Warehouse Ideas for a Business
Local and state regulations may limit what you can do with warehouse space.
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Depending on your zoning laws and rent or lease agreement, you have a wide variety of options for generating income with warehouse space. Whether you need to temporarily improve your cash flow or make a long-term deal, a little creativity and salesmanship will go a long way to turning an empty liability into a performing asset.
The main use for many warehouses is the storage of raw materials, supplies, finished goods and excess inventory of manufacturers and retailers. Check out the competition, which will not only let you see what they are charging, but all of the features, services and guarantees they offer. You will need temperature control, security, insurance, fire-response plans, carts or a forklift and on-site staff.
If you can soundproof a section of your warehouse, consider turning it into meeting space. You won’t have to invest in tables, chairs, podiums or audio-visual equipment if you want to use the space temporarily - rental companies can supply what you need. Your warehouse space might attract a trade show, seminar, church or fraternal group or other organizations that need a low-cost place to gather. Check the competition in your area to determine who is seeking meeting space and what the going rate is.
Transform your industrial space into an attractive party or event location with some temporary flooring, decorative columns and plants, sound system and rental furniture. Dance party promoters will rent your space and fill it, potentially giving you part of the cut. Alternately, you can hire a promoter, paying him a commission on attendees. Wedding receptions, youth sports banquets, art showings, plays, chamber of commerce mixers, scouting functions and proms are all potential events you can target, depending on how nice you can make your space.
Contact manufacturers who need inventory space or low-tech manufacturing square footage. Wire your space for cable and provide wireless access to create office space. Add a receptionist, conference room and copier to create office space for individuals. If you aren’t able to attract consumer functions to your warehouse and businesses have better market-price options with your competitors, consider leasing space to a company in exchange for it covering its portion of your overhead costs. You may not generate a large profit, but you’ll cut your heating, cooling and water bills, and insurance and property tax payments. Show your overhead costs per square foot and let a potential lessee see what he’ll pay per month. Be prepared to show your bills and invoices.
Sports and Fitness
Outfit a gym or give a personal trainer or fitness instructor a lease to open one in your warehouse space. You can buy many fitness machines and pieces of equipment used online at low prices, lay down synthetic turf or carpeting and add a few mats to get started. A gym you equip and operate will open you to liability, so begin with a call to your insurance company to see if it will cover you, and if so, for how much. You might be required to have all participants sign liability waiver forms. Depending on the size and ceiling heights, warehouses can be turned into soccer rinks and tennis courts you can rent by the hour to teams and individuals, or an entrepreneur who will use them for camps, clinics, lessons and tournaments. It might be in your interest to give the rink space to a soccer manager in exchange for the concessions revenue you generate.
No matter how you plan to use your space, check with your insurance company, fire department and local zoning and code officials before signing any contracts or making any space improvements. If alcohol will be served on the premises, you’ll need a temporary or permanent liquor license and extra insurance. You might have to meet health department regulations if you sell, prepare and serve food on site. This probably won’t be the case if you use a caterer. Events will require access to bathrooms and often a large refrigerator and water source. Make sure any company you rent to provides the proper insurance coverage requested by your insurance carrier.