If you’re virtually running a factory out of your house in order to fulfill purchases for your home-based business, stacking supplies in corners where your kids used to play and filling every available surface with candles, cards, computers, or whatever you sell, then perhaps it’s time to consider moving your operation out of the house.  But if you can’t afford to lease your own warehouse and hire a staff (as many sole proprietors cannot), then why not think about engaging an order fulfillment services company?  You might be thinking that your business is too small, or that such a service would be too expensive.  But if your business is growing beyond your means (in terms of both time and space) you’re going to need a solution eventually.  Here are just a few reasons why an order fulfillment service may fit the bill.

For one thing, they work with all kinds of businesses, large and small, to produce and distribute goods.  It’s what they do.  While some of these services only offer distribution, many provide options for manufacturing, as well (whether they do it themselves or subcontract).  In either case, they can get the clutter out of your home and give you a lot more free time to focus on marketing, sales, and customer service.  After all, you’re just one person.  You can’t wear every hat and expect your business to succeed and grow.  You’re bound to suffer from burnout eventually, and in the meantime, you really aren’t giving yourself every opportunity to make the most of your business venture.  Of course, you’ll want to check out the facilities of any service you contract with, to make sure that they meet your requirements for quality.  But if you find a service that fits the bill (and you can afford), there’s no reason you shouldn’t let someone else handle the heavy lifting so that you can attend to more important matters (like increasing sales).

The other half of the coin is distribution.  While you may enjoy a shipping account that earns you some kind of minute discount for the packages you send out, an order fulfillment service probably gets bulk rates, which could cut your cost in this area significantly (although it will be included in whatever overall fee you pay the service company).  So when calculating whether or not you can afford an order fulfillment service, be sure you roll this expense into the equation (since you will no longer be paying it, per se).  Just remember to check in with clients frequently to make sure they are getting shipments in a timely manner.  You may want to require shipment tracking information from the fulfillment house for every order, just to be sure.

Although choosing to move your manufacturing operation out of the house is a big decision, and not to be taken lightly, it could just give you (and your family) your home back.  There will certainly be a cost associated with such a move, but by carefully selecting an order fulfillment service that meets the needs of your business (including your budget) you can dramatically change your life for the better.  You can clear out your living space, take more time for previously overlooked aspects of your business, and potentially realize the rapid growth you’ve been unable to accomplish on your own.

Image source:   tenaweek.org

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