Building a Storage Shed vs Renting a Storage Unit – What You Need to Know

Storage Shed vs Renting a Storage

Where To Store Your Belongings

If you’re looking to store some items for an extended period of time, then you may be wondering if you should invest your money into renting a storage unit or building your own shed. A storage unit is billed monthly and gives you a climate-controlled space for you to rent for however long you need it. This option gives you the convenience of an immediate place to store your belongings and also saves you the hassle of shed upkeep / maintenance.

You also may be thinking of purchasing a shed where you can customize it how you’d like, but you will incur higher upfront costs. If you have the room on your property to add a shed, then you may be stuck between these two storage options. This article will discuss the decision and break down the costs of building a shed to see what may be best for you.


What Is the Difference?

The concepts of a shed and storage unit are similar. You want a place where you can safely and securely store your items until you need them again. After that, however, there are some key differences. A storage unit is billed monthly, and you have everything taken care of for you such as pest control, air conditioning and even security. In addition, a storage facility may allow you to move from one unit to another larger storage unit if available. (in a scenario where you need to store more items)

With a permanent shed, you have a place right in your yard where you can conveniently grab what you need as well as customize it to your liking. However, costs incurred are more noticeable for a shed, and there are many steps to take to make sure you are building one that is both sturdy and secure. The size of the shed is permanent / fixed so if you need to store more items in the future you cannot easily expand the size of the shed.


Factors to Consider

As you continue to read this article, you will see that there are many factors that go into making this decision. As you read, keep the following questions in mind:

  • What will I be storing?
    • Will the items that I store benefit from a climate controlled room that prevents excess heat, cold and moisture from damaging my items?
  • How long will I be storing my items? Long term or short term?
  • Do I need to have these items at my fingertips on a daily basis or can I drive a few miles to retrieve them when needed?
  • Do I have the space on my property to build a shed?
    • If so, can that space be better utilized in another way?
  • How much time do I want to invest into storing my items?
  • Will the amount of items I need to store stay consistent over time?


Shed Permits and Property Tax Implications

Will you need to pull a permit to build a storage shed on your Central Texas property? The answer depends on where you live. For example, in Killeen, Texas structures under 20 sq. ft. do not require a permit. In Austin, TX a “one-story detached accessory structure, such as a shed, that is no more than 200 square feet” does not require a permit as long as the shed “contains no plumbing, and is not located within a flood hazard area.” Permit rules and regulations vary by Texas municipality. Your best bet is to contact the city where you live as well as your HOA (if applicable) to confirm the permitting requirement for your planned storage shed. If you do need to obtain a permit to build a storage shed on your property, then plan for a small increase in your annual property tax bill to account for the improvement documented by the city via the permitting process.


What Goes Into Buying and Installing a Storage Shed?

Buying a shed sounds easy, but there are a few things you need to do in order to make it a worthy place for your belongings. First, you would probably want to lay concrete down for a sturdy base / foundation before getting the shed delivered and built. If you don’t already have a solid concrete slab to build your shed on, then the process can be both time consuming and costly.

You also need to consider insulation and air conditioning so you can control the temperature of your storage shed. Electricity is a must. Consequently, you will need an electrician as well as someone to install the air conditioning unit, which would most likely be a wall-mounted, ductless AC system. All of these costs add up and may be overwhelming. Below is a breakdown so you can plan out your potential cost and time investment.


Breaking Down Costs of Shed Construction

 There are many different companies that construct sheds, but there are some that stand above others. A popular sizing for a shed is 10×10 which can run you on average about $5,000 without any of the extras added. A large competitor in the field is Tuff Shed, and they are known for their classy build such as here. If you want a standard 10×10 through Tuff Shed, then you may find yourself looking at around $6,000 if you want windows and special additions. You can design your own shed through their builder here and see different estimates. In Central Texas, Tuff Shed offers 2 convenient locations:

  • 15524 N Interstate Hwy 35, Austin, TX 78728
  • 7705 Woodway Dr, Waco, TX 76712

If you want a smaller / locally-owned company, then there are a few in the market that also build high quality sheds. Lone Star Structures (which has an office in Temple) builds high quality sheds, such as this one that looks great. There is also the Texas owned and operated Leland’s Barns that has many different options to choose from when deciding on having a shed built in your yard. If you live in Texas, then there are many different avenues you can go down when deciding on building a storage shed.

Concrete Foundation for a Shed

When building something over dirt or other material that may move or erode, then many construction professionals recommend that you install a concrete foundation or slab to ensure that your shed has a sturdy base. Concrete is the most durable and the most popular base for buildings and it will not shift easily. Before building your 10×10 shed you need a company to pour and lay out the concrete for you. It may cost around $650 for a 110 sq feet base with around 6 inches of depth. Keep in mind that costs fluctuate, and you will want to install a concrete slab slightly larger than the shed you intend to build on it.

Who to Call for Concrete Slab Installation in Central Texas

Gonzalez Concrete Construction

Address: 420 S 16th St, Waco, TX 76706

Phone: (254) 714-1289

RZ Concrete Construction

Address: 2891 Farm-To-Market 2086, Temple, TX 76501

Phone: (254) 263-3382

Wolff Construction

Address: 8631 Amity School Rd, Belton, TX 76513

Phone: (254) 947-8271


Climate Control / AC Options

Climate control is an essential function that you should consider when constructing your shed. Having a climate controlled shed means that you do not have to worry about most external weather factors, such as humidity and temperature. Adding an AC unit to the shed means that whatever you store in there will not have damage from factors such as dust, heat, dryness, or cold. If you want to store any of the following items, then a climate controlled shed will be essential to ensure your items do not get damaged over time:

  • Paper items
  • Metal items that are prone to rusting
  • Electronics
  • Furniture
  • Photographs
  • Antiques
  • Collectibles
  • Wooden items


The items above are just some of the items that require special attention, but there are many more. Consider carefully what items you would like to store and whether they would benefit from being sheltered  from the elements in this manner. Moreover, you may want to consider your own personal benefit of not having to step into a hot shed on a warm Texas spring or summer day.

You can hire an electrician to run wires from your home into your shed. The costs will depend on what you want and how far your shed is from the source of power. It could run you around $300 (low end estimate) depending on those circumstances. Your price will rise depending on the number of electrical outlets you want in your shed and how much power you want. If you plan on using a larger air conditioning unit or powering tools, then expect higher electrical upfront and on-going costs.


Who to Call for Electrical Work in Central Texas

Bowen Electric

Address: 324 Cotton Dr, Waco, TX 76712

Phone: (254) 776-8814

Bluebonnet Electrical Services Inc.

Address: 2908 W Avenue K, Temple, TX 76504

Phone: (254) 771-0801

Apex Electrical Services

Address: 2608 North Main Street Suite B #186, Belton, TX 76513

Phone: (254) 421-9254

Air Conditioning Units for Sheds

In hot summers air conditioning can feel amazing and protect many different items in your shed from receiving damage from heat. It can also help turn your shed into a comfortable workplace in addition to an area to store your items. Installing air conditioning is a great idea to keep the effects of the sun at bay.

Typically, many shed owners opt for brands such as Gree and Mitsubishi for split systems. Split systems are package HVAC units that combine multiple units, such as an air conditioner and heater, into a single unit. For a 10×10 room you will need 5200 BTUs to cool the shed sufficiently. A Gree mini split system will be at least $850 on its own with at most the cost being $1,500. A Mitsubishi system can run around $1,200 and at most a little over $2,000. For Installation of a split system such as Gree, it could run around $300. That price estimate can rise depending on the system and complexity of labor required.


Who to Call for AC Installation in Central Texas

Danco Comfort

Address: 1205 Dayton Dr, Waco, TX 76706

Phone: (254) 230-4537

Air Control

Address: 5515 Taylor Valley Road Temple, TX 76502

Phone: 254-831-8143

A-1 Air Conditioning

Address: 4505 Old Florence Rd, Killeen, TX 76542

Phone: 254-634-0555


Final Cost Roundup

When looking at the costs it is cheaper in the short run to simply rent a storage unit, but long term may tell a different tale. Having a shed on your property if you are going to be living there for over five years may be better cost wise as well as increase your property value. It makes more sense to buy and invest in a shed as continued use of a rented space may end up costing the same anyway.

In the chart below, we’ve compiled a rough estimate of the cost to build a shed versus the price of a storage unit with Amy’s Attic for a year to help you make an informed decision. Keep in mind that you may spend more or less to build your own shed depending upon your unique needs and the companies / contractors that you hire.


Renting a Storage Unit vs. Building a Storage Shed Cost Analysis

Amy’s Attic Self Storage Costs

Climate controlled unit 10 x 10 unit

$129 per month (varies by facility location)

Cost Incurred in Year 1 (does not include insurance)

Year 1 Rental Cost = $1,548

Building 10 x 10 Storage Shed

Concrete Slab


Shed Construction & Install




HVAC Unit and Installation


Cost Incurred in Year 1 (does not include your time or additional homeowners insurance)

Year 1 Cost = $7,850

This analysis means it would take at least 5 years for a rented climate controlled storage unit to cost as much as building and maintaining your own storage shed. If you find yourself staying at the same address in Texas and needing storage for at least 5 years, then it may make sense to build your own shed. Generally speaking, construction costs almost always end up more than you estimate or expect so please take the construction estimates above with a grain of salt.


Central TX Self Storage Facilities – Amy’s Attic Self Storage

Amy’s Attic Self Storage offers a safe storage environment for any of your precious items. With 5 convenient locations across Central TX and terrific customer service, we are a great option for Texans looking for a place to keep their items secure. If you want to reserve or rent a storage unit or have any questions, then please contact Amy’s Attic at 855-426-9728.

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