Finishing Touches, V3I2

More Than One Way to Sell a Shed (Conclusion)

In traveling around the country, you will find many different types of shed lots. Some will be full store fronts with indoor and outdoor displays of many outdoor products ranging from sheds and other portable buildings to poly furniture and windmills.

Others will be a few sheds on display outside of a minimally related business, like a farm store or car repair shop. Still others will be two to 30 sheds and other portable buildings parked on an empty lot with a phone number to call if you are interested in hearing more about the buildings you are looking at.

Which type is more successful? Which business model do you subscribe to?

As you look around at the portable building lots, you will tend to find that most stem from four basic shed builder types: full retail, retail-dealer network, retail-unmanned lots, and wholesale. Let’s take a look at these types and some of the advantages, and disadvantages, they present. In this issue, we’ll wrap up the series by examining being a wholesale manufacturer.


A wholesale manufacturer typically will sell their products to several different retail locations. There is usually a negotiated purchase price for these wholesale buyers, and then they handle everything from marketing, staffing salespeople, and delivery costs from their end.

The most glaring advantage for this type of builder is low overhead. By eliminating the need for an employed or commissioned sales staff, coupled with savings on websites, brochures, and delivery, this can be a very advantageous business model. With the only real costs
being associated with building the shed (labor, material costs, shipping costs, etc.), this can be a low-stress environment that pays good dividends.

However, the biggest disadvantage to having a lower stress environment like wholesaling your sheds is the fact that you wholesale your sheds.

Wholesale, by definition, means that you sold your product at a large discount. This creates an environment where it is more challenging to keep your margins up when unexpected increases in material occur. Even a relatively small uptick in fuel costs, for example, can hit your margins due to an increase in shipping costs from your material manufacturer.

The wholesale manufacturer has to be very careful with their costs, since it is hard to change negotiated purchase prices within their networks, giving them difficulty in passing on costs to their customers.

So, what type are you? The most common answer to this question is probably, “Some of the above.”

Many shed builders don’t just sell their buildings wholesale, but some do. Many control their sales locations, but sell some buildings wholesale as well. There is really not just one way to sell a shed.


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April/May 2024