Finishing Touches, V2I6

More Than One Way to Sell a Shed (Part 2)

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 examine retail with a dealer network.

Retail with Dealer Network

Many shed builders don’t want the hassle of being a full retail manufacturer, so they set up partnerships with individuals and businesses to sell for them. These partners can come from many different walks of life—from individuals with time on their hands who want to earn some side money to big box stores that want to add a local portable building to their product offerings.

The builders will usually supply a portion of the total marketing package for their partners such as brochures and signage, but rely on their partners to “get the message out” about their buildings through their own marketing avenues and possibly their own website.

The biggest advantage for this type of relationship is that a given shed manufacturer can have numerous sales lots at a relatively cheap cost while holding the advantage of having a salesperson to sell their products. The biggest costs associated with this type are inventory, delivery (usually), some marketing material, and a negotiated commission structure with their partner when a shed is delivered.

The most glaring disadvantage for this type relationship is focus. Since your partners are not directly employed by you, nor are they likely a partner in your manufacturing business, they will probably have their loyalties split between your portable buildings and many other product lines, even up to the point that they may have one of your competing lines on their lot next to yours.

If you have four sheds sitting at a car repair shop that also sells carports, is that partner’s focus going to be on the sheds he or she sells, the carports, or is it going to be on their primary business of fixing cars?

Many of these relationships are very fruitful, especially the ones that only sell sheds and related items, but many others can leave you with thousands of dollars of aging inventory that is not paying for itself due to neglect.


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