Feature, V2I6

Reviewing the Top Selling Shed Options of 2016

Traditional styles still attract customers.








Traditional and Aesthetics Still Tops

Although homeowners are embracing backyard buildings for a wide variety of unique new uses—from home office to man cave to backyard retreat and, yes, the occasional tiny home—traditional products remain top sellers.

For Stor-Mor Sheds in Meridian, Idaho, that means the 8 by 12 gable style and 10 by 12 gable style.

“I’d say that’s probably the last 10 years been our best seller over here,” says Marc Argon, who handles sales for Stor-Mor. “Things have stayed pretty similar for the most part.”

In other areas, the barn style commands the market.

“The barn-style roof with the LP SmartSiding (Smart Barn) has been our most popular seller,” says Laura Louviere, sales associate for Sheds To Go in Yadkinville, North Carolina. “This building comes standard with 6 by 6 foot double doors, one window, two 4-foot lofts, and are sized 10 by 16 through 14 by 60.”

Options include metal or shingle roofs or tall walls, for which other builders say they’re hearing more requests.

“These buildings are very popular with their standard options,” Louviere adds.

Some consumers have favored a barn-style roof.

Overall, homeowners continue to want backyard buildings that provide aesthetic appeal in addition to storage.

“These days everyone wants their shed a bit more custom and fancier looking than the typical sheds that we did in the past,”
Argon says.

For Mark Miller, office manager for Star-tec Builders in Temple, Texas, that means providing details such as the Cape Code style shed with a dormer.

“That has been a very popular seller for us,” Miller says.

Other design details, such as rooftop cupolas and rooflines that match the main house, also are drawing in customers for Star-tec.

It’s popular or shed rooflines to match the main house.

Custom All the Way

Custom buildings remain high in demand, with consumers who browse the shed display lot much as they would a catalog.

“Our display models are just examples of what we can do,” Argon says. “The customer gets to pick and choose options.”

Custom buildings are also increasingly in demand in areas where that previously was not the case.

“Normally my [top sellers] are standard sheds,” says Dianne Valiando, co-owner of Mr. Shed Inc. in New Windsor, New York. “But this year and the end of last year I’ve been doing a lot of custom work—which
is great for me. I’m helping [owners] design their shed.”

As the consumer news heats up with reports about the possibilities for backyard storage, more are shopping display lots with an idea of what they want already in mind.

“We have a lot of customers who come in and have a specific layout of how they want things,” Miller says. “They’ll bring a picture that they found on the Internet and say, ‘Look, I want mine to look like this.’ Even though we don’t normally do it that way, we’ll go ahead and we’ll accommodate those desires. We do a lot of work like that for customers.”

Miller adds, “We pride ourselves on being able to accommodate what the customer wants.”

In those cases where standard products are preferred, it often comes down to an immediate need.

“Delivery times are a huge deal to some customers,” Louviere says. “We have a pretty large inventory to choose from and can have any building in inventory delivered within seven to 10 days.”

Custom buildings can arrive within three to four weeks, and for either option the company provides rush orders for a price.

Weighing the Options

“Generally people want a building that is durable and somewhat matches their house,” says Steve Carleton, senior vice president of Reeds Ferry Small Buildings Inc. in Hudson, New Hampshire.

When it comes to matching, vinyl siding with its many color possibilities has been very popular in certain areas of the country.

“Vinyl siding comes in so many various colors that you can match the color of your house,” Carleton says.

“In our operation in Alabama we’ve been doing a lot of vinyl siding,” Miller agrees. “Tht’s something homeowners are using quite a bit more to match their house.”

At the Texas office, however, there’s no vinyl siding, a reflection of the local market. Instead, that locality is exploring suppliers of lap siding, an option for which the builder gets numerous requests.

Sheds To Go has embraced LP’s SmartSiding in more products as long-term warranties are increasingly in demand.

“Our dog kennels now come standard with LP SmartSiding—a sustainable aspen wood that resists mold, fungus, decay and termites and it is stranded together with a Gorilla Glue recipe,” Louviere says. “There are no chemicals used in the making and it gets a 50-year warranty, as opposed to T1-11 chemically treated siding, which gets a 5-year warranty.”

Sheds To Go has recently upgraded its options to boost durability.

“Sheds To Go has made rafter ties and tempered glass windows standard on all new buildings,” Louviere says. “These options add more integrity to the building. It’s not a requirement, just an added bonus that assists in helping our buildings stand out.”

Durability is one reason Valiando says she’s providing more metal units than in year’s past.

“What’s happening is some towns are putting more restrictions on sheds than they do on houses,” she says. “A lot of towns are saying that they no longer want wood floors, they want a concrete slab. Once you tell them you’re putting gasoline in there—whether it’s a weed eater or a motorcycle or car—they want a concrete slab, no matter what size.”

The fire-prevention method is proving expensive for home and business owners.

“Some [customers] even get a rollup door. Let’s say you get an 8 by 10 building—you’re not going to put a car in there. But they want a rollup door for ease of access. Anything with any kind of rollup or garage door needs to have a concrete slab,” Valiando says.

Durability is key to popularity.

For Valiando, this more stringent demand is leading to a new demand for buildings that are bigger than ever.

“I think people are saying, ‘If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it big,’” Valiando says.

More Than Storage

Valiando found demand up for large units as local businesses are turning to outside storage solutions.

“For instance, I just wrote up a quote for a 16 by 20, two-story-high barn,” she says. “I just did another one that’s a 20 by 40 high barn. There’s no second floor, but he’s putting car lifts in there.”

Valiando finds that in her area, where rent is high, home and business owners are looking for new solutions to maximize their space.

“They’re asking the town what’s the biggest size they can put in without being taxed,” she says. “I’d say a good 60 percent of business this year has been that. If not, they were little 8 by 10 or 8 by 8 buildings—we’ve built from one extreme to the other.”

“A lot of people are going for other types of buildings,” Carleton says. As shed builders provide more aesthetic options, interest is growing in adding more outbuildings. “They’re looking for outbuildings more than sheds, we see.”

Of course, Carleton adds, he hears interest in the tiny house trend from time to time.

“A lot of people are taking our buildings and easily converting them into four-season buildings,” he says. “We don’t do that work. It’s up to them to find a contractor to do the insulation and electric and what have you. Some even do plumbing.”

Valiando likewise hears the interest in tiny homes, but says little of that interest bears results.

“I did a lot of quotes for tiny houses, but people don’t think they’re going to cost a lot,” she says. “They cost about $30,000 to $40,000.”

Typically, she says, those interested are shocked that the cost of finishing a house, even a small one, runs that high.

Star-tec, on the other hand, is finishing out its buildings to serve as workshops.

“We’ve been doing quite a bit of electrical inside of the buildings,” Miller says. “We’ve even been framing out some walls for customers so they can do finishing work. We’ve done quite a bit of that, on top of the options that we already offer, like work benches, shelving, adding doors, and windows.”

Miller says many of these customers are interested in a workspace that they can divide up for various purposes, “and not just have one open room.”

Pool houses have also been popular for these builders.

“We did a lot of pool houses this year, which is essentially a shed that’s converted into a pool house,” Carleton says.
“We do an awful lot of pool houses too,” Valiando adds. “That has been pretty big the last couple of years. I shouldn’t say really big; it
seems big because they get expensive. Last year I did three, this year I did one, but I don’t have to sell 20 units of a standard shed—I get that out of one pool house.”

Outbuildings are also popular.

Making Changes to Your Business

Knowing what’s popular doesn’t just help shed dealers know what to stock. It also indicates where you can charge a premium.

For example, Louviere says, “Our prices have increased for 2017.”

Because backyard buildings are hotter than ever for a wide range of uses, there’s no reason not to make adjustments that can be fed into new business investments.


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