnel in the past. We were thinking of putting an “About Us” section on the website. But some of us were concerned with privacy issues when putting our credentials out there. As of now we wont be doing that, but may in the future.

        And we are going to set down with some different insurance companies and try to work out a deal we can offer. And get an idea of their most common claims and problems.

        Thank You so much for your input Bob. I know we have a lot of work ahead of us to get this thing running the way we want to. We don’t want to cut corners and we are exited to see this take off.

      • 5


        Well received.  Will glance at website soon.

        At above link, an official Ohio site, see if anything can be used.  Ohio uses a name “Small Business Development Center”.  Consider maxing out all the free info.

      • 4

        Been doing a little research and talking to a couple of folks re business venture and plans.


        Had mentioned term “Return Entry Permits”.  Above link is an example. There is also something pending (am doing some more research on this) on a temporary or permanent relocation permit in re disasters when travel restrictions are in place (includes purchase of gasoline/related).

        This concept got illuminated during the current public health emergency. Some national public health voices argued for restrictions known to us all … with one being “no interstate travel”.  The emergency community countered by “storm tore the roof off of house.  Sister, 2 states away said they could stay with her”.  We emergency community folks rhetorically asked: “Dr ABC, can they stay with you?”.  This generated the view that your business plan could properly serve as a second place of somewhat temporary residence for a purchaser of the mentioned 10 year contract.  For an outdoors person annually using your place for ~ 3+ weeks a year for fishing, hiking, related and have a vehicle placard with documents about Otway, Ohio facility, the cost is far less than what appears to be prohibitive to those just starting out.

        Am interested in evacuations and following this temp relocation matter as it developes into national policy, perhaps under Emergency Support Function 1: Transportation and Emergency Support Function 13: Public Safety and Security.


        The website’s rings are beautiful creations !

    • 6

      Sorry, but I’m not a trusting soul.  Must be the prepper in me.  But the last thing in the world I would ever do is ship off any item to some third party I don’t know & trust personally.  There is no guarantee that means anything to me, that my items would actually be there when needed.  All sorts of possibilities.  Could be you are a crook looking to take advantage of someone’s fears.  The stores could be taken from you or lost in a fire… or whatever caused the crisis that would make someone want their stuff.

      For those not living where they need to bug out, prepositioning supplies would be nice.  I personally would find & use someone I know or store in a place that no ones knows what I’m storing.

      • 6

        I agree, they could be a crook and just take everyone’s items, but I see them as just another self storage unit like Public Storage, but with the added emphasis on appealing to preppers. And they are also offering other services like shipping and understanding about late payments if you are going through a disaster. I don’t know if I would use them if I didn’t live within a reasonable distance of their location. I would want to go there myself and check it out, and also be able to go pick up my stuff in person to avoid a $1000 shipping charge. But that $1000 shipping charge is a small price to pay if that means not having to start over from scratch in an emergency

        I can see this service being very valuable if you don’t have any family or friends, or if your family all lives in the same area as you and would be just as affected by lets say a hurricane as you are.

        Although I don’t really trust self storage units (a pair of $20 bolt cutters can give access to anyone to your stuff) I do see the need and appeal for others to have one.

        Good on you guys for finding a need in the market and thinking of creating a unique and needful service. Wish I had a great idea like this and could start my own business.

        My advice is to be as transparent and open as you can be, as this crowd of preppers (myself included) are skeptical and a bit on the cautious side.

      • 8

        Let me preface this by stating I live on my rural homestead, so will not be bugging out.  But I’ve never understood the idea of bugging out to a location where you don’t know anyone and the locals don’t know you.  Seems like a recipe for trouble in my book.  I’ve always thought the best way to do this would be to visit the area you want to bug out to.  To attend church occasionally, purchase things from the coop, etc.  Get to know some landowners so that if there were a crisis, you wouldn’t be a stranger.  Maybe they would let you stay on part of their property in that case.  I can guarantee you, landowners will not tolerate strangers on their property, so pick your location well.

      • 7

        Those are some good points. I can see this being easy if you have like a summer cabin there and visit the area every few months. Going during holidays like the 4th of July when you can participate in parades and local activities can help spread your presence.

        A more out there idea, if your bug out location is in another state, make sure you get local college or state football team clothes, hats, etc.., to look like you are from there. 

      • 2

        A Cabin would be nice but I’m afraid most couldn’t afford that and the land.  My point is for folks to do this, even if you stay in a motel… or better yet (and cheaper) camp out & practice what you might later need to do during a crisis.  Your camping location might not be where you ultimately choose to bug out but the knowledge will be invaluable.

        Most important thing is to pick the right town.  Don’t pick some random town not anywhere near you.  If you are going to bug out, you need to be able to walk there in a few days & then get off the road.  If you live in a city, look at a map and look for small, rural towns at least an hour outside the city.  Look for towns on roads off the beaten track.  And you must meet people there.  IMO, the absolute best way to meet the right people is to attend church.  By their nature, they are looking for & wanting you.  Odds are, most of the landowners attend.  Plus it gives you all sorts of opportunities to join groups… such as maybe men’s group or Sunday school.

        If afraid those that need to bug out and just plan on showing up & camping in some national forest will be in for problems.  You need local friends.

      • 6

        Redneck, you’re describing contrasting arrangements not showing up in the smaller, to date, events. Of course the best of planning requires visits and pre-existing arrangements to bug out to a different area.

        A realistic situation approaching all Hades breaking loose, means activation of military, civilian components (eg Civil Reserve Air Fleet, some state medical and dental civilian programs). The mentioned co-op and church will be closed.  The garage in this bugout area where oil was changed the last 4 years on annual visits: closed only for maintenance on law enforcement and emergency responder vehicles.  The area’s land owners left area during mandatory evacuation. Any remaining land-owners, pending next phase of mandator evac, have no authority nor means to address tresspassers.

        The entire “neighborhood” changed.

        Think of why national authorities tested “return home” permits for vehicle visor display – along with driver’s license.

        Yes: a receipe for trouble.  Still, there are solutions. This is the fatiguing part.

        I, too, live in a rural homestead and regardless of my mobilization status, Madam could be told to evac.  Electricity might not be available for the private citizen evac.

        Even getting to Richard’s cabin retreat might require pre-existing arrangements.  The Ohio River is part of critical infrastructure and private citizens won’t readily be crossing this key waterway without documents.