As your business expands, your garage might not be adequate anymore for the number of products you have to store. When you were just selling a few items in the beginning, you could keep a few extra boxes there. Now your products are more popular, and you need more space to store them. A warehouse is ideal.
However, off-site storage has an effect on how successful your business can be. If the storage results in damage to the products, or if other problems spring up as a result of that particular warehouse, then your business could develop a less-than-stellar reputation. You could even face fines, believe it or not. Knowing what the conditions in the warehouse are like, and what other warehouses your chosen delivery services may use, is essential to having a smoothly run business.
Good Pest Control
No one wants unexpected guests, particularly of the pest kind. Even if you're not selling boxed food, pests can lodge themselves in boxes and bags, traveling to new destinations when the products are shipped to customers. Lest you become an unwitting insect travel agent, verify that the warehouses your products will be stored in have great pest control. And not just responsive pest control to take care of infestations, but also preventive pest control to ward them off in the first place. Also ask about how products coming into the warehouse are inspected to ensure they don't introduce pests, too.
You don't want your products freezing or melting while in storage. Warehouses should have some sort of climate control because the employees inside need to be kept healthy. But find out what temperatures are used and what humidity control is in place. It is easy for a warehouse full of people and machinery to become much hotter than expected in summer, for example; is the temperature control adjusted in that case, or is it always at a level that allows for that variation?
State Business and Tax Laws
This is not that much of an issue for some states, but for others, it's a big one. Sometimes storing products in a warehouse in one state is considered having a physical presence in that state, particularly in California, which has gone so far as to claim that if you sell through a certain major online retailer, and the retailer decides to send your products to a warehouse in California, then you're supposed to have a business license and seller's permits in California even if you didn't know that the retailer had stored your products there.
While it would be easy to say to just avoid California, you need to be sure all of the warehouse locations you might use are in friendlier states.
Technically, your products should be in the warehouse that you arrange for them to be in. However, if you're arranging to store them with a company that has a chain of warehouses, be sure you know whether the products could be transferred between locations (for space purposes, for example). You'll want to know where your items could potentially be and make sure all those locations meet your needs.
For more information, contact a warehousing company.