Today was my first day to rent out some co-working space at the Canberra Business Innovation Network (CBRIN) building. My primary reason was to have better internet access for my remote podcast interviews. Unfortunately, that wasn’t really the case today which may have more to do with the neighbouring bushfires than anything else.
Still I decided to give it a go for a month just once a week. I don’t need the workspace when I have a full office at home, but I do think there are many other benefits here including networking and focussed work time where I don’t have to worry about my old cat interrupting me at bad times.
I’m heading to Brisbane next week to meet again with my manufacturer. As we get closer to having a physical product, I recognise that I have a logistics challenge. I need a warehouse solution very soon.
My products aren’t that heavy, but big. In fact, they’re so big that they will arrive via pallets – lots of them. If I lived in a house, perhaps they could have everything delivered there to store things in my garage. But, I don’t. I live in a multi-story apartment complex.
I looked into getting a storage unit locally. The smallest one costs about $100/month. However, it doesn’t allow me to have 3rd party transportation trucks deliver there. I need a warehouse solution with a physical address that does.
A couple of the government-funded accelerators in town might be able to provide me with cheaper co-working office space, but I still don’t have a storage space for inventory. Furthermore, where would they drop off my huge deliveries?
I looked at renting a private office-space in a co-working environment. I figured that if the office was big enough I might be able to store some products there. However, the one I chatted to yesterday wanted nearly $3000/month. That’s the price of an entire warehouse in my home city (like this one) excluding utilities and any fit-out requirements.
As a new start-up, there’s no way that I want to add $30k+ of overhead to my expenses when I’m not even paying myself yet, nor have any employees to house in an office space.
After realising all of these options will not work at this stage of the business, I feel that I only have one or two possibly other options. The first one is to ask a friend if he might sublease me some space in his wood-making factory. Though, in reality I’d be surprised if he said yes since he would also have to deal with my deliveries.
The more viable warehouse option is to consider a fulfilment company where I outsource this function. While I have thought of this earlier, I wasn’t planning to do it at the beginning because I wanted more control over the quality of customer service and frankly to save on costs. Now, I realise that I might not have a choice in the matter as it will likely be my most affordable option.
Therefore, it looks like my job now is to find the right fulfilment partner that I can trust to treat the customer right.
There doesn’t appear to be any in Canberra. Therefore, I’ll look for one in Brisbane. It only makes sense to me to find a company in the same city as my manufacturer to save money on transportation, as well as to reduce emissions.
On Monday, I’ll call a bunch of companies. Then, I’ll ask for a meeting for Wednesday where I can see their warehouses in person. Fingers crossed that I can locate the right ones at the right price.