A warehousing company is something that most carriers and businesses will need at one time or another. Some will use their services on a regular basic while others might only rely on them to handle merchandise overflow, excessive inventory.
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Why would this occur? Well there are quite few reasons why you will use warehousing company occasionally:
- Added inventory for the holiday season;
- Promotional sales events;
- Unexpected consumer demands;
- Poor performance on sale items;
- Relocation/realignment of inventories;
- Manufacturer recalls;
- Bankruptcy, business closures, auctions;
- Loss of space due to weather (hurricane, tornado, flood, etc);
- Preparations for upcoming events;
The list goes on and whatever the reason might be, there is a huge demand and need to warehouse you merchandise and use a warehousing company.
But what does a warehouse actually do? Well, that is easy. A warehouse is a place to store excessive merchandise, material, freight, etc. until it is needed. A warehousing company operates the warehouse handling and all the little details for you, such as the insurance, employees, bills, and such.
But do you know what to look for when shopping around for a warehousing company? If you are like most of us, the answer is you think you have a basic idea. I am sure you do! After all isn’t it just like any other thing?
First you need to research, so you ask around, you hop on the internet, but where do you start? Perhaps those few can help you started:
- Nationwide Warehousing and Logistics Services ;
- The Southeastern Warehouse Association ;
- International Warehouse Logistics Association ;
- Warehousing Education and Research Council ;
- Warehousing Companies .
Then there are of course other associations, forums and other avenues you might try such as joining a group on Facebook or LinkedIn. Perhaps you could speak with other logistics experts.
You can even chat with others in the same industry and see what they recommend. If you want an idea of some of the major companies and how they rate read Transport Topics list of the top 50 logistics companies.
Once you have found a company, check to see that they are in good standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can also look up customer reviews. If a company is good often people won’t say much, but if they are bad it will be plastered all over the web!
So with that in mind I would like to offer a few helpful tips. These might not be all there is and they might not all fit your needs, but hopefully they can get you going in the right direction.
So, in no special order here are 15 tips to help you find and choose the right warehousing company that meet your needs.
1. Always Pay Attention To What’s Covered
It is very important that before you place your merchandise, freight, or excess inventory into a warehouse you know exactly what is covered. By this I mean, in the event that there is an issue such as theft, fire, flood, other storms, and etc. what is covered by the warehousing company versus what are your responsible for.
So with other words, you need to find out are they insured to cover your stuff or do you need to maintain separate insurance (it is recommended that you always carry insurance regardless).
Are they a bonded warehousing company? Can you store items until the duty is paid and it’s cleared by customs? This is very important if you deal with international carriers.
2. Look What Are The Lease Terms
This is more important than you might know. Have you even rented an apartment then realized it wasn’t right for you? Or even worse; had a great opportunity but could break your rental agreement?
Keep this in mind when working with a warehousing company. Make sure they are flexible.
You need a company that won’t lock you into terms that aren’t realistic for your needs. Many businesses are like the ocean tides, sometimes they sitting dry and other times they are over their heads.
Regardless if you are a small trucking company that is in need for a temporal warehousing company or a big business with huge and regular storage demands, the warehousing company should be able to handle your needs, without restricting you financially or space wise.
3. Always Ask What Are Their Rates For Services
This is so important and I know it seems like such a no-brainer. But on the other side, you would be surprised just how many people enter a contract not fully understanding what they are paying for.
Or more correctly, not understanding what is and what is not included. So be careful and ask questions. A few things to consider are:
- Warehouse location;
- Size/storage capacity;
- Hours of Operation;
- Available materials and handling equipment;
- Trailer storage;
- Truck and trailer access;
- Turning lanes;
- Maintenance and other hidden fees.
You can always try using freight broker services to help you in identifying the best warehousing company. A warehouse that meets all your needs; budgetary, logistical, operational, and such for your company and storage requirements, can be tedious to find.
4. Check If Their Location Is Best For You
A few things to consider besides cost are the location and ease of getting to it. Just because they offer great services doesn’t mean they are the best choice.
Are they located within a reasonable commute from your primary operation center? Are the roads easy to enter and exit? Is there adequate parking (and does it cost extra)?
Do you deal with customs on a regular basis? What about the airport or seaports? Perhaps you must deal with the rail or river traffic.
Is the warehousing company located in a position that will make it feasible to use them, in comparison with the location you work from?