How to Use a Storage Unit to Manage Your Small Online Sales Business

Posted on: 7 April 2016

Whether you're selling crafts on Etsy or flipping vintage furniture on eBay, there may come a time when your small online sales business needs more space. Your family may grow weary of your living room being taken over by fabric scraps or the garage being so full of holiday wreaths that the car won't even fit there anymore. Here are some tips on how to use a self storage facility to take the pressure off your home and help your business run more efficiently.

Know the rules and accessibility before signing a contract.

Every storage facility has different rules when it comes to what you can use your unit for and how it can be accessed. Some questions to ask yourself and the storage facility include

  • Do you need 24/7 accessibility, or just Monday through Friday business hours?
  • Would you want to refinish furniture or make crafts on the premises?
  • Can you legally store all your items there? Some flammable substances may be prohibited.
  • Can you upgrade the size of the unit mid-contract if you need to?
  • Can anyone enter the property, or does it require a gate code or key?

Check and compare amenities between facilities.

Self storage units have come a long way in the last few decades. They range from garage-style outdoor units to luxury facilities that are more like storage clubs than warehouses.

Look for tight security, insurance to cover your inventory in case of loss or damage, drive-through or covered loading and unloading, temperature and moisture controls, and extras like coffee machines or photocopiers. Some facilities today even have their own business centers where you can meet with clients, send faxes, or use the Internet.

Fill your storage unit strategically.

Think carefully before you start filling your storage unit. Make a good estimate of the size you'll need for your inventory and supplies, and then rent something just a bit bigger, so you have room to move around and see your goods.

Make a list of everything you're storing, and decide where it will go ahead of time. Put larger or off-season items in the back. Use your center aisle for rolling racks or tables, and line the walls vertically to maximize your storage capability. Expandable racks, drawers, and stackable bins are your best friends here.

Develop an inventory system.

Once you no longer have your products at home, it can be easy to remove items and forget to take them out of your computerized inventory. Develop a strict inventory policy, especially if you have multiple people pulling items. Consider subscribing to a cloud-based program that allows anyone in your business to update the inventory in real time via a mobile device.

A storage facility will let you buy more supplies in bulk to keep your costs down and give you a place to store business-related supplies, like envelopes, labels, and the like. You can even use it to show locals your merchandise and expand from selling strictly online to having a brick-and-mortar presence. Needing a storage unit is a good sign--it means your business is growing. Be sure to check all your local storage facilities, such as Colfax West Self Storage, to investigate all your options.