How Long Will This Barn Take to Pay For Itself?

Welcome back to the barn! 

Today I am going to be setting up the barn a little bit and trying to make the space in here a bit more usable. I will also be answering some questions that I got about the cost of the building.

Here is my general plan for the space. Over by the entrance, I have a flex space that I will call the garage. That’s where the vehicles will be parked, and they can be moved outside if I need that space while I’m working.

One concrete space is the chair kit area over in this back corner, which will take up three bays. That will be space for all of the packing materials and storage inventory. Part of the reason I’m putting it over here is that it doesn’t require a lot of forklift use as soon as those materials are over here. 

All of the remaining space is for lumber and workbench kits and slabs, etc. Those things require forklift access, so I will keep this space more open. 

First I am going to get the dust collection pipes into the trusses.

Next up is organizing the chair kit area. I want to try a different inventory management system. Previously, I had a pallet for every item for every SKU, which is nice for easy access to all of the parts of the chair, but it takes up a ton of floor space. I like that method for my more popular chairs, but I will put my less popular chairs onto shelves.

Then I will set this up to optimize the flow for packing chairs. I’ll pick my materials from the inventory, move to the bundling tables, next to the boxing station, and then last stop is a desk for hardware. Having dedicated space for those sub-tasks worked out really nicely at the warehouse, so I am going to replicate that here. 

So here is some new shelving that I put up, and I have the kits organized so that I can easily grab the most common SKU, and put the less popular SKUs higher up.

Next up, I am going to be putting up some 16 foot racking over in the garage area, and the butt of the telehandler will go in the space beneath the first shelf. Some difficulties and frustrations with dimensions and not being able to get access to the shelves with my machines, but I ended up putting some of the dust collection pieces on this shelving, because I don’t anticipate needing those things. 

Some progress was made, not as much as I would have liked. At least with that duct work put away, I have all of this space back again. It’s getting there, but I have a long way to go still.

Now for some questions and answers:

  1. How long will it take for the barn to pay for itself? 

-Let’s walk through some numbers here. Renting the warehouse space was about $20,000/year. It was 2,400 square feet, so the yearly per square foot cost was about $8.50. For comparison purposes, I’m going to say that these spaces are the same size, because functionally speaking, they are pretty comparable. So that would make my payback eight years and four months. However, now I have additional expenses: electricity, heat, taxes, and insurance. So for a round number, let’s say I have $400/month in expenses. That brings my more realistic payback to 10 years and 11 months. There are also some intangible expenses that I didn’t really have to worry about when I was renting, which are mostly facility costs. If something breaks, making sure I can get access to the building when it snows, etc.

I’m not super worried about the payback period on this building, because the building is located here on my property, so I have a much higher utilization rate than I did with the warehouse. I averaged about 2 trips a month to the warehouse, so that is 140 miles of driving in a month. That isn’t a great expense, but because it was farther away, I didn’t go there as often as I could. So the greatest intangible benefit of this new building is being able to come and work here whenever I want. I tend to work best by rotating from different place and task, which I will be able to do much more easily with this building on the property. 

  1. Did you realize that there is no bathroom in your barn? 

-That is on the list of things that can be added at any time. I could have had the plumbing installed into the floor for a bathroom, but then I had to commit to a spot for the bathroom. The only downside to doing it in the future is that the bathroom floor cannot be directly on the concrete floor. But I don’t think having a step up into a bathroom is a big deal. I will also have to figure out if I need to have a new septic system just for the barn or connect it to our current septic system, but… that’s something for the future. 

  1. What’s up with the windows?

-The windows on the west wall of the building don’t really serve the purpose of letting light in. They are more of an exterior aesthetic. We can see that face of the barn from the house and the driveway, so I think it just makes the building a bit nicer to look at. 

That’s going to do it for this one. Thank you as always for joining. I greatly appreciate it. If you have any questions or comments on the barn or the shop or whatever, please feel free to leave me a comment. As always, I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have. And until next time, happy woodworking!

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