Finding space for stock is one of the biggest problems faced by many people running online reseller businesses.
Aside from finding ways to keep the house tidy and the business profitable at the same time, there’s also the question of your sanity and quality of life. Everyone needs a break from work. When your workspace is also your living space, it’s hard to achieve a healthy work/life balance.
Find Dedicated Storage Space
If your house is overrun with stock for sale, it’s time to look elsewhere or get more organised. What are your options?
- Self storage units: A suitably-sized self storage room can more than pay for itself in organisation through greater efficiency, more stock space and the enhanced sales numbers both lead to. Self storage companies are friendly and welcoming to small business owners. You don’t pay business rates or have utility bills, and you can quickly upgrade or scale down your space as need arises.
- Warehouse space: This offers too much space for most resellers, even those with quite extensive stock lists. Unless you have a large number of very big items, this probably won’t work for you given the rental costs involved and the added expenses like business rates, VAT and utilities.
- A dedicated stock room at home: This works for some, and you might want to try it. You’ll need a spare bedroom or similar where you can install shelves, large tubs or boxes for stock items, and preferably not use the room for anything else. Alternatives to actual rooms in the house include the loft or garage, but you may have access problems (consider safety if you’re climbing loft ladders carrying boxes full of stock) or other issues around dampness or security.
Finding a suitable storage place is the first vital step. After that, it’s time to put a system in place.
Organise Your Inventory
Once you’ve figured out where to put stock, the next challenge is finding a system that helps you keep it organised.
You could adopt some methods from the ways charity shops organise their donations:
- Sort items as soon as they’re delivered, or as soon as you buy them. Take them directly into your storage area or room so they’re not cluttering up the rest of the house.
- Have separate tubs, bags, totes or boxes for each category of item. Categories may include shoes, men’s, ladies or children’s if you’re selling clothing. You could also organise by condition if you’re selling vintage or pre-owned clothes. Figure out different categories for your own stock type, and organise it accordingly.
- Prepare items for sale in bulk. Instead of cherry picking which items to list (if you’re selling on eBay or similar) work on listing the entire box or tub of items before moving on. Photograph, describe, allocate your own inventory number, price and list items methodically. Then move on to the next tub.
- If you’re really organised, try pre-packing items ready to post. You need to have a solid inventory numbering system, and make sure you’re totally up to date with it so you’re positive you won’t accidentally send out the wrong item to a customer.
Be Time Efficient
You can save a lot of time when you don’t waste it transporting items around from place to place. For resellers, this often comes down to organising work areas so they perform more than one function.
Packing and dispatching takes up a good chunk of time but you can make this process more efficient by working within your stock storage area. If you have a self storage unit, It’s easy to organise. Rent a room that’s just a little larger than you need for storage, then place a desk or table in one corner to work from.
Keep postage boxes or polythene mailers handy in your storage area, and do all the packing right there among your stock. You’ll find some storage companies sell packaging materials, which is handy if you run short.
The more you can streamline how your business runs, the more efficiently you can plough through mundane tasks. You’ll have more time for creative, promotional business activities, and these in turn can bring in greater profits.