Feature, Operations, Sales & Marketing, V6I4

Sheds and Online Sales

The Shed Dealer in Idaho has seen an online sales increase during the pandemic. (Left to right) Christopher Hefner, builder; Ryan Gustafson, marketing/sales; Lenny Guerrero, social media specialist; Dani Parson, office manager; and Steve Johnson, owner/Old Hickory Sheds Dealer. (Photo courtesy of Ezra Guerrero)

Before COVID-19 invaded the United States in early 2020, The Shed Dealer in Sand Point, Idaho, didn’t sell more than three sheds a year online. 

However, Lenny Guerrero, the company’s marketing and advertising manager, says the pandemic has propelled online sales, and that trend is continuing.

The Shed Dealer has been an outlet for the Old Hickory brand of sheds for the past four years. In April, Old Hickory “began payment processes like allowing online payments,” explains Guerrero. 

A customer can now go onto The Shed Dealer’s website, enter a customized code, and complete their order online. Then, a rep of Guerrero’s company forwards the order to Old Hickory to manufacture the shed.

“Right in the middle of the stay-at-home, our sales numbers are higher,” he says. 

His employer has also been offering a $100 incentive discount on the purchase of a shed online.


The U.S. Department of Commerce reported in the first quarter of 2020, which ended March 31, that consumers spent $146.47 billion online with U.S. retailers. That figure represents a 14.5 percent increase from the same sales period of 2019. 

Because these numbers include only the first two weeks of COVID-19-impacted sales, experts predict the statistics from Q2 will demonstrate huge growth in online transactions.

For Anthony Taylor-Weber, who owns Outdoor Office LLC in Portland, Oregon, the pandemic has translated into brisk business for him, although his company does not do much business online. 

According to Taylor-Weber, the studios, home offices, yoga retreats, and more that he builds are erected to a customer’s exact specifications. Because he values establishing a personal relationship with each person for whom he constructs a space, he shies away from relying on the Internet for his business.

“We have been trying to develop a larger online sales presence to reduce face-to-face meetings,” says Taylor-Weber. “Our niche is customer interaction, and relationships are key to our success, which differentiates us from a shed building kit company that manufactures kits off pre-designed and pre-fabricated models.”

Unfortunately for him, he has not yet been able to find software that satisfies that paramount need.

In late 2019, several customers had indicated their desire to have Taylor-Weber erect a custom-built space for them. However, as the impact of the pandemic started hitting people’s wallets as COVID-19 spread in 2020, many either canceled their contracts or asked to delay them. 

While Taylor-Weber wondered briefly how he and his company would survive, his fears were quickly assuaged when new customers needing a home office or simply a place to escape to contacted him. Now his calendar is booked through 2020, and the calls keep coming. 

The sudden and unpredicted transition to working from home became a lightning rod of business for Taylor-Weber’s five-year-old company. So much so that the fledgling company is scheduled to relocate into new headquarters six-times larger than its current location. 

And, says Taylor-Weber, “we haven’t spent a dollar in advertising. Our relationships with people are what drives our business.”

Meanwhile, Classic Building Sales in Jefferson City, Missouri, doesn’t currently have an online presence but that’s about to change. That’s because in late 2019, the shed manufacturer paid Shed Suite to construct software that would facilitate online interactions, and they’re just waiting for it to be developed.

Despite the lack of the capability to complete shed sales online, “April was the best month we’ve ever had,” says CEO Ken Miller. 

Sales representatives were trained to sell sheds over the phone, so everyone was kept busy, he says. He also attributes the uptick in sales to “people being home, cleaning out garages, and thinking they needed a shed.” 

Sales are “up dramatically” for Cardinal Manufacturing LLC since the coronavirus invaded the United States, says Mark Miller, sales manager of the Illinois-based entity that manufactures and distributes tools and equipment and hauls and installs sheds and other building materials. That uptick translates into a 75% increase in sales over the same period in 2019. 

He says he’s not sure why, especially since the company is not equipped for online sales. However, unrelated to the onset of COVID-19, the company has been moving toward creating an online marketplace since late 2019. But, with sales as brisk as they have been, offering online sales hasn’t been the entity’s priority, he says. 


In Guerroro’s mind, cyberspace is the next frontier for the shed building industry and its supporting vendors. 

“It’s where I have been heading with this business,” he says. 

One reason is that selling sheds online allows The Shed Dealer to sell sheds in several states. Not only that, “we will be getting into a lot of new areas. I am excited we can take online payments, which opened up areas of service to us.”

Whereas The Shed Dealer formerly sold its wares in Washington State, Idaho, and Montana, their online capabilities have allowed them to expand their reach into Oregon, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Northern California, he says.

The new Shed Suite software will allow Ken Miller’s Classic Building Sales to offer customers 3D visions of their shed. That way, he says, “they can see all aspects of their design and create a visual to design their own building. They will be able to shop and buy online, too.” 

Another reason Miller is anticipating the new software is that he believes it will lead to more sales.

“It will make us more efficient, so it will impact our bottom line,” he says.

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