Empty industrial space

 

Short-term rentals of warehouse space have been changing the way warehouses are used in the modern era.

Between the increasing need for ecommerce mobility and the widening storage needs of small businesses, a lot of people are finding the option of renting a small part of a larger warehouse to be a far more efficient and practical solution to their storage needs.

This “Airbnb” model of warehousing can be a good way to help your warehouse monetize unused space, but it does require a little forethought and planning just like any warehouse change does.

 

Ideally the first step would be to understand what the space is being used for. In today’s economy, warehousing space has been rented for a surprising number of uses including (obviously) storage and ecommerce sales, but even for needs as diverse as manufacturing space, meeting space, or even events like parties and trade shows. As you can imagine, the needs of each of these spaces and their related events will be drastically different and will require a good deal of foresight and planning, so try to make sure you’ve decided on the sort of needs you want to fulfill with your warehouse before you start making any big changes.

 

From there, you’ll want to establish timeframes. This will come in two parts—understanding when your potential tenants will need your space, and (perhaps more importantly) understanding when that space will be available in your warehouse. For instance, you may have an unused corner or an abandoned loading dock that looks ripe for the renting, but you need to make sure you’re not going to need that space yourself for things like the holiday sales rush. If you know that the space you’re renting has gone unused for a long time you may be safe (although this might spur a further conversation about why that space was unused in the first place) you’ll be safe, but if it’s only going to be available temporarily you’ll need to define strict timelines for when you can rent it to clients and when you can’t. This will help prevent a lot of scheduling headaches down the road.

 

The next big step would be to equip the space as needed. After figuring out what it’ll be used for, take some time to provide amenities for your potential tenants like wire shelving, pallet racks, and other types of warehouse storage to better accommodate their potential needs. If it’s going to be used for something like conference space, throwing in a little office furniture wouldn’t hurt (and can help you ask for a slightly higher rent since the space is already furnished). Of course, there may be something to be said for leaving it completely bare and charging a lower rate to attract more customers (so long as they can provide their own shelves) but you may need to clear this with your building’s insurance policy first.

 

After this your new rental opportunities should be ready to go for any new tenant.

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