Finally! After years of impatient waiting, Beverley had her husband’s blessing to buy a barn and bring her two horses home from livery 10 miles away. His only provisos were she must get at least 2 quotes for the build and it mustn’t cost more than the number they had agreed, especially as they’d need to borrow some money on a credit card to pay for it.
Fair enough, thought Beverley. That would be easy. Armed with her experiences visiting friends’ farms and backyard horsekeeping enterprises Beverley brimmed with enthusiasm about perfecting the design of the horse barn and was confident her dream barn could be built and ready to go in just a few months. Think of all the boarding money she would save!
Aware that there were three options when it came to barn building, Beverley surmised that the stick built method was the most expensive, the pole barn design very common and more affordable and the modular or prefabricated style was widely accepted as the most expeditious. She embarked on a comparison between the latter two options. Beverley wanted to obtain the best ‘bang for her buck.’
After resourcing pole barn construction companies in her area through friends’ recommendations and reviews online, Beverley narrowed down a likely candidate to collaborate with on the new barn build called Jack Farrow Construction, and called the number listed. Her heart pounded with excitement as the phone rang. And rang. And rang. Eventually the call went to a message. Unperturbed Beverley left a detailed message and her number. She kept her phone handy all day long to ensure she didn’t miss the call back. Beverley was keen to get started on the fulfillment of her lifelong dream of horse barn ownership.
No call came in that day and Beverley retired to bed disappointed. The next day she awoke to pounding rain and gusty winds. The phone rang and she grabbed it eagerly. It was the man himself, Jack Farrow. Beverley had a list of questions she had noted down and was ready to fire off a bunch to get started, but Jack quickly took charge of the conversation.
“Sorry I couldn’t get back to you before. We are busy on site this time of year so it can be hard to reach me, I mean us, during the day. Only reason I’ve time now is the darn rain. You said you wanted a two-stall barn. That’s no problem. Do them all the time. Figure you’ll want them 10’ x 10’ with a shed roof? That’s the best way. I can put some nice doors on the front. A friend of mine makes them and they come ready to install. When do you need it by? We’re hectic this time of year, but I could squeeze you in at the beginning of the Fall or thereabouts. How does that sound?”
Beverley scanned her list of questions, determined to have as many of them as possible addressed while she had hold of the owner of the company.
“Well actually my horses are both 16hh so I need stalls 12’ x 12’ to give them room to be comfortable. I’d also like some storage in the barn for hay and feed supplies, and was thinking of an A-frame design with a 20’ x 20’ footprint. Something with a stall to each side and an aisle-way for grooming/tacking up, and a Dutch door to the outside on each stable, with an overhang so the horses can look outside but be protected from the rain and sun. Of course I’d like it to be as light as possible so would want a window in each stall. How much would something like that cost?”
“Ah well we’ve built plenty of horse barns for folks. Not that I have horses myself but I know people can be picky about what they want. That’s a fancy barn by the sound of it, if you want to add windows and extra doors and overhangs and the like. How much do you have to spend?”
Beverley hesitated to disclose her budget. Shouldn’t the builder give her a quote first?
“I’d have to talk to my husband about that. I am just getting an estimate right now,” said Beverley guardedly.
“I’ll have to work you up an estimate. Give me a few days because as I said we are very busy. But if you want to get on the schedule before winter you’d have to act fast and get your deposit down. We have a lot of calls come in this time of year. I’ll call you back with a number for the job.”
“How does that work. The deposit I mean? “
“We take 1/3rd, 1/3rd and a 1/3rd,” Jack explained. “ The first deposit holds the booking, the second one is due when we’re ready to have the materials delivered to the site and the third one is due halfway through the build.”
“ So you give me the plans and we agree a price for the materials and labor on a contract and then that’s how it’s paid? Wouldn’t I pay the last payment once the barn was finished? How long will it take?”
“Well we don’t provide plans or worry about contracts on small projects like this, but I can write you up a general estimate if you like. We charge time and materials separately so I’ll get you an estimate and then we can just adjust it for the final payment when we know how long it has taken. Yes, you can pay us the final payment at the end if you like. We’re happy to work with you. Of course how long it takes to build depends a bit on Mother Nature. Always at her mercy of course, can’t fix that. But my crew will do a good job. You’ll be in your new barn in no time,” Jack assured her.
Beverley was reasonably convinced that Jack knew how to build a good barn because he’d advertised that his company offered horse barns but her gut told her she should see one he’d done in person just to be sure.
“You sound like you’ve built a lot of barns Jack. Could I see a couple locally? Just to kick the tires, get an idea. ”
“Well most folks don’t like inviting people they don’t know onto their property to visit but no worries. I can show you plenty of photos. I can pop round next week to see you. I’ll bring the estimate and some pictures of barns and run-in sheds we’ve built.”
“Do you have a couple of references just to see how the jobs went,” she persisted.
“Sure. I have some folks you can call. I’ll bring some numbers with me when I come by.”
Beverley shared her address and the call concluded. She felt happy she’d nailed Jack down on her list of questions.
Beverley figured she’d hit a modular barn building company next. After careful review of the options available she picked an experienced company and dialed the 888 number. A friendly voice answered on the third ring. Beverley told the lady who introduced herself as Denise, about her barn-building project and the design she wanted and asked if she could run through her list of questions.
“Of course. Fire away.”
This call went completely differently. Denise almost seemed to know what questions were coming before Beverley even asked them and asked several questions of her own during the conversation that set Beverley thinking there was a lot more to this barn building project than it first appeared.
Questions she hadn’t considered such as the height of the doors and the walls of the barn, the materials including the type and grade of lumber that would be used, ventilation, the hardware and style of windows and doors that would be included, the site preparation options and assurance that the barn build would meet snow load and wind load requirements for her region.
The company even offered financing that would be a much better deal than using an expensive credit card loan for funds and could be secured quickly and simply online. When Beverley hung up the call she was much wiser about the components of construction and their costs. Denise had even suggested budget-reducing ideas to ensure Beverley could stay within a fixed sum for the final build.
Beverley received an email with all the individual materials and specifications listed, a timeline for delivery that included freight costs and set up of the building together with a sample contract plus a link to a host of barns of all shapes and sizes that the company had built over the years, many with direct point of contact. Denise had even advised they could provide a set of plans that apparently Beverley might need for a building permit, she’d need to check with her town building department. Good job Denise mentioned that! There was also a link to the company’s clearly written full warranty on both materials and workmanship. The quote was ‘to the penny’ so there would be no surprises on that front.
The payment plan was also simple. A deposit with the executed contract would slot the barn into the production line and guarantee a delivery window timeline, the remainder of the funds would not be payable until the barn was set up on site.
Denise had mentioned a few other things that Beverley had not thought about.
As the modular barn was built in the factory there would be no weather delays and all the painting and sealing would be done in the dry. As the materials were always kept in stock there would be no material substitutions there. The barn would look just as it did in the picture that Denise had sent.
As the time to set up on site would be completed in just one day, there would be less mess and stress with noise and construction crews coming up the driveway. Beverley thought her neighbors would appreciate that, especially the one closest with a newborn in the house. And as the timeline for delivery and set up would be known in advance, Beverley would be able to plan ahead with the boarding barn to give them notice of her leaving.
Beverley could also choose from a vast array of colors for trim paint or stain, and the barn came with kick walls and grills and some lovely looking hardware for the stall doors. In fact, she could even fancy the barn up a bit by adding a cupola and a weathervane if she wanted. While most things were included in the standard price, there was a range of add-on options all set priced that Beverley could choose from to individualize the barn if she wanted. Shopping for a few custom options was clearly going to be fun and would not take long to accomplish.
Beverley waited another week to hear from Jack Farrow and receive his quote. When she didn’t hear anything from him she called his number and left a few messages. A few days later Jack called back and apologized for the delay in response and gave her an estimate.
“Sorry about that. Some of my crew is on vacation so we’re a few hands short and I had to step in and help out myself. If you want to go ahead you’d better get your deposit in sooner rather than later, especially if you need this built before December. We’ve got a few big projects to clear out first but we should still be able to get it done this year if we get you on the books now,” explained Jack airily.
Beverley did a mental comparison on the price, which was slightly lower for the pole build. She had already discussed the modular quotation with her husband and knew he was in favor of it all being done so professionally from start to finish.
During the wait for Jack to get back to her with pricing, Beverley had been able to talk to several people that had bought a low profile barn like the one she wanted to buy and the reviews on this modular barn building company had been very positive from everyone. She’d even managed to make a short trip to see one of their barns in person and ‘kick the kickboards’ as the friendly property owner had put it.
Needless to say Beverley signed up with the modular company. She found out that when it came to building a horse barn, concept and reality were not poles apart after all.
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About Horizon Structures: One horse or twenty, there’s one thing all horse owners have in common…the need to provide safe and secure shelter for their equine partners. At Horizon Structures, we combine expert craftsmanship, top-of-the-line materials and smart “horse-friendly” design to create a full line of sheds and barns that any horse owner can feel confident is the right choice for their horses’ stabling needs.
All wood. Amish Made. Most of our buildings are shipped 100% pre-built and ready for same-day use. Larger barns are a modular construction and can be ready for your horses in less than a week. All our barn packages include everything you need –
Horizon Structures also sells chicken coops, equine hay feeders, greenhouses, dog kennels, 1 and 2 car garages, storage sheds and outdoor living structures and playsets.
Headquartered in South-Central Pennsylvania, Horizon Structures, LLC is owned by Dave Zook. Dave was raised in the Amish tradition and grew up working in the family-owned shed business. He started Horizon Structures in 2001 in response to an ever-increasing customer demand for high quality, affordable horse barns.
For additional information about the company or their product line, please visit their website at https://www.horizonstructures.com
Photos are available on request.
About Nikki Alvin-Smith:
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Please visit https://nikkialvinsmithstudio.com/ to learn more about her affordable services.