You’re a small business owner that doesn’t have much space to stash your inventory and essential supplies. You don’t have a dedicated storage space to use, so you’ve opted to bring your inventory home with you. It’s cluttered inside of your garage, your basement, your broom closet and all of the other nooks and crannies of your house.
Why is that a bad idea? Unless you have a lot of available space, you’ll find that your whole house is overcrowded with your business’s products. It’s not an ideal way to organize your home.
The idea isn’t good for your business either. Stashing your products in different rooms will make them difficult to keep track of. You might find that items go missing in the mix of all your personal belongings and that it’s a struggle to maintain accurate inventory records.
More importantly, certain parts of your home are not built for safe commercial storage. If you put items in an area that isn’t temperature controlled or properly secured, your items could get dirty or damaged. You might not be able to sell them anymore.
Say that your business primarily sells clothing products. If you put those products in a damp basement, they could sprout mildew. If you leave them in an attic full of moths, the items could get riddled with holes. If you shove them in a dusty crawlspace, they could get filthy. If you leave them unboxed in your living room, they could get covered in pet hair. This could be disastrous for your business. You could lose a significant amount in profits, and you could lose your peace of mind.
So, where can you store your business’s inventory? These are some options you can look into:
A Shipping Container
A shipping container is the perfect storage unit for a small business. Why? It’s large enough to fit all of your products inside, but it’s small enough to fit into your backyard. If you keep the shipping container in your backyard, you can make sure that your inventory is always close-by without getting in the way of your personal belongings. It will only be a few steps away.
Your shipping container can also protect your products from getting damaged, as long as you get the right “grade.” So, before you buy a storage container from an online shipping container platform, you should specify what grade you’re looking for. You will want a cargo-worthy grade, or at the very least, a wind and watertight shipping container for storage. Either of these grades will stop bad weather from affecting the contents of your container.
One of the main benefits of a shipping container is that it’s easily customizable. You can renovate it so that it meets all of your business’s storage needs.
What are some renovations that you could plan?
- Add insulation to the interior walls to protect temperature-sensitive items. They won’t be impacted by extreme heat or cold outside of the container.
- Connect the container to the nearest electrical grid. This renovation will help you install features like interior lighting, temperature controls and internet.
- Install motion-sensor lights and security cameras along the exterior of the container to keep burglars and vandals at bay.
- Paint the exterior to display your brand. Paint it in your business’s colors or add your logo.
Maybe your backyard doesn’t have enough room for a personal storage container. In that case, you might want to bring your inventory to a self-storage unit at a commercial self-storage facility. A commercial self-storage facility prioritizes small business owners over residents looking for a place to put their moving boxes and extra furniture.
These types of facilities will have storage units that are designed to keep your inventory safe from damage. For instance, say you need to store paper products and business documents. Too much heat and humidity could ruin those products and documents over time, leading you to lose out on your inventory and on the associated profits. That’s why self-storage facilities offer temperature-controlled units to clients.
These types of facilities also prioritize the security of their clients’ units. Since self-storage facilities can be targeted by burglars, they add features like surveillance cameras, unit alarms and on-site security staff to prevent theft. The last thing that you want is for someone to break into your unit and steal all of your products, leaving you to recoup the losses.
A dedicated warehouse is a large-scale facility reserved for a single business’s inventory. This type of warehouse will be much too large for your inventory needs, and the cost of using one will be far beyond the capabilities of your budget. A better fit for your business’s storage needs is a shared warehouse.
A shared warehouse — sometimes called a public warehouse — is a large-scale facility that caters to multiple businesses as opposed to a single company. These businesses divide up the storage space in the warehouse, along with the costs to use it.
A shared warehouse can give you a safe, organized location to keep your inventory without straining the boundaries of your annual budget. It can also offer 3PL services like kitting and assembly. Outsourcing these services to a third-party company could save you time and effort, and it can make the shipping process much smoother.
Stop filling up your living room with your business’s products. Use one of these convenient storage options and get your house back to normal.