Staying with Sheds

Originally published in the April/May issue of Shed Builder Magazine.

Those of you who have read my column since its inception back in April 2016 know that I began building sheds in 2003 at the ripe old age of 17. I’d like to share the story of how I became a shed builder with you.

I didn’t grow up planning to be a shed builder. Growing up, I visited my dad in the hospital lab where he worked and dreamed of being a Med Tech like he was. All those machines analyzing people’s blood to determine what was wrong with them so that doctors could save their lives interested me greatly. They also took swabs and put them on petri dishes so they could see what kind of stuff would grow. That was really cool!

Then, in high school, I decided I wanted to be a CPA. I enjoy working with numbers and could enjoy staying alone in a cubicle all day crunching data. I planned to attend a local college, graduate with a degree in accounting, then go to work for an oil company making a good salary.

The summer between my junior and senior years in high school I was languishing at home with nothing to do. My friend, Vance, had started building sheds in his dad’s (Dallen’s) front yard. He was the builder, salesman, delivery guy, bookkeeper, and janitor. They built a 50×100 shop building to house Dallen’s stuff and build sheds.

Me when I still had hair

At this time, the only place I knew of in our area to buy a shed was at a local lumberyard. They took cull lumber and pieced together small sheds. The sheds were cheap because you got what you paid for. It didn’t take long for Vance’s high-quality sheds to find a market. He got busier than he could handle and needed a little help. I fit the bill perfectly. I wasn’t much help.

He called me to help him on an onsite in Purcell, OK. We worked that together that day and then another. Then, he needed me again. Within just a few days, I was full time. It took me quite some time to learn how to build a shed from start to finish. I had no background in construction at all. I stayed with it, though, and after a while I was churning out sheds at a reasonable rate.

I fell in love with the work that I do. The work of starting with a freshly swept floor and finishing a day or so later with a beautifully finished product fascinated me then and still does today. I love working with customers to design the shed they’ve been talking about building for the last five years. When a new shed slides out the door, I still smile.

I don’t know if I could have made more money as a CPA. I really don’t care. Shed building and the work that surrounds providing storage solutions for customers here in Oklahoma makes me want to get out of bed in the morning. The people I work with inspire me to become a better person. The team cares deeply about our customers and coworkers.

The Better Barns team at our 2018 Christmas party. Ten of those pictured are still with the team and we have added quite a few more.

The decision to stick with sheds has allowed me to reap a lot of joy and contentment. I hope the same is true for each of you in the shed industry. Enjoy your day, shed builders.

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