8 Types of Warehouses

Posted on March 24, 2023

There are a variety of warehouse types that can benefit businesses, large and small. The warehouse you choose to build (or use) for your business needs depends mainly on the type of business you’re operating. For example, inventory storage is becoming more and more critical as online businesses become more commonplace, or you may need ample space to complete manufacturing for your business to operate effectively. 

While warehouses may not seem like a glamorous topic, these types of buildings are the backbone for many business operations; modern warehouses are often clean, organized, and elegantly designed, even including comfortable office spaces inside for doing day-to-day paperwork. With our custom design tools and flexible options, you can make your commercial warehouse more than just a dreary facility for stored goods. 

Different types of businesses have different warehouse needs. So let’s discover eight different types of warehouses, from public warehouses to distribution centers, to help you determine which warehouse type is the right solution for your business. 

Public Warehouse

A public warehouse is a space owned by a third party or government warehouse that is rented to other private sector companies. These may also be known as third-party logistics (3PL) warehouses. Somebody can rent the space for business or personal use, and this type of warehouse often offers a warehouse management system for its renters. These can be a more affordable option for business owners who need to store products for a short period of time compared to other options that might be more expensive. Renters are typically charged on the number of goods stored, duration of storage, and other services provided, such as fulfillment process services. 

Private warehouse

A private warehouse facility is typically owned and operated by a private company, such as wholesalers, distributors, or manufacturers. Online marketplaces and large retail companies also have their own warehouses for storing inventory. While private warehouses typically have a significant up-front capital investment due to building costs, facility management, and regular maintenance, they can provide considerable benefits to growing your own business. With the help of Worldwide Steel Buildings, you can have a private metal warehouse that’s durable, cost-effective, and built in a shorter timeline. Plus, our customizable designs make it flexible to your business needs. Investing in a private warehouse gives you total control to determine how to best use and create the space. 

Cooperative Warehouse

Sometimes it makes sense to join forces with another company (or companies) to invest in a shared warehouse space. Joining forces in this way helps to reduce operational and storage costs. A cooperative warehouse is a storage facility that a group of businesses owns. Cooperative warehouses are a less common warehouse type but are practical and provide benefits to businesses that decide to combine their resources and needs. A cooperative warehouse is built or purchased with shared money from the partner companies. It is often organized as a limited liability company (LLC). The companies in this co-op are typically from a similar industry with comparable business needs. Since they have formed one larger entity, the members may also benefit from discounts on products and warehousing services for a larger inventory they wouldn’t have qualified for on their own. A common business that uses this warehouse option is wineries. 

Consolidated Warehouse

Consolidated warehouses are third-party facilities that collect small shipments from different suppliers to combine them into a bigger, more affordable shipping load. The shipments are usually going to one centralized location. This can be an attractive option for companies that have lower inventory. Still, because the consolidated shipments are only for one area, there may be limitations for companies trying to expand. Using a consolidation warehouse can reduce costs and improve your supply chain’s performance. 

Smart Warehouse

The smart warehouse might be the way of the future! These warehouses get their name from using advanced technology and automated AI, such as robots and drones, for their operations. This could include identifying and receiving orders, counting inventory, storing items, and sending orders to the right place. Smart warehouses can have nearly the entire operation automated. These automated technologies allow warehouse workers to increase the efficiency, productivity, and quality of their facility and decrease human errors. Smart warehouses are a go-to option for large companies like Amazon that want to expedite their order fulfillment process and inventory management system. 

Bonded Warehouse

A bonded warehouse will be helpful if a company wants to expand its business by importing international goods. A bonded warehouse is a secured area where imported goods are stored while customs duties are completed and paid for. The fees are only paid on the items once they are released from the facility. The merchandise can stay in the bonded warehouse for up to five years from its import date. The warehouse space is typically versatile enough to accommodate a variety of products. This is an ideal warehouse for businesses that deal with exporters and cross-border trade.

On-demand Warehouse

As ecommerce businesses continue to rise in popularity, the need for on-demand warehousing has also increased. Also known as on-demand storage, these warehouses allow businesses to connect with other companies with excess warehousing space. On-demand warehousing is a platform that connects warehouses that have extra space with companies that need short-term or seasonal storage. This option is flexible and more readily available, allowing businesses with fluctuating needs to utilize the service for their inventory storage. And it can be a more cost-effective option. These can be an ideal option for small businesses and ecommerce startups.

Distribution Center 

Distribution centers are comprehensive logistics operations that provide more than inventory storage to businesses, such as warehouse management. They also store, pick, pack, and ship items to customers. These centers also often offer extra warehousing services, such as overseeing returns and helping companies manage their supply chain. The products in a distribution center move much more than in a typical warehouse option. This is different from fulfillment centers which are typically used by third-party logistic companies. 

Benefits of a Metal Warehouse

No matter the type of warehousing your business needs, there are many benefits to choosing a metal warehouse for inventory storage space and fulfillment process. Building your own private warehouse gives you the ultimate control over how your business is run, or even making a consolidated warehouse your actual business is an option. Whatever the reason for your warehouse needs, here are five benefits to building a metal warehouse:


These metal buildings are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and regional snow loads. Plus, each building comes with a 50-year structural warranty. Steel structures can be ideal for facilities that need to withstand the elements. And each of our kits is made from the highest quality building materials available. 


With steel buildings, the sky is very nearly the limit. Worldwide Steel Buildings can feature clear spans up to 225 feet with added roll-up doors and many customizations to design the space you need. Building a large warehouse is just the start of the possibilities, with the option to partition the area as you need. You can also make these buildings extra wide and extended to create plenty of space for inventory storage. 


Each metal building kit is built to our customer’s specific needs. From custom steel frames to wall panels, these metal warehouse kits can accommodate all your business needs. Each pre-engineered metal building is custom designed and formatted to your specs. 

Cost Effective

Worldwide Steel Buildings are precisely engineered for simple modular assembly with no on-site modification. Each of our metal building kits is cost-effective in time and money. Our designs make for quick construction, while our steel buildings are often more economical than conventional. 

Minimal Maintenance

Metal buildings need little maintenance to keep them looking new and operating effectively. These steel structures also have the added benefit of offering extra protection from termites, fire, and winds. 

Building Your Own Metal Warehouse

Ready to get started building the metal warehouse of your dreams? At Worldwide Steel, we’re happy to help you make all your steel building dreams come true. If you have an idea in mind but aren’t sure it’s possible, call (800) 825-0316. Our team is dedicated to providing support from the first phone call to the final assembly bolt. We can’t wait to see what you create!

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