Feature, Profiles, V7I2

One-Stop Shop

Nelson’s Buildings crew (from left): Rickey Nelson, Richard Nelson, Tristan Nelson, Xene Nelson, Kristen Barron, Lance Nelson, Bryson Brady, and Nathan Thomas.

Some businesses in the portable structure industry focus on one or two key items.

Some build wooden sheds. Others offer metal structures. 

One business might include garages and gazebos. Another might offer pergolas.

Then there are those businesses that focus on building structures, while others focus on retail.

Nelson’s Buildings in Gainesville, Florida, has grown to be an “all of the above” business, a “one-stop shop” to serve all the needs of its customers.   

Shed Builder Magazine had the chance to ask Tristan Nelson, operations manager, about the company’s history, its business practices and how it manages as a one-stop shop, and its future.

What led up to the founding of Nelson’s Buildings in 1998? What experience/background did those involved have?

Xene, one of the owners of Nelson’s Buildings, worked for a shed business out of Lake City, Florida. Xene and Richard felt the need to work for themselves and took a major financial risk on property in Gainesville, Florida, in 1998. 

They barely survived the initial red tape that the local municipality was requiring for them to open their doors, but they believe that by the grace of God they were able to make it happen. Richard ran shed deliveries, while Xene ran the office and accounting.

Why offer sheds?

We saw a need for good customer service in this industry when not many offered such a thing. We know that if you do not compromise your customer service with growth, then your community will seek you out to bring you business.

What were the early years like? What was the first product you offered? How did you gain customers and grow?

In the early years, we were surprised how fast word got out.

Once word got out in the community that a quality company with quality service arrived, we weren’t sure how we kept up with the demand. We just kept scaling and working countless hours to keep everything going at a manageable pace. We did sales by day and accounting by night.

Why do you offer the products you do today (sheds, gazebos, greenhouses, carports, etc.)?

We offer the products we do today because people want a one-stop shop. 

If you want to keep your customer around for future purchases, they may not always want another shed. They may want a carport or a greenhouse.

You offer both wood and metal products. Why both?

It is important to offer both products. People who shop for wood products want a wood building, and people who shop for a metal product want a metal building. 

We don’t like to get caught up in being biased toward one or the other and believe there are many pros to both products. Both types deserve to be equally represented on our lots. 

Customers also know that we aren’t biased because we offer both, so it forms a bond of trust with our customers that not many other companies have the advantage of because they are biased toward that wood or metal building.

How and why did you select the builders you work with? Do you do any building, or is the company strictly retail?

We do build some of our own buildings on-site. That is only if the yard does not have adequate access. 

We select the builders we work with through a strict process. We constantly monitor our builders to ensure that they are representing our company well, whether that is quality control or the customer experience. 

Our slogan of “Best Built, Best Price, and Best Service” are all equally important to us.

How do you handle deliveries?

We handle deliveries with one of our three trailers. We run a lineup of three trucks and trailers. 

Our shed deliveries come with free blocking, leveling, and installation

What would a customer visiting your lot experience when buying a structure? 

At our lot, the customer would experience an honest experience that is unique to the current sales climate. We don’t like to use sales tactics; we listen to their needs, form a relationship, and we help them find the best product based on their needs. 

It is also important to equip your customers with the knowledge they need to understand shed construction, so if they shop elsewhere they will understand the potential differences in quality.

What have been some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced, and how did you overcome them?

The market crash in 2008 was extremely rough. We relied heavily on the word of mouth we acquired over that prior 10-year period. 

Without our awesome loyal customers and clients, we wouldn’t be here today.

What would you consider to be some of your greatest successes?

Our greatest successes come from the ability to offer a quality product for a competitive price, and the best service. Our slogan is “Best Built, Best Price, Best Service,” and a lot of people within our industry say it’s impossible to accomplish all three, but we beg to differ and refuse to settle for anything less.

Another great success is the bond of trust we have with our customers. It is our greatest accomplishment by far.

What does the future look like for Nelson’s Buildings?

We do not know what a day will bring, but Nelson’s Buildings is here to stay and grow. 

We know this is only the beginning. We have an awesome young, forward-thinking staff who are knowledgeable and excited about the future.

If you were talking with someone looking to get into structure sales, what would you say?

Contact us if you’re in the Florida area! We would love to meet with you and potentially partner with you if you’re a good fit. 

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