If you’re an eCommerce business owner, you feel the financial pain of owning or renting out storage space. Any time you’re not utilizing every square inch of your warehouse, it feels like you’re wasting an opportunity to make more money.
Thankfully there are various ways warehouse business owners can turn those empty warehouses into revenue-generating machines.
Here is a comprehensive list of warehouse business ideas:
Lease your warehouse space
One of the most obvious ways to make money from your warehouse is to lease out the space. If you have extra space, why not put it to good use and generate some extra income by leasing it to someone who needs it?
There are a few things to consider when leasing warehouse space. First, you’ll need to find businesses that need space. You can do this by networking with other companies in your industry or by searching online. Several websites today allow you to list your space and get inquiries from interested parties.
Once you’ve found a few potential tenants, you’ll need to negotiate leases. Be sure to include clauses that protect your warehouse and your business interests.
Lastly, you’ll need to monitor your tenants to ensure they’re using the space as agreed. In an ideal scenario, you won’t have to play the part of an overbearing landlord.
Rent out your warehouse equipment
Another way to generate revenue from your warehouse is to rent out warehouse equipment. This could include forklifts, pallet jacks, dollies, and other essential warehouse tools.
If you have equipment you’re not using, why not rent it out to businesses who need it? You can list your equipment on rental websites or reach out to companies in your network.
Just like leasing warehouse space, you’ll need to negotiate rental agreements and protect your interests. You’ll also need to ensure your equipment is well-maintained and safe for use to protect yourself from any business liability.
Provide warehouse storage services
If you have extra space in your warehouse, you could provide storage services to businesses in your area. This could include storing inventory, equipment, or other items.
To get started, reach out to businesses in your network and see if they’re interested in using your warehouse for storage. You can also advertise your services online or in local publications.
Be sure to clearly define the terms of your storage agreement, including the cost, duration, and conditions of the storage. You’ll also want to make sure your warehouse is clean, well-lit, and secure.
Offer warehouse packaging and shipping services
Another way to generate revenue from your warehouse is to offer packaging and shipping services. If you have the personnel and equipment to run a logistics operation, why not put them to good use?
This could include packing orders for eCommerce businesses or shipping products for other businesses.
You can also stack this income stream with any of the ones listed above. In a way, you’re acting as a 3PL for other businesses.
To get started, reach out to businesses in your network or search for businesses that need packaging and shipping services. You can also advertise your services online or in local publications.
As with any of these warehouse business ideas, be sure to clearly define the terms of your agreement. This will help avoid any misunderstandings down the road. Not sure what to charge for these services? See our 3PL pricing and costs guide to help get an idea of where to start.
Start an auto repair business in your warehouse
If you’re handy and have a warehouse with a garage, you could start an auto repair business. This could include oil changes, brake repairs, and other basic maintenance services.
To get started, you’ll need to get certified as an auto mechanic (or hire one). You’ll also need to invest in some basic equipment, like lifts and air compressors.
If you don’t want to get certified, you could start a mobile auto repair business. This could involve going to businesses and repairing their fleet vehicles on-site.
To get started, reach out to businesses in your network or search for companies that need mobile auto repair services. You can also advertise your services online or in local publications.
Start a construction material company
If you have a warehouse with a yard, you could start a construction material company. This could involve selling gravel, sand, bricks, and other construction materials to businesses in your area.
Construction materials are essential for maintaining the infrastructure and the housing marketing, yet they’re very challenging to store. That’s where you come in.
Even if you don’t know anything about construction, there’s a lot of money to be made in construction materials sales. In 2021, lumber prices reached an all-time high, over 57% above 2020 prices. Many of the beneficiaries of that boom were construction materials companies.
To get started, look for timber companies or bulk distributors of construction materials in your area. You can also search for businesses that need construction materials and order/store them on an as-needed basis.
Create a sport or fitness facility in your warehouse
If you have a warehouse with high ceilings, you could create a sports or fitness facility. This could be as simple as a gym with a few weightlifting machines or as elaborate as a basketball court, a rock-climbing wall, or a batting cage.
There are all sorts of possibilities when it comes to creating a sports or fitness facility in your warehouse. The key is to find a niche that’s not being served by the competition.
To get started, you’ll need to invest in sports or fitness equipment. You may also need to hire certified instructors, depending on the type of facility you’re creating.
Once you’ve got your warehouse set up, reach out to businesses or individuals in your area who might be interested in using your facility. You can also advertise your services online or in local publications.
Turn your warehouse into an event space
Another option for generating revenue from your warehouse is to turn it into an event space. With a little decorative flair, a drab warehouse can be turned into a quaint wedding venue.
Or, if you have a warehouse with a large open space, you could host corporate events, trade shows, or concerts. The possibilities are endless.
To get started, you’ll need to invest in some basic event supplies, like tables, chairs, and linens. You may also need to hire staff to help with set-up and clean-up.
Once you’ve got your warehouse set up for events, reach out to businesses or individuals in your area who might be interested in using your space. You can also advertise on social media or sites like Craigslist. A unique benefit of event spaces is that events happen year-round, offering the chance at consistent revenues year round.
Convert your warehouse to an office space
If you live in a major city, you could convert your warehouse into an office space. This is becoming a popular trend as businesses look for ways to reduce their overhead costs.
To get started, you’ll need to invest in some basic office furniture and equipment, like desks, chairs, and computers. You may also need to hire staff to help with day-to-day operations.
Obviously, you’ll want to have fast internet, air conditioning, and restrooms. You’ll also want to check with your city’s legal codes and ordinances to ensure you’re authorized to house office workers in your warehouse.
Convert your warehouse into a coworking space
If you’re not looking for the level of commitment necessary to lease out office space, consider converting your warehouse into a coworking space.
A coworking space is a type of office where individuals or businesses can rent desks or office space on a short-term or long-term basis. Coworking spaces are becoming increasingly popular as companies look to find a middle ground between totally remote and in-office work.
At a typical coworking space, you’ll have access to all sorts of amenities, like fast internet, air conditioning, and conference rooms. You’ll also be able to meet other like-minded professionals and collaborate on projects.
There are a few different ways to monetize a coworking space. One option is to charge tenants a membership fee. This could be a monthly fee or a fee for every time they use the space.
Another option is to charge tenants for the use of shared amenities, like conference rooms or printers. You could also offer services like mailing address and storage space.
The key is to find a pricing model that works for you and your tenants. Either way, using your warehouse as a coworking space has all of the benefits of using it as an office space with none of the downsides.
Turn your warehouse into a kid’s gym or play place
If you have a warehouse with high ceilings, you could turn it into a kid’s gym or play place. This is becoming a popular trend as parents look for ways to keep their kids active and engaged.
Popular kids’ play facilities like Monkey Joes are basically giant warehouses filled with bounce houses, inflatable slides, and all sorts of obstacles to help kids get their jitters out.
To get started, you’ll need to invest in basic gym equipment, like mats, trampolines, and balance beams. Or, if you’re less keen on gymnastics and want to go for a more generalized play place, you’ll need some bounce houses, slides, and other inflatables.
This business model has high profitability potential and little overhead, especially if you have a lean staff and only have to deal with the upkeep of your inflatables.
One potential liability of turning your warehouse into a kids’ gym is that you may not be insured for accidents that occur on the premises. You could be held liable if a child is injured while playing at your warehouse.
You’ll also need to make sure that your warehouse is properly equipped to handle large groups of children. This includes things like having adequate seating and space for them to play, designated areas for parents, as well as ensuring that all of your equipment is in good working order.
Finally, you’ll need to make sure that you have a responsible staff in place who can handle the safety and well-being of the children.
Start an arcade in your warehouse
Another option for warehouse business owners is to start an arcade. This can be a great way to generate revenue, especially if you live in a tourist-friendly area.
To get started, you’ll need to invest in some classic arcade games, like pinball machines, air hockey tables, and basketball hoops. You may also want to consider adding some newer games, like VR headsets or laser tag.
Of course, you’ll need to staff your arcade with employees who can help manage the games and keep things running smoothly.
You may also want to hire security to help keep an eye on things and make sure everyone is playing fair.
Start a screen-printing business in your warehouse
If you’re creative and have an eye for design, you could start a screenprinting business in your warehouse. This is a great way to generate revenue, especially if you live in an area with a lot of college students or young professionals.
Screen-printing is a rewarding and profitable way to create and sell products, but screen-printing equipment can be expensive and absolutely massive to store. But that’s where your warehouse space comes in.
To get started, you’ll need to invest in a screen printing machine, emulsion, screens, inks, and software. You may also need to hire an assistant to help with production.
And the best part? If your warehouse is big enough, you not only have what you need to create the t-shirts, but you have the logistics side of the business handled as well.
Plus, screen-printing isn’t just a localized business model; you’re selling to people all over the world, which drastically opens up your markets.
Start a film equipment rental business
If you live in an area with a lot of film production, you could start a business renting out film equipment from your warehouse.
Much like screenprinting, film equipment is expensive and cumbersome, so you’ll need to have a good amount of warehouse space to store it all.
Pro-tip: you don’t need to live in Los Angeles for this to be a viable option! Any city near a university with a film program will do just fine.
To get started, you’ll need to invest in essential film equipment, like cameras, lenses, tripods, and lights. You may also consider renting out additional gear, like drones or gimbals.
Of course, you’ll need to staff your business with employees who are knowledgeable about film equipment and can help customers choose the right gear for their needs. You may also want to create a website where potential customers can browse your inventory and make reservations.
Store and rent landscaping equipment
If you have a warehouse with a large garage door, you could start a business storing and renting out landscaping equipment.
This is a great option for warehouse owners who live in areas with a lot of businesses, like restaurants or office buildings. That way, you can store the equipment in your warehouse and rent it out to businesses who need it for their landscaping needs.
To get started, you’ll need to invest in some essential landscaping equipment, like lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and hedge trimmers. You may also want to consider renting out additional gear, like a tiller or a sod cutter.
If you’re not familiar with lawn equipment yourself, you’ll need to hire employees who can help manage the equipment and keep things running smoothly. They should be knowledgeable about the equipment and be able to help customers choose the right gear for their needs.
Start an indoor golf driving range
An indoor golf driving range is a great way to generate revenue for warehouse owners who have large, open spaces. It’s also perfect for warehouse owners who live in areas with cold winters since it allows people to stay indoors and get their golf fix.
To get started, you’ll need to invest in some essential golf equipment, like golf balls, clubs, and tees.
Pro-tip: If your warehouse doesn’t have enough space for a driving range, you could consider starting a mini-golf business or a golf simulator.
A golf simulator is a program hooked up to a giant screen that projects a realistic golf course. Players hit balls into the screen, and the program tracks their shots based on the velocity and direction of the ball. It’s a great way to get people interested in golf without taking up too much space.
In addition to the equipment, you’ll need to invest in a good sound system to create the ambiance of a real golf course. You may also want to hire an employee who can help customers with their swings and manage the equipment.
Start a tradeshow booth business
The tradeshow industry is incredibly valuable, with an estimated worth of $11.2 billion in the United States alone. And despite the pandemic, this number is steadily rising year-over-year.
So, how can warehouse owners capitalize on this growth? By starting a tradeshow booth business.
A tradeshow booth business is perfect for warehouse owners who have the space to store and set up a booth. You’ll need to invest in some essential trade show supplies, like a pop-up tent, table, and chairs.
You’ll also need to invest in some marketing materials, like brochures and business cards.
To get started, you’ll need to create a website or social media page where potential customers can learn more about your business. You may also want to consider practicing what you sell by exhibiting at local tradeshows so you can generate leads face-to-face.
After all, where better to find your ideal clientele than at the very place they’ll be using your products and services?
Start a stationery business
A stationery business is a type of retail business that specializes in selling paper products and office supplies. This includes items like notepads, folders, pens, and pencils.
Stationery is an excellent business model for creative types with an entrepreneurial spirit.
The great thing about starting a stationery business is that there are few overhead costs. You’ll need to invest in some essential office supplies, like desks and chairs, but you can sell these items at a profit once you’ve made your initial investment back.
In addition to selling stationery in your store, you can also sell these items online or through catalogs. This is a great way to reach customers who may not live near your store.
If you’re looking for something to model your business after, Paper Source is a great example of a stationery business. This company has both an online and brick-and-mortar presence, making it easy for customers to find and purchase their products.
In addition to selling paper products, Paper Source also offers classes on everything from calligraphy to card-making. This is a great way to bring in additional revenue and build a community around your business.
Start a pet supply business
A pet supply business is perfect for warehouse owners who have the space to store and sell pet food, toys, and other supplies.
Pet supplies are really the gold standard for eCommerce. They’re cheap to buy in bulk, they can be customized with pet names and graphics, and they’re often not too cumbersome to store.
Not to mention the fact that they’re great candidates for dropshipping if you happen to run out of warehouse space.
Not to mention the fact that the pet supply market was worth $207 billion in 2020 and is growing at a steady year-over-year clip. People really love their fur babies!
Warehouse owners can buy pet food and supplies in bulk at discounted prices, which allows them to sell these items at a profit.
Check out our related article on the best places for retail arbitrage product sourcing.
Start a subscription box business
A subscription box business is perfect for warehouse owners who have the space to store inventory and ship products to customers on a regular basis.
Subscription boxes are all the rage these days, with new subscription box businesses popping up all the time. And it’s no wonder why.
Subscription boxes offer customers a convenient way to receive products on a regular basis, and they’re often less expensive than buying these items individually.
You’ve got subscription boxes for dog lovers, whisky lovers, fashion lovers, and just about every other type of customer you can think of.
The great thing about starting a subscription box business is that you can curate the contents of your boxes to appeal to a specific niche or market. This allows you to really hone in on your target customer and build a loyal following.
If you’re looking to get started with a subscription box business, there are a few things you’ll need to do first.
First, you’ll need to come up with a concept for your box. This can be anything from a box filled with eco-friendly products to a box filled with snacks from around the world.
Or, rather than starting with a product-first approach, you can start with an audience-first approach. This means targeting a particular group and filling the box with things that they specifically would love (i.e., anime fans, amateur chefs, etc.)
Second, you’ll need to source these items. This can be done through online wholesale directories, trade shows, or by reaching out to manufacturers directly.
Third, you’ll need to create a marketing plan to get the word out about your boxes. This is most often done through social media, online ads, PR, or a combination of all three.
Finally, you’ll need to set up a subscription management system to handle the logistics of shipping your boxes on a regular basis.
There are a few different options when it comes to setting up a subscription management system. You can use an off-the-shelf solution like Shipstation, or you can build your own subscription management system using something like WooCommerce.
Of course, you’ll need robust inventory management software to stay on top of your orders and keep your customers happy.
This is just the 30,000-foot view, and a lot goes into starting a subscription box business (or any business, really!). If you want to go deeper, check out our article on how to find subscription box suppliers.
Start an antique business
If you have a passion for relics of a bygone era, then starting an antique business is a great way to put your warehouse space to use.
There are a few different ways you can go about starting an antique business. You can open an antique shop, start an online antique store, or become a dealer at antique shows and flea markets.
Sourcing antiques for your antique shop can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a little daunting. Where do you start? And how do you know you’re getting the best deals?
Here are a few tips to help get you started:
1. Start by browsing online antique stores and auction websites.
2. Attend antique shows and flea markets in your area.
3. Contact local antique dealers and ask for their recommendations.
4. Get to know your local antique dealers and build relationships with them.
5. Subscribe to online antique newsletters and alerts.
One of the best ways to make a profit as an antique store is to focus on a particular niche, such as vintage collectibles. These are items that have been around for a while and have a lot of nostalgic value. These collectibles are in high demand, often ship very easily, and are also easy to store.
Another way to make a profit as an antique store is to offer restoration services. Many people who own antiques don’t have the time or the knowledge to restore them properly, so they’re willing to pay someone else to do it for them.
Start a YouTube Studio
YouTube has over 2 billion monthly active users and is the highest trafficked search engine other than Google.
According to a 2020 study, 70% of consumers purchase a product as a result of seeing it on the YouTube platform.
Still, so many businesses underutilize video in their marketing strategy! If you have a warehouse, a couple of cheap lights, and a simple smartphone, you have everything you need to get started on YouTube.
Not only will your warehouse give you a spacious place to produce your own content, but it will also give you a place to store all of your equipment and props.
You can even set up a semi-permanent studio that you can use to knock out videos one after the other without having to tear down and re-setup your shooting area.
When setting up your studio, make sure to have the following:
1. A good quality camera (if you want to upgrade from your smartphone, a mirrorless camera like the Canon M50 will do just fine)
2. A tripod or handheld stabilizer
3. Lighting equipment (preferably daylight balanced)
4. A green screen (or a background you can easily replace in post-production)
If you’re not comfortable going off-the-cuff, you can also invest in a small teleprompter that uses a smartphone or tablet as a script-projection device.
The point is this: YouTube is still an untapped goldmine for most businesses in 2022, and if video isn’t a part of your marketing strategy in the coming years, you’ll quickly fall behind.
So, there you have it! Warehouse business ideas to help you turn your empty space into cold hard cash. Which of these ideas appeals to you most? Let us know in the comments below!
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