Pole Building- How to Analyze the Cost to Value Ratio

It is finally that time you have been carefully saving for. You are about to select the contractor you plan on working with to complete your new building. It is an exciting time, but you are also filled with some anxiety as to selecting that contractor you hope will complete the project as you had envisioned.

I was inspired to write this article to help provide some prospective on this decision that many families are actively planning for. Purchasing a building or an addition is a huge undertaking, and everyone should carefully review the proposals and interview the contractors.

I wanted to help provide customers with some ideas on how to get through the process of selecting that contractor that is going to work for you. Below are a few topics that I feel are very important in the pre-construction phase.


When reaching out to your potential contractors, who is getting back to you in a timely manner? The fact is that if they can’t respond promptly when trying to gain your business, it most likely won’t improve after they’ve earned it. When designing and planning out your building, do they listen to your desires or try and steer you into the building they want to build? This is YOUR building, and you shouldn’t feel that you need to stand your ground to get the building you want.

Most reputable contractors in the post frame sector now take advantage of software that assists in designing the building and generating pricing almost instantly. This is great when trying to visualize your project and all the potential options and color possibilities. This also makes tweaking the building to fit your budget much easier.

Products Offered

When looking at a contractor for your building you will want to work with someone who works with a reputable metal supplier. They should immediately know the warranty offered on their metal panels; most companies are offering a 40+ year warranty on their standard color panels. If your contractor doesn’t know or isn’t upfront with this information, you should keep searching for contractors. The last thing you’d want is rust issues and paint failure and find out you were sold a 10-year finish warranty on your building.

Can your contractor provide man doors, windows, sliding barn doors, and overhead doors? This is an area that some pole building contractors may choose to exclude. The coordination of framing, panels, trims, and final installation is best to be left with one contractor. One or all of these products are most likely included in your project so you are going to have to purchase them, any reputable contractor will be able to offer quality doors and windows at a good price. Once added to the package, it is the contractor's responsibility to coordinate all the details.

Does the contractor offer different panel profiles, stone veneer options, cupolas, concrete post bases, and other building accessories? The post frame building industry has come a long way in the past 20 years. It isn’t uncommon to see board and batten siding, stone wainscot and a few cupolas with lights on a barn nowadays- this may not be in your plans but it is nice to know which contractors are familiar with all of the products.

You are finally down to two contractors, and you are asking each one for their projected start dates. This should give you an inside look into how organized each contractor is and may help guide your decision. Most reputable contractors have multiple crews and to be successful must run a detailed schedule. I would expect a good contractor would be able to give you a 2-week window in which they would be able to start your project, if awarded immediately. The potential client must understand that the contractors are always sending out quotes and they generally book on a “first come-first served” basis. I have found that folks are more than willing to wait longer if the contractor can provide a timeline on how the project is to proceed from deposit to completion.


This is most likely the largest factor when selecting your contractor. When is too much- too much and when is too little- too little? This a question we all have most likely faced- “if it sounds to good to be true, it likely is to good to be true”- this rings true for most things, including buildings.

There seems to be a culture in post framed construction that the cheapest and quickest built buildings are the best. I always laugh at this as most of us choose everything else in life based on a perceived price to value ratio that we find fits our needs for that item. For instance, you may not want or need the “Platinum” package truck, but you also may not want the base package truck- we all know that there are plenty of packages offered in between and this is where many of us land. Your new pole building should be viewed through that same lens, there is no correct answer when looking at this price/value ratio but as a consumer, you need to decide what is going to drive your final decision.

There is most definitely a sliding scale of quality to price when selecting a contractor, if you desire a high-quality building with a strong warranty- you just won’t find that with the cheapest contractor BUT through discussions with contractors you should be able to find one that fits your price to quality expectations.

As you look around the country sides you will see post frame buildings standing today that have been there for 50+ years with the exception of a few paint jobs they have remained untouched. These buildings can be a great addition to your property- now find that contractor that is perfect for you and get that project kicked off!

Article by Patrick Bracey