Once a brilliant idea takes off, most small businesses need extra space – fast! Warehouse space is tough to come by in many markets, especially when a leasing agent is offering you 10,000 square feet and you only need a hundred or two in your early stages.
Now there’s a solution. Co-warehousing is not only a great idea for small businesses that need warehouse space but entrepreneurs looking for the next big business opportunity.
Saltbox is the first to market with the idea of co-warehousing, or flex warehousing. It’s a new take on co-working spaces, those shared office spaces where several businesses can share resources, costs and ideas.
Recognizing that there are nearly 750,000 direct-to-consumer e-commerce merchants in the U.S. with less than $5 million in revenue, Saltbox perfected the co-warehousing model, expanding into 11 new markets and attracting more than $30 million from investors.
In addition to a flexible office/warehouse space, the co-warehousing includes everything a business could want on the fulfillment side, from daily package pickups to large warehouse doors, loading docks and all the equipment you could ever need to move inventory in and out with minimal effort.
Saltbox offers other amenities for the monthly lease too, which starts at a little over $600 at their Seattle facility located in SODO. They have a photo lab businesses can use to shoot products professionally, a stocked kitchen, meeting rooms, communal spaces and, if you need it, extra hands to get you over the hump when orders take off.
Need more space? Put in an order for a larger space when one becomes available. Need more racks? They can be added to your lease as a monthly rental so your cash flow doesn’t take a big hit. Everything can be managed from a handy app, from reserving meeting space to asking for extra help to do inventory.
Saltbox seems to have hit on a sweet idea. If you’re saying, “why didn’t I think of that?” don’t despair. Tyler Scriven, founder of Saltbox, says flex warehousing has a massive market opportunity.
“E-commerce is the predominant driver of this demand,” he says in a recent CNBC interview. More than 70% of his 700+ customers nationwide are selling products direct to consumers, a rapidly growing market. About 75% of these customers are women or minority-owned small businesses. “Our economy is increasingly driven by logistics,” says Scriven. “And right now, that works in the favor of large companies.”
Want to know more about flex warehousing as a business model or need space for your own growing business? It’s a pretty smart idea, even if someone else thought it up first.
Check out Saltbox’s video for the Seattle office.