Building a shed from scratch is very rewarding experience. Besides the joy of the delivered product you are gaining a lot of knowledge and experience from the work. It's not exaggeration to say that once you have built a couple of sheds you are almost a professional. This is not like constructing houses - you don't need engineering education to build a shed (although it may help).
So, how realistic is to start building sheds for others? Let's see. Of course, before even thinking about this, ensure you have:
- Skillful hands. I know this is a bit vague. If you have managed to complete a few DYI projects and people are searching you for help, you probably have skillful hands.
- Some experience. Don't offer other people to build them sheds before you have built at least two from scratch.
- Tools. You can't go to people's places and ask them to give you tools. You'll need a least the basic woodworking tools with you.
- Basic woodworking skills.
If you have all this in place, you can think about the possible set up of your shed building business.
Find Your Shed Building Business Angle
I suggest think in some of the following three directions: building for hire, creating small-scale manufacture, or making it "art". I'll explain more:
Building For Hire
This is the most obvious set-up. You can just offer your service to build sheds for people in your area. It helps if you have build some nice ones already and people know you.
Of course many customers prefer to buy prefab sheds. But it's often hard to find exactly what one needs especially when they need non-standard sheds - for example attached ones.
It's unlikely that you can beat prefab sheds by price - considering your service costs and the materials, so don't focus on being cheap. Focus on being custom and solving the specific needs of the customers. If you prove to be reliable and have original ideas, they'll value it.
Building sheds for hire won't make you rich but can feed your family. It can let you enjoy freelancer lifestyle rather than working "for the man".
Small Scale Manufacturing
Another option is to grow this into a small business and manufacture shed kits, parts, or complete sheds. Such a business setup will allow you to earn far more and eventually delegate tasks to workers rather than doing it all yourself. There are few things to consider:
- When you are offering shed kits or ready sheds you are essentially competing with the big companies. You need to find some competitive advantage, otherwise you have no chance. It's unlikely that you can compete on price so think about making some unique designs, using eco-friendly materials, or maybe having a fan group and providing premium advice or support.
- You need large and well equipped workshop. Building ready sheds for sale means you have to deliver quantities. Which means you will need more space and probably people to work with you. So the initial investment is obviously higher.
- You need marketing. Word of mouth works great when you want to be hired once-twice per month to build someone's shed. When you are trying to sell 100 or so sheds per months it's no longer enough. You are building a larger-scale business and your marketing will have to reflect this.
Manufacturing ready sheds or shed kits can be your next step after building sheds for individual customers.
Making it an Art
Another option is to build really unique sheds at high prices making it kind of art projects. This is not for everyone and it's hard to find customers. But maybe if you have the gift, you can make it.
Tips for Success
Like with any small business there are no guarantees for success. Here are several tips that can help you increase your chances to make it:
- Be flexible with everything - prices, materials, time of delivery, designs
- Don't compete only on price. Even if you win customers due to low prices, working for cheap devalues your image and isn't a good way to make living.
- Search locally. Your biggest advantage to the online retailers is in your local area especially if it is remote.
- Reuse and recycle materials. You can not only achieve lower expenses but can also establish yourself as green business.
- Think about specialization - for example building attached lean-to sheds, earthbag sheds and so on. This may let you sell your services or products at higher prices
That's it for today! Expect more detailed guides for making business with sheds soon.