Feature, V3I3

Facing the Challenge

Having the right people on the job makes for fewer challenges.

Every build brings its own challenges. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a roadmap to those challenges?

Fortunately, those builders who have been in the shed business a year or two … or considerably more … are often willing to share the challenges they’ve faced, and how they’re working to overcome them.

Before you start your next build, consider how you’d approach the challenges shared over the following pages.


With enough practice, any challenging aspect of the shed business can start to feel familiar. That’s what can make the custom business tricky for new builders.

As Derl Warren, a regional dealer representative with BLI Rentals LLC in Emporia, Kansas, and a former carpenter, points out, “The hardest thing to build is anything that you don’t build every day. Anything you don’t build every day is probably the most challenging thing to build because it slows down the production line.”

For Warren, that challenge extends beyond fully custom builds to any custom options added to your standard shed.

“Like offset doors, windows that don’t go in the middle of the wall, dormers, and so on,” he says. “Keep in mind, any time you put a door or window in, the door or window itself does not support anything—it’s just a fixture in the middle of the wall. You’re creating a big, blank space in the wall that you have to support. So, you do that with headers and studs and stuff like that.”

Having a jig available to do those things, Warren says, is certainly helpful.

Planning for the unexpected is the best way to keep from being fully derailed by the occasional unique request. But even the best laid plans, when it comes to custom builds, can run into snags.

“You can try to have preset plans for most common custom-built requests, like offset doors and windows, or gable windows, which would be very challenging,” Warren says. “But even then, if it’s not something in your standard offering of buildings, it’s going to slow production down, even if you have preset plans for doing so.”

As a result, the crucial solution for this challenge is simply to build in the time to solve unexpected issues as they arise.


Communication is the key to giving customers what they want.

The close cousin of the custom build—the standard build with one or more of your countless options added in—can slow down a build as well.

Ernie Kuhns of Kuhns Storage Barns in Etna Green, Indiana, a wholesaler, says, “We do almost everything wholesale. For me, the challenge is just making sure that we get the prints and everything because we have so many options. We have a lot of options, a lot of choices, styles, etc., that customers can pick from.”

As a result, the challenge that Kuhns and his dealers have to stay on top of is making sure that everything looks the way that the customer is anticipating.

“It’s very seldom that anything goes missing,” Kuhns says. “I’m not saying never—but we have really good dealers and really good employees, so the main thing is that we’re very specific with our orders and make sure that we have here on my end the supplies the employees need.”

There’s a simple solution to this challenge as well. As Kuhns puts it, “Communication is huge.”

That goes whether working with dealers or straight with the customer. Putting processes in place to double and triple-check the possibility of miscommunication will ensure a happy customer and a successful build.


While the build is often the simpler part of the shed sales process, it’s not without its challenges. At the heart of a durable build is an accurate foundation, which is why the floor can pose a challenge for novice and experienced builders alike.

The shed floor has to be totally square , or it will be a tough build.

“The most challenging aspect of the build for us is the floor,” says Diana Cline, owner of Hollywood Sheds LLC in Missoula, Montana. “You have to be totally square, or down the line of the build things will start going wrong.”

By not putting the appropriate focus on this first step, you run the risk of more challenges than you can count. Good measurement is the solution, Cline says.

“To overcome this obstacle, measure, measure and measure again,” she says. “Do not think it will not affect the build because by the end of the build you will have been fighting every aspect.”


Larry Sensenig, with Sunrise Buildings in Versailles, Missouri, says there’s no question that the most challenging aspect of a build is simply getting a shed to the site.

Offset doors can slow down a shed build.

“I would say the most challenging thing is having the proper equipment to get the building to the site and set wherever the customer wants it,” he says.

It’s a challenge that increasingly more shed builders are solving with a single big investment.

“We have a Mule,” Sensenig says. “Before we had that, we would back our trailers in to wherever we were going, so the Mule is definitely a big asset for us. We can move a building when it’s a little bit wetter than we could with just the trailer.”

This timesaving tool can maximize the number of sheds you deliver and set in a day, which is what gives it its rapid return on investment.


For Roy Just, co-owner of Little Fawn LLC, a mini-barn builder based in Camden, Indiana, the biggest challenge on the build is simply finding the right help to get the job

“Labor—and getting reliable help—is a challenge,” Just says.

Today, Just has six to seven people working with him on jobs, and he finds that dependable workers are key to getting the job done. When the time comes to find new help, Just turns to word-of-mouth to find trustworthy workers.

“We talk to people,” he says.

Word-of-mouth is a great way to ensure that your new hires come with character references, but that’s no reason to discard the value of a thorough help wanted ad that accurately describes the position you’re looking to fill.

Roy Just has a good point that this is one challenge all builders should work to overcome firsthand. Virtually any of these other challenges can be overcome by simply putting the right people to work on finding solutions.


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