In the initial phase of your business, your garage might serve just as fine for the storage space. However, it is just going to be a make-shift temporary arrangement. As your business grows, you will have to eventually rely on a warehouse to store your inventory.
Of late, the businesses have realized the vast and varied advantages of warehouses. This is one reason why the global requirement of warehousing has steadily gone up to 5 percent in no time. The introduction of automated warehouse systems has made them even more desirable.
Having said that, you can’t just land upon a random warehouse and expect that it would take your business to new heights. There are so many things that need to be considered before you find a warehouse space that goes best with your business. As a small business owner, you are more likely to have s limited budget. Therefore, you have to be street smart when it comes to hunting for an ideal warehouse.
Sticking to the following tips will greatly supplement your cause:
As soon as you start your quest for a warehouse, the location should be the first thing on your mind. It becomes easier to spot a region when you know where your customer-base lays. For example, if the crux of your consumers resides in New York, there is no point in contacting the warehouse service providers in San Francisco. Even if you are offered cheap rates in the latter region, it won’t serve you any purpose.
Being close to your customers means you will deliver the parcels to them much more quickly. While surfacing on your e-commerce website, many people would be interested in knowing how fast you carry the orders before closing the deal.
Of course, there are people who want the best products and they might be willing to wait as well. But, remember, there is also a huge customer-base that desires for average stuff but want it at the short notice. A well-mapped out location has the potential to cater to almost all kinds of customers.
Before finalizing the location, you should scratch up the following few aspects as well:
- Taxes: Apart from the explicit costs of rent and maintenance, you need to consider hidden taxes as well. Depending on your business niche and state, the taxes might vary. Since the government also offers tax evasions or reductions to certain industries, you must be attentive to that part as well. If it all sounds too much to handle on your own, getting hooked up to a financial advisor will do a world of good to you.
- Atmosphere: There are inventories that can only be maintained in a certain atmosphere. If the warehouse temperature does not stand in line with the nature of your products, they will soon outlive their utility. So in case, you trade weather-sensitive products, just tab into this criterion.
- Storage space
Storage space is the second feature in our list. You have to be sure about how much space your inventory is going to occupy so that you end up renting a perfect warehouse. A small warehouse will lead you to the wastage of money. On the other hand, big warehouse space will force you to put the inventory outside which will invite a potential risk of theft. The setup of a warehouse plays a key role in maximizing the storage space. Though warehouses with proper inside structure will be more expensive, they will preserve your inventory more conveniently. You will not have to spend hours locating a single item; everything will be apparent and right in front of your eyes.
Bear in mind, a warehouse is not something that you can change at your convenience. It takes a lot of effort and resources. Besides, your customers also get affected. Hence, you need to plan ahead. Conduct elaborative research and evaluate how much growth you expect in the next few years. This step will ensure that you don’t run out of space in the face of future growth. In case your business expands unexpectedly and you are forced to search another alternative, make sure it is closest to the already existing setup. That way, you can keep the business disruption at a minimum.
- Amenities and utilities
This is perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of business owners. Employees are usually the last thing on entrepreneurs’ minds when they start looking for a warehouse. At such warehouses, the rate of employee retention is always lower than usual. There are a few things that businesses can’t compensate by offering a hike in the salary. You have to keep your employees at ease by providing basic facilities like a washroom, kitchen, parking lot, break area and so on.
Better still if there is mass public transport in the area. If your business is internet-centric, check out the availability of the internet in the building or respective area. Inquiring about the Wi-Fi speed is equally important as slow internet can hamper the efficiency of the staff. Some of the building owners don’t allow the usage of particular machines. It is better to come to terms with such issues upfront to avoid future conflicts.
Don’t forget to inspect the size of the entrance doors. If they are too small then owners can expand their size before renting you the warehouse.
Running a warehouse is not a walk in the park. It takes special training and skills. If your warehouse is located in Washington DC, you will have to hire employees from that area. But what if the local public does not possess the skills you require in your warehouse? It will force you to hire people from other areas and, as a result, the overall company costs will mark an uptick.
To be on the safe side, you should check into the demand and supply ratio of the labors in the respective region. You can also readily find the educational data of a specific region on government websites. It will give you a clear picture of the skills possessed by the general public of a particular demographic.
- Pick and pack area
When you are busy setting up the new warehouse, you can’t turn a blind eye to the customer during that period. That’s where a pick and pack area comes into action. By the time you are engaged in putting the warehouse space in order, you can exploit the pick and pack area to deal with the customers. The area will also be very useful when the demand suddenly goes up. Surely, no business would want to be caught napping in such a scenario.
- Access to carrier services
For small business owners, it could be back-breaking to offer too much discount on the delivery charges. At the same time, you can’t charge a hefty amount either because it will serious implications on your bottom line. After the globalization, the competition among businesses has touched a whole new level. So without being competitive, you can’t even survive let along thriving.
The best way to get out of this is easy access to carrier services. It will not only streamline the whole process of deliveries but your small business will save money in the long run as well. As you can see, selecting a warehouse is a time-consuming process. What’s more, you have no margin to put a foot wrong. So if you are receiving those positive signals which indicate that your business is all set to expand, it is about the time to call warehouse services.