Shed income

picture5bWe could describe Shed income as contributions, earned income, donations or grants (these have agreed outcomes). Sheds take different approaches to financing themselves. Some, CIC’s in particular, aim to cover costs as much as possible through earnings whilst others have covered costs entirely though grants. Most will look to get contributions from their users and all Sheds receive donations, often in kind. Each Shed will have a different balance of sources, but the most sustainable will have higher levels of self-generated income combined with strong community connections.


Sheds have chosen from the following options:

  1. Everyone pays the same, per day, or per week no matter how often they attend, with the rate agreed in general meeting or set by the committee. (In a general meeting the rate agreed is likely to be the lowest of any proposed).
  2. Users pay different amounts according what is agreed with them. This might happen when someone appears as unable to pay the daily charge or for other reasons e.g. when attending as a result of an agreement with a referring agency (e.g. homeless) or with Social Services approval of the use of an individual’s Personal Budget. It also occurs when someone is contributing in kind by making commissioned goods or doing the book-keeping.
  3. There is no daily rate but users donate. This eliminates the risk of excluding anyone. This can be into a collection box each day but can also be by a standing order which would also enable the recovery of Gift Aid in most cases and which tend to be more reliable than cash being given on the day. S.O’s of £100pm are being paid. To help people contribute in cash you might adopt a signing-in procedure on arrival where users also record how much they have put in the box.

Contributions for refreshments are often separate from any daily rate .

Getting members to increase their payments beyond what has become accepted as normal, say when funding declines, is very hard. (Quote Steve) It may be worth setting expectations higher at the outset than face an uphill battle later on.

You could also charge an annual Membership fee.


A Shed could be self-funding if it had a sales outlet for its own or other’s goods (like charity shops) or services (check legal status) like repairing or training. Crewe MiS sells £1000’s of its own goods because it’s situated on a commercial estate with few other lunch-time options. Total Re-use CIC incorporates a Shed within an expanding non-profit-distributing business. The Repair Shed aims to combine repair workshops with earnings from repair and training. Nottingham MiS is averaging £400 pm with garden-related products. Stratford can sell £35 per day from its Town Centre shop premises.

All sheds sell some of the things they make either speculatively (we’ll see what we can get for this) or to order. The latter are most often community projects in need of things they can’t afford and Sheds have frequently charged ‘materials x 2’ or less rather than for labour. Private commissions will likely be charged a higher rate but organisers need to consider that everyone is a volunteer not wishing to ‘go back to work’. Speculative sales are most often through fairs and market stalls but can be through local companies or websites such as Etsy and Folksy. (See also Milton Keynes Shed).

A human tale: when some members of the Canterbury Shed (Australia) got fed up with being pushed to increase sales by their sponsoring organisation they took the toys down to the local children’s home and gave them away. The goodwill this generated resulted in more income than the sales would have produced!


Unconditional gifts flow into Sheds. Examples include a container load (almost) of kitchen units; ‘any timber in our yard – indefinitely’ from a civil engineering firm; a prestige motor company that brings round off-cuts of exotic timbers and takes away any power tools that need sharpening, even rent-free periods and so on. Cash gifts also occur and include many examples of local ward councillors giving from their personal allowance. The mayor of Bedford told its Shed members to seek this support not just for the ward in which the shed is situated but also from wards where its members each live. To double some donations check out


Many Sheds receive grants to achieve objectives agreed with the funders. Grantees are required to meet conditions and report back. Lottery funds are the biggest source of grants but there are many trusts too. Local companies may also help but most are much more reluctant to part with cash than say, staff time. See Fundraising.

Sample Shed Accounts 2013-4

Camden Town Shed: From Yr 3 accounts. Open 2 days pw. Average attendance 7.
Expenditure (purchases related to sales achieved excluded)
Premises: Hires a room for 2 days pw. £3640
Utilities /rates: Included in hire 0
Insurance: Public liability only £ 384
Maintenance/consumables: (Only activity woodwork) £1591,
Contributions av.£4 pppd£2819
Sales of made goods: £ 844 (net)
Sales of service (training) £1500 (net)
Balance met by reserves. £ 5163

 Westhill Men’s Shed accounts 2012-2013 (First year)

The Shed is run entirely by volunteers. 70 members. Open 3 days.

The building is Council owned and leased at a peppercorn rent. The council are responsible for the building (wind and watertight). As a Scottish charity there are no rates or water/sewage charges.

This is our first full year of operation and in 2014 we are finding Workshop costs falling as the equipment becomes more complete and commissioned income rising.

Personnel costs £900 Includes first aid training for Supervisors (9 men, renewed every 3 years) and expenses of £100.
Facility costs £600 Insurance (inclusive of many risks)
£700 Electricity
Workshop equipment
and materials
Admin costs £800 Phone, internet, postage, etc.
Publicity £850 Brochures, banners, stand fees
Heating £3500 Electric heating, large poorly insulated building
Red box £980 in-shed donations (no member fees)
Commissioned income £1500 sale of goods made/repaired
Fundraising £500 raffles, bag packing etc.
Donations £2200

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