Pole Barn Economy of Scale

When building a pole barn, economy of scale can be your ally. Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer Doug passed along to me this message from a client of his: “The last quote was for a 45′ x 42′ building with 2 garage doors and one person door. The new quote was for a 18′ x 42′ building with one garage door and one personnel door. So the new building is 60% smaller with one less door but costs 50% of the larger building rather than 40%?”

When it comes to the costs of a new post frame building (as well as most any other building system) there exists an economy of scale.

For practical purposes, the “cost” of a new building is your decision to have a new building at all. Once you have made this leap – you might as well put the four corners as far apart as you can economically justify and have the space for.

Until very large clearspans are achieved, the price per square foot of space enclosed decreases as the footprint of the building increases.

Why is this?

Several reasons:

  • The cost of processing an order by us and our vendors is virtually the same whether there are 10 pieces or 1000 pieces;
  • Packaging costs – the cost of packaging a large order isn’t much more than a small order;
  • Shipping – the moment a key gets close to a truck the dollar signs begin to spin. Having owned semi-trucks myself, I can vouch for it being as expensive to run the truck with a small order as it is a large order.

This is going to hold true for hiring a contractor as well. When I was building, it didn’t take much longer to erect a 50 x 60 building, than 30 x 60. Only usually four more holes to dig and columns to set, same number of trusses, a few more purlins and roof screws, 14 more sheets of wall steel. My mobilization costs (getting all of my tools and crew to the jobsite) were the same regardless of the size of the building.

Want to get the most bang for your post frame building investment?

As was said in the 1999 Disney TV move Johnny Tsunami, “Go big or go home”!

2 thoughts on “Pole Barn Economy of Scale

  1. Well Great points!!! But whats the recommendation??

    I am about to bild, looking to create the best size economically. 30×40 – 40×60

    1. With all features being equal, 40 x 60 will be less per square foot in most instances, than 30 x 40. In the end, building the largest foot print you can economically afford and fit on your property as it will never be too big.


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