Planning a shed for your garden Is a big deal.

Do you spend the money upfront on quality materials and build something that will last for decades or do you buy something prefabricated and get it up as quickly and cheaply as possible?

Is It Cheaper To Buy Or Build A Shed?

A garden shed being built

Yes, building a shed is usually much cheaper than buying one. This is because you only have to pay for the materials needed and not the labor to construct the shed, which is often quite costly.

Even if you buy a pre-made shed and transport it back to your garden, it would most likely be of much lower quality than what you could build yourself for the same amount of money.

You may need to put down 2 or 3 pre-fab sheds over the period of time a top-quality handmade shed will last.

When you’re not paying for labor, you can spend more money on better quality materials.

And if you already have the necessary tools and equipment, then your costs are cut down even further.

Luckily, building a shed from the ground up doesn’t require any heavy machinery or special tools.

But building your own shed instead of buying one is not always the cheapest or best option.

Let’s look at some instances where it may make sense to buy a pre-made shed or have someone build it for you.

Related Article: Can I Build A Shed Next To My Neighbor’s Fence?

When Should You Buy A Shed Instead Of Build One?

If Your Time Is Extremely Valuable

Chances are you’re not a professional contractor and if your time is extremely valuable or if money isn’t an issue, it would make total sense to have someone do a professional job on the construction of your shed.

If you run your own company or can otherwise exchange your time for generous pay, then spending that time trying to figure out how to put a shed together is going to be extremely wasteful.

If Your Skills Aren’t Up To Scratch

You should also consider how good of a job you’re likely to do compared to a professional.

If you have experience, are great with your hands, and enjoy this type of work, then, by all means, go for it.

Anything that doesn’t work out quite right you can fix at a later time.

But if you are not even sure where to start and the whole thing feels daunting, you might be better off getting someone to do it for you or at least getting some capable help.


If you don’t have any experience in construction, you should also ask yourself how safe of a shed are you going to build.

You don’t want to build a shed that the next storm will carry away or one that is dangerous for you or your family to be around.

Part of the reason it’s so much cheaper to build your shed is that you don’t have to pay the wages for labor.

The labor costs can often add up to be more expensive than anything else in the building process.

But if you don’t have experience or really don’t know what you’re doing, it may save you a lot of heartache and money in the future to hire a professional.

Is It Cheaper To Buy A Pre-Built Shed?

As long as you are capable and have the tools required for the job, building a shed will usually be cheaper than buying a pre-built one.

It may not be cheaper upfront but it will be cheaper over the lifespan of the shed when you don’t have to replace it.

Whichever pre-fab shed you choose, you’ll be paying additional fees on top of the cost of materials.

You’ll be paying extra for transportation and the man-hours it took to build the shed.

And if you’re buying from a middle-man, like a small garden center, their fee will also be added on.

When comparing the cost of what you can build to what you can buy, a pre-fab shed is always going to be much more flimsy than what you could build from quality materials – if you have the skills.

If you can do a good job yourself, you can spend the extra money on better quality materials to build a better quality shed.

But if you cannot do a good job building the shed from scratch then it may be cheaper for you in the long run to buy a pre-built shed.

Other Things To Consider When Planning To Build Or Buy A Shed


Prebuilt sheds also come with warranties, that you won’t get if you build the shed yourself and something goes wrongs later.


If you live in an area that gets frequent storms or lots of snow in winter, you’re going to need a sturdy shed and pre-fab probably isn’t the answer.

A cheap, flimsy shed may blow away in a storm or cave in under the weight of a lot of snow.

The Satisfaction Of Building A Shed Yourself

A contractor’s quote to build your shed will probably only come in at 3 or 4 hundred dollars more than what a kit or the bare materials would cost you.

So getting your shed professionally built is definitely tempting.

But for many, a massive part of the value of building your own shed is the satisfaction and pride in knowing you have built the whole thing yourself.


If you need your shed to fit in an area that’s not a standard-sized rectangle, a pre-fab shed may not be an option.

Pre-fab or pre-built sheds usually come in a standard set of small, medium, and large sizes that usually range from 10×12 to 12×24.

If you need a shed to fit a non-standard space, your only option may be a custom build.

What Is The Cheapest Way To Build A Shed?

The Foundation

Every shed needs a solid foundation and this is where there is potential to save a lot of money.

There’s usually no need to go laying a concrete foundation.

Probably the cheapest and the easiest way to support the base would be to get 8 concrete blocks and bed them down level into gravel.

Then just sit the shed down onto the blocks, ensuring the blocks are sitting under the strongest weight-bearing areas of the shed base.

The Wood

A shed will last anywhere from 10 to 25 years and the wood you choose to construct it will determine whether or not it lasts closer to 10 years or closer to 25 years.

To get the maximum life out of your shed and not have it rotting within 10 years, it’s best to spend a little extra and use pressure-treated plywood for its construction.

If you opt for untreated softwood, you’ll have rot and mold issues much sooner.

Look For A Shed Someone Wants To Recycle

There are websites like Freecycle where people give stuff away as a way to recycle it.

You’ll often find sheds on these types of sites that aren’t in too bad of condition.

But more than likely it’s you who will have to arrange the dismantling and transportation of the shed from the person’s property.

You can often find sheds in these circumstances that don’t have an awful lot wrong with them – maybe just a leaky roof or a bit of rot and mold here or there.

It’s going to be a fixer-upper but it should save some cash.

Buy A Pre-Fab Shed And Strengthen It

You can also buy a flimsy prefab shed and spend a couple of 100 dollars on timber to strengthen it.

Add extra connectors and replace weak screw fixtures with tough nuts and bolts.

You could brace the shed diagonally with supporting wooden beams and re-do or re-enforced the roof with some oriented strand board.

Is It Worth Building A Shed?

If you’re looking to save money and you are good with your hands, then it’s worth building your own shed.

It’s not just the labor that you cut down on when it comes to costs, but you also save a lot of money when it comes to transportation fees.

Transporting a pre-fab or pre-built shed from one location to another safely isn’t cheap.

When you build your shed, you have the option to buy the materials at your own speed.

It’s easy to stay within your budget and keep an eye out for when prices drop.

Instead of splurging the entire budget at once, you can pick things up periodically when they go on sale.

A lot of people save money on the entire project by approaching it this way.

Final Thoughts

If you want to save money on your new shed, it’s much cheaper to build your shed instead of buying one.

This is because you will save money on labor, installation, and transportation fees.

It also allows you to buy the materials according to your budget and you won’t have to buy materials at a higher price just to meet the builder’s timeframe.

Building your shed also allows you to buy materials at the best prices.

It’s so much easier to stay within your budget and still get a good result when you build your own shed.

You don’t have to be an experienced builder either to get the job done right.