Deciding whether to build or buy a small shed is a common dilemma for many homeowners looking to expand their storage or create a private workspace in their garden. While both options have their pros and cons, understanding the costs involved can help you make an informed decision tailored to your specific needs and budget. In this article, we'll explore the costs and considerations associated with building a small shed vs. purchasing a ready-made one, as well as providing useful examples to help illustrate the topic.

Cost Overview

There are several factors associated with the total cost of building or buying a small shed, which include:

  1. Material costs: This includes the price of raw materials (such as wood, metal, or plastic) to construct the shed or the pre-built structure itself.
  2. Labour costs: If you choose to build the shed yourself, the cost of your time should be taken into account – the more complex the design, the more time-consuming the build. If you hire a professional, consider their fees.
  3. Foundation costs: Both pre-built and self-built sheds require a stable foundation. The cost of concrete or other suitable materials should be factored into the overall expenditure.
  4. Finishing costs: This encompasses insulation, painting, shelving, and other finishing touches that make your shed functional and aesthetically appealing.

Building a Small Shed

Building a small shed yourself offers greater flexibility in design and material choice, allowing you to tailor your shed to your specific requirements. However, this freedom comes with additional responsibilities and costs, such as sourcing the materials, preparing the foundation, and assembling the shed.

Typical costs for a self-built small wooden shed can range from £500 to £1,500 or more, depending on the materials used, tools required, and complexity of the design. Alternatively, building a small metal shed can range from £300 to £1,000, while a plastic shed can cost between £250 and £750.

If you decide to hire a professional to build your shed, the cost will increase depending on their rates and the time taken to complete the project.

Buying a Pre-Built Small Shed

Purchasing a pre-built small shed can save considerable time and effort, as these structures are typically delivered as a kit, ready to be assembled on-site. Ready-made sheds are available in a range of materials, designs, and prices.

Costs for a pre-built wooden shed generally range between £300 and £1,500, depending on size, design, and quality of materials. Metal pre-built sheds can cost between £200 and £1,000, while plastic sheds range from £150 to £800.

It's important to note that these costs may not include delivery fees, and you will still need to prepare a foundation for the shed to be installed upon.


In conclusion, the decision to build or buy a small shed ultimately depends on individual preferences, desired design, skills, and budget. Building a shed yourself may provide more freedom when it comes to customising the structure, but can also demand more time and labour. On the other hand, buying a pre-built shed may offer convenience and speed in installation while potentially being less expensive than a custom build.

One should carefully weigh the costs, time commitment, and desired result before embarking on either path.