How Much Does a Shouse Cost to Build in 2024?

Sleek and perfectly aligned Shouse with a black and white exterior.
Sleek and perfectly aligned Shouse with a black and white exterior.

A shouse is excellent if you want a structure with living quarters and enough space to pursue your hobbies. You can work on your projects while staying close to your family. There’s no need to commute to your workshop, so you have more time to perfect your craft. 

However, building a shouse requires money. How much does a shouse cost to build?

This article explains how much budget you need to build a shouse, the factors that affect its cost, and everything else you need to know to prepare a budget for a shouse that serves all your needs. 

How Much Does a Shouse Cost?

A shouse can cost between $75 and $125 per square foot, according to Morton Buildings.

This is a rough estimate and includes the cost of the pre-fabricated metal shell, delivery, taxes, and installation. However, the estimate above is just for the metal building, and there are other factors that go into building a shouse. 

Cost Factors When Building a Shouse 

The amount you need to spend to build your shouse depends on several factors. These factors are critical because they can increase or decrease your expenses.

Knowing these cost factors can also help you carefully plan your budget and make adjustments if needed. 

Shouse Design

A floor plan is a drawing that illustrates your shouse. It shows the layout of your house to know how the different rooms connect. Aside from the placement of the different rooms, a floor plan also shows you the location of windows, doors, walls, stairs, etc. Your contractor can use the floor plan as a guide in building your shouse. In addition, you will need a construction plan to secure a building permit. 

Some counties accept hand-drawn plans, so you can draw your plan if you want to. Just be sure to comply with the size requirements of your county with regard to building plans.

Our Pinterest account has sample floor plans and layouts you can copy if you plan on drawing your own floor plan. If you want to ensure that your dimensions are accurate, hiring a professional to draw building plans is more practical. 

Some suppliers offer customization services if you buy a pre-fabricated metal building. The degree of customization depends on the manufacturer since some offer full customization while others can only customize the exterior colors and design. 

It’s another story if you hire a contractor to build your shouse from the ground up. Some house designers offer pre-drawn shouse floor plans that you can purchase. If the plan is to your liking and has the features you need, you can buy it and immediately use it to build your shouse. Depending on the designer, you can request minor changes or customization, but it will cost you extra.

Check our article containing different shouse floor plans you can use

Another option is getting the designer to draw up plans from scratch. This is the best option if you have special requirements for your shouse and want a fully-customized plan. You will have to meet with the building designer, discuss how you want your shouse to look, and the designer will draw up the plans. You can review the plan presented to you and request changes if needed. 

The average cost of pre-drawn house plans is between $700 and $1,500. If you want a fully-customized plan, prepare to pay between $2,000 and $10,000. These prices depend on the designer you are hiring. Experienced designers can charge more depending on their years of experience. Some designers also use specialized tools to render 3D plans, which are more expensive than drawn plans.

A 3D plan lets you walk through your planned shouse using 3D technology and gives you a better grasp of room dimensions. This is helpful in planning the placement of equipment, furniture, and tools. 


As mentioned earlier, you need to secure a building permit to build a shouse. Some contractors handle the filing of an application as part of their contract. However, you might need to apply for a building permit if it’s not included in the contract. 

One of the requirements to get a building permit is the floor plan for your shouse. We have covered this earlier, so carry it with you when you go to your county’s zoning and building department.

There may be other requirements depending on the county where you are building, so get a list of the documents you need to submit to ensure your application gets approved. 

The cost of a building permit can range between $500 and $3,000, depending on the size of the structure, your location, and the estimated cost of construction.

However, counties have different means of computing the building permit fee, so the only way to get an accurate assessment of the fee is by asking your local building authority.

For example, if you are building in Marietta, Georgia, there is a $50 base fee plus $4 per $1,000 of construction cost. In Bedford, Texas, the fee is $1 per square foot of construction with a minimum fee of $75. 

Aside from the building permit, you must also secure a permit for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work. We also have a comprehensive guide about shouses if you want to learn more about them and their building process. 

Site Preparation

Preparing your land for construction is vital in building your shouse. If you already own land, prepare it by clearing it. Make sure the area is free from rocks, rubbish, weeds, or tree stumps, so it’s ready for laying down the foundation of your shouse.

If there are trees on the site, you need to hire a professional to remove them. Having a tree removed from your property can cost between $150 and $2,000 per tree. The cost of removing a tree varies depending on your location and the size of the tree. 

When your land is clear, you must lay down a concrete foundation for your shouse. Concrete can cost between $4.25 and $6.25 per square foot. This is a price estimate for the concrete only. The labor cost for laying down the concrete foundation is around $2.60 per square foot.

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However, the rates quoted above can change because the price of concrete constantly changes. Your location is also a factor because labor rates differ depending on where you are. 

If your land is in an area prone to flooding, it would be best if you installed a sump pump. A sump pump directs water away from the foundation of your structure. This prevents accumulation of water which can weaken your shouse’s foundation. 

If your land is not large enough for your planned shouse, you need to buy a larger property than the one you currently own. If you are lucky, you can buy an adjoining lot to your current one.

You might need to buy a lot if you currently live in a city or a gated subdivision because your location might not allow the building of a shouse. Look for rural land since it is ideal for building metal structures like shouses. 

Building Materials

The type and amount of building materials you will use contribute to the overall cost of building a shouse.

One of the biggest and most expensive items on this list is the shell for your shouse. You buy a pre-fabricated metal shell that the manufacturer will install on your property. If you want a fully-customized shouse, you can also have your contractor build the shouse from the ground up. 

A metal building kit can cost around $25 to $30 per square foot. This is a basic metal building kit. The price will go up if you want a more complex design. You might be able to find a cheaper kit if you source it from a local supplier because they might deliver the kit for free.

If you order a kit from a supplier out of state, the price will include the delivery cost. 


Labor costs make up a large portion of a construction budget. It is difficult to estimate how much you need to spend on labor because it depends on multiple factors. Your location plays a huge role because different states have different labor rates.

The amount you need to pay for labor also depends on the contractor you will hire. A contractor with years of professional experience usually charges more. 

If you want to save money, spend time talking to multiple contractors and asking for quotes. You can compare quotes to hire the best contractors with competitive rates. Join our Facebook group to get in touch with other metal building owners. You can ask for suggestions on contractors they have used so you can work with a builder with a proven track record. 

One way of reducing labor costs is by working on the shouse yourself. If you are a handyman, you can have the building kit erected on your property and work on the rest yourself. This can save you a lot of money, but there are drawbacks.

For one, working on the shouse requires devoting time to the project. If you have a full-time job and can only work part-time on your building, it will take longer to finish your shouse. 

Even if you decide to build your shouse DIY-style, you still need to hire professionals for some aspects of construction, like installing the electrical system. Most counties require licensed electricians to handle electrical systems, so you’ll need to hire one unless you are a licensed electrician yourself. 


The cost of building a shouse can increase depending on the number of features you want. And with shouses, the features of the workshop area depend on your craft.

For example, if you are into woodworking, your workshop should have a workbench, a stationary machine area, and a finishing area. You will also need storage for your tools and lumber. If you need a workshop for fixing or customizing vehicles, you’ll need a car lift and an engine hoist. 

It is important to remember that a shouse is not just a workshop; it also has living spaces. The number of dwelling features can affect construction costs, like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you want. 

Living spaces need to have proper heating. You’ll need to insulate your shouse and install underfloor heating where needed. Insulating a shouse can cost between $3,000 and $10,000 for a 2,000-square-foot structure. Installing a radiant floor heating system can cost between $1,730 and $6,032.

However, if you plan on installing radiant floor heating throughout your entire shouse, it can cost you up to $48,000, depending on the size of your shouse. 


The type of finish of your shouse is another factor you must consider in planning your budget. The more complex the finishing is, the more expensive your structure will be. You have several options when it comes to exterior finishes.

Since most shouses are plain, the exterior finish you choose can make your building more attractive. You can use stones, concrete, wood, or bricks to finish your exteriors. This can make your shouse look more like a traditional house. If you plan to sell the structure in the future, this can increase the value of your property. It will also make it easier to find a buyer for your shouse.

You also need to take care of finishing the interiors of your shouse. While it is common for workshops to have concrete floors, you might want a more appropriate flooring material for the living spaces. Common flooring materials include tiles, vinyl, and wood.

Vinyl is a cheap option and costs around $2 to $4 per square foot for materials and labor. If you want hardwood floors, it will cost you between $6 and $12 per square foot for materials and labor. Hardwood floors are more expensive, but they are more durable and classier. 

You can also use drywall to finish the walls and ceiling of your shouse. Drywall is an excellent option because it is cheap. The material can cost between $0.30 and $0.50 per square foot, while labor costs will depend on your location. 

You also need to include in your construction cost computation other fixtures for the dwelling part of your shouse, like lighting and bathroom fixtures. The price of these features differs depending on their brand, make, and materials.

You can also check our article with shouse design ideas and interior design ideas for your building.

Follow our Instagram account to see samples of metal building and shouse design ideas you can use if you are looking for inspiration. 

Why is a Shouse Cheaper to Build?

A shouse is cheaper because it is simple and easier to build.

Since it is easy to build, expect the labor cost to be lower compared to building a complex structure. It will also be cheaper if the workshop area is larger than the dwelling because the workshop is simpler to build. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Shouse cheaper than a house?

Yes, a shouse is cheaper than a house because it has a less complex design. It can also be a cheaper option because of its multi-functional nature. Instead of building two structures, you are building both under the same roof. 

It can also save you money in other areas. If you rent a temporary dwelling while waiting for the shouse to be completed, you can save money since you will be renting for a shorter time. 

How long does it take to build a Shouse?

It is difficult to estimate how long it will take to build a shouse because it depends on the size of your shouse and the complexity of its design.

However, expect to spend around 3 to 6 months building a shouse. This timeline also depends on whether a contractor will build the structure for you or if you are going for a DIY build. 

What is the difference between a Shouse and a Barndominium?

It is easy to confuse a barndominium with a shouse because both can function as a dwelling and a workshop. They look similar on the exterior, but the main difference is their functionality. 

A barndominium combines an open-concept barn and a customizable condominium, while a shouse combines a shop and a house under the same roof.

A shouse is a dedicated personal workshop/storage connected to a house. We can also say a shouse is a descendant of the barndominium in the hierarchy of post-frame homes.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a low-cost structure to serve as a dwelling and a workshop, a shouse is your best option. Its simplicity makes it easier and cheaper to build. If you are willing to handle some of the subcontractor tasks, you can bring down costs even more. It is also a cheaper option in the long run because you will eliminate transportation expenses and the need to rent a commercial space for your workshop. 

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