There are a lot of reasons your business might need a warehouse. The problem is renting a warehouse is not like renting other kinds of real estate. You have a different set of considerations to make and questions to ask before you sign a lease. Here are a few things to get straight before you sign anything.
- Make sure you have the HVAC system you need. For the most part, warehouse spaces do not have heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC) that cool and heat the entire building. If you need that, you may need to install it yourself. Make sure you ask about this and do not just assume anything. There are a number of industrial rental warehouses where the previous tenant put in a system. The main drawback here is that you will have to check it out to see how well it was maintained. Before you sign anything you should have a conversation about how much you will have to pay for the upkeep of any existing HVAC system. If the HVAC system in the warehouse, you should have the landlord pay for any repairs that are needed and provide you with proof of that.
- Talk to the landlord about the power. Just like the HVAC system may not be up to your needs, the amount of power that can be used in the warehouse may not be up to snuff. If you cannot get the answers from the landlord, you should bring in an electrician to look over the building and tell you if it can handle all of your power needs.
- Talk about the operating expenses. When you are renting a warehouse, there are a number of costs that will come up. Who will be responsible? The typical operating costs are insurance, maintenance, and taxes. It is important to be clear on what you will have to pay for one you are in the space.
- Look at the size. That may seem like an easy task when you are renting a warehouse but it can be complicated by how that size is measured. Many landlords like to charge for all of the square footage, not just the space that will be used. Ask if they are measuring the outside or inside walls to get the square footage of the warehouse space for rent. This can make a big difference in what you pay for leasing a warehouse.
- Ask about the parking space. There is a good deal of maintenance that needs to be done to keep up a parking lot. The person or company renting a warehouse space to you may try to tell you that these costs are the tenants’ responsibility but they are not. Because these costs are related to the long-term value of the property, they should be taken care of by the landlord. Also, make sure the parking areas have what you need in terms of weight loading and space.
- Make sure the loading areas are adequate for your needs. You know how your products will be delivered to your space so check out the loading docks to make sure they can handle what you need them to. You may be able to get your new landlord to make changes to the space to make it work for you.
- Verify the ceiling height. Your landlord should be able to tell you how high the ceilings are. For the most part, warehouse ceilings run anywhere from 18 to 25 feet.
- Ask about expansion. If you do well in your business, you may find you need more space. This is a great thing but you may run into trouble if you have to rent several warehouses all over town. Ask the landlord what might be available around the space you are renting. If you know you will want to expand, ask what kinds of expansion options they offer. If you will move to another spot owned by the same person or company, they may pay for that move.
Renting a warehouse is more complicated than renting an apartment, house, or office. There are just different things you have to think about. The good news is that by taking your time and getting your questions answered, your experience can be good.