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Building a Shouse in Iowa – The Complete Guide

If you are a craftsperson with your own business, odds are you have dreamed about having your own shop to work out of. Whether you are currently renting a space or are just working out of a small garage, more room is always a good thing. Being in charge of your own space and knowing where everything is so you can have all your processes nailed down is an essential part of owning your own business.

However, renting your own shop is usually a massive drain on profits and can quickly eat away at your margins. On top of that, the likelihood that you will be able to find a space that is close to your home is slim to nil. 

That’s why building a shouse in Iowa is a fantastic option. Shouses are a combination of a shop and a residence so you can be close to your business at all times without having to sacrifice any of the space you need for your work. With the popularity of container homes, barndominiums and other alternative housing, now is a great time to start thinking about building one of these unique homes and getting the space you need to thrive. 

In this article, we will break down everything you need to know about building a shouse in Iowa. By understanding all the steps involved and the things you need to consider before you get started, you can start your shouse project off on the right foot. 

shouse in iowa exterior

What Is a Shouse and What Are Some of the Advantages? 

A shouse is a combination shop and home that is built using the shell of a metal post frame structure. These structures use heavy-duty steel beams instead of traditional wood framing just like a regular shop and they can be combined with a residence to create a space that is perfectly suited to you and your needs. This means that you can get the workspace you need and you don’t have to be far away from your family in the process. Anyone who has their own business knows how important it is to be able to strike this balance. 

One of the main advantages of a shouse in Iowa is that you can build one in less time than it takes to build a traditional house with a shop on the property. Everything is combined into one structure on top of a concrete slab so there is no separate foundation to lay and no different wiring or utilities to hook up. In fact, many times, a shouse in Iowa can be built in about half the time it takes to build a traditional home. This saves you money, time and stress and can make the whole process a lot easier. 

The other benefit of building a shouse in Iowa is that, as a residence, they are just as comfortable and stylish as any other home. The residential portions of shouses are framed up on the inside just like a regular house. Walking in, you would have no idea that it was built out of a post-frame structure. This gives you the freedom to incorporate all of the different ideas you have for both your shop and your home. Plus, the steel construction of the shouse means they are easy to maintain and more durable than a traditional wood-frame home. 

Cost of Building a Shouse in Iowa  

Before you begin planning your shouse in Iowa, you are going to have to decide on your budget. This is usually done by figuring out the cost per square foot. The advantage of this method is that you get to find out how much space you can afford in the first place and this will help you get your floor plan put together. Your floor plan will incorporate both your residential section as well as your shop section and will be determined by how much overall square footage you can afford. 

The cost of building a traditional home in Iowa is somewhere around $137 per square foot. This number will only include the construction of the actual building and does not include things like kitchens and bathrooms or appliances. All of these things will need to be included in your budget on their own, so you need to make sure that you have enough for them when the actual construction is done. 

The cost of building a shouse in Iowa is closer to around $52 per square foot. Over the course of your entire shouse, this will add up to massive savings. With that extra money, you can afford all of the things you would want to include in a custom home like cabinetry and countertops. You can also use it to expand your business and get yourself some new equipment if you prefer to go that route. 

shouse in iowa exterior

Shouse Builders in Iowa   

After you have figured out your budget, you will then have to decide who you are going to hire to do the actual building. Even though you might be a skilled craftsperson, you will want to hire a professional who has worked on this kind of building before and can walk you through the process. This will allow you to focus on what you know and also give you some peace of mind when it comes to keeping your building up to code and in line with all the local zoning laws.

However, the construction business is incredibly varied and it can be difficult to know who is going to be right for this particular type of project. Luckily, there are a few things you can look for in a builder for your shouse in Iowa. 

The first thing you should look for in a builder for a shouse in Iowa is experience. Not every construction company will have the knowledge to build a post-frame building or the expertise to back it up. Because of this, you should look for builders who have worked on these kinds of structures before and know what to do. 

You should also look for a builder who you can get along with and who has your best interest at heart. You will have to be spending a lot of time with the people on this construction crew, so their attitude is important. Take a look at their online reviews and make sure their previous customers have positive things to say about them. 

Greiner Buildings

Greiner Buildings specializes in all kinds of metal post-frame structures, which makes them a great choice for building your shouse in Iowa. They are experts on this specific type of home and they can walk you through the entire process from design to the build. 

Iowa Post Frame

Iowa Post Frame works in both remodeling and custom home buildings with metal post-frame structures. They are able to combine shops and homes in a way that is pleasing and practical for your home life and your business. 

Eastern Iowa Building 

Eastern Iowa Building has been in business since 2003 and in that time they have built a lot of shouses in Iowa. They specialize in shouses specifically and can help you come up with a solid plan for building your particular home and shop combination. 

Shouse Kit Providers in Iowa 

If you are not interested in building your shouse in Iowa from scratch, there are shouse kit providers all over the country. Kits come completely prefabricated so you can be sure that everything will fit together perfectly. 

Shouse kits are a great option for people who don’t want to spend time sourcing materials that are going to be compatible. They can also be built in a shorter period of time so they are good for people who are anxious to get their shouse in Iowa up off the ground and ready to go. 

Shouse Financing in Iowa

Bank Iowa

Bank Iowa is heavily connected to the region and they know what it is like to get a project like a shouse built. They will work with you to find the right terms and conditions for your financing and make sure that they are with you every step of the way. 

Luana Savings Bank

Luana Savings Bank is the fourth largest agricultural bank in Iowa and they continue to grow. This is due to the fact that they are a flexible and eager lender and they want to see you succeed with all of your projects. 

shouse in iowa exterior

Shouse Taxes in Iowa 

You will need to pay taxes on your shouse in Iowa just like with any other type of home. However, shouses usually fall under what is known as “dual-use” construction. This means that portions of your shouse are used for different things like working and living. 

Generally, you will pay a different tax rate on the percentage of your shouse in Iowa that counts as a shop. A tax assessor can come out to your home build and let you know what kind of rate you should be paying. 

Where to Find Shouse Insurance in Iowa 

You can get homeowner’s insurance for a shouse in Iowa just like you can with any other type of home. If you are planning on living in your home and shop combo for an extended period of time, it is incredibly important that you protect it. 

Not all homeowner’s insurance is the same and you will need to make sure that you are covered no matter what. For example, if you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes, you are going to want to make sure that your insurance has a hurricane clause. 

Shouse Floor Plans in Iowa  

The floor plan for your shouse in Iowa is incredibly important. This is a plan that your builder will follow to make sure the layout of your home is exactly what you want. You should write down all the specific needs you have for your home and business and get them all organized before you start to put it together. 

Once you have all your ideas written down, you can take them to a professional draftsman. A draftsman can take those ideas and turn them into a professional, workable floor plan. Your builder will then turn those ideas into a reality. 


By reading this guide, you should now have a good understanding of what it takes to build a shouse in Iowa. This type of project can be difficult, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Being able to live and work in a space you have designed yourself is a great way to streamline your life. 

If you would like even more information on building a shouse in Iowa, check out the rest of There, you will find even more tips and tricks from the pros and some more in-depth guides to help you move your project along.