eBay Buildings vs. Steel Buildings

Are you choosing a reliable building system?

Steel Buildings for Sale on eBay

About the Metal Buildings for Sale on eBay

Anyone can sell a building on eBay

Since 1995, eBay has been seeking to create a “perfect market” for online consumers in search of seemingly every product under the sun, new or used. The e-commerce pioneer known for its auction-style sales and quirky collections has grown from an interesting startup into a multinational corporation valued in the billions. But while eBay has created a mostly trustworthy sales environment, it’s had its fair share of controversy and legal issues. That doesn’t mean eBay is an unreliable source of goods, but it does show eBay has fallen short of creating a “perfect market”. The remarkable variety of goods sold on the site – from celebrity hair clippings to used food – contribute to a system that is unable to account for the nuances of every industry. This includes steel buildings for sale, which at last count, had 555 listings on the site. Below we’ll take a closer look into why eBay metal buildings don’t hold up when compared to more reputable sources.


Don’t assume all structures are equally reliable

When you’re searching for metal buildings for sale, you’re looking for a structure to shelter and protect your equipment, tools, vehicles, and most importantly, the people who use the building on a daily basis. The practical uses of the building are obviously important, but safety should be at the forefront of every decision.

General Steel Buildings for SaleLocation

One of the most influential cost factors

eBay metal buildings may be perfectly sound structures sold at a price that fits nicely in your budget. But these listings aren’t telling the whole story. That’s because the details of this story come from you, the customer.

Every building that’s constructed must meet a broad set of specific requirements that depends on the location of your building. When a structure is built, the engineers must take into account the safety standards determined by local government, including wind loads, snow loads and seismic activity. Each of these factors vary from region to region, and even neighborhood to neighborhood.

  • Wind load: is a calculation of the intensity of pressure a structure is able to absorb. Failing to account for wind load in the engineering of a steel building could lead to roof collapse or roof separation.
  • Snow load: is a calculation of the downward force on a building’s roof from the weight of accumulated snow and ice. Failing to account for snow load in the engineering of a steel building could lead to roof collapse.
  • Seismic Activity: refers to the stress a potential earthquake could apply to a structure. Failing to account for seismic activity in the engineering of a steel building could lead to a complete structural collapse.
How to Be Sure the Building is Right for You

You’re up against the auction clock but it’s important to take your time

These facts are not meant to scare you, but to show the intricate details that are required for constructing a steel building. When working with an established steel building supplier, these details are carefully evaluated and factored into your building design. If you’re purchasing a metal building for sale on eBay, how can you be sure these factors among many other considerations have been taken into account? The only way you can be sure is to carefully examine the eBay listing and if you need help, ask a reputable supplier of steel building kits like General Steel for help understanding what’s being offered.

Asking the Right Questions

Don’t rely solely on the seller when it comes to your building.

When we contacted an eBay seller about how their buildings are priced, we received this response:

eBay Metal Buildings Seller Response
  • Now, contrast that with the response from General Steel’s customer support team:
General Steel vs eBay Steel Buildings Response
As you can see, a well-respected steel building distributor such as General Steel, has a greater understanding of the specifics than the eBay seller. These interactions are a great reminder that there are no shortcuts when it comes to the safety of your steel building, and our trustworthy project coordinators are determined to provide you with the information you need.

Examining an eBay Auction

Your roadmap to understanding a typical metal building listing.

We dissected a typical steel building listing found on eBay to demonstrate how easily the average buyer can misunderstand the details.

Reviews versus Seller Ratings

What exactly is a feedback rating on eBay?

Purchasing a metal building is a serious decision, you should consider reviews from multiple sources before sending a deposit. Buying a building on eBay should be no different and at first glance you may notice a rating system offered on the listing. In the example listing we studied the seller appears to have 6 reviews and a 100% feedback rating. However, upon further examination we noticed that this initial rating is a combination of both the feedback the seller has received as a seller as well as the feedback the seller has given other auctioneers.

In the case of the auction we looked at, the seller had zero reviews as a seller of anything on eBay including metal buildings. The seller’s feedback rating was derived from the 6 reviews generated by purchasing items from other sellers on eBay.

Hidden Costs and Other Traps to Avoid

Why the deal may be too good to be true!

There are numerous types of building systems available to you including Quonset huts, pole barns and even C-Channel buildings. While each has its pros and cons, this particular listing is for a C-Channel building which is advantageous in some areas of the country and inadequate in other regions.

  • Building Codes and Loads: The listing says the building on sale is engineered to withstand a 20 lb snow load and has a wind speed rating of 90. C-Channel buildings cannot be engineered with more than a 30 lb snow load which in case you are wondering, would barely survive a snowfall in Missouri. On the other hand, a wind speed rating of 90 is not even strong enough for Kentucky.
  • Increasing the Engineering: One of the reasons steel building buyers are drawn to eBay listings is the seemingly low price. Even if you live in an area where a 30 lb snow load is satisfactory, raising this rating can cost thousands of dollars over the auction price.

It’s important to understand what type of building you are buying and even more imperative to choose the best building system for your project. General Steel primarily supplies I-beam buildings which have certain advantages compared to other construction methods.


Exploring an Example eBay Listing

eBay Metal Buildings for Sale
Photos of eBay Steel Buildings

“As seen in the photo” and what’s not included?

We looked at three photos provided in the listing and found that the pictures do not accurately represent the basic building package being sold. It is possible to achieve the look and functionality of the buildings shown by adding metal building components, but that will increase the overall cost above the auction price.

Metal Buildings for Sale on eBay

What’s Not Included:

  • Sectional Doors
  • Windows
  • Loft & High Roof Pitch
Steel Buildings for Sale

What’s Not Included:

  • Sectional Door
  • Wall Lights
  • Walk Door
Metal Buildings eBay

What’s Not Included:

The pictures in the listing we explored are deceiving. An increased roof pitch, gutters and any other accessories not listed (but shown in pictures) will increase the price. At a minimum you will need to add insulation, (1) 3070 walk door and (2) sectional doors to complete the framed openings that come with the building being auctioned. These necessary additions will add approximately $5,000-$6,000 to the listed price.

Other Considerations

Due diligence that will protect you and your investment

While eBay does offer their own “money back guarantee,” it is stipulated by a variety of factors. Simply put, working with a dependable supplier is the only way to ensure you’re protecting your investment and buying a building that is designed for your locale.

Steel Buildings for Sale by General SteelProfessional Engineering

Making sure your building is fit for all seasons and areas

Steel buildings can be constructed faster than ever, but that doesn’t mean the process is simple or doesn’t require professional expertise. When we say your building is prefabricated, that refers to a refined process that requires the technical precision of an engineer. Prefabrication doesn’t refer to a one-size-fits-all approach that eBay sellers promote. Prefabrication means that every component of your building – support beams, roof supports, wall panels, entryways and more – are produced to satisfy the structural requirements of your design. Every cut, weld and framed opening is completed in a controlled environment to make sure your building is accurately constructed and able to be used as you intended. This level of detail simply can’t be matched by an eBay supplier.


An agreement with your supplier to perform

When buying an eBay metal building, it’s often a one-time transaction with minimal communication between the two parties. This can be a risky situation for the customer. The low level of sophistication that goes into constructing a building from eBay contributes to a higher probability that the customer will receive a faulty building. Unfortunately for the customer, a one-time transaction with an eBay seller can leave them with an unusable building and no recourse for structural adjustments or refund.

When dealing with a supplier with greater experience, customers can be assured not only of a structurally sound building, but also the peace of mind that comes with the protection of a contract. Contracts are designed to protect both parties, and in the case of a significant investment such as a steel building, customers will receive full disclosure of their options and consistent communication to ensure they get the building they signed up for.

Are You Shopping for a Steel Building?

General Steel has a solution for you!

Ebay is a legitimate giant in the business world, and the vast majority of their sellers are well-intentioned entrepreneurs. But the site’s business model has its limits, and steel building distributors fall outside of those boundaries, where low prices don’t mean better deals. The best deal is buying the building that you designed, that fits your specific needs, that provides the safety specs that you can count on from a professional distributor. Ebay sellers would have you believe that every building is created equal, but General Steel knows that simply isn’t true. Browse our building packages online to find one that fits your needs!

Basic Steel Buildings for Sale