Shed building business

Discussion in 'Carpenters' Talk' started by Andy1234, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. Andy1234

    Andy1234 Member

    Hi Everyone,

    Hope someone can give me their thoughts on a Shed Building company I would like to setup. I basically want to start up small and build good quality sheds with hopefully little overheads. My thoughts are to have all timber delivered to customer’s home and build in situ which will keep costs down. I’m designing a quality built shed in Google Sketchup and I’d also like to stand out from a couple of similar local companies by offering insulation in the shed. There is also a company nearby dealing in mismatched windows. I enjoy which is working with wood am fortunately financially secure so I don’t need to make a lot of money, perhaps £100 per shed? I will also offer to build a base (concrete or timber). I’ve roughly priced up materials for my idea but not sure if it’s feasible. Would anyone hazard a guess on how much discount I could achieve at trade price? As I don’t have trade account at the moment I can’t price up properly.

    -Is £100 profit per shed realistic?
    -Is it feasible to have materials delivered to customer direct?
    -Are trade prices that much cheaper than usual price?
    -Would it be worth adding double glazed windows for extra security, would it be a clincher for people to buy?
    -What type of insurance would I need?
    -Am I in dreamland with this idea?

    Thanks in advance for anyone’s thoughts.
  2. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    Not viable in my opinion.
  3. Phil the Paver

    Phil the Paver Screwfix Select

    £100 profit!!!!!, on a bespoke built on site shed, behave, it will take you at least a couple of days, but more like 3 or 4 days to cut all the timber on site and make the shed, also insulation and double glazing on a shed?????, this is now becoming a summer room/office.

    If you want to be different, buy your shed in and alter it to be your own style, do this off site, so you only have to piece it together on site.

    But £100 per shed profit, no never, you'd be wasting your time and would so come to resent to whole business.
    Andy1234 likes this.
  4. Andy1234

    Andy1234 Member

    Thanks both.,
    Just wondering how local shed companies are in operation. £250 for a 6x4 shiplap shed on screwfix website, 5x4 pent at £280. Ok, how about £50 profit margin? Probably not worth it I guess? Ok, sheds out of the way, which would be the most profitable? House up the road just paid £350 for driveway gates. They are 8 foot wide and only 1.5m high T&G, gotta be £100 profit on that? Also, rabbit hutches, chicken runs, dog Kennels etc. any money in these do you think. Cost a small fortune in Pets at Home eg, Dog Kennel for £I29. I have a lot of time on my hands so that is not a problem. I also have a block garage which I could convert to a small workshop.

    What you reckon?
  5. proby

    proby Active Member

    If you are not bothered about the time it takes why not price a shed up on the cost of materials without trade discount to see what the cost would be, it would give you an idea at least.
    Andy1234 likes this.
  6. Phil the Paver

    Phil the Paver Screwfix Select

    I meant 100 as not enough profit for what you where proposing, sheds like those on SF at 250 etc are only held together with 10 or 12 screws and pre made, so take about an hour to put up with 2 men.

    You are proposing a bespoke type of shed, hand made, labour alone on say a 10 by 8 would be around 300 400 + materials.
    Andy1234 likes this.
  7. Andy1234

    Andy1234 Member

    Thanks Phil,

    Sorry, I misunderstood you. I would probably offer Double Glazing (security) and insulation as an optional add-on and charge accordingly. I'd be happy with £100 profit on each shed tbh. I have garage space and work area at home so I could pre-make the main sides but then i'd have to get transport, still worth it? What profit margin do you think shed supplies make on a say £300-400 shed? I see you can get 1 linear metre of T&G for £1, don't know if cheaper could be sourced at trade price or not.
  8. PaulBlackpool

    PaulBlackpool Screwfix Select

    With the greatest respect I think you are in dreamland with this idea. It is a hard commercial, financial jungle out there and you only need one bad job where everything goes wrong and then you would come to resent having to spend all your time on it. Granted you could just give up but why put yourself through it? Never mind only making £100 per shed once you start the business you will find that you spend too much time on it and not everything will be under your control and you could end up making a loss. A lot of people have a dream to open say a pet shop or a wool shop very near an established business or where there is little demand and end up losing everything not just the shop. If you do want to set up in business you could set up a limited company (and not giving any personal guarantees if your bank would let you) and then if the business failed your personal assets such as your house would not be affected. You cannot run a business without overheads and some people are very bad payers. In my experience as a retired chartered accountant "hobby" businesses are seldom successful. Well that is my "accountant merchant of doom" speech. By the way I assume that you are a joiner by trade and I have assumed that you have not been in business before. If I am wrong -apologies.
    Andy1234 likes this.
  9. Mr Rusty

    Mr Rusty Screwfix Select

    Think about why you want to do this. If it's to make money I think it's probably not really viable. If its to keep your hands busy and be creative, why not try wendy houses? You can be as creative as you like with play houses. If you're not really counting in your time too hard, you might still find that you can sell them at a good enough price to cover materials + margin. So not really commercial, but maybe a nice little earner if your time isn't too precious.
    Andy1234 and FatHands like this.
  10. Andy1234

    Andy1234 Member

    Thanks Paul,
    Thanks for your thoughts, i'm not a joiner, just a DIY enthusiast with OCD who likes to do a proper job who hasn't been in business before. I get what you are saying but think I should be a bit clearer. I anticipate only making one (maybe two) sheds a week at a very attractive price. I agree with the limited company bit. Regarding the bad payers, my plan would be to charge for the materials cost up front as deposit, therefore not sacrificing my own pocket. I could supply the first 2 or 3 sheds at cost price and use as 'show sheds' to reasure customers of the quality. I wouldn't need premises and the most attractive point for me is that I wouldn't be in it to make a livelyhood, just a few quid on the side for something I enjoy doing. Not merchant of doom by any means, just honest thoughts, thanks.
  11. Andy1234

    Andy1234 Member

    Thanks Simon,
    Yes, playhouses were on my mind also, and yes, it would to be something I enjoy and to make a few quid while i'm at it. Although i'd considered the sheds more due to the case of once i've made one shed, it would be easier to replicate, whereas playhouses would be individually and bespoke made. Not my ideal idea but yes, worth considering, thank you.
  12. PaulBlackpool

    PaulBlackpool Screwfix Select

    Continuing the pessimism. Sorry. Think of the weather!
    Andy1234 likes this.
  13. Andy,

    It is not a viable business. Simply because cheap and quality are incompatible.

    If you would rather the term 'value for money' - that may be a viable business.

    Cheap - Screwfix and Wickes - very poor quality, mass produced - off site fabrication, instructions for dummies, not very secure, no proper base- anyone can set this up with a screwdriver, hammer and nails.

    Quality - bespoke solution for clients that are looking for bespoke to their needs and a product that will last 15-20 years or longer. I wouldn't pick up the phone for less than £100, never mind spend 10 days building a concrete base and a bespoke shiplap clad, secure shed using high quality materials and techniques to ensure longevity.

    Sorry chum.

    If you want to go down this 'quality' route, you need to understand the clients' requirements - that is the meaning of bespoke.

    Double glazing does not necessarily make a shed more secure.

    Insultation? What is the client using the shed for? maybe it doesn't need insulation?

    Sketch-up - there are common timber construction details which can be used for building sheds which offer thermal insulation and mitigate the build-up of condensation and transfer of moisture when building an insulated shed - try using details which already exist. Sketch-up can be used to show the client a 3D image - the more complex, the more costly.

    Base - if you are mixing by hand or barrowing concrete from the front - this is a tremendous amount of work. You will need to consider the transfer of moisture from the ground to the timber floor - again, details are readily available.

    Does the client want an electrical supply?

    Do you need a robust floor detail? (e.g 2x 18mm marine ply cross laid on 100x50 @ 400 c/c)

    Apex roof or single pitch? - huge difference in cost and effort.

    Wall detail - if the client wants to store heavy items leaning on the wall - the shed might twist - consider plywood over internal walls to mitigate this and use heavier profile uprights.

    Andy... there is a lot to think about - even if you think it's just a 'shed'
    FatHands likes this.
  14. goldenboy

    goldenboy Super Member

    Not going to work. Sorry.
  15. chippie244

    chippie244 Super Member

    You say you are financially secure so how much, per week or annually, do you need to make as a profit.
  16. FatHands

    FatHands Well-Known Member

    Andy hope you see this as constructive and not a knock but why do you think cheap is attractive? someone who wants a bespoke building opposed the rubbish that lasts one winter from the diy place will know that quality costs more.
  17. Andy1234

    Andy1234 Member

    Thanks chippie244,
    I had a figure of £100 per shed if possible. It wouldn't be to make a livelyhood so possibly just 1 shed a week starting off and see how it goes.
  18. Andy1234

    Andy1234 Member

    Thanks FatHands,
    It would only be bespoke to the extent of some optional extras such as insulation, double glazed window, shelves. I'm thinking attractively priced for a quality shed. For example, if I could construct a shed with £100 profit comparable in cost to a wickes or B&Q wafer thin one, so I guess it would come down to cost. I'm thinking surely customers would even pay a little bit extra for 3"x3" uprights than the matchsticks the cheaper made ones have. I could possibly make the sides at home ready to just bolt together on site.
  19. Andy1234

    Andy1234 Member

    Thanks construction project manager,
    I'm thinking insulation, electrical supply and window types could be optional extras (at extra cost). Also if I construct the main components at home ready to bolt together on site, I can't see that being a problem. Also 1 or 2 days to lay a 6.5'x4.5' 4" concrete foundation for a 6'x4' shed? I also think that by making a lot of the components optional so customer can pay as little or as much as required suiting their requirements. Thanks for the info on Sketchup, didn't realise this (I will investigate). Basically, i'd like to be able to build a quality shed for a comparable price to the cheapy ones. I don't particularly think the ones at wickes, B&Q etc are cheap, bloody expensive for what they are. Maybe just make and sell kits which I can pre-make at home? I am considering this idea as I don't need it to make a livelyhood out of it, just a few quid for something I would enjoy.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2015
  20. dwlondon

    dwlondon Active Member

    So in effect you are offering to do the work on a voluntary basis, charging the customer the cost of the materials alone. Actually folk are generally fairly canny about taking on builders and such, this benevolent approach is not something they are used to; and if you are that 'cheap' they won't employ you. So you would need to set your prices to be competitive. If you have been watching some of these tv programs about 'changing lives' and such; its not applicable to the normal run of things. And indeed if that is the inspiration you might want to volunteer for such.

    Also, there are already very good quality sheds available for self assembly. It took me about a week to lay the base of 4 x 5 metres in narrow strips that I could manage on my own. Then another week to assemble the shed kit, which came with double glazed windows and such. Another week to fit electrics and paint it. So there is a lot to a decent shed.

    Its doable if you really want it.

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