Lester Buildings – In-depth Contractor Review (Are they worth it?)

Bring your dream to life with Lester Buildings. Collaborate with them and you’ll be sure to have a metal building that will stand the test of time on strong post-frame. Fortunately, this is what Lester Buildings (official website) specializes in. They are well-known for fabricating and manufacturing custom-engineered post-frame and steel buildings that serve for decades for both residential and commercial purposes. Furthermore, they also offer prefab packages so you could construct the pole building yourself or find a local contractor to do it for you. The company has been in the industry for more than seventy-five years. You can expect to collaborate with professionals and the design team from start to finish until you are completely happy with your project.

A metal building home from lester buildings with a gabled roof in an olive color scheme
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The Beginning of Lester Buildings

The Lesters started Lester Inc. on the 1st of April in 1947 in Lester Prairie, Minnesota. At the start, they only had eleven people and working capital of only a hundred thousand dollars.  With this, they were so driven to succeed that they were able to acquire a metal Quonset hut manufacturer franchise.

lester's inc original office in 1949 in greyscale
Leter’s Inc office back in 1949. Image via

By 1954, Lester’s General Manager Art Schwichtenberg purchased the company and introduced wooden structures as part of the product line. Under his command, Lester Buildings was able to expand exponentially. After thirty-two successful years and 49,000 buildings later, Schwichtenberg sold off the company.

Butler Manufacturing bought the company in 1986 and added manufacturing facilities while expanding its market in the US. This move greatly improved Lester Buildings’ capability to create more complex structures all while staying true to its roots which are allowing the client the freedom to customize as well as providing long-term value and lifetime warranty for structural design.

The Services and Products Lester Buildings Offer

Lester Buildings constructs and manufactures pre-engineered and custom post-frame buildings for farms, equestrian, livestock, hobby, residential, commercial purposes and more. You can choose to customize your building or pick from one of their prefabricated kits. If you are unsure which option is better in your situation, give them a call and their sales representative will help you decide.

Angled front of a large metal building home from Lester buildings
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Pole Barns

The company is very well known for its outstanding pole barn buildings. In fact, over 170,000 of these have been built already all across the United States. There’s a big chance that you’ve seen at least one pole barn by Lester in your lifetime.

Here are a few types of pole barns that the company can build:

  • Metal Garage Pole Barn
  • Pole Barn Shed
  • Pole Barn Building
  • Pole Barn Garage
  • Pole Barn with Living Quarters
  • Pole Shed Garage

If you are still unsure if pole barn building is something that you’re after, then have a look at these guides we prepared:

drone shot of a dark grey metal building home by lester in with a likesideview in the horizon
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Post-Frame Residential Building Kits

Lester Buildings is very well known for its post-frame construction and especially for its ready-to-build packages aka kits. These homes usually have a large area dedicated to workshops or shops with residential quarters squeezed in somewhere in the building. But it doesn’t mean that living space is small – not at all. You can find 6 prefabricated residential kits on their website with floor plans – have a look.

Modified Residential Kit “The Magnolia” by Lester Inc. Image via

Other Type of Buildings by Lester

As mentioned previously, they not only build pole barns or pre-engineered residential buildings but also they can manufacture these structures as well:


Have a look at some of Lester Inc. projects we covered on our website. These might spark some ideas for you:

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How Much Do I Need to Have a Lester Building?

As much as you would love to have a ballpark price of the metal building you have in mind, there is no definite price. With the amount of customization Lester Buildings allow, it’s hardly possible to get a precise cost just right off the bat. Fortunately, you can go to their website and get an estimate by filling in your project details, but your best bet is probably to just give them a call and discuss your ideas live.

dark blue metal storage and shop building by lester inc
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What Affects the Price So Much? Let’s Find Out.

Location and Weather Conditions

Different states have different weather conditions and this can impact the price. For instance, the location you are in might be prone to heavy snow or strong winds. If that’s the case your building will have to be engineered differently, so it can withstand natural phenomena on a day-to-day basis. Extra materials needed to do that usually increase the price.

Specs and Size

When you work on your project design, you will certainly include the features that you want and need. There are plenty of components that you can customize such as the type of roof, windows, doors, flooring, and the list goes on. Additionally, you can add porches or even cupolas to your exterior if there’s a need. These components with their variety in pricing will in turn affect the total price of your metal building. And we haven’t even mentioned interior finishings – you can go cheap and simple, posh and expensive, or land somewhere in the middle.

Front view of a barn type home with two large shop doors from Lester Buildings
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Current Economic Situation

One of the most important factors that determine overall metal building price or any building price really is the worldwide economic situation. Now in 2022, it doesn’t look very promising. It seems that we are approaching an economic recession. Prices of gas and commodities such as wood and steel have increased significantly, resulting in higher costs to produce the same building. And in this case, it doesn’t really matter if it is a timber or metal structure you are looking to build – both materials have increased in price since the Covid-19 hit. If you’d like to learn more about how and why barndominium prices increased so much in 2022 click here.

Despite the reasons mentioned above, you’ll be sure to receive a competitive price from Lester Buildings. With decades of experience and thousands of buildings erected, they do have their processes in place optimized to every bit. This in turn will save you money in the long run compared to amateur contractors out there.

Why Should You Choose Lester Buildings?

The main advantage of choosing to build with Lester Buildings is the freedom of customization of your project and their many years of experience in the industry. Though some of the structures are pre-engineered, you can still add, change and remove features if that’s what you want. Having this flexibility to construct a building 100% to your liking is very refreshing and confirming. Those of you who are shopping around for some time now will understand where we are coming from. Compared to smaller contractors, Lester Inc. has fewer limitations, thus your ideas won’t be jeopardized due to a lack of choice and inability to produce this or that feature.

Angled front right side view of a barn type metal building from Lester Buildings
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Their professionalism and customer service go hand in hand from start to finish, but that’s what is expected from every major metal building company. However, an additional benefit that sets Lester apart from others is their lifetime structural warranty, whereas most contractors usually limit it to 40-50 years. Additionally, finding a Lester Building branch near you won’t be a problem since they have branches in more than 35 states nationwide. A simple Google search can get you started locating the closest one to your area.

The Cons of Choosing Lester Buildings

When you choose to build with Lester, you’ll be sure to get great service and even greater building. When it comes to this company, there aren’t many downsides that stand out. Actually, there aren’t even a few and that’s how it should be with a nationwide contractor. Read the reviews below and you will see what we are talking about – it’s a struggle finding a negative review about Lester online. Try it.

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One thing that we should mention, is that they use local dealers who usually build their structures. Every dealer is different just like their construction crews. For a company this size with hundreds of dealers nationwide it is not always easy to maintain work quality control. But that’s how it is with most large companies, including, those outside the construction industry. A popular saying “A building is as good as the crew who built it” is more often true than not. Thus, we recommend doing your own due diligence on your local Lester Buildings dealer, visiting their past projects, and talking to their previous clients in your area. This certainly won’t hurt.

Additionally, although, this isn’t really a negative aspect – but they do not engineer barndominiums, which are typically built on a bolted metal frame. As we discussed previously, Lester Inc, just like their competitor Morton Buildings, only uses wood frame for their buildings and cover them in metal siding sheets at best. But technically, this still isn’t a “real” barndominium (learn more about barndos here). Although, with their lifetime warranty and well-engineered post-frame their structures can withstand natural phenomena just as well. So, this shouldn’t shy you away from choosing Lester, especially if you don’t really mind what material is going to be used for your project’s frame as long as it will last decades in good condition.

Real Client Testimonials

Lester is also famous for the service it provides to its customers. As we said earlier, it’s hard to find negative reviews for Lester Buildings. In fact, one of the clients called other builders but did not get a reply after three days. However, when he tried contacting Lester Buildings, in just under 24 hours, he got a reply and an appointment set.

Too many contractors tend to skip over the tiny details of the construction. But with Lester, you’ll be sure to get all the information you will need to arrive at the best decision. According to one of their satisfied clients, the representative from Lester patiently explained the process and product. He also made sure that the information delivered was easy to understand. They took their time to educate their client and that’s how it supposed to be. If you’re still unconvinced, have a look at these word for word reviews below from 3rd party sources.

Our shop is a Lester and it was built in 1990. They have good buildings and we have not had any problems with ours.

– Gbfarmer (Source: Newagtalk)

I purchased a Lester building and a couple years later had a second one built. The team was very professional; they designed a loft over part of the floor in the first building for storage. I really like the drip-stop ceiling. I use them to store hay and condensation dripping off the ceiling in the winter can cause hay to mold.

– Myrna Miller (Source)

As always these reviews are just a few drops in the ocean. We encourage you to do your own research either online or even better inspect your local Lester dealer just to stay on the safe side. A lot depends on a crew who is going to rise your project, not only on the materials. Take your time to ask around the area and pick the most favorable dealer close to you.

residential dark grey metal building home with a lot of windows erected by lester inc
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: My Lester Building got damaged by the storm and I want a cost estimate for the insurance representative. Where do I get it?

A: For you to get an accurate estimate of the total cost, just visit the nearest Lester dealer and bring with you the Lester Buildings contract. The representative will be able to give you a set amount and a requote for your metal building’s price.

Q: What is the gauge of steel that Lester Buildings use?

A: Most Lester Buildings use 29 gauge steel. If you want a stronger panel for the structure, they also have 26 gauge steel available.

Final Thoughts on Lester Buildings Company

Lester Buildings (official website) has been manufacturing and constructing metal buildings since 1947. This alone is a testament to the type of service they provide. The fact that they survived and thrived through these years, proves that you’ll be sure that every building they construct uses quality materials that will stand the test of time. Furthermore, the freedom to customize will allow you to have a metal building that will have your preferences down to a tee.


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