Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Are garden offices overpriced?

An anonymous commenter asked me this question today:
"I'd really like to hear your views on the crazy prices that are being charged for many garden offices. Most are way too dear for what they are - many people seem to think that slapping the word "eco" or "modern" in front of the name will allow them to charge and extra 10K."
You can see my answer in the comments section here. But what do YOU think? I'd be interested in all your thoughts, whether you aren't yet a shedworker, have built your own, have recently bought one, are considering buying one, have had one for some time, or - in particular - if you are a garden office supplier.
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10 comments:

  1. Anonymous1:34 AM

    Estimating cost is not rocket science and this blog could perform a valuable service by researching and publishing some basic numbers. For example, cost per square foot/square meter for a simple, uninsulated, fiberglass shingle roofed, single door, vinyl sided, plywood floored, wood frame shed in a range of sizes (cost per square foot/meter should go down as size goes up). Cost per linear foot/meter for insulation and drywall. Cost per square foot to insulate and drywall the ceiling.

    Potential shedworkers could use these numbers as a starting point for planning and when interviewing builders. Adding windows, electric, plumbing etc. are pretty simple for the buyer and builder to cost out.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous12:21 PM

    I posted the original comment so I guess I should explain a bit more.

    I agree that there are "boutique" and "high-street" offerings out there and you have to shop in your price range. As to it being cheaper than moving home, I completely agree (though sometimes I think that's exploited to inflate prices too).
    And even if you are as mechanically disinclined as I am and can't build your own, there are plenty of good value garden offices out there.
    Now installed in my own garden office - http://bit.ly/ZwIJo - I can't recommend "shedworking" highly enough!

    But as to inflated costs, I won't name names because it could get tricky, but I got fantastic help and support from some guys who feature regularly on Shedworking. If only my pockets were a little deeper I would have bought from them without question.

    But they were offering some really high spec offices at what I thought were reasonable prices.
    Yet similar products were twice or more the price. I know it's difficult to compare offerings, but we're talking triple glazed, cedar clad, high insulation etc etc products. I looked and looked but couldn't see where the extra cost was coming from.

    I'm in my garden office now and I love it. I'll be honest, it's not what I had in mind initially and I would prefer something more modern looking. But something like that was out of my price range and in the end of the day, this is a place for working, not a garden design feature.

    I do agree with the other commenter that shedworking could help by providing a way of comparing offerings - though I undestand this could be very tricky too.

    My advice would be shop around, educate yourself and ask a lot of questions. Think about what you really want, not just what you think you want.

    I came across some really decent and helpful people during my "shed-search" which in itself is a recommendation for shedworking, I think.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think that there's something missing from the current model and that's the rental market.

    Most small businesses and start-ups don't go out and buy office space, they rent it and perhaps at some later date, if all is going well, buy. This option seems sorely missing from the home office market. If you're just setting up on your own or going freelance finding the cash for a home office may well be off the table for quite a long time. It strikes me that there's a good amount of money to be made filing that void.

    A rent-to-buy option may be even better. An added bonus would be the creation of a used home office market, which would happen automagically once the rental sector got going.

    Really it's all about the business model.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous1:52 PM

    This is a really tough question because there are so many variables depending on personal circumstances etc. My own experience a couple of years ago was that it is possible to get a smart functioning office that in my very subjective judgement wasn't overpriced. We have a very small garden and I ended up getting a Lugarde Mini office that is available from a number of suppliers. It is available cheaper than the price we paid.
    What has made the difference is the quality of pre and after sales service. We had a couple of leaks around the windows and our suppliers Garden Affairs have had to come back twice to finally sort the issue.
    I have learned quite a bit about timber buildings from the experience, not least the way timber responds to seasonal conditions such as head, cold and moisture. If at some time I needed to do a similar project I would design and build it myself with off the shelf windows and doors, possibly using something like SIPS panels.
    Ironically the bit where I would get professional help (other than wiring) would be to pour the foundations (which I did last time with slightly marginal results).
    I guess that whilst products will be targeted at differing market segments with a big investment such as a garden office I consider quality of service as a key issue if one is going to buy rather than self build.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous11:33 AM

    When I was looking I found the pre-fab garden offices far too much for my budget.

    I managed to buy a Lugarde Log cabin with extra thick walls and double glazed windows and doors and floor and roof insulation for well under half the price of "garden offices".

    Then added dado rail electricity sockets and full coax and network cables and sockets pretty cheaply and had an electrician pop round to certify the work.

    Doing it yourself is the best way if you have the time. If you don't then you have to pay for someone else's time.

    So I would say something sold as a garden office is overpriced when something that isn't marketed as a garden office but can be just as effective is much cheaper.

    It's always the same though.

    Limo hire for half a day = £100
    Limo hire for a wedding = £250

    Some words just mean increased margins for suppliers.

    ReplyDelete
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  8. All this info is great people but can some one recommend a good quality -i.e. won't get roasting in the summer, freezing in the winter garden office?
    I was hoping I could get a 2 meter x 2.4 meter (under2.4 meter high - planning regs) with a sedum roof for under £5000 inc vat!
    Any thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
  9. As a manufacturer, i think I am best to answer the question, is the sectional office price in the UK too high, the answer to this is YES! its thousands of pounds too much, some companies are asking for a 5x4 15.000 pounds, which honestly is madness, they do not even offer Siberian Larch, or 100mm insulation, they are normally poorly made shed like constructions, which are sold under the guise of a sectional building.
    The question is why are they so highly priced, and the answer is simple, they have very high rents to pay, high taxes, high wage bills , high timber prices, transport costs etc, thanks to Government mostly.Most UK companies have a big problem in getting loans from the banks, so they need cash. Also with the timber prices being stupidly high, and transport costs being high, all this add's to the over all costs.
    However a 5x4 for 15.000 pounds is still 4000 to much.
    We at www.logcabins.lv offer so many different designs, in sectional build type, and our prices will knock you over..
    And we use Siberian Larch as our cladding,,,,,

    ReplyDelete
  10. As a manufacturer, i think I am best to answer the question, is the sectional office price in the UK too high, the answer to this is YES! its thousands of pounds too much, some companies are asking for a 5x4 15.000 pounds, which honestly is madness, they do not even offer Siberian Larch, or 100mm insulation, they are normally poorly made shed like constructions, which are sold under the guise of a sectional building.
    The question is why are they so highly priced, and the answer is simple, they have very high rents to pay, high taxes, high wage bills , high timber prices, transport costs etc, thanks to Government mostly.Most UK companies have a big problem in getting loans from the banks, so they need cash. Also with the timber prices being stupidly high, and transport costs being high, all this add's to the over all costs.
    However a 5x4 for 15.000 pounds is still 4000 to much.
    We at www.logcabins.lv offer so many different designs, in sectional build type, and our prices will knock you over..
    And we use Siberian Larch as our cladding,,,,,

    ReplyDelete