Operations, Trends & Stats, V3I6

TRENDING: 2017 into 2018

Sheds are popular with customers who need to add space immediately.

The verdict is in: Homeowners are ready to spend on home improvements, and this has been good news for shed builders and dealers. The better news? This is a trend likely to continue into 2018.

While the rate of new home construction continues to rise, so too do house prices. Demand, coupled with industry- wide labor shortages and new pressure on building material supply chains worsened by this year’s devastating hurricanes, are pushing prices upward. As a result, more homeowners are opting to stay in place and get creative in how they use their space.

As a result, it may be time to consider adding some new options to your sales lot or existing shed styles to maximize your bottom line.


On the West Coast, California Custom Shed in Salinas, California, is finding customers want the maximum amount of storage space coupled with the least amount of hassle.

“Our most common sale is the 120-square-foot shed, which is the 10 by 12 or 8 by 15 [building]. People just want to build the maximum that they can without a permit,” says Patty Denmark,
office manager for California Custom Shed.

In Penrose, Colorado, Julian Garber, sales manager for Innovative Structures Inc., finds that a simple storage footprint is what customers really want.

“Our gable style—others may call it a utility style—is what we’ve sold the most of this year. It’s been the top seller this year and the last year,” shares Garber. The A-shed style is billed as the company’s most economically priced option, but it’s one that offers a wide variety of potential customization around siding, roofing, and the like.

But further north, Minnesota homeowners are ready to think big.

“This past spring and summer, we’ve seen a lot more garage sales, buildings with an overhead door. Traditionally we’ve sold mostly the standard shed,with double wooden doors, and it’s still
our best seller. But this year we’ve seen a lot more garage styles than we ever have before,” says Andrew Gutchess with Pro Shed in Mountain Lake, Minnesota.

In asking customers about the motivation that drives these sales, Gutchess has found that most people buying a garage- style storage building are looking to free up their existing garage and better
utilize that existing space—but they still have to have their storage.

“It seems like, in general, people have a little bit more cash on hand,” Gutchess adds. “Our garage style is more expensive, but people really like the overhead door. So, it’s one of those things where if they can afford it, they will.”

In the third quarter of 2017, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index (RMI) posted a reading of 57, indicating that more remodelers are seeing increases in market activity.

Homeowners in the North have been purchasing more garage-style sheds.

“Remodelers are seeing higher demand in residential repairs, and expect to be busy well into the new year with jumps in work backlog, call for bids, and proposal appointments,” says NAHB Remodelers Chairman Dan Bawden, CAPS, GMB, CGR, CGP, a remodeler from Houston, in a news release on the index.

“In addition to the [ongoing] labor shortage, the cost of materials is becoming a pressing issue for remodelers,” adds NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Both of these issues are constraining
remodelers’ ability to complete projects in a timely and cost-effective manner, especially moving forward after natural disasters.”

In this regard, ready-made storage buildings may present a particularly attractive option for homeowners looking to add space now. And, as Gutchess points out, those homeowners are ready
to spend.

“It seems to me like people are spending a little more. We’ve been selling more expensive sheds this year. People are going for the options,” he says.


And what are those options?

The focus on creating a shed that blends in with the main home—and potentially doubles as additional living, playing, or working space—continues and is driving new options you may see
from your distributors.

“We’ve added more windows so [the sheds] look more like an office, so people can use it that way—as a home office space—and more than just a shed,” Denmark says.

That’s also proved popular in Virginia. Doug Lawin, salesperson for Affordable Shed in Stafford, Virginia, says his top-selling options have included “higher
pitched roofs and lots of windows.”

Homeowners continue to push demand for shed customization, which is encouraging more builders to offer a variety of option on standard styles. But finding the right combination of options
can take a bit of trial and error.

For example, Lawin says, “I tried the metal kick plates on the floors, and they haven’t really taken off yet.”

And Innovative Structures developed its Urban Shed as a Millennial-friendly modern option, adding a contemporary
flair to more modern homes.

“It didn’t take over quite as well as we figured it would,” Garber says.

But as the company continues to present this diverse range of options, it’s also focusing on improving the appearance of its sheds overall. And what is working for this mountain region builder
is a cabin look.

“We’ve been trying out different cabin models, and that’s been really taking off for us,” Garber says. In the year ahead, the company is looking to further customize its cabin options to further push
this line.

While cabins may be trending in Colorado, farmhouse chic is seeing renewed popularity in other areas.

“The board and batten look seems to be very on trend right now for sheds, as is lap siding,” says Parry Grimm, LP segment marketing associate.

In addition to creating the aesthetic popular with today’s homeowners, the products also raise the durability of these building over time.


One trend that is truly gaining steam in 2018 is that an increasing number of shed dealers are turning to digital tools to get an edge over their competition.

As Garber shares, “We’ve been doing more online marketing since this summer.”

In addition, the company has been working with Shed Suite to streamline its inventory process.

“We got an app that helps us to keep track of our sheds, where they’re being built, when they were ordered, etc., and our dealers are able to place orders on there. It’s definitely been a huge help,”
Garber says. The tool is a one-stop platform for managing every aspect of the shed selling process.

If shed sales continue to take off as projected for 2018, one might expect a greater array of tools dedicated to these business owners to push their sales higher still.


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