How to Start a Small Warehouse Business
Some helpful tips on getting your foot in the door of an industry which is set to be worth $187 billion in Australia alone by 2021.
Starting a small warehouse business can be tricky, especially when there is so much competition out there. However, done right, it can prove to be a very profitable and worthwhile business venture and an industry that is growing more rapidly each year. Starting your own warehouse business will require you to have certain documents and you will have to comply with a variety of legal requirements. You should also aim to make your company stand out from the rest to establish a steady customer base. Companies such as Amazon.com and IKEA are warehouse-based businesses that have gained immense success through this venture.
If you’re also wondering what other types of businesses you could start, you can check out our comprehensive list of business ideas.
Things to Consider Before Starting Your Warehouse Business
What kind of business am I establishing?
Warehouses can be used for a variety of services, including storage, drop-shipping, packing, and third-party logistics. Choose which path you want to take based on your interests, budget, location, warehouse size, amongst other things.
What will I be storing in the warehouse?
Once you decide what kind of warehouse business you want, you can then determine what size space you will need and what kind of costs you will need to consider (for example heating or cooling systems, shelving, forklifts etc).
Alternatively, you could already have a space and need a business that it can accomodate.
What type of customer will I be aiming to attract?
Since you are a small business, it would make sense to target other small businesses that require services such as yours. More specifically, you should ask yourself if there are any particular businesses or demographics you are trying to attract, such as clothing, furniture or food. Once you answer these questions, you can create your own market and build it up from there.
Identifying market gaps is also a great way to build a business that will not only attract customers, but provide services where there are none, giving you more market share.
A great way to attract customers is by creating a website, establishing a social media presence and perhaps even requesting customers to review you on Google after they have used your services.
If your business deals with importing and exporting, you will need to determine which permits you need so that your goods will clear customs. It is worth noting that importers and exporters who don’t comply with tariffs and duties may be fined by the Australian Government, so this is something you definitely should not neglect.
Getting your warehouse business up and running
You will of course need to follow all the necessary steps to start your business. This includes registering your company, obtaining an ABN, getting the appropriate licenses and permits, and creating a website domain. For more information, check out our previous guide on how to register your business.
How do I make sure I comply with my legal obligations?
You will have to adhere to the GST regulations for your business if you make more than $75 000 a year, so make sure you are registered with the ATO so you can claim back your tax correctly.
A warehouse business falls under the category of transport, postal and warehousing. This industry has its own set of regulations. Depending on your type of business, you may need to follow local and international trade regulations, obtain customs and warehouse licenses, and qualify to store or transport certain goods and services. You can find out which permits you need on the ABLIS site.
Your business will likely require a Warehouse licence for storing goods in a warehouse. You can obtain the license by lodging an application form.
What if I plan on hiring employees?
Depending on your business, you will likely need to hire people to keep it running smoothly, and to help the business grow. As an employer, you will need to comply with certain codes of practice and standards. Employment contracts are essential, but you also need to consider leave entitlements, wages, working hours, workers compensation, and other things. LawPath provides a number of employee contracts and agreements which are easy to use.
The demand for warehouse businesses is certainly growing, with the industry set to reach $187 billion by 2021 and a steady annual growth of 2.8%. Why not become a part of it now? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about registering your business, customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest legal marketplace.
Akira is a legal intern at Lawpath working in the content team. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws at Macquarie University.