Most entrepreneurs want to go into tech, supplements or some kind of artisanal whatever. This is a shame, since there are many industries and lines of work that have fallen by the wayside, just because people don’t even know that they are a viable (and lucrative) option. One of these, for example, is starting a warehouse business.
Starting a warehouse business may not have the glamour of a Silicon Valley start-up, but it is sorely needed and will, to be completely honest, make you a nice amount of money. Today companies can store their stuff in sizable dedicated warehouse facilities, try out storage containers, or contact a small-to-medium sized warehouse company (i.e. – you). Another benefit is that there is not as much competition as there is in the other sectors that we listed above. You just need to take some logistical things into consideration and take the plunge.
Opening shop – the basics
The cost of starting up a warehouse business varies from place to place, from country to country – simply put, we can’t give you a concrete number. However, we do believe that you don’t have to go in blind, and that you can figure it out for yourself. You should also figure out the warehousing needs in your area. The market may be oversaturated, or perhaps the opposite is true.
Also, try to remember to be as open-minded as possible. Warehousing isn’t only for raw materials and machinery – book stores could always get some use out of you, as can local restaurants and mom & pop stores. In other words – be creative and focus on small businesses.
Visit all the website and yellow page listings of any and all warehouse companies in the area where you want to set up shop. See what services they offer, how much they charge. Check out their size, the gear they have. Try to find a way to figure out how much they spend on their monthly lease – ask around. We also suggest you actually visit particular warehouses (call in advance!) and see if they willing to give you a tour, or even some advice.
Advertising is also something you should invest in. You should have your own website, and try to get the word out that you’re starting your business up. Be clear in what you can provide, with the exact numbers posted on your website. Also, try to contact any company you think would be interested in your services.
Getting the proper gear
First of all, you need to do this by the book. No matter where you’re stationed, you will most likely need some kind of license or approval to open up a warehouse, and to get the proper gear you need. Visit your local administration office and sign up for any licenses you need. Here the same goes as for the previous point – don’t be shy, don’t be arrogant, ask the experienced people for advice. You can spend hours messing around in various bureaucratic hellholes, or you can spend an hour or two with a (potential) colleague and see what he or she has to say. This also a great opportunity to check out what equipment they use.
Remember to get freezers and refrigerators if you’re going to store perishable goods. Get forklifts, lots of crates and shelves, shelving units… All this gear is important, but you should avoid a common mistake, and that’s not getting a proper computer. You may want to only focus on stuff that gives you money directly, but getting a proper computer with the appropriate software can save you from a lot of hassle. It will help you organize your work and warehouse better, and is obviously needed for most of the administrative work and client contact activities.
If you’re having trouble getting the gear to your warehouse, consider Universal Mobile Tower Hire, for example, as a way to get some help. Take a look at their website and check out their prices. Otherwise, getting a good truck (or pickup) is a worthy investment. You won’t need to buy it right away – renting is also cool.
Hiring the right people
You should get people that you can trust and that have experience. Now, this may not always be the case, but if possible, do a background check on some of your potential employees. If you really want to pinch pennies, try to get at least one experienced warehouse worker for every three guys that are green under the gills – he can serve as a mentor, and keep them in line. Warehousing may focus on pure manual labour, but there is still some skill that is required. And of course, you should always try to keep them safe. Adhering to any and all safety measures and rules is a must.
Next, the logistics people. Warehouse work isn’t just lifting heavy stuff and putting it down. You need an accountant, a secretary, and an actual logistics professional. This professional is supposed to oversee the journey of the product from one place to the other. He should also intelligently organize the whole warehouse so that it runs as efficiently as possible.
So there you have it folks. If you want to take the plunge and enter a line of entrepreneurship that not many people take, well, more power to you. Get the basics down, hire the right people, get the right people and, most important of all, be patient, and you will definitely have a strong chance to succeed.