It’s always a shame whenever you see a home that has a distinctive style, a meticulously landscaped yard and a prefab storage shed in the backyard. You can bet that the homeowner didn’t believe he had many choices of storage sheds to choose from. As someone who is starting a storage shed business, you can customize storage sheds to meet customer’s needs, thus eliminating some of those backyard eyesores.
Locate space to build your storage sheds. You can build them in your backyard, but check local zoning laws if customers will be coming onto your property to look at them. According to the Small Business Administration, “You can find out how property is zoned by calling your local planning department.” Another option is to build them on your own property and showcase them elsewhere, as mentioned in step 6. Keep in mind that if building the storage sheds will create noise that will disturb your neighbors, you will likely get a zoning complaint. Consider renting a workspace zoned for commercial traffic.
Select what business structure you will use. If you will be the only owner of the business, you’ll probably want to register it as a sole proprietorship. You can always restructure your business as a corporation or other structure later if you wish. According to the Business Owner’s Toolkit, “Sole proprietorships are presumed to operate under their owner's name.” If you want to give your business a different name, file a DBA (Doing Business As) form at your county clerk’s office. Check to make sure that no one else is doing business under the name you have selected before registering it.
Choose the storage shed plans you want to build. Check that any building plans you use don’t have the caveat “for personal use only.” Initially, stick with two to three plans, as you can produce the storage sheds faster this way and will not have to learn a new plan every time you build, along with cutting wood to new specifications.
Develop a portfolio of the storage sheds you have built. Show how the sheds can be customized by adding windows, flower boxes or French doors. Indicate that the customer can choose colors to match her home. Put your portfolio online so that when you hand out business cards, customers can go to the web address printed on the cards to see your work.
Set up a delivery system. Most of your customers are not going to have a way to get the storage shed to their homes. Purchase a trailer adequate for hauling the size storage sheds you will make. If you plan to sell only a few storage sheds a month, contract with an individual who already has a truck and trailer to provide this service.
Specify how many miles you will travel for free delivery. After a certain number of miles, add a surcharge to cover your transportation costs.
Market your storage sheds. Create an online presence targeted toward your geographic area that includes your portfolio and contact information. Let word of mouth do its work as well. Let all of your friends and acquaintances know about your business, and liberally distribute your business cards. Join the Chamber of Commerce to gain additional contacts. Consider taking one of your storage sheds to farmer’s markets, craft shows and flea markets so that people can see one close up, walk around in it and walk away with your business card and a plan to purchase one for their own backyard.
Once your business is established, consider branching out and selling children's playhouses as well.
- shed image by Julia Chernikova from Fotolia.com