Getting into Storage: Starting a Warehouse Business in 4 Simple Steps

starting warehouse business storage company startups

What's a must-have for businesses that sell, manufacture, import, or transport goods?

Warehousing, of course!

Without a warehouse, it will be hard for companies to track their inventory. And with poor inventory management, you can bet there will be order processing errors, as well as delays in shipments.

You know what that means, right? Late shipments = poor customer experience. This makes warehousing a necessary investment for a lot of businesses. 

Now, this is where you come in. By starting a warehouse business, you'll be able to help many small businesses or independent contracts who are looking for alternatives to self-storage units or huge warehouse facilities that cost a lot. 

But where should you start? Read on for a 4-step guide that will teach you how to start a warehouse business. 


1. Crunch the Numbers

While there are businesses you can set up for cheap or free, even small warehouses will require financing. That's because to open a warehouse business, you'll need somewhere between $10,000 and $50,000.

This will include the space you'll lease for your warehouse, software, and equipment such as shelving units and crates. You may also need to invest in a truck (or trucks) if you plan to offer distribution services, as well as special storage units such as freezers or refrigerators if you plan to cater to cold chain clients.


2. Do Your Homework

Aside from knowing your startup costs, you must also scope out the competition. In your area, you have to know what other warehouse companies are doing and which customers they serve. 

This will help you define your competitive advantage, or it can help you carve out a niche in the market. For example, you can look into businesses that have specific storage requirements such as food companies or art dealers. This is a great opportunity for you to offer a specialized service, especially if there are already a number of all-purpose warehouses in your city.


3. Hire Employees and Work with the Right Partners

You'll need to hire employees to take care of certain tasks, but not just anyone who wants a job. It's important you hire workers who understand the business, more so if you plan to offer fulfillment services. 

You also have to think about protecting your investment. Consider partnering with businesses that can help your business grow. For instance, working with a company that offers warehouse rack inspection may help you save on repair and maintenance costs down the line. 


4. Find Clients for Your Warehouse Business

There are several ways you can generate leads for your warehouse business.

First, you can sign up to be a member of the International Warehouse Logistics Association. They can help you find clients in your area, and you'll also get access to tools and services that can help your business grow.

You can also try online advertising so you'll be more visible to businesses that are looking for warehousing services. Of course, you have to set up a website for this and be active on social media so you don't lose engagement with potential customers. 

Another way to build your client base is to attend trade shows and conferences. Traditional marketing tactics are also worth a try, but choose your channels well. TV or radio ads may be too expensive, but brochures, direct mail, etc. could be a cost-effective means of tapping new clients.


Need More Business Advice?

Now that you know more about starting a warehouse business, don't stop there. Make sure to continue researching the industry so you're ready for any challenges that might come your way.

For more tips and advice, don't forget to check out our other business articles. 

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