I want to start my online eBay business at home, but I’m wondering how soon I will run out of room if I use my garage as a small warehouse storing pallets of merchandise? We live in an older home with a small one car garage. Any advice you can offer will be more than appreciated. Oh, forgot to mention, I will be buying and reselling shelf pull apparel. This sounds all too familiar to me, as I began selling from a one-car garage years ago! As far as advice, there are two things you should be aware of:
Space to store pallets – This is but one part of the problem. The average one car garage is about 250 square feet, which will hold approximately six pallets at maximum; four pallets are preferable. It’s not that you cannot get more in, but the fact that you still need room to maneuver around the pallets, and hopefully, still have some garage space for other household/yard items.
Room to sort pallets – Once you have a garage stocked full of shelf pull apparel pallets, you must create an area within your home to sort all of the clothing for damages, pricing, and photographing. Ideally, this area should fit two six to eight foot folding tables that can be set up and utilized in an assembly line-type process when you are organizing the inventory prior to listing on eBay.
When I was using my home as a small warehouse, I would keep 2-3 plastic tote bins in the garage that I would use to fill up with clothing, and then transport to my processing area for sorting. Once the clothing was counted, sorted, and photographed, I would then fill up a bedroom with clothing that was currently listed on eBay. Believe me, running a business like this from home is not easy, especially if you are a neat freak, and like to keep things organized!
Another consideration is the amount of trash you will start to accumulate from damaged clothing items to the large cardboard boxes you will receive when buying wholesale pallets of clothing. The amount of trash will far exceed that of your normal residential garbage service…you will probably have to make a trip or two to the local landfill every now and then.
I believe the other consideration should be directed to your adjacent neighbors. Ninety-eight percent of all residential homes are zoned for residential, and not commercial use. If large trucks begin delivering pallets, and empty pallets begin to stack up out front, you run the risk of a neighbor calling you local city offices to complain. Keep your home business activities discreet!
As far as your question, how soon will you run out of room? I can tell you from my experience, I decided to lease a small office/warehouse about four months after working out of my home. The decision was not just based upon space, but also the fact that I could not separate my home-life (rest and relaxation) from the business.