A recurrent email we get from garden office buyers asks, ‘how would I compare garden offices’. Buyers ask us which are the best garden office suppliers? How do you know which design is the best value for money? How do you narrow down the search etc. We have even had emails saying that X supplier and Y supplier have done a site visit and given me a quote – which would you choose?
So using my years of industry insight (dating back to the 1990’s designing and building them, and the last 7 years writing about thousands of them) this is how I would compare garden offices if I was buying one today.
How I would compare garden offices
A matter of taste
Most garden office buyers have a good idea of what they do and don’t like design wise. I would start by narrowing down my search by taste. If you like a very traditional design, I would strike off suppliers who only build contemporary designs. A good way to narrow down your search is to use a gallery directory like the one we have on this site, this way you will see lots of garden office examples quickly.
Have a clear idea of the size of garden office you want and then compare this size office from several suppliers – don’t distract yourself at looking at vastly different size buildings from different suppliers. You might like to have a look at different size garden offices here.
Compare like with like
A common email we get says I have had a price from supplier X and they are quite a bit more expensive than supplier Y, why would this be? Looking at the suppliers name we often quickly realise that supplier X is a bespoke garden office designer while supplier Y offers a modular design service.
Because they have honed their designs to be material efficient, modular garden office suppliers tend to be more cost effective than buying from a bespoke designer, where the building is totally tailored to your tastes and requirements.
Our garden office price guide showcases prices for both modular & bespoke designs to give you an idea of the difference.
Digest the specification
In general garden offices are very well specified, but specifications do vary between suppliers. Some suppliers ensure their offices are built using the same materials and techniques as a timber framed house. Others have pared down these systems to create their own build-up. Which is right for your building is a subjective thing.
When comparing garden offices I would ensure that I was comparing like with like when it comes to the specification. If one specification includes a fully plastered interior, this is definitely going to cost you more and take longer to build than a design that uses a wall board system. As is a design that features a set of bi-fold compared with one that offers French doors.
Taking time to read the specifications will highlight any difference in price. We have a comprehensive section on this site looking at garden office construction.
This really overlaps with our comments on the size of a garden office, its specification and whether it is a bespoke or modular design, as these are the key factors which effect the price of a garden office. One thing we have learned over the years is the most expensive price doesn’t always mean its the best. We have been amazed over the years looking at the specifications of some garden office designs and seeing how reasonably priced they are – other suppliers would be charging far more for a similar spec building.
If I was buying a garden office today I would look to narrow my search to three suppliers and ask them to do a site visit and provide a quote.
Get an idea for garden office prices in our pricing guide.
The majority of garden offices are manufactured off-site and then delivered to your garden in parts for quick assembly. This system ensures short build times from 1 or 2 days for a small design to 7 to 10 days for a large complex design. Other suppliers build the garden office from scratch on site, which can take anything up to a month.
Whilst garden office construction is a very tidy system – how long do you want a construction team in your garden? I would certainly bear build times in mind when comparing garden rooms. If you take a look at our pricing section each listing tells you the build time which will give you an indication for different size buildings.
A suppliers experience
In my mind a suppliers experience plays a big part in comparing garden offices. I would like the peace of mind of a tried and tested building system, constructed by a team who know what they are doing. Having said that I am all for giving a new supplier a chance, but if I was putting my trust in a firm that hadn’t built many garden offices I would be very mindful that their could be hiccups along the way.
So, these are the elements I would consider if I was comparing garden offices as a buyer today.