Warehouse Size: Is a Small or Large Warehouse best for me?

Warehouses come in lots of different sizes. But what warehouse size is best for your business? Check out this article for help!

Warehousing is a crucial component of many businesses. It provides a safe and secure location for storing goods, ensures timely delivery of products to customers, and streamlines order fulfillment processes. However, when it comes to choosing the right space for your business, one of the most important factors to consider is the warehouse size. In this article, we will explore the difference between a small and large warehouse and help you determine which size is the right fit for your business.

So, whether you plan to build a new warehouse or an existing one, or even lease a warehouse, this article can help you determine your exact needs. That way you do not end up with too much space for your needs and future growth.

warehouse size
Table of Contents

What Is A Warehouse?

Before we dive into the differences between a small and large warehouse, let’s define what a warehouse is. A warehouse is a commercial building used to store goods for commercial purposes. Warehouses can vary in size and layout depending on the needs of the business. They can be used to store raw materials, finished goods, or products that are in transit. Warehouses can be operated by the business that owns them or by a third-party logistics provider.

a small warehouse size with some trucks around it

Warehouse Size

The size of a warehouse is an important factor to consider when choosing a warehouse for small business or large businesses. The size of the warehouse can impact the cost, efficiency, and effectiveness of your operations. The average warehouse size in the United States is around 180,000 square feet, but this can vary widely depending on the industry and the specific needs of the business.

Furthermore, how much space, or the warehouse capacity that is actually available depends largely on the type of activities that occur in the building. Manufacturing lines require a lot of warehousing space, and so do offices. So, sometimes warehouse sizes can differ but still have a drastic difference in total available space to store goods.

How big is a small warehouse?

A small warehouse is typically between 5,000 and 15,000 square feet. Small warehouses are ideal for businesses that have limited storage needs or operate in industries where storage space requirements are not as significant. They offer great warehouse storage solutions for small items. Small warehouses are also ideal for businesses that are just starting and need to keep overhead costs low. A small warehouse can help a business keep inventory levels low and manage cash flow more effectively.

Small warehouse organization is critical to maximizing the use of limited space. In a small warehouse, it’s important to optimize every inch of space to ensure efficient operations. Small warehouse layout can be customized to fit the specific needs of the business. For example, a small warehouse may benefit from vertical storage solutions, like tall shelves or pallet racks, to maximize storage space.

How big is a large warehouse?

A large warehouse is typically over 100,000 square feet. Large warehouses are ideal for businesses that have significant storage needs, operate in industries that require large storage spaces, or have high-volume operations. Large warehouses are also ideal for businesses that require more advanced services, like specialized storage solutions, automated inventory management, and order fulfillment systems.

A smaller warehouse size with lots of types of equipment around it

Difference in Large business and Small Business Warehouse Space

There are several warehouse services that may differ between large and small business warehouse space. When getting started, you need to consider what warehouse services will meet your business needs. Some of these services include:

  • Pick and Pack
    A small business warehouse may offer basic pick and pack services, while larger warehouses may offer more advanced solutions.
  • Sub-assembly
    Larger warehouses may be better equipped to handle sub-assembly services, while smaller warehouses may not have the space or resources to do so.
  • Distribution Center Management
    Larger warehouses may offer more comprehensive distribution center management services, while small warehouses may only provide basic management services.
  • Vendor Managed Inventory
    Larger warehouses may be better equipped to handle vendor-managed inventory, as they have more space and resources to manage and track inventory levels for multiple vendors.
  • Cross-docking
    Large warehouses may have dedicated cross-docking areas, which allow for faster processing of inbound and outbound shipments. Small warehouses may not have the space or resources to offer this service.
  • Fulfillment
    Large warehouses may have more advanced fulfillment capabilities, including automated picking and packing systems and real-time inventory tracking. Smaller warehouses may offer more basic fulfillment services.

Warehousing Requirements Difference Between Small Warehouse and Large Warehouse

There are also differences in warehousing requirements between small and large warehouses. When setting up a warehouse, you will want to keep these differences in mind. Some of these requirements include:

  • Timing
    Small warehouses may have more limited hours of operation, while large warehouses may be open 24/7.
  • End Customer
    Small warehouses may be located closer to the end customer, while large warehouses may be located farther away.
  • Order Fulfillment
    Small warehouses may have a shorter lead time for order fulfillment, while large warehouses may require longer lead times due to increased order volume.
  • Brand Experience
    Large warehouses may offer a more polished brand experience, while small warehouses may offer a more personalized experience.
  • Payment terms
    Small warehouses may offer more flexible payment terms, while large warehouses may require more stringent payment terms due to higher operating costs.

Need warehousing help?

Let AMS’ Warehouse Services Do It for You

Benefits of Different Sizes of Warehouse Space

Small Warehouse Benefits

Small business warehousing offers several benefits. For one, small warehouses are typically more affordable than larger warehouses. Additionally, small warehouses can help small businesses operate more efficiently by reducing inventory levels, minimizing transportation costs, and improving order fulfillment times. Small business warehousing can also provide flexibility, allowing businesses to scale their operations as needed.

Large Warehouse Benefits

Large warehouses also offer many benefits that appeal to businesses. One benefit is advanced technology and equipment. Large warehouses are often equipped with state-of-the-art technology and equipment, which can improve efficiency and reduce errors. Another benefit of large warehouses is specialized storage solutions, such as climate-controlled areas, hazardous materials storage, or high-security areas. Finally, large warehouses may be able to offer bulk pricing discounts due to their high order volumes.

Considerations when Choosing the Right Warehouse Size

Every business is different, and so are their warehouse needs. When choosing the right warehouse size for your business, there are several factors to consider.

Factors to Consider with Small Warehouses

While small warehouses offer several benefits, there are also some factors to consider when choosing a small warehouse.

  • Space limitations – Small warehouses may have limited space for inventory storage, equipment, and personnel. That may require some tricky work to maximize warehouse storage space.
  • Flexibility – Small warehouses may offer more flexibility in terms of lease agreements and customization of the small warehouse layout and small warehouse organization.
  • Location – Small warehouses may be located in more urban areas, which can be beneficial for businesses that need to be close to their end customers.

Factors to Consider with Large Warehouses

When considering a large warehouse for business, it’s important to keep the following factors in mind:

  • Cost – Large warehouses may be more expensive to rent or purchase, and may have higher ongoing operating costs.
  • Complexity – Large warehouses may be more complex to operate, and may require more advanced systems and personnel.
  • Location – Large warehouses may be located farther away from end customers, which can impact shipping times and costs.

Final Thoughts About Small and Large Warehouse

Choosing the right warehouse size for your business is an important decision that can impact the success of your operations. Whether you choose a small warehouse or a large warehouse, it’s important to consider your business needs, budget, and growth projections.

With careful consideration and planning, you can choose a warehouse size that meets your needs and helps you achieve your business goals. Contact an expert for help choosing the best warehouse to meet your business needs!

Free Warehouse Design Tools

Warehouse Capacity Calculator

Need help figuring out the total volume of usable space in your warehouse? We built a simple tool to help you calculate that.

Pallet Storage Capacity Calculator

The pallet storage capacity calculator quickly determines the total number of pallets your warehouse can store based on rack configuration.

Warehouse Size FAQs

The decision between a small or large warehouse will depend on a variety of factors, including the size and scale of your business operations, your budget and resources, the types of products you handle, and your growth projections. Small warehouses may be a better fit for businesses with smaller inventory volumes, limited budgets, and more flexible operations, while larger warehouses may be necessary for businesses with higher inventory volumes, more complex supply chains, and more specialized equipment and technology needs.

Small warehouses offer greater flexibility and adaptability to changing business needs, as well as lower overhead costs and a more personalized approach to customer service. However, they may have limited storage space and technology, as well as reduced economies of scale. Large warehouses offer greater storage capacity and advanced technology, as well as economies of scale and more efficient operations. However, they may be more expensive to operate and less flexible in responding to changing business needs.

Small warehouses offer great warehouse storage solutions for small items. Costs can vary, but for a warehouse small will range from $25,000 to $35,000.

Related Content

Looking for a warehouse partner?
Trust our classic customer service.

There was a time when businesses revolved centrally around the customer and their needs. Decisions were made based on what is best for the customer first. People did what they said they would, and jobs were completed on time. AMS carries on the tradition of customer service today.

Ready to Elevate Your Fulfillment & Warehousing?

AMS is a customer service-centric warehousing and fulfillment company. We have the software, but we don’t replace PEOPLE and SERVICE with software. Being that we are a contract manufacturer as well, we have a lot of expertise and capability that you can rely on and trust.

"Service NOT replaced by software!"

Contact us Today: