To ensure your new horse barn meets or exceeds your expectations and that the project is one filled with joy and happiness as it surely should be, can only happen if you manage your expectations.
When a new horse barn is on your horizon it is easy to get carried away by your horse passion and the excitement that the prospect presents. Naturally you may be nervous about the large capital spend and how to make sure you get what you want and need for your equine family? While it is true there are many pitfalls to be avoided when purchasing horse housing, it is also true that the experience can be extremely positive if properly executed.
Of course, none of us know what we don’t know, so it is important to ask lots of questions of the construction company and carefully choose the builder you collaborate with on the project. The undertaking is not one to be taken lightly. But it is not an overwhelming project if you follow a few simple steps to manage your expectations.
Here are a few pointers that will help you make the best purchase decision.
Plans, Photos and 3D Visuals
Take advantage of new technology such as 3D graphic design to enjoy a ‘walk though’ of planned large barn builds to experience a simulated idea of how the space looks when constructed.
Check the details that might pertain to your particular needs. For example, if you own warmbloods ensure the front stall walls are high enough to accommodate larger horses. If you plan to run a busy boarding operation, determine if the aisleways are wide enough to allow safe passage and passing of horses being led past each other.
Websites and social media platforms offer the savvy shopper the opportunity to delve deep into the huge variety of barn styles and designs on the market. Siding and roofing materials, color options and innovative designs are often highlighted on the manufacturer’s pages. Reviewing images of barns that a company can provide offers inspiration for customizations that are available.
To best manage your expectations, it is essential to take your research a step further than looking online. If possible, visit an existing build the company has constructed, to examine the quality of craftsmanship and materials used in person. A good company will offer testimonials and references but a great company will offer the opportunity for you to speak/email directly with their clients to discuss the purchasing experience one on one.
Pennies and Pricing
Nail down the pricing before you place a deposit on a new horse barn. The popularity of modular and prefabricated barn construction is due in part to the fact that the purchase price is a known ‘to the penny’ quotation and it includes delivery of the structure as well as set up on site.
When you have a firm price for the build of your new horse barn there is no question that not only will you sleep better at night not worrying about cost overruns and delays, you will also be able to better plan your money management strategy.
Help with plans for permits and site preparation is often also available from modular building companies. This eliminates a lot of headaches and can save time in the overall construction process as well as save the purchaser money.
Ask about financing options and check out warranties that are included.
Don’t part with any money unless you have a clearly written contract that defines the materials and total price, specifies any special features or upgrades and defines a reasonable payment plan.
When you envisage your dream barn be aware that all those pretty extras, such as functional cupolas and copper weathervanes cost extra. Don’t become caught up in worrying about what others think of your barn, worry about what is functional first and don’t compromise on important facets such as the size of stalls or storage needs for hay and supplies.
Try and keep to low maintenance siding options where possible, to save on future unexpected and time-consuming costs for repainting and repairs. Stains are now available that can last as long as 15 years before needing additional application.
Investigate thoroughly all the material options available. If possible, choose a company to work with that has both the experience and expertise to correctly choose proven products that work and to apply those products correctly to the build.
Unfortunately building a barn on site opens the barn door to a much higher likelihood of costs overruns and materials being substituted to lack of availability.
Craftsmanship may be compromised due to the availability of construction crew staff and even adverse weather can negatively impact the final result of a barn build. For example, paint and stains need to be applied in a dry environment at a median temperature for best results.
There is nothing more frustrating that having your hopes dashed with a delayed build timeline for the finished horse barn.
Your horses may be at livery requiring expensive monthly payments for board that you planned to put toward the barn purchase; the winter may be approaching and your horses need additional shelter; the summer may be heating up and your horses need shade to protect them from the sun’s rays; you may be moving house and need to have your horses moved on a specific timeline.
A factory-made horse barn that is delivered and set up on site, will be produced in a timely manner and with a defined timeframe. This can save much angst waiting for a barn to be finished and ready for use.
When you take the time to plan well ahead for your future needs and do due diligence before you spend a dime, the likelihood is that the purchasing experience will be a positive one.
Most people don’t mind waiting for the right product, as long as there are no broken promises down the road and unexpected delays.
Take your time, ask lots of questions and choose your construction partner carefully. It does take a team to build a horse barn, make sure you pick the right one!