However small your business may be, as your inventory grows you will most definitely need to consider warehousing services with a company that will keep your inventory safe and secure.
When you’re turning over more products than you’re accustomed to, outsourcing to a business that specialise in warehousing services will take the responsibility out of your hands, leaving you to focus on other important factors of your business.
Businesses that offer various types of warehousing services are usually cost-effective, tailor-made and flexible.
Examine your business needs for the future as much as the present, in line with your business goals. In the next year, your business could succeed massively, possibly resulting in a change of warehouse space you require. Does the warehouse service you are considering allow you room for growth?
Concentrate on their track record. The length of time they have been in business might be a factor to consider, but don’t rule out new businesses as they can be just as great to use. Any reputable business will be able to back up their service record, so ask for references and testimonials.
If your business is seasonal, or the demand for your product fluctuates regularly, look for a warehouse with flexible suppliers. Small businesses cannot afford to waste money on long term rent for an empty aisle.
Flexibility isn’t just important for time; it should be taken into consideration for space too. Choose a warehouse with shared user storage that you could use temporarily; for example, a one-off project or if you have outgrown your original space.
Some companies will offer a lower rate to small businesses if that is their main target audience. However, the cost of using these services have their price. Consider your budget and how much you are willing to spend as you will have to pay them for setting up, a charge for each order/item shipped and even the process of stacking your product on the shelves could cost you a small fee.
Small businesses have different requirements to a large business, so research the other clients who use the warehouse of your choice. If they mainly serve large businesses, yours could be forgotten about amongst the bigger companies.
Don’t be fooled by cheap prices. It is so easy to be persuaded if you’re on a tight budget but you get what you pay for. Well-executed warehouses with a good track record will always come with a slightly higher cost. Sometimes spending more will get you extra help with customer services and returns, giving you time to prioritise other aspects of the business. The additional cost does not mean it is not a valuable asset. If the price is too good to be true, ask yourself what they are NOT offering.