Five Factors to Consider When Looking for a Warehouse for Your Small Business

A woman's hands hold a tablet taking a picture of warehouse space.

If you’re looking for warehouse space to not only store items, but also receive inventory and ship items, there are five factors you’ll want to consider. Whether you need warehouse space year-round or temporarily, say for peak season, consider these aspects of your business while you search.

1. Location is key.
Location is often the first consideration when looking for a warehouse to store your products. Having quick and easy access to major highways and interstates is the best way to get your inventory out the door and to your customers. But having your stored items close to your storefront may be necessary as well. You may be using your warehouse as a main shipping point or as additional space, depending on several factors. Pick a location that works best for what you need.

2. Know your items.
As you begin to look for space, be ready to share the details of what you’re storing. Know the size, shape and weight of the items you’re looking to warehouse. Be sure you can answer a few key questions. Will inventory arrive at the warehouse in larger boxes? On pallets? How much movement in and out will happen during a given day or week? How much inventory will need to be stored at any given time? Do inventory levels fluctuate throughout the year? Are they likely to grow over the course of your lease? How do the items need to be stored to maintain quality?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a clearer picture of how much space you need and what other what characteristics will be required from a potential warehouse and/or shipping partner, and the warehouse representative will be able to create the right plan for your storage needs, along with a matching price.

3. Short or long-term. 
Knowing “why” you need warehouse storage will help determine “how long” you need it. Determine your short and long-term storage needs. Do you need storage during peak season only? If so, how early do you need it and how long after peak do you need it? Do you need long-term storage with temporary additional space? Do you anticipate needing more space in the future? Could you need to downsize at a moment’s notice? Decide those answers and discus the options with your warehouse provider so your plan is set and your items get in place.

4. Warehouse features.
Take a look around the warehouse to see what the space and equipment look like. Do the shelving and forklifts look to be in good shape? Check out the main floor and loading dock areas to see if they look well-maintained. Also, most warehouses do not provide climate control, but if your items require this feature, be sure to ask about the systems in place to control temperatures, or humidity.

Find out what security measures are in place to protect the building, property and staff. They can include features such as security alarms, video cameras, fire suppression systems and gated access. Wi-Fi within the warehouse is an important feature to ask about since logistics management relies on Internet connectivity.

5. Price. 
The final decision is often dictated by price, but depending on your business set-up and needs, it may be wise to shop around to find the best location before factoring in the price. On the other hand, it’s usually cost beneficial to rent a warehouse just outside the city limits versus inside a major city.

As you explore warehouse options, consider your distribution or final mile delivery plans as part of that. They all go hand in hand. Express Courier can provide warehousing, along with final mile delivery options that are unique to your small business. Request a Free Quote anytime.

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