Building and Construction, Operations

Beyond Sheds: Garages & Carports

A cabin with garage from Classic Buildings.

Since many shed builders are very busy this time of year, and especially so since 2020, they may not be looking into expanding their product lines.

Others, however, may be looking at future growth and see offering garages and/or carports alongside their portable structures as a viable option.

And many builders have found them to work well with their business.

Chris Lane, general manager of Bennett Buildings in Conway, South Carolina, says his company offers both garages and carports because they are a “natural fit” for the portable storage side of the business.

Marvin Raber, owner of Raber Portable Storage Barns in Montgomery, Indiana, which builds garages and is a carport dealer, agrees. 

“We feel that (garages) really go with our storage sheds,” Raber says. “They kind of go hand-in-hand, and in fact, a lot of customers buy a garage to use as a storage shed.”

Classic Building Sales based in Missouri has also found sales success with garages.

“It sets us apart from the competition, and allows us to serve more customers in a smaller geographic area,” says CEO Kenneth Miller.

According to Lane, garages and carports are a good income generator for Bennett Buildings. 

“A lot of people are looking for one or the other,” he says. “With some of our customers, you’ll find that they need both. Once they’ve bought from you, typically they’ll come back to you.”

Lane also says the structures work well for his business because he only needs one display model of each structure, which doesn’t take up a lot of retail space.

While building and selling garages and carports works for these three companies, there are factors shed builders need to consider before entering the market.


Lane, Raber, and Miller note that some areas of the garage and carport market are the same as the shed industry, but there are some key differences.

“They are definitely different, so we have separated them into a division of its own,” Miller says. “They serve the same needs of the customer, just on a different scale.”

He says most of the materials his company uses to build garages are similar, except for 6-foot and 7-foot studs. 

“Taller ladders, concrete crews, and a Skytrack lift are tools we use for garages that we don’t use for sheds,” shares Miller.

Raber says his company’s garages are very similar to its sheds, except they use heavier framing on the floors.

“We use the same materials, except we typically add extra skids,” he says. “All of our buildings include the ¾-inch tongue-and-groove Performance max floor.”

“Some shed companies use roll doors,” Raber says. “We use standard overhead doors and offer electric openers as an option.”

Bennett Buildings’ garages and carports are made of steel, so there are obvious differences in materials and construction. 

“You have a builder building them off-site, versus our portable sheds that are built in a plant and delivered,” Lane says. “Different crews do the deliveries. That side is completely different.”

And his steel structures are much larger. 

“When someone needs a lot of space, that’s where they go rather than portable,” Lane says. “Once they’re down, they’re typically permanent, even on a rent-to-own. They don’t publicize that necessarily. Picking one back up is a whole different ball game than it is with a storage building that is portable.”

As far as the selling side, Bennett Buildings can do more remote sales typically than can be done with portable structures because a subcontractor is building them. 

Also, due to the pandemic, Lane says there are more phone sales, and configurators make it easier to avoid mistakes made designing by hand. 

“With the bringing on of a configurator online, it’s just a lot easier to be able to make that sale now without trying to remember how to have a design that used to be very complicated, but it’s much more simple now,” he says.

“All of the steel structure companies that we’ve ever dealt with don’t offer anything other than steel. It feeds over into the portable side in that most of the portable buildings offer a metal roof, and some of that’s the same material that they’re getting from their steel structures.”

He says steel structures are found more often in rural, rather than urban areas, and that structures built near a coast may have to be engineered to withstand high winds.

One of the biggest pitfalls Lane says his business has run into is that most of the steel companies subcontract all of the work. 

“Every crew is a subcontractor,” he says. “There’s a fair amount of language barrier because most of them are not English speaking, or they may have one English-speaking person on the crew.”

Miller points out that building a garage is “more of a construction approach” than the typical shed build.

“They’re not portable,” he says, “and there’s very little pre-fab.”

Raber Portable Storage Barns, however, makes its garages more portable and delivers them. Raber says his garage deliveries are much the same as shed deliveries, except a garage requires either a gravel or concrete pad.


Often with garages, and sometimes carports, local building codes and homeowner association (HOA) rules need to be followed. 

Miller points out that garages require permanent foundations, zoning building permits, etc. The structures have to be built to the code of each municipality.

“In Indiana, different counties have different interpretations of the code,” Raber shares. “In most cases, it revolves around fire-resistant floor coatings or a sufficient number of anchors.”

He adds that portable structure garage floors need to be strong enough to support a vehicle. 

“Let the customer know there are limits to the size truck they can drive on a wooden floor,” Raber says. “Ours will support a half-ton pickup truck.”

Local codes and HOAs are even more challenging for Lane’s steel structures.

“There’s where you get into some of the sticky parts,” he says. “Depending on where you are, you know.”

Lane says that the vast majority of HOAs will not allow a steel structure, while many counties and cities will permit them.

“There are very different hoops you have to jump through,” he points out. “We have a couple of counties that, literally, the company that’s putting the building up has to apply for the permit, and they have to have either a commercial or residential license to do it.

“Portable buildings, you don’t necessarily need to get permits. That’s something that varies county by county, but the municipality is the one who drives that train. They determine completely how they’re going to allow it to be done. A lot of people get (steel structures) without permits, but they will make them take the structure down.”


For Miller and Raber, following local rules and codes is key for the garage market.

“Be prepared to learn how to work with building codes,” advises Miller. “We have building specialists that learn the requirements of the municipalities in their area.”

“Check your state’s codes and do your research,” Raber agrees.

Since Lane deals with many subcontractor crews on his garages and carports, he recommends, “Do an awful lot of research first, dealing with how the subcontractor’s customer service is. 

“I’ll check them out online and see what the customer is going to see. Complaints show up online, and I’ll look at Facebook reviews, recommendations, things like that. I would make sure that the quality of the build and the customer service history is good with them.

“You just need to make sure that you’re dealing with a company that has a reputable history, and you don’t necessarily trust what they tell you, you’ve got to verify it.

Hvis du har akut brug for medicin om natten eller på en søndag, skal du henvende dig på et vagtapotek. Mindst et af apotekerne i området bør være åbent Det eneste, du skal gøre, er at finde ud af, hvilket det er.

“It may be built before you know it’s built because you’re out of out of contact, out of the loop completely and that while it can be good if the company’s really good at it, it’s a nightmare if they’re not.”

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