As a logistics manager seeking the best warehouse rentals in the UK, it’s crucial to realise that not all warehouse space is created equal. Industrial units can serve various purposes – from storage to production to distribution. Each warehouse space you consider will come with its own set of specifications – and, inevitably, its own set of pros and cons. As such, it’s crucial that you do your research and consider your options carefully, so you select warehousing that truly aligns with your precise business needs.
This has never been more important, for the number of warehouses available has grown significantly in recent times – meaning the array to choose from is vast and varied.
The Growth of the UK Warehousing Sector
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in a report entitled The Rise of the UK Warehouse and the “Golden Logistics Triangle”, published last year, the UK warehousing sector has almost doubled in size over the past decade thanks first to Brexit, then the pandemic and the boom in online shopping that resulted from it.
The report finds that the number of UK business premises classified as transport and storage was 88% higher in 2021 than in 2011 and 21% higher than in 2019. It states that “online shopping as a percentage of retail sales, new orders for the building of warehouses and job adverts in transport, logistics and warehousing have all increased substantially compared with before the coronavirus pandemic. This could partly reflect changes initiated by coronavirus restrictions or supply chain adjustments made after EU exit.”
(Image source: ons.gov.uk)
This all contributed to a sharp rise in new warehouse construction projects – new orders for the building of warehouses were worth £5.6bn in 2021, the highest figure since 1985.
(Image source: ons.gov.uk)
By now, of course, the total number of warehouses is even higher. According to recent figures, as of 2023, there are an estimated 423,000 warehouses in the UK – a number that has grown by 35% since 2018.
Best Practices to Find and Rent Warehouse Space Near You
As a logistics manager, you understand the crucial role that warehouse space plays in your operations. The right warehouse can optimise your supply chain, streamline your distribution processes and ultimately enhance your overall business efficiency.
However, finding the perfect warehouse rental can be a daunting task, especially amidst a vast sea of options and complex considerations. To help you navigate this process, we've compiled 6 top tips to guide you in discovering the ideal warehouse rental near you.
1. Sizing Up Your Needs
The ideal warehouse size for your business hinges on its intended purpose, whether it's for storage, distribution, manufacturing or a combination of these activities. Accurately determining your space requirements is crucial to ensure optimal efficiency and avoid unnecessary expenses.
Start by assessing your current inventory volume and factoring in anticipated growth. Consider the dimensions of your products, storage configurations and aisle space needs. For reference, manufacturers, exporters or wholesalers typically opt for medium to large warehouses (around 30,000 sq ft), while smaller businesses or ecommerce operations may find smaller spaces (1,000 sq ft to 5,000 sq ft) more suitable.
2. Lease Duration: Striking the Right Balance
As your business evolves, so will your space requirements. Carefully consider the length of your lease agreement, keeping in mind that longer leases often translate to lower rent. Aim to strike a balance between securing competitive rates and retaining the flexibility to adapt to future needs. Typical warehouse lease terms range from 3 to 5 years, but shorter or longer terms may be negotiated based on specific circumstances.
3. Strategic Location: The Foundation of Efficient Operations
Location plays a pivotal role in shaping your supply chain, operational costs, rent expenses, delivery times, legal compliance and overall business success. As such, accessibility and ease of goods transportation should be prioritised. A well-located warehouse should offer convenient access to major motorways, transportation hubs, city centres, ports and airports.
4. Timely Move-In: Seamless Transition to Your New Space
Warehouse availability varies, with some units ready for immediate occupancy while others may require renovation or construction to align with your specifications. Plan your move-in timeframe carefully and communicate your expectations to your agent or landlord. Avoid last-minute scrambles by allowing ample time for legal documentation, necessary consents and potential renovations.
5. Uncompromising Security: Protecting Your Valuables
Security should be a non-negotiable factor in your warehouse search. If you're storing valuable items, ensure your goods are safeguarded against theft, damage and unauthorised access. Verify that the warehouse is equipped with high quality security systems, such as 24-hour CCTV surveillance, on-site security personnel, fire alarm systems, fencing and access control measures.
6. Tailoring Your Warehouse to Your Needs: Amenities to Consider
When selecting a warehouse, it's crucial to consider the specific amenities that align with your operational requirements. For industrial production and consumer goods companies in the UK, factors such as loading docks, turning space and road access for delivery vehicles play a significant role in ensuring efficient product movement and distribution.
- Loading Docks: Equipped with access and equipment for seamlessly moving products to storage areas, loading docks are essential for efficient product handling and distribution.
- Adequate Turning Space and Road Access: Sufficient turning space and access to major roads are crucial for accommodating delivery trucks and other vehicles, ensuring smooth transportation of goods.
- Warehouse Equipment: Availability of warehouse equipment, such as forklifts, pallet jacks and conveyor belts, can streamline product handling and storage processes.
- Offices, Conference Rooms and Employee Meeting Spaces: Dedicated workspace for administrative tasks, meetings and team collaboration can foster a productive work environment.
- Secure Wi-Fi: Reliable and secure Wi-Fi connectivity is essential for seamless data access, communication and inventory management.
By carefully evaluating your specific requirements and selecting a warehouse that provides the necessary amenities, you can optimise your operations, enhance efficiency and set your business up for success.
At FLOX, we are committed to maximising the efficiency of shared transportation and warehousing logistics capacities, ensuring seamless order and shipment flow. Our mission is to address the challenges faced by shippers and logistics service providers by optimising service, profitability and environmental sustainability.
Through our innovative platform, shippers and logistics providers can collaborate seamlessly, achieving efficiency gains, cost savings and enhanced sustainability initiatives. Whether you're optimising supply chain movements or seeking the ideal warehouse space rental options for your UK business, FLOX empowers you to make informed decisions that drive business growth.
With FLOX, you can eliminate the need for direct lease agreements with warehouse owners and intricate term negotiations. Instead, our clients sign a standardised set of three-way Terms and Conditions between the warehouse provider, FLOX and themselves. This agreement governs the pay-as-you-go utilisation of warehousing space, ensuring flexibility and cost-effectiveness.
To experience the benefits of FLOX first-hand, sign up for platform access today and start shaping the future of logistics.