Tag Archives: pole building expert

Customer Service: Supporting the Competition

In 2000, I worked for a company who manufactured glu-laminated columns (or “glu-lams”) for post frame buildings. My job was to call on pole builders and companies which provided post frame building kits, to introduce the features and benefits of the product. I also interacted with lumberyards and wholesale lumber companies, in order to get them to supply the product to builders, as well as meeting with Building Departments to expose them to glu-lams.

As I had been a pole builder in the 1990’s, many of the builders I was calling on were my former competitors. Out of personal curiosity, I asked many of them why it was they only constructed buildings, and did not offer building kits. Universally the answer was when they had sold a kit (or kits), the clients were forever contacting them to ask questions about how to construct the building from the kit they had purchased. Mostly, they just didn’t want to be bothered with extending customer service into what may have felt like to them as full time “tech support”.

I determined the key to success (from a provider standpoint), was in having great plans and written instructions. In the case of Hansen Pole Buildings, rarely (as in once every few months), do I as Technical Director ever get a technical support question which cannot be answered by merely letting clients know where in the Construction Manual the answer can be found.

There are some interesting inquiries, however.

Here is a recent one:

“Hansen buildings, I have been to your website and have been impressed.

Seams you sell some nice building packages. I am a building designer,

draftsmen, and estimator for a post frame copy [sic company] in Illinois. I am presently

biding out a project the has a flying gable. I saw a picture of project

number 08-0514 and noticed that is had a flying gable. Could you give some

assistance or advise on how you trim it seeing that a regular rake would

not work because of the ribs. I would appreciate you help.



In my mind, one of the greatest compliments which can be paid is when another business in our industry is contacting us, asking how to solve a problem. I like to give other businesses the same friendly customer service our own clients receive.

I’ve always believe in sharing knowledge throughout the industry, so I Emailed back the solution.

“In order to properly flash the flying gable, order custom rake trims which do not have the return on the roof side (it will be flat, with a hem only). Use expanding closures (1″ x 1″ minimum after expansion), to seal the edge of the rake trims on top of the roof and you should not experience any issues.”

Although I have scratched my head when I get questions on the construction of building kits not provided by Hansen Buildings (where is the support from the company they purchased from I wonder?), I continue to give my best advice to help them solve their problem.  Whether the issue is from one of our clients, or one of our competitors, we offer the best possible customer service, seven days a week.

Cruising Forums: It’s Just a Pole Barn!

As a voracious reader, and someone who always wants to make sure they have their finger on the “pulse” of the pole building industry, I am always scouring for information and misinformation on the ‘net.

I recently read the post below. I’d like to have you read through it, and then I will give you my take:

“If you want to get the most building for the dollar this is what you need to do.

Forget about “brand names” it isn’t rocket science it’s just a pole barn. If you want fancy it will cost you a premium.

Not Just A Pole Barn

1. Make a sketch of the building you want, define all windows and doors, roof overhangs and roofing and siding materials. Make 8 or 10 copies of your sketch.

2. Take this sketch to all the big box building stores. If you have to drive 50 miles it will be worth it. Have them work up a material package price for you. Taxes and delivery included

3. Take the same sketch to all your local lumber yards for a package price.

4. Call your local independent (up to 100 miles away) pole barn builders, offer them a chance to bid on it also, breaking out the material and labor. Tell them you are sourcing material packages from several places and will buy the material and the labor from the lowest bidders. If you let any of them talk you into some cost saving material or plan revisions, make sure you pass the revised plans back to all your bidders so they have a level playing field. They can often suggest substitutions and or changes that can save you money.

5. Review the bids and award the work to the bidders you feel most comfortable with.”

Here is my spin….

“It isn’t rocket science it’s just a pole barn”, maybe to the poster, however the “rocket science” involved in creating a code conforming pole building takes well upwards of 100 pages single spaced of computer generated calculations. Believing it is “just a barn” and not having a thorough structural design check, leaves one wide open for failure and disappointment.

And “fancy” does not have to come with a huge premium.

How do you know what “building you want”? Is it based upon a guess? What your friend or neighbor built? Going to an experienced professional for assistance is worth paying a premium for. Your building should be designed to accommodate your needs both today and in the future.

The “big box stores” do not have people on staff who are pole barn or pole building experts. The “material package price” they work up for you, is probably not going to build your building for you – plan on having to buy more stuff to complete it, as well as having leftovers you paid for.

And the “local lumber yard”, while they are most probably really nice guys, they also are not going to be experts. In either this case, or with the big boxes, who is going to give you the advice your need, when you get stuck or make an error? Or want to make a change?

I agree entirely with getting material and labor prices divided apart when you talk with independent pole barn builders. Keep in mind, the builder is going to want to sell you on doing things “his” way, which may or may not be the best structural or most efficient solution.

Most certainly, if you change dimensions or features of your proposed new pole building, make certain to give all of the bidders the same opportunity to quote.

Going with lowest price? If you are a true price only shopper, do you buy clothes only at Thrift Stores? Do you drive a Yugo?

There is always a supplier or builder out there who is willing to do the job for a lower price – all it takes is reducing quality and/or service. Have a lower quote?  Let a supplier who you regard as an experienced industry professional review it. You may be surprised to find out all of the things which were left out of the “fabulous” priced quote.