Shed load of money – the booming businesses run from garden sheds

Shed-based businesses are booming in Britain and contributed an estimated  whopping £6.1 billion to UK GDP last year. looks at the revolution in working practices for business owners beavering away at the bottom of the garden.

Shed-based businesses are booming in Britain and contributed an estimated whopping £6.1 billion to UK GDP last year. looks at the revolution in working practices for business owners beavering away at the bottom of the garden.

A thriving hub of economic activity
Britain’s back gardens are home to a thriving sector of the UK economy, according to research carried out by, Britain’s leading blog and online forum for shedworkers.
An estimated 80,000 workers are thought to be based in garden sheds and outbuildings in the UK – many of them working mums who are running home-based franchises, flexible franchises and part-time franchises.  The true figure could be much higher.
More than six out of 10 (61.3%) shed-based businesses are run by sole traders, with just less than a third employing two to five workers.
There is evidence that the shedworking phenomenon is growing at a rate that dwarfs growth in more conventional business locations – a national poll carried out by found that the average turnover of a shed-based business in the last financial year was £76,449. 
And the growth is set to continue, because more than one in five shedworkers (21.3%) told the poll they expect their businesses to grow by more than a fifth this year.

Britain has more sheds than houses
Earlier this year, Screwfix, the retailer of tools and building materials to the trade, reported that there are now more sheds than houses in the UK.  Analysis of Google Earth images of suburban streets throughout the UK carried out by Screwfix suggests that there may be as many as 30 million outbuildings in Britain.

Why have we set up shop in our sheds?
Shed expert Alex Johnson, author of Shedworking, said: “The shed economy is sure to soar over the next decade.  We’re witnessing yet another major change in working practices in Britain, similar to those we have seen over many centuries.  Britain’s back gardens may become as revolutionary as the industrial canal system, sitting behind our urban and suburban frontages and powering our economy in previously unimagined ways.”
Long thought to be the sole preserve of artists, craftsmen and gardeners, the shed has had something of a renaissance in recent years, thanks to new insulation methods, better construction and better alternative heat sources such as wood-burning stoves.
Broadband access makes it possible for shedworkers to video conference with colleagues all over the world and cloud-based computing makes virtual organizations a straightforward and manageable possibility.
Many shedworkers opt for the new style of working because it saves time and expense otherwise spent on time-consuming commuting.  There is little sign that shedworkers see their environment as a precursor to a move to larger offices.  Of the more than 500 shedworkers polled for the study, nearly three quarters (74%) said that they planned to remain in their sheds indefinitely.

Top 10 shedworkers (living)
* Sir Christopher Evans, biotech multimillionaire
* Tom Uglow, creative director for Google and You Tube in Europe
* Kirstie Allsop, property guru
* Joanna Harris, author
* Wayne Hemingway, designer
* Angie Lewin, printmaker
* Clive Stafford Smith, leading human rights lawyer
* Peter Gabriel, musician
* Snoop Dogg, musician
* Neil Gaiman, author

Top 10 shedworkers (not living)
* Oliver Postgate, film-maker(though Peter Firmin happily still with us)
* Louis Renault, car pioneer
* Mark Twain, author
* Harry Ramsden, fish and chip entrepreneur
* George Bernard Shaw, author
* William S Harley and Arthur Davidson, motorcycle pioneers
* Gustav Mahler, composer
* Dylan Thomas, author
* Henry Moore, sculptor
* Lois Allan, inventor of Fuzzy Felt.

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