The Five Most Common Types of Warehouses

Warehouses are large structures wherein raw materials or finished goods are stored and distributed for sale. But warehouses aren't all the same. They come in different sizes, with various features and technology, in a range of locations and with distinct business structures.

Here are the five most common types of warehouses, along with their advantages and disadvantages.

Public Warehouses

Many small businesses can't afford to own or lease their own warehouse space. Public warehouses provide short- or long-term storage solutions to companies on a month-to-month basis. Businesses may be charged per pallet or for total square feet used.

In addition to providing storage for products or goods, public warehouses often offer inventory management, control and shipping functionality. This means that a company utilizing a public warehouse may not need to employ warehouse staff. The owner of a public warehouse will take on all operating costs, including building maintenance, and pass these costs on to the client via their monthly fee—which may be based on a number of factors including storage space and transaction fees.

Public warehouses offer flexibility for companies to expand or contract as needed. They are also a good option for businesses that require a more affordable option than private warehouses.

Private Warehouses

Also commonly known as proprietary warehousing, private warehouses are owned and operated by wholesalers, distributors or manufacturers. The cost of owning or leasing these large facilities, and staffing them, often restricts the use of private warehouses to larger companies or manufacturers.

Climate-Controlled Warehouses

Certain goods require special handling, and climate-controlled warehouses provide the right environment for the safe handling, storage and distribution of these products. Climate-controlled warehouses provide anything from freezers for storing frozen products to humidity-controlled environments for storing perishable products, such as produce and flowers. This warehouse option can also provide completely dust-free facilities for handling sensitive computer products. As expected, climate-controlled warehouses generally cost more than standard warehouse spaces.

Automated Warehouses

Technology has drastically changed our world. And few examples embody technological advancement as clearly as the automated warehouse. Filled with conveyors, sortation equipment, automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) and other material-handling tools, automated warehouses take less manpower to operate than their manual counterparts. But the technology