How Much Does Pallet Racking Cost?
When talking with customers, one of the most common questions I receive is about calculating pallet racking costs.
Unfortunately, there really isn’t a simple way to estimate overall price without talking through your specific racking needs with a supplier. At the end of the day, too many variables come into play that affect the cost of pallet racking to build an accurate and static estimate.
Here at East Coast Storage Equipment, we want to be upfront and transparent with our customers. While we could throw around some numbers to give you a false idea of what costs might be, that’s just not how we do business.
So, if you’re in the market for racking of any kind, how can you gauge the total pallet racking costs? Well, it’s all about understanding which factors affect rack pricing.
Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll have a clearer picture of what those factors are and be able to navigate the buying process with more confidence.
Factors That Play Into Estimating the Cost of Pallet Racking
While racking might seem simple on the surface, several factors come into play that affect the cost of pallet racking. While some, like weight capacity and height, might seem obvious, others, like the current market, might surprise customers.
Let’s break down the most significant factors that affect racking costs.
Manufacturers design pallet racking to store heavy goods and materials. Exceeding that weight capacity isn’t just a bad idea; it’s a recipe for disaster.
Where can you find the suggested weight capacity?
On each racking system is a rack system information plaque. Load Application and Rack Configuration (LARC) drawings, sometimes a requirement for all rack systems by both the Rack Manufacturers Institute (RMI) and certain building codes, show the maximum loads and allowable beam elevations for which the system was designed.
It follows that the racking systems that use costlier materials and can accommodate higher weight capacities, like structural steel racking, cost more.
If you’re wondering how much pallet racking costs, one critical factor to consider is system height.
Several constraints will play into how high a racking system can go:
- Height of building
- Forklift reach
- Fire and safety regulations and considerations
- Inventory dimension limitations
- Rack structure limitations
If you plan on storing goods over 12’ in height, you’re entering high-pile storage territory. This triggers an increase in scrutiny from your city/county during the permitting process, mainly around safety factors.
While storing products as high as you can often increases vertical space efficiency, it brings with it costly and stricter requirements. You also have the impact that the extra weight from additional products will have on uprights. When stacking higher, it’s easier to overload uprights, especially those sitting between bays and not on ends.
In short, the taller you want to build your pallet racking system, the costlier it becomes.
Type of Pallet Racking
The world of pallet racking is quite diverse. While you have your standard selective styles most of our customers are aware of, there are also more dynamic pallet racking types that can accommodate different storage systems and use cases.
Take drive-in rack, for example. This style of racking allows lift vehicles like forklifts to access the full depth of the bay. There’s also pallet flow, cantilever, pushback and a few other styles of racking that you might see in a supplier’s inventory.
As you might guess, when you start venturing into these types of racking, you’ll see differing costs.
Out of all the styles, pushback racking, with its nested shuttle cart mechanism, tends to be the most expensive. Conversely, standard, teardrop-style selective racking made from roll-formed steel is often the most cost effective. Just keep in mind how the benefits of each racking style can help your team work more efficiently — which can offer returns in the form of long-term value.
Last on our list is the most dynamic of all: the market.
If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that supply chains are fragile and can change at breakneck speeds. The supply chains for storage handling equipment are no different.
Take the price of steel, a common material used in pallet racking. In 2022, prices surged, rising almost 12.2% during the year. This sharp increase had a ripple effect across the entire equipment market — and it’s not just new equipment either.
When demand is up, prices surge; it’s just that simple.
So, when it comes to pricing out pallet racking, unfortunately, timing the market is part of calculating costs. These days, when we quote our customers, those quotes are usually only good for three days. After that, with the market moving so quickly, prices can change.
Used and New Pallet Racking Costs
When it comes to calculating the cost of pallet racking, used pallet racking usually comes in at a lower price. The best part? You get the same high-quality, durable equipment at a discount.
But, again, market costs and nationwide inventory will play a role in how deep those discounts go. For example, if there’s a shortage of used pallet racking systems, the price may only be 5% less than the cost of new equipment.
At other times, it could be as low as 50% of the cost of new equipment purchases — it all depends on the market.
That’s why it’s so important to call and ask for quotes from reputable equipment suppliers. Here are a few questions you should have already answered to get the most accurate quote:
- What materials do you need to store? What are the sizes? What are the overall dimensions?
- What is the average weight of each pallet you need to store?
- How many pallets per level, and how many levels do you need?
- How much space do you have available for a pallet racking system?
- Will the racking system go up against a wall, or are there other obstructions, such as sprinkler systems?
- Do you need to store items outside or in cold storage environments?
- Do you need accessories like wire decking, pallet rack supports, safety bars or anchors?
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Other Factors That Influence Pallet Rack Costs
So, we’ve covered the basic factors that play into calculating pallet racking cost, but weight capacity, height, racking type and market conditions are only scratching the surface. In reality, there are several other factors you might encounter that play into the overall cost of your particular project.
First is permitting. We touched on this earlier when we explored high-pile storage. Depending on where you’re located, permitting can vary in costs as well as timeline for approvals. Get in touch with your local code enforcement to find out the details of the process and costs related to permitting.
To get permits approved, you may need some engineering work to evaluate the correct size, weight and commodity of goods stored. This might entail drafting CAD drawings and floor plans to send to the appropriate permitting offices.
Here are a few more factors to consider when trying to estimate pallet racking costs:
- Installation: How will you install your racks? Will you need professional assistance? If so, you’ll need to factor in additional labor costs alongside the costs of equipment.
- Architectural Egress: The egress path will need to be designed based on local codes and fire safety requirements. This can add to the design costs of your storage system.
- Concrete Floor Specifications: Your floor will need to support the weight of your loaded racking system. Tackling this might require core samples and an engineering analysis.
- Seismic Testing: If you live in a seismically active area, local codes will often require some sort of seismic testing, which will add to the overall cost of design and installation.
As you can see, estimating how much pallet racking costs means you need to answer dozens of questions related to the design, installation and intended use of your racking system.
Estimating the Cost of Pallet Racking
When it comes to figuring out pallet racking costs, the best way to get an accurate answer is to call a supplier for a quote. You just can’t figure this out on your own. When you get in touch with the experts, they can help you with everything from calculating costs to designing your system.
If you’re searching for a reliable supplier, look no further than East Coast Storage Equipment.
We’ve helped thousands of customers over the last few decades and can assist you in planning and pricing out your next pallet racking project. Give us a call at 888.294.5022 or reach out online to get a quote today.