Cost to Build a Shed

March 8, 2018
Robert Manziel

(Last modified on March 4th, 2020)

Cost to Build a Shed

Right now, the cost of a shed varies dramatically depending on your location. Typically, you’re looking at between $500-$7,000 dollars, with an average of about $3,000 dollars. What is with that huge difference? Well, today I want to dissect the prices of building a shed, along with how much you should charge if you are providing a service for someone else. This will help you identify competitive and reasonable rates for builders as well as shave down some construction costs, if you need to. If you thought my post about man cave sheds was inspiring and you want to start your own, then take a seat and start here by learning the cost to build a shed!

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Shed?

As I previously mentioned, the cost varies dramatically depending on the type of shed and materials used. Let’s start with the foundation, since you’ll be dealing with this before anything else. A wooden foundation costs much less than a concrete foundation and certainly gets the job done. The wood has to be treated to resist rot and both types of foundation must drain any sort of water out of the home efficiently. The ground around your shed should slope away, further ensuring your shed doesn’t flood. I talk about more structural specifics in my shed conversion post.

For walls, vinyl makes up the most expensive type. It resists rust, rot, and erosion. Metal wards off insect infestation and rot and tends to be the cheapest option, but it also rusts and makes for poor insulation. Expect cold winters and sweltering summers! Lastly, wood sheds are the ‘average’ price and its cost is largely dependent on your area and the design of the shed. To cut down on wood costs, always visit a local lumber yard. The local lumber yards also have higher quality wood than your typical chain stores. If you are a contractor, you definitely need to set up a partnership with your supplier of choice.

If you build your own shed, you also have the option of buying pre-made ‘shed kits’ from all sorts of stores. Even Lowes and Home Depot carry them! Just read the reviews and check the quality of supplies that customers end up with. Your local lumber yard almost always beats them in price and quality, with just a bit of extra work and construction required. You can find a bunch of pros and cons of different materials on Wikipedia, believe it or not. Sometimes it’s reliable for simple information like this!

How Much Should I Charge to Build a Shed?

Obviously, all of the materials need to be included in the price. Beyond that, you need to consider electricians, plumbers, and construction costs. An electrician costs between five to ten times minimum wage in your area per hour and is absolutely essential for properly laying out wires. Construction workers should charge between three to ten times minimum wage. Obviously, this means set numbers are hard for me to tell you, but you’ll figure it out quickly with a calculator. If you build it yourself, it takes a few days and costs between $2,000 and $5,000, depending on your materials and building style. I highly recommend using shed plans from this dude to cut down on your costs.

How Much Does it Cost Per Square Foot to Build a Shed?

Usually, a shed costs half of minimum wage per square foot. As of writing this, that means $5 per square foot. This doesn’t take into account material prices, complicated designs, or extra utilities. For those, refer to the prices I listed above and ask any contractors how long it will take for them to do their work. Furthermore, a loft adds to your square footage if you choose to include it, even if the size of your foundation doesn’t change. I would recommend this site for the intricate details of wooden shed pricing.

Do you have to get a permit to build a shed?

Usually, you do need that permit. Look up city laws, county laws, as well as the rules of any Home Owners Association in your area. Many places dictate the type of materials, vicinity of the shed to your home or property line, the style of architecture, and the color of your shed (if painted). Most basic sheds will always comply with guidelines, but if you want to do something special, look into the specifics before committing to the build. Look through some different shed plans to see which one fits the rules of your area.

Granted, if you live in a rural area, I highly doubt anyone would fault you for building your own shed. On top of that, no one throws a tantrum over small ‘play’ pens (although said sheds usually make for poor man cave material). In suburban or urban areas, your neighbors pose the biggest annoyance with the permits. Make sure to do everything properly.

Picking the Cost to Build a Shed

When it comes down to it, you control the price of your own man cave shed. If you want to get it done fast, look for reliable contractors in the area and shell out a few thousand. If you want to get it done cheaply, look through some shed plans and source some inexpensive materials from local stores. You could always browse the net for cheap lumber, but I much prefer looking at it with my own two eyes before making a purchase. Plus, you only need to use your own truck for shipping!

A savvy dude can build a small shed for as little as $500 if he has the know-how and dedication. For the best man cave sheds, though, build your own and expect to put $2,500 into the construction. It’s completely worth the expense, I promise!

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