Bradley Kimberlin, Columnists, Framework, V6I3

Rebuilding Your Shed Business After a Forced Shutdown

(Photo courtesy of fauxels from Pexels)

By the time this issue hits your mailbox, hopefully things are more back to normal. Almost every state has been affected one way or another by government mandated shutdowns, which most likely has impacted your business.

I’ve spoken with a few other shed companies and rent-to-own (RTO) providers about how this is affecting them and what they are doing to rebound as quickly as possible. I wanted to share what I’m seeing and what I’ve learned on how to make a comeback as quickly as possible.


As I spoke with Anthony Taylor-Weber, founder of Outdoor Office, LLC in Portland, Oregon, I heard him mention several times ways that their company is maintaining agility and responding quickly. 

For example, they had been looking at a larger facility to allow for three times the space but have put that on hold for now. 

“We see the need to conserve cash and protects our assets” shares Taylor-Weber. “Putting money into a larger facility without knowing how the economic situation will be in one to six months from now just doesn’t seem wise.”

I think agility is a huge factor to being successful in a time like this. Recognizing that business has changed and looking for new and different ways to meet your customers’ needs is better than clinging to ‘the way we’ve always done it.’


Offering payment options is always a good idea. To understand how this can affect your ability to keep sales going (and growing!), I spoke with Matthew Weaver, owner of MyShedRental, a company that offers rent-to-own solutions for shed companies all over the United States. He highlighted several of the legal benefits an RTO contract offers a client during a time of economic uncertainty.

Not a long-term commitment. Legally (in most states), a rent-to-own contract is for one month. That is much different than a multi-year finance proposition or a credit card charge that doesn’t go away.

Early purchase option. A good RTO contract will allow the customer to exercise an early purchase option that provides a discounted amount for them to own the building. Stimulus money, anyone?

Return the building and owe nothing more. “One phone call and our customers no longer have a financial commitment,” shares Weaver. If your customer unexpectedly loses their job or just doesn’t want the payments anymore, they can call in and return the shed and payments stop.

Properly presented, these benefits can provide confidence to consumers even in a time of financial uncertainty. 

“Ideally, your rent-to-own company should have already released information to you on how they are relating to clients during this time,” says Weaver. “If I was selling sheds, building that relationship with a local client, I would want to know how they are going to be treated.” 

If your RTO provider has not already done so, you should reach out and ask them how they are handling collection calls, pickups, late customers, and anything else that they have changed in their policies.


If you were in a state that had “stay at home” or “shelter in place” requirements, what did you do with all the spare time? If you’re like most people, you went online. And your (potential) customers are doing the same thing. 

I’ve spoken with multiple shed company owners since mid-March and the ones with online sales tools are seeing higher sales volume than companies who rely on walk-in traffic. At a minimum, your website should display current inventory and prompt your clients to reach out by phone. But don’t stop there—add a shopping cart so customers can purchase inventory sheds online. 

Another online sales tool you need on your website is a 3D shed builder. Make sure your 3D builder has the ability for the customers to self-checkout, with cash or rent-to-own options.

Robert Oxley, visionary and founder at The Shed App, explained that their 3D design tool can do both. 

“We’ve seen up to 100 percent increase in the number of saved quotes through our Customer Order Form,” he shares. “The main driver for this is a conversion rate of almost 60 percent, meaning that six out of 10 visitors to our 3D design tool save their quote, providing the shed manufacturer with the info on what shed they want, along with their name and contact info.” 

But that’s not all. Since customers can self-checkout (without talking to anyone) with either purchase outright or rent to own, some companies are seeing an increase with sales as well. 

“Our current record is three online purchases in one 24-hour period,” shares Oxley. 


This might not seem as big of an item, but it’s a trend you need to watch. Across the nation, consumers are looking for ways to grow their own food and raise their own eggs. And as shed builders, we have an answer for that.

You may not have offered chicken coops or greenhouses before, but you should start. They don’t have to be fancy or expensive. I would say the more affordable you can make them, the better off you will be. 

Another thing to consider is payment options on these. Weaver mentioned that MyShedRental will gladly provide rent-to-own services on items like chicken coops and greenhouses, but not every RTO provider does. 


A common complaint in the last year or so has been the ability to find good help. With unemployment rates spiking due to mandatory closures, now is the time to invest in hiring some good help. 

Letting new prospects know how your company fared through this uncertain time may provide an extra incentive for them to join up with your company. “Essential” and “non-essential” are terms being thrown around, but it’s bad terminology. Everyone is essential, and you may be able to find good help by showing them you care.


These wise words were shared by Taylor-Weber, and they really resonate with me. 

There is a lot of confusion and uncertainty around us with changes happening almost daily. I have also heard of some community backlash toward businesses who were able to remain open. 

While there are some unique opportunities being presented with projects like home offices or greenhouses, our focus should not be on how to “take advantage” of the situation but rather, how we can help meet needs. If we truly care about the communities we live in, we will find ways to meet needs that very possibly can grow our business. 

At Colorado Shed Company, we are giving $50 cash to every customer that purchases a new shed and encouraging them to use that cash to spend at another local small business. I believe that together, we are better.

Until next time, Be Excellent!

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