There are many different types of business that can find themselves in need of a warehouse. Ecommerce stores, for example, will need to invest in a warehouse to house their stock; while businesses that are primarily seasonal will need to store stock safely for the duration of the off-season.
However, regardless of the reason you may find yourself needing a warehouse for your business, the same considerations have to be made. Below, we have outlined all of the different aspects you will need to keep in mind as you seek to find a suitable warehouse for your company, beginning with…
Size is, without a doubt, the most important consideration for those looking for a warehouse – and there are many different ways that size needs to be considered, too.
First and foremost, you need to ensure that you find a warehouse that has enough room to store stock or items that you already own. After this, you need to think about the future. For example, if you were to expand your product lines in the future, or want to store a higher number of items due to growth within the business, then it is helpful to ensure you find a sufficiently sized warehouse now rather than attempting to move a few years down the line.
When examining size, it’s also necessary to think about equipment and how it may impact the size you have available. You may, for example, find a warehouse that offers suitable capacity for your stock or other items, but you’ll also need to consider space for shelves, machinery, and so on.
However, there is a final component of size to consider: it is unlikely that you will find a space that is “just right”. If you find that the space is not quite sufficient, then spiral elevators and similar innovations can deliver functionality in a smaller space than conventional equipment, so could well be the answer to size issues. If you find that the space is too large, then you could consider renting the leftover space to other businesses; a measure that can be a useful second stream of income in the future.
While there are exceptions, the vast majority of warehouses are located in relatively remote areas. This is an unfortunate necessity; warehouses require a lot of space, so they can rarely be located close to crowded urban areas.
Nevertheless, while it is understandable that warehouses are often rather remote, there are downsides to this – and one of the most significant concerns is in regards to public transport. You will need to consider how easily your staff will be able to reach your warehouse using public transport, and whether or not public transport will be in operation throughout your intended shift patterns. For example, if you will have night shift workers at your warehouse, then there is a strong chance that buses will not be in operation.
Remoteness is not necessarily a dealbreaker, especially given that the issue tends to be widespread – few warehouses are what could be considered “convenient”. However, you do need to know about potential transport problems your workers may face before you sign a lease, so you can put measures in place (such as a work bus service) that can ensure staff members who do not have their own transport will be able to reach the warehouse safely for every shift.
One final transport consideration is the fact that some workers will prefer to drive their own vehicle for their shift. This is preferable in terms of reducing reliance on public transport, but can pose issues in terms of on-site parking. To account for this, you’ll need to estimate the number of workers who will be in attendance at any one time (including yourself) and work off the basis that they will all choose to drive. This is an overestimation, but it is nevertheless preferable to underestimating and finding that workers cannot park their cars. You will then need to assess the parking facilities and ensure that you have enough space to account for all workers’ vehicles on any given shift.
The final aspect to consider is cost, and again, there are several different ways this will need to be addressed.
The first consideration is the rent of the warehouse itself, and how well this aligns with your budget. In this regard, it is always preferable to pay less than you can afford – this gives you a little leeway that can help to keep your business finances healthy.
You may, however, find yourself in a situation where the only warehouse that meets the needs we have discussed in the first two points costs more than you were hoping to pay. In this case, there are a few options. You could, for example, look at ways to cut other costs so that you have more funds available to lease the warehouse you actually want. However, cutting too far can be harmful to a business, so only target low-hanging fruit if you wish to explore this option.
When you are confident that you can manage the regular rent payments, there are other cost aspects to keep in mind. Security provisions, for example, can be expensive, and the more work you need to do to get the warehouse into working order will also deplete your budget. If you run the numbers and are confident you can manage all the costs associated with the warehouse, and it meets all of your other requirements, then you may well be on to a winner.
However, if the numbers don’t add up, then tread cautiously. Looking for further investment into your business could be worth considering, but you will need to balance the pros of having a great warehouse against the cons of your business carrying extra debt. Alternatively, you could start your search again in the hopes of finding a warehouse that meets all of your needs – this can be a frustrating choice when you just want to move in and get started, but could be the best option for the long-term well-being of your business.
When you have evaluated all of the above, you can be confident that you have found a warehouse that is genuinely suited to your business’ needs.