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Cost to Build Pole Barn: 2023 Price Comparison

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Pole barns are a quick and affordable way to construct varying-sized buildings.

From a simple shed or garage to a large house or commercial building, the costs are cheaper compared to traditionally built structures.

Typically, building costs for a pole barn range from $20/sq.ft. minimum to $60/sq.ft. maximum, depending on size, the design’s complexity, accessories, and materials.

Pole barns have been used as agricultural buildings, equipment shelters, and livestock enclosures for centuries without significant alterations.

However, modern materials and construction methods make them suitable for better quality commercial and residential buildings as well as simple storage structures.

A pole barn needs no inner support for its walls, therefore making it ideal for sheltering large livestock and storing hay and straw.

Typically, the interior is one open space, with temporary partitions for separating different kinds of livestock, horse stabling, and accommodation, built as necessary.

This construction method makes it ideal for modern living arrangements where you can buy a prefabricated kit to provide an outer shell. Then, erect the framework and drywall to your requirements.

We compiled this guide to highlight how much a typical pole barn building costs to build across various sizes.

*Disclaimer: The research done for this article was correct as of July 2022. We link official sources, where possible, throughout the guide.

Cost Break Down to Build a Pole Barn

We can split pole barn construction projects into several sections. Likewise, we can break down the total price to see how much each unit costs. 

For the following example, we use a typical pole barn measuring 40ft x 69.5 ft, or 2,780 sq.ft.

Land Clearing Cost

Land clearing is an essential but often underestimated part of the project. On average, land clearing costs $1,200-$4,500 for a straightforward site clearance with no significant issues.

Generally, this operation takes up around 5-7% of the total project cost. However, the proportion can significantly increase if you need to remove trees, straighten roads or install utilities a long way from existing supplies.

Location and Elevation

First, decide where you want the structure. Unless you want to spend extra on utilities, try to position the building near to access roads and utilities such as drainage, water, and electricity. 

The building’s elevation impacts considerably on the drainage requirements. Water always flows downhill.

So, if you place the pole barn at the bottom of a valley, you’ll not only have issues linking drainage pipes to the main sewers but also be more susceptible to flooding from nearby rivers and streams.

Site Access

You might have enough space to access the barn with a regular vehicle. But, how easy is it for the contractor to use earth-moving equipment and accept deliveries from large articulated trucks, which need turning space?

Do you have to clear trees and undergrowth or straighten roads for vehicle access? 

Pole Barn Cost

The cost of building a pole barn depends on its size, the design’s complexity, and the accessories you install.

Generally, at its simplest, pole barns are sheds or agricultural buildings built from softwood posts, supports, and sidings, with corrugated metal or plastic roofs. However, wood tends to rot and is a termite’s food source.

Instead, you can buy ready-to-assemble kits using steel supports and frames, aluminum roofs, and PVC or metal sidings. They are completely weatherproof and can become commercial or residential premises when fully insulated.

However, structures made from better quality materials will be more expensive than cheaper alternatives.

Cost per Square Foot

Rather than a total build price, it’s often more versatile to use a job’s cost per square foot.

Then, if you start with the correct “cost per area” and know how large your pole barn should be, you can easily calculate an approximate total cost for your project.

Generally, rates vary from $20-$60/sq.ft. However, we compiled a more comprehensive list of “costs per square foot” elsewhere in this guide.

Insulation

Insulation is essential for using the pole barn as a commercial or residential structure.

Without insulation, you quickly realize that the interior is too hot in the summer and too cold in winter. Also, the climate zone where you live determines whether you need air conditioning.

Furthermore, livestock and horses might need insulated enclosures if your zone experiences extreme temperatures.

Typically, pole barn insulation can range from $900 to $2,200, or $0.44-$6/sq.ft. depending on the insulation method. Alternatively, pre-insulated siding will provide a long-term solution and reduce labor costs.

There are several good online resources dealing with ways to reduce energy consumption and how to use insulation. So, use them for maximum effect.

Labor Cost

Although you can choose a local carpenter to build your structure, selecting a specialist pole barn installer is better.

Most companies that supply pole barn kits also have a team of installation specialists or use local carpenters trained to install their products.

Typically, labor costs to build a pole barn vary between $£5-$10/sq.ft. to erect the shell. But, you pay extra for a contractor to install the add-ons and finishes necessary to make the shell into a purpose-built structure.

If you hire local contractors, you need a certified construction manager to oversee the work. Typically, they charge 15-20% of the total project cost, or $3,000-$45,000, depending on the project’s scale and complexity.

Other Considerations

Depending on the pole barn’s purpose, you must install more than just the shell.

For added security against subsidence and extreme weather, it’s helpful to establish a concrete foundation costing $5-$10/sq.ft. Furthermore, wood and metal used for internal framing, floors, etc., cost $5-$15/sq.ft.

Overall, finishing a pole barn and adding living accommodation, if necessary, costs about $25/sq.ft.

Local town construction codes require permits before starting work. Furthermore, depending on your location, expect to pay $1,000 or more for a specific license.

The table below summarises the costs to consider when building a pole barn.

ItemsCost
Site Clearance$1,200-$4,500
Siding Materials – Wood$5,000-$10,000
Siding Materials – Aluminum$10,000-$15,000
Drywall$1.60-$2.50/sq.ft. incl. labor
Flooring$5-$25/sq.ft.
Insulation$0.44-$6/sq.ft.
Concrete Foundation Slab$5-$10/sq.ft.
Roofing – Aluminum or Steel$5,000-$25,000 incl. labor
Windows$500-$1,000 each
Doors$700-$2,000
Exterior Painting - Metal$400-$1,500
Exterior Painting – Wood$700-$2,000
Interior Drywall Painting$3,000-$5,000
Electrical Work$10,000
Plumbing$11,000
HVAC$11,000
Carpenter$35-$90/hr
Electrician$50-$100/hr
Plumber$50-$200/hr
Local Building Permits$1,000+

Pole Barn Price per Square Foot

The wide range of costs for installing a pole barn is because specific factors determine whether the structure is at the lower or higher end.

For example:

  • The total floor area of the structure.
  • Building features include windows, door types, concrete base, utilities (drainage, electricity, and freshwater), underfloor heating, etc.
  • The current market price of the construction materials includes concrete for the base, wood or steel for the posts and support structure, and steel, aluminum, plastic, or other material for the roof.
  • Labor costs.

The table below shows the average cost to build a pole barn, including foundations, doors, windows, interior finishing, installing utilities, roofing, and labor costs.

TypeMinimum CostMaximum CostAverage Cost
Small (under 2,000 sq.ft.)$45/sq.ft.$60/sq.ft.$52/sq.ft.
Small/Medium (1,200-2,500 sq.ft.)$35/sq.ft.$50/sq.ft.$42/sq.ft.
Large (2,501-4,000 sq.ft.)$30/sq.ft.$40/sq.ft.$35/sq.ft.
Extra Large (4,001-8,000 sq.ft.)$20/sq.ft.$30/sq.ft.$25/sq.ft.

The following sections describe the structures and give an idea of pole barn prices per square foot. This amount is helpful when calculating a rough estimate and deciding what size structure you get for your money.

Floor areas under 2,000sq.ft.

Pole barns of this size are classed as small structures. Usually, they’re easy to assemble if you have DIY skills.

Type of Pole Barn

Typically, small pole barn buildings become sheds, hobby buildings, garages, carports, and equipment shelters.

Minimum Cost

The minimum cost is around $45/sq.ft

Maximum Cost

Maximum cost is about $60/sq.ft.

Average Cost

The average cost is approximately $52/sq.ft.

Floor areas from 1,200 to 2,500 sq.ft.

Pole barns, with this floor area, are usually classed as small/medium-sized, to be used if a small structure isn’t large enough. 

Type of Pole Barn

Typically, people use pole barns with this floor area as horse stables, livestock shelters, storage buildings, RV carports, workshops, hobby buildings, agricultural machinery stores, and even houses.

Minimum Cost

The lowest cost in this range is about $35/sq.ft.

Maximum Cost

The highest price in the range is around $50/sq.ft.

Average Cost

Average cost is about $42/sq.ft.

Floor areas from 2,501 to 4,000 sq.ft.      

If a small/medium-sized pole barn isn’t large enough, select one with this size floor area. Usually, these are called large structures.

Type of Pole Barn

People use large pole barns for equipment and vehicle storage buildings, workshops, livestock enclosures, horse stables, and single-family homes.

Minimum Cost

The lowest price in the range is around $30/sq.ft.

Maximum Cost

The highest price in the range is about $40/sq.ft.

Average Cost

The average cost of approximately $35/sq.ft.

Floor areas from 4,001 to 8,000 sq.ft.

These are extra-large pole barns and valuable if you want more space.

Type of Pole Barn

People use these sized buildings as weatherproof animal enclosures, heavy equipment storage, vehicle fleet garaging, commercial buildings, and houses.

Minimum Cost

The lowest price in the range is around $20/sq.ft.

Maximum Cost

The highest price in the range is about $30/sq.ft.

Average Cost

An average price of approximately $25/sq.ft.

Pole Barn Cost According to Size

The following table shows typical pole barn sizes and their average price range to build.

Prices vary within this range depending on the quality of the structure and any accessories you might add. 

Size of Pole BarnAreaPrice RangeAverage Price
30 ft. x 40 ft.1,200 sq.ft.$10,000-$25,000$17,000
30 ft. x 50 ft.1,500 sq.ft.$12,000-$30,000$21,000
30 ft. x 60 ft.1,800 sq.ft.$15,000-$35,000$25,000
40 ft. x 40 ft.1,600 sq.ft.$13,000-$32,000$22,000
40 ft. x 60 ft.2,000 sq.ft.$20,000-$40,000$30,000
40 ft. x 80 ft.3,200 sq.ft.$25,000-$55,000$40,000

DIY vs. Hiring a Pro

Building a pole barn from scratch requires specialist construction skills that a typical DIYer wouldn’t have.

Good quality work needs professional skills, such as plumbing, concreting, electrical, roofing, metalwork, and carpentry. Otherwise, the finished building will be of substandard quality, possibly structurally flawed, and generally unsafe to use.

Furthermore, some of these skills require licensing, depending on local and state laws. 

Generally, professional pole barn erectors will buy high-quality materials and use industry-approved construction methods, thus ensuring structural integrity. Furthermore, a skilled local professional will know the local building codes and which permits you require.

We’ve already mentioned above the hourly trade rates in this guide.

Building the structure yourself can save about 50% of the total price by removing most labor costs, as you still need the licensed trades. Furthermore, mechanical lifting equipment is essential, which you can rent for $500-$1,200.

Usually, you’d need a team of at least two people to erect safely. However, if you buy a kit, the erection is much simpler, and depending on the size of the structure, someone with good DIY skills or basic construction experience can easily carry out the work. 

Pole Barn kits range from $4,000-$50,000 for a simple shell, depending on quality, size and accessories. On top of this, windows, doors, insulation, roofing, gutters, and downspouts are charged extra. However, a kit carries a 30-40 year warranty.

Typically, the manufacturer’s installation team can erect a pole barn complete with a concrete foundation in about 5-6 weeks. However, if you want a small structure big enough for a garage, the erection will take a day or so.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a selection of questions that many people frequently ask.

Is it cheaper to build a garage or pole barn?

Generally, building a pole barn is cheaper than building a garage from scratch.

However, many factors influence the cost, and you should consider all the possible construction methods before deciding.

Are pole barns a good investment?

Basically, yes. Pole barns are storage for any equipment, including expensive agricultural machinery. Also, you can use them as livestock enclosures, stables, commercial buildings, or even dwellings.

The structure has a simple construction method if you use a kit, and this addition to your property is a good way of significantly increasing your land’s value.

Is it cheaper to buy a pole barn kit?

It doesn’t matter how large your pole barn is or which manufacturer you choose for the kit; they will always be cheaper and of comparable quality to a traditionally built structure.

The primary reason is that the kit’s high-precision components are made in a factory and then assembled on site. Compare this to cutting and joining on-site materials, sometimes in difficult working conditions.

Conclusion

Although you can build a small pole barn using DIY skills, we recommend using trained professionals holding licenses complying with local and state laws, to erect any size pole barn building. Insured professionals will guarantee good-quality work done quickly.

Furthermore, kit manufacturers insist that you use well-trained professionals for a valid warranty. Therefore, find professional pole barn erectors near you for the best quality finish.

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