Tag Archives: pole barn designs

3 Things to Know Before Running a Business from Your Pole Barn

pole barn businessIf you’ve always dreamed of starting your own small business, setting up your business in a pole barn can be a great way to do it. Rather than worrying about paying rent on an expensive commercial property, you could find a low-cost, durable pole barn design and stay close to home to operate your business.

Whether you want to run a wedding venue, farm produce store, antique shop, or anything else, the right pole building design can help you get started. Of course, you have to do more than just post a sign out by the road to run a business from your property. Here are three things you need to consider before setting up a pole barn business:

Do You Have a License for That?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a multimillion dollar company or a small mom-and-pop shop next to your house: if you’re selling goods or providing services, you’re going to need business licenses and permits. The government websites for your city and county should be able to tell you what licenses you need, and the Small Business Administration has a list of licenses you’ll need depending on the state you live in. You should also check local zoning laws—if your pole building business qualifies as a home-based business, you may also need a Home Occupation Permit.

Are You Covered?

Nobody wants to think about something bad happening on their business premises, but you need to be prepared just in case something does go wrong. General liability insurance will help cover you if, for example, someone slips and falls on your property and sues you for personal injury. Small business property insurance will cover you if a natural disaster strikes, destroying your building and the goods inside it.

Hopefully, you’ll never have to file an insurance claim for your pole barn business, but it’s good to know you’ll have protection if you need it!

What Are Your Local Zoning Codes?

Before you start a business in your pole building, you’ll need to see what commercial activity your city and county will allow on your property. Your city or county clerk’s office should be able to get you a copy of local ordinances, and if there’s anything you don’t understand, you can check with the city’s planning department.

If you are permitted to set up shop on your property, there may still be zoning restrictions that affect certain aspects of business, such as:

  • Where and how many cars can be parked at your business
  • Where you can display signs (and how prominent they can be)
  • The hours that you can open your pole building to the public
  • The kinds of materials you can store in your pole building

Not every local zoning law will apply to every type of business, but you should make sure you understand the ones that affect you before you open your doors to paying customers.

Do your research so that your business will be a success. Operating a business from a pole barn is a great way to keep your overhead low, but you need to make sure you’re not running afoul of any state, county, or city regulations.

Art From a Pole Barn

When my brother and I were but youngsters, we rode our bike’s a couple of miles from our family home in the Spokane Valley, to where our Aunt Donna lived. Aunt Donna was very artistic, and she taught art lessons in the summers, seemingly primarily to our extended family of cousins (my Dad’s five brothers and two sisters produced a lot of cousins)!

While none of us cousins became artists, it did give us an appreciation and eye for things which others may not see. Personally, I am in awe of many artists who can take a blank canvas, chunk of stone, or everyday items, and craft a thing of beauty from them.

Collin Art GalleryAt the corner of Illinois 97 and Mill Street in Salisbury is the pole barn (and gallery) of renowned folk artist George Colin. Colin’s studio is a converted one-car garage pole building which he has used for his painting for the past three decades.

84 years old, Colin speaks with huge admiration of his parents. His father was a coal miner. Stored in Colin’s pole barn is a caricature of him which evokes memories of a smaller, realistic painting he made in the 1970’s of him sweating blood out of his eyes. This particular painting sold for $18,000!

Oprah and Michael Jordan have owned Colin’s artwork. In 1998 he illustrated the album cover of “Jubilation” by The Band (with guest guitarist Eric Clapton). His work has been displayed at the Smithsonian and the American Folk Art Museum in New York City.

No matter what form of art or creative works one may aspire to, a pole barn could very well be the solution. With a low investment and some sweat equity, even a previously unskilled person can successfully construct for themselves a beautiful pole building which can become the home of a myriad of possibilities, limited only by the imagination of the artist!

Latest in Post Frame Design

Latest in post frame design

Third World Pole BarnTo my loyal readers – thank you very much, your support is greatly appreciated. Many of you may be familiar with my journeys to Ecuador. For those who are new subscribers, our now 19 year old daughter was a Rotary youth exchange student in Portoviejo, Ecuador her sophomore year of high school (2009-2010). My lovely bride and I would probably never have traveled to Ecuador (or even South America) if Allison had not gone to school there. Well, the bug hit us, and we had to go see her and her new country while she was there.

Frankly – it was dirty, noisy, third world, beautiful and we fell in love with the country and the people. We have spent over two of the past ten months in Ecuador, and are planning another two month trip the end of this year.

One intriguing thing in Ecuador is the use of post frame construction. Many people in the states might have concerns with the example of this newly constructed pole building:


This particular post frame building is on the Pacific coast, just north of Crucita, Ecuador. As Eric (one of the owners of Hansen Pole Buildings) says, “the most important feature of a new piece of real estate is….location, location, location”.

Now if you happen to be in the market for an “uber-cheap” pole building, and do not care about looks, functionality or meeting any known Building Code, this may very well be a style of pole building which would appeal directly to you.

For the majority of Americans, we kind of like to believe we are getting a lifetime value for our investment. We tend to think being able to withstand wind, seismic and snow (yes it snows in Ecuador, just not at the beach) loads might be important. And even if we do not, the local Building Officials usually do!