Portable buildings offer more than storage space

Lori Patterson, local Derksen Portable Buildings dealer, stands on the front porch of one of the buildings located at Texas Best Buildings in Liberty Hill. (Lauren Jette Photo)

Lori Patterson, local Derksen Portable Buildings dealer, stands on the front porch of one of the buildings located at Texas Best Buildings in Liberty Hill. (Lauren Jette Photo)

By Lauren Jette

Looking for a place to store all that old stuff? Or maybe you need a space to spread out all your crafting items? Is there no room in your house to escape from the wife, husband, kids or craziness of life?

Then Lori Patterson is the person to see at Texas Best Buildings, which is an authorized Derksen Portable Building dealer located at 14852 State Highway 29 in Liberty Hill.

“A lot of people watch HGTV, so they’re getting these ideas on man-caves and she-sheds and the tiny house movement, but they don’t really know anything about them,” Patterson explained.

Derksen Portable Buildings are more than just storage sheds, she added.

“If people think that all these are is for storage sheds, there’s so many more things we can use them for. There’s storage sheds, man-caves, she-caves, cabins, bunkhouses, home schooling,” Patterson said. “A lot of families are home-schooling nowadays, they can put one of these in their back yard or on the side of their house and fix it up for a little homeschooling place for their kids, or use as craft rooms. Tiny house, just for living in one. There are so many great possibilities for these buildings.”

Patterson said that Derksen has been in Liberty Hill since spring 2009, while the company has been in the portable building business for over 20 years and has 750 dealers across the state.

“Our buildings are hand-built by skilled American craftsmen. We have barns, sheds, garages, cabins, playhouses, cabanas. We build them with wood or metal exteriors. We have many different sizes available,” Patterson said.

Among the popular sizes are 8 x 12 feet and 16 x 40 feet.

“They’re all very affordable, the prices are comparable to anybody else and pretty much fit nearly any budget, especially with our rent to own, no credit check options, pretty much anyone can get a building whether they want it for storage purposes or to live in as their home.”

Derksen buildings are built at one of seven factories in the state, with Patterson’s inventory on her lot coming from the factory in McGregor, and delivered to the customer completely built.

“When you buy a building here or order it, we bring the building, completely built, to your place. If maybe there’s a fence or the gate’s too small, or we just can’t get it in built, we do build on site,” Patterson said. “They come out and they construct it from the ground up, it’s not a kit or prepackaged deal. They actually build it. So we can pretty much get one anywhere.”

Patterson prides herself on customer service, and that comes with a courtesy site inspection that she personally does.

“I will come to you, your property and check it out because a lot of people don’t know what size building will fit in the space they have or if we can even get one in there,” she said. “They don’t know what kind of preparation work they need to have done, so I just go and I look at their place and (say) this is about the biggest size you can get in here, with trees, electrical lines and fences. Maybe their ground is not level and they just don’t know what to do with it, so I go out and look it over and give them some suggestions. It just helps them know if they can even get a building for one thing or if we’re going to have to do an on-site build.”

Distance is not an issue for Patterson, who says she has traveled far and wide to help her customers.

“I’ve traveled pretty far to do that. I love doing it and getting to meet the people and pretty much becoming friends with them,” she said. “I get a relationship going with them. It’s a lot of fun.”

Patterson said she does a lot of sales online and over the phone, in addition to people coming by the lot. She is willing to do just about anything to help a customer get whatever kind of building they need.

“If someone can’t get in here, they can call me on the phone and I can work with them over the phone, through fax or emails, there’s just so many ways,” Patterson said. “Even people who are elderly or disabled, if they need a shed, I’ll get all the information over the phone and then I’ll go to their home or wherever and we can sign all the paperwork and take care of everything there. I’ve done that as well. So people who think, ‘I can’t get over there to look at a building’, they can still get one. I’ll go to them and take care of it.”

Derksen Portable Buildings is based in Kentucky, and come in a wide array of shapes and sizes and are completely customizable to a customer’s exact specifications. Buildings come with a warranty, and Derksen now offers complete electrical and spray foam insulation options, in addition to the color and material options already available.

“When you order a building, we have customizing options available. That’s when I sit with them and we draw it out on a piece of paper and they can put the door where they want, they can put the windows where they want,” Patterson said. “They can add windows, they can take away windows. We have thermal-pane windows, so we have a lot of different options. You can even do a frame out in the wall for an A/C unit, so it’s not hanging out your window. We have a whole lot of options, so it’s nice.”

Derksen also offers cabins, which Patterson has seen being used for guest cabins, retirement cabins, lake cabins, hunting cabins and business offices. Finished cabins come in an efficiency, one or two bedroom, or there’s a duplex, and all include plumbing, electrical, insulation, stove and oven, with the exception of a refrigerator, which make them a great option for those looking to downsize.

Since Patterson is the only person in the office, there may be times when she has to go out to a customer and the office looks closed, but people can still come by and take a look at any of the buildings on the lot. There is an information box on the front porch of the office with brochures and all the buildings are open for anyone to walk in and look around at any time, she said.

“I try to have good customer service with everyone. I don’t push people into buying buildings, I’m not your ‘sellsy’ person,” Patterson said. “I’m very down to earth and I don’t want people to come in and feel intimidated by a salesperson. Anybody can come and feel comfortable here and give me their thoughts. I just want people to feel comfortable coming here, even if they have no idea what they want, even if they’ve never seen the inside of one. Come look around. They are built very, very well.”