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Cost of Building a Shed vs. Buying: is it Cheaper to Build Your Own Shed?

A storage shed is an excellent solution for your storage needs. Highly versatile, it can pretty much fit into any space and protect your belongings at the same time. When done right, a shed is also attractive and perfectly complements your home and yard.


But once you decide to get a shed, you might start wondering whether to buy one or build one of your own. There are many costs linked to each choice, such as time, effort, and of course, money.

Another major thing to take into consideration is your skill level in DIY projects and whether or not you will use outside help, a friend, or contractor. The design, additional features, and tools needed are also things that might make one choice better than the other.

However, we live in a day and age where society revolves around money, for the better or worse. When we think about the cost of something, we instantly think of money. So disregarding all the other aspects and focusing strictly on the financial point of view, is it cheaper to build your own shed or buy one that’s pre-built?

Building vs. Buying

Before we dive into statistics and real pricing figures, it is best to note the differences between building a shed versus buying one and what impact they have on the total price tag.

Building a shed

Buying a shed

No labor costs – you probably won’t pay yourself for building a shed from scratch.

You pay for the labor cost of someone else who put together the shed

Choice of size and material – you are free to choose and alter the size and material of the shed even after you’ve started building it.

Preselected material and size – the old adage, “what you see is what you get” applies perfectly. Once you buy a shed model, you cannot change its size or the material.

Transportation costs – you will probably have to pay a delivery fee for different suppliers if you can’t fit the equipment in your car. Even if you do, there is the gas spent going from place to place that adds to the cost of building your own shed.

One time delivery – when you buy a shed, you get it in a one time delivery. It may come in 2,3 or even 4 separate boxes, but you only pay the one-time delivery fee as it was all dropped off in one go.

Tools – you will likely need access to some power tools to put the shed together.

Toolsyou might have to use a screwdriver to tighten the screws in the wall panels. 

It is important to keep in mind that whether you build a shed or buy one, you will need a solid foundation to install it on. If you don’t have one, depending on what material you use, it can add a few hundred dollars to the final cost.

An average shed foundation is 10 foot by 12 foot so 120 sq. feet with a thickness of 4 inches. Concrete is commonly used to build the foundation and it costs $4-5 per square foot. So for an average concrete base you are looking at an additional $480-600.

Cost Of Building A Shed

As with nearly all construction projects, the price is calculated by the square foot of the construction. An average size shed is 8 feet wide by 10 feet long for a total of 80 square feet. The average cost to build a new shed ranges from $17 to $24 per square foot. So to build a new average sized shed it will cost you from as little as $1,360 to as high as $1,920.

There are a few variables that affect the building cost of a shed. Some of these are subjective to each individual’s preferences.

  • Type of siding – you can use wood, vinyl or metal. A square foot of cedar plywood costs from $2.75 to $6.50 and most wood sheds cost from $600 to $3,000. Vinyl sheds cost around $800 up to $5,000. Metals sheds average from $300 to $2,000.
  • Type of roof – pitched or flat roof, built with shingles or metal.
  • Windows – windows can cost from $60 to $400 a piece. Their number and size will impact the price.
  • Type of venting – single wall vents or soffit vents
  • Composite trim a square foot can cost anywhere from $2.50 up to $5
  • Tools – depending on the size and complexity of the shed, you may need some professional power tools: air compressor, nail gun, sawhorse, drill, circular saw. These could easily add up to $1,000 if you buy them brand new.

With that in mind, the average cost to build a shed for a completed project ranges from $800 to $4,000. The main cost comes from the siding and roofing materials so it’s best to shop around for the best price and quality.

If you decide on building the shed out of wood, invest a little more and go for engineered wood to prevent the shed from catching moisture, fungus or mold. There is no point to cut corners in the beginning only to pay for them later on.

Tools can also quickly add to the price depending on what exactly you need. However, there are hardware stores that rent them at a fraction of the price to buy them.

Cost Of Buying A Shed

To buy an 8 foot by 10 foot shed would cost you an average of $1,200. This makes the average cost of buying a shed come to $15 per square foot. As there needs to be some wiggle room for different variables, a $12 to $18 range is more realistic.

The main variables that might affect the final price of a pre-built shed are:

  • Delivery costs – store bought sheds are heavy and can easily weigh over 500lbs. If the delivery is not provided free of charge, it can add quite a bit to the final price.
  • Additional materials – you might want to add additional shingles and hinges to the shed.
  • Labor – if you don’t want to install it yourself, you will need to hire a contractor to put it together which can easily cost $50 to $100 per hour. Furthermore, if you need an electrician to get some wiring done it can double the labor costs.

Taking into consideration only the cost per square footage and disregarding all other variables, buying a pre-built shed is cheaper than building one on your own.


While buying a shed turns out to be cheaper than building one, it doesn’t make it the right choice all the time. The main benefit of building a shed from scratch is that you are in complete control of your budget every step of the way. At any point in the construction, you can make changes to make sure you stay within budget.

You do not have that flexibility with a pre-built shed. The only choice you get to make is which model to get. You cannot alter its design, shape and materials once you purchase a pre-built shed.

There are advantages and disadvantages with either buying or building a shed. Most of them are a matter of perspective, so the decision is entirely up to you.

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