I agreed to make some mugs for a client to sell, but they are taking over my house. What do people do about this?
Congratulations for having created a “high-class problem”! If your mug fabrication is successful enough to be creating a storage problem, that is a good sign for your business. However, the cost (or in this case, the hassle) of managing inventory is a meaningful business issue that must be managed.
The client should really handle this
Now that you know how challenging it can be to store the items you make, you should pass on this cost to your clients. The cost of holding inventory is a normal cost of doing business, and you should add it to the client’s invoice. If you didn’t set this expectation up front with this particular client, then make sure that you do make it a part of the initial negotiation with future clients. In order to get the current situation under control, you can inform the client that you will store the mugs until a certain date and will then begin charging for storage. That should encourage the client to find an inventory solution.
If you need to handle storage, consider how often you need access
The right solution for you depends on how tight your finances are, whether you have friends who have some extra space, and how often you need to access the inventory.
Friends and Family
If you have no budget for storage, see if you have a relative or friend who would be willing to let you keep the materials in an unused space for a little while. If you want to keep your friends, you can’t do this for too long, but it can be a stopgap until you can reset your clients’ expectations.
If you have some space on your property, you can create a permanent storage space by installing a shed. Or, you can create a temporary solution by renting a drop-off storage container like Pods.
Depending on the size of space you need and how often you need to access it, you may find a viable solution by renting a storage locker (at a gym, a school, a bus, or train station) or renting a mini-storage unit.
The cost of holding inventory is one of those expenses that surprises entrepreneurs after they start their business. This won’t be the last time that you have to deal with an unanticipated cost, but at least this cost is a good sign. If your clients want more, then you are doing something right.