Hi Sdlewis ,
First, I would make sure you needed to lease a warehouse as apposed to using a third party warehousing operation. It’s vastly cheaper to pay somebody with an existing warehouse to handle your warehousing needs than to lease a warehouse. It depends on the volume of merchandise you are moving.
If you do lease a warehouse, have a knowledgeable real estate agent review the lease. Commercial lease are not like home lease. Maintenance clauses for example, need to specify who is responsible fro both inside and outside maintenance. One person I know leased a facility. When the roof started leaking after the first rain storm, that person found out their lease agreement did not cover outside repairs. Nor did the lease cover damages to the product from the water that leaked in.
First, what do you need the space for? Are you just processing transactions or shipping product? Have you considered sharing an office with someone? Many businesses in the Vegas area lease an office space in an existing business. All the tenants in this arrangement pay for the receptionist and upkeep of the common areas in the office. They also have free use of the conference rooms and meeting rooms within the main office area. This is a much cheaper and faster way to setup an office.
If you are shipping a limited amount of product, you could also share an office with someone with a compatible business. This arrangement might also drive additional business your way. Or, you could have a 3rd party warehouse (public warehouse) handle your product and shipping needs. You would ship them your product to warehouse. When you get an order for product, you fax the order to the warehouse. Their staff would handle everything else.
As far as insurance, you always need insurance.
When leasing any office or warehouse space, a couple of things to pay attention to are repair & maintenance items and CAM (Common Area Maintenance) and Operating expenses.
For industrial/warehouse space you usually you pay a lower rental rate but you are responsible for ALL repair and maintenance items including HVAC equipment. The landlord is typically only responsible for exterior and foundation repairs (roof, exterior walls, roof, parking lot, hidden plumbing). The landlord will bill you for a proportionate share of CAM expenses. In addition to rent and CAM you are responsible for property taxes, insurance, and utilities.
The thing to watch out for here is that the property is in good condition to start with, you don`t want the Landlord passing off needed repairs to you.
Office space`s are usually full-service leases, where you pay a higher rental rate and the landlord is responsible for most repair & maintenance items including janitorial service. In addition, you may pay a proportionate share of Operating Expenses, Taxes, and Insurance over a pre-determined Base Year amount. They may also bill you for Excess utility usage (if you have a lot of equipment) and overtime HVAC (use after regular building hours).