Many of today's biggest businesses started from humble beginnings. When great ideas and a whole lot of elbow grease are combined, some of the best companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple are created. All of these companies have something in common. All three were famously started in a garage. Even some of the largest Ebay, Amazon and eCommerce sellers have started at home.
Your garage can be a great place to start a business. You can limit overhead costs such as storage and employees, but at some point, you will out grow your garage and it's important to know when it's time to move on. With such rapid changes in technology, and the speed in which consumers are buying products, it could be sooner than you think for your business.
Below are some of the key points to consider when thinking about your business growing up:
The number one sign of when to leave the garage is how you are spending your time. If you find that you are spending more time packing products, scrambling to organize your inventory, and running to the post office with a trunk full of packages, then it might be time to outsource to a 3PL or move to a larger facility with dedicated employees. Your time is your most valuable asset in your business and should be devoted to what you do best.
When should you leave the garage? Depends on how big the garage is! 😉 Space is a major limiting factor for many businesses. Maybe your garage could hold a few pallets, but it is now struggling to hold more inventory, and your customers are demanding more. The physical size of your garage or home directly limits grow and if this is the case it could be time to move to a 3PL or a larger facility.
As your catalog grows, you will need to organize your inventory more effectively. It can often be difficult to find your products in a cluttered garage or home, and they could get mixed with personal items, or even returned and damaged products. When running a warehouse, organization for inventory (new and returned), equipment, staging, shipping, and more are some of the important things to consider. A garage simply doesn't have much space to handle this type of work.
Technology & Equipment Costs:
Inventory management systems, shipping software, and physical equipment can cost thousands of dollars. When a business scales to a certain point, better software and sophisticated equipment become necessary. When Excel and a manual tape gun are no longer sufficient, outsourcing to a 3PL who already has the best software, equipment, and experience can save you lots of money and help you grow.
The point at which a seller outgrows his or her home or garage is different, but we urge you to consider all the points above when thinking about the future of your business and family.