If there’s one thing the pandemic did right, it’s encouraging the working class to start their own businesses. People who reignited their passions discovered new talents and set new goals found an opportunity in the crisis. Some who have lost their jobs ventured into entrepreneurship; others who are still employed ran a small business on the side.
But starting a home-based business, specifically a retail one, isn’t as simple as you think, nor is it for everyone. It may be easier to sell novelty items or everyday essentials, but things like garments, household goods, car parts, tech accessories, and other complex products will need a dedicated space. You can’t merely store those in your bedroom or a humid basement.
Hence, if there isn’t any available space in your home that can be turned into a stock room, storing those bulky items will prove difficult for you, if not impossible. But if you have an unused garage, that could be suitable. The space can also house heavy warehouse equipment that you may need in a time when your business has grown.
That said, here’s everything you need for converting your home into a retail business base:
1. A Garage
Inspect your garage thoroughly, checking for leaks, mold, and other signs of water damage. If you spot any, have them fixed immediately, then proceed to clean the space.
Use storage boxes for sorting out the things you’ll find. Consider donating those that can still be used, or hosting a garage sale if most of the things you’ve unearthed have value. If the mess is too overwhelming for you to decide, label each box “trash,” “recycle,” “sell,” and “donate.” Pick up items one by one, then dump them into the appropriate box.
After getting rid of all the clutter, start zoning your garage by creating categories for each item. Since you’ll be converting the space into a stock room, assign areas for each necessity, such as your products, shelving units, trash bags, and the other equipment. You’d also need a working space if you’d squeeze in your home office there, too.
If some of your essential personal items are now lacking storage space, like your holiday decor, find hidden areas in your garage, perhaps the ceiling. If the ceiling height allows you to stand upright without your head touching an object, then consider hanging your holiday decor from it.
2. Retail Equipment
Most retail store stock rooms require the same equipment, which includes a pricing gun, a tagging gun, a labeler, and rubbish bins and bags.
Other things you may need are signage supplies, box cutters, a tape gun, cleaning supplies and tools, and floor signs for preventing accidents after a cleanup. Even if it’s just a one-person business, it won’t hurt to be cautious, especially if your family often comes into your stock room to help.
For your home office, jot down filing cabinets, a safe, computer, printer, copier/scanner, and document shredder in your shopping list. Depending on your supplier, you might need a fax machine, too. And a landline phone with a voicemail system, and necessary office supplies.
As your inventory grows, you’d need to adjust your space to accommodate more storage equipment, and possibly need a warehouse forklift rental service, too. Though you can use a ladder to reach high shelves, it may be unsafe if you’re lifting a loaded box.
3. A Clean Home
A tidy space is rather crucial these days, with a pandemic on top of common hygiene issues. Establish a cleanliness protocol for your stock room and the entire home. Create a schedule you can easily follow, ensuring that all simple cleaning tasks will be completed in a week. These include laundry, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, and dusting. And since we’re trying to prevent any more viral infection, disinfecting should be added in your daily routine, too.
If your daily commitments make routine cleaning impossible, hire help. Professional cleaners may be more appropriate for a business because they’re more meticulous, thorough, and knowledgeable about the cleaning requirements of each material.
Be mindful of where you drop your belongings, too. Your work material should stay in your stock room/office, not in your kitchen or living room. When handling stocks, be sure that you’re putting them into the right place, because misplacing even one can mess up your records.
Try not to enter your stock room wearing the shoes you’ve worn outside as well. Aside from soil, dust, and gravel, the soles of our shoes also carry toxins, and possibly viruses, so have slippers or shoes specifically for stock room use only.
A home-based business spares you from hefty rental fees, so make the most of this advantage by using your converted garage well. Maintain cleanliness, organization, and professionalism, so that once your business grows, you’ll be ready to handle a bigger facility.