When Pamela and Scott Artman moved back to their home area in Mercer County, PA, they knew they wanted to start their own business. After decades of working for a corporate employer in the senior living industry, they were ready for a change. For their next venture, they wanted to do something that would pay the bills, provide value to friends and neighbors in the area, and add to the local economy.
After considering several options, Pamela and Scott landed on the idea of launching a local insurance agency near Hadley, PA. They knew it would be a great way to assist their community by helping folks cover their most important assets and achieve peace of mind. When they quickly passed all the tests to become licensed insurance agents, Scott and Pamela took it as a sign that this was definitely the course they should pursue.
An Office in a Shed?
Scott and Pamela made the decision to base the agency out of their own property in Mercer County. The only problem? They needed to add an office building where customers could come in person to sign the paperwork, update policies, and discuss their insurance needs.
As most small business owners know (or soon discover), a major key to success is to keep startup costs as low as possible. With an insurance agency, in particular, office space is one of the largest overhead costs. After choosing a location that was easily accessible from the road, the Artman’s turned to the task of planning the building itself. To keep costs low, Pamela and Scott decided to design an office shed that could be built quickly and easily, and which they could finish out themselves.
A few years prior, Scott and Pamela had worked with Wayne Raber, former owner of Gold Star Buildings, to design and build their house (a special project outside the scope of our standard prefab building designs). So, although our company had transitioned to new ownership in the meantime, it was a straightforward choice for the Artman’s to contact us again to see if we would be up for a new challenge…building an office shed! With our main shop barely 2 minutes from the Artmans’ property, it was an easy “Yes”.
Planning the Office Shed
The Artman’s decided that a 16×40 office shed would be large enough to serve their needs, allowing for several office spaces within the building, as well as the main lobby area and a small bathroom. After consulting with us, Pamela and Scott came to the conclusion that the best approach would be to build the office shed onsite, especially since the building would not include a built-in floor and travel to the Jobsite (less than 1.5 miles each way) would not be a major concern.
Before we could begin construction of the office shed itself, the Artman’s needed to have a concrete foundation poured. Most of the sheds we sell come with built-in wooden floors. However, for an office shed in PA which would be heated all winter and have lots of foot traffic, it made much more sense to pour a concrete floor. Scott and Pamela had the foresight to include radiant floor heating as part of their concrete shed foundation, which they had installed by a professional concrete contractor.
Constructing the Office Shed in Western PA
Once the pad was ready, we began the process of constructing the office shed itself. The Artman’s chose a “Cottage Shed” design, featuring an extra-deep overhang above the front door. Although we were building on-site, we used virtually the same building standards we employ for the rest of our prefab sheds, garages, and cabins.
The office shed walls were framed with studs at 24” on-center, with double studs every 48” (to match the seams in the exterior siding panels). We wrapped the exterior of the building with a ⅝” premium-grade real plywood siding, a product ⅔ thicker than most similar exterior siding panels. Everything was fastened with rust-resistant galvanized ring-shank nails to keep the building structurally sound.
We adjusted the building framing to incorporate the oversized windows that the Artman’s wanted to include. Extra-large windows on the front, back, and sides of the office shed help to ensure that the interior gets plenty of natural light.
After the office shed was enclosed, we weather-proofed the plywood siding panels. As on all of our portable buildings, we used a high-grade exterior stain to seal the wood and block out moisture.
To finish off the building exterior, we added a metal roof. Pamela and Scott decided on a beautiful custom copper metal color to match the exterior wood stain. We installed matching snowbirds to protect folks coming in and out of the front of the building. Eventually, gutters and downspouts were also added in a matching copper color.
Finishing the Office Shed Interior
Once the Building frame and exterior were installed, Gold Star Buildings’ work was mostly done. However, Scott and Pamela had plenty more to do, since they had decided to frame and finish the interior themselves!
Pamela and Scott decided to lay out the building with the main lobby area, two private office spaces, and a bathroom. The east end of the building is taken up by the larger of the two office spaces, which covers the full width of the building. The west end of the building is shared by the smaller office space and the bathroom. The lobby occupies the center of the office shed; it contains a coffee bar, a table for two, and a counter area for signing documents and paperwork.
After running electrical and plumbing, the Artman’s insulated the walls and ceilings and finished them with a beautiful knotty pine paneling in a “shiplap” style.
To create variation, some of the walls were done with horizontal paneling while diagonal paneling was used for others. For the trim, a dark stain was used to accent the lighter color of the walls. With the addition of warm lighting, the combination of light and dark wood creates an atmosphere that is visually stunning, yet welcoming.
One of the final steps was to finish the concrete floor. Since the office shed would receive a fair amount of foot traffic, the Artman’s decided to leave concrete uncovered, but use a dark brown stain to give it an elegant, finished look. After staining, the concrete was sealed with a high-gloss product.
Running An Insurance Agency From the Office Shed
Pamela and Scott completed their office shed and opened the insurance agency for business in 2017. Now, a few years later, Artman’s Insurance Agency has 1 full-time and 2 part-time agents working out of the space. The office shed has been a wonderful place for local folks to stop by and sign the paperwork, update their policies, or simply get advice on their insurance needs.
Are the Artman’s satisfied with their office shed? “We highly, highly recommend Gold Star Buildings,” says Pamela. “They absolutely met our expectations!”
About Artman’s Insurance Agency
Artman’s Insurance Agency is owned and operated by Pamela and Scott Artman. The agency offers a full range of insurance options, including auto insurance, motorcycle insurance, home insurance, mobile home insurance, personal insurance, umbrella insurance, and more. Artman’s Insurance Agency is proud to be a faith-based company, focusing on serving the needs of their friends and neighbors in Mercer County, PA, and beyond.
You can contact Artman’s Insurance Agency at (724) 253-1717 or connect with them on their Facebook page. They can assist with all your insurance needs, whether that be for the belongings in your storage shed, the vehicle in your prefab garage, or the new prefab cabin on your property! If you want more ideas for your own shed office, visit our Backyard Storage Shed Ideas blog!😉
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