Start a Small Business Making Storage Sheds, Playhouses, Doghouses
Description of Job
• Specify, deliver, and install predesigned and prefabricated storage sheds, children’s playhouses, doghouses, and other structures.
• Custom-build structures to client’s specifications, complementing the home design.
The Need and Demand For This Business
Some stuff just doesn’t fit or belong inside your house: lawn mowers, bicycles, outdoor toys, tools, hoses, lawn food, and fertilizer among them. No one wants to go up and down the stairs to the basement (if you have one) carrying the lawn furniture.
A storage shed can hold the stuff of summer and winter in a way that com- plements your house and adds to the value of your property.
What child wouldn’t treasure a private playhouse? What dog wouldn’t like a place to call his or her own?
Challenges Faced By this Business
Designing and building a stand-alone shed or outbuilding involves most of the same skills involved in constructing a house, albeit on a much smaller scale. You’ll need carpentry skills and knowledge of building and engineering practices.
A much simpler solution is to become an assembler and installer of pre- designed and cut wooden structures or high-quality metal buildings.
In most localities you need a building permit to erect a structure. In some areas you also have to deal with zoning laws and regulations on design, materi- als, and colors.
Depending on the soil and type of structure, you may need a concrete slab or other type of foundation.
The contract should state that the client agrees to pay for any changes to the project beyond what is included in the contract.
What You Should Know About This Business
Consult town and city authorities to learn about local regulations and practices. Study the homes in your area to determine common architectural styles.
Make contact with suppliers of predesigned and cut wooden structures and with makers of unassembled metal buildings. Establish a wholesale or commer- cial account.
Find a source for off-the-shelf plans. Many companies offer blueprints and plans that can be customized with trim, color, and other touches.
Make contact with local architects who would be available to draw custom plans for small projects.
How to Get Started
Post flyers and ads at community centers. Some home supply outlets and lum- beryards may permit you to post your flyer if you are a commercial customer there.
Place ads in newspapers and shopping guides.
Let other builders and contractors know of your new business; they may refer jobs to you that are too small for their business. Offer a commission or bonus for work they send your way.
You’ll need woodworking and assembly tools and a vehicle large enough to transport them. Wood and metal parts and kits can usually be delivered to the construction site by suppliers.
Books and plans are available in bookstores, over the Internet, and through catalogs. Other expenses include advertising and promotion.
How Much to Charge For The Service
Based on the specifications agreed to by the client, your contract will specify a bottom-line price for design, delivery, assembly, and finishing of the job. Add any extra charges for building permits, zoning clearance, and inspections.
An alternative way to price a job like this is to perform it on a cost-plus basis, whereby the client agrees to pay the actual cost of all materials and other expenses plus a fixed amount or percentage representing your profit. You’ll have to build into the profit payment for your time in ordering and assembling the structure.
Legal and Insurance Issues
Special notes: Some municipalities and local homeowners’ associations may have regulations about the type and size of outbuildings, and they may also have zoning limits on the percentage of a lot that can be covered by a structure and its proximity to property lines.
➀ Legal ➁ Legal ➂ Legal ➃ Accounting ➄ Insurance