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How Much Does it Cost to Build a Pole Barn in Iowa?

January 9th, 2023 | 23 min. read

Nettie Grubb

Nettie Grubb

Nettie joined the FBi Marketing team in 2022 as the Marketing Content Creator. Nettie grew up just outside of Des Moines, IA. In 2016, she received her BS in Agriculture Communications from Iowa State University. Upon graduation, she has worked in agriculture sales and marketing. She moved to Indiana in 2020. Outside of work, Nettie enjoys quilting, crocheting, crafting, canning, gardening, fishing, and hunting. She is married and enjoys spending time with her husband and dog.

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Is a pole barn on your 2023 to-do list? With a new year starting, it is an exciting time to think ahead about what you want to accomplish this year.

You may want to build a pole barn hobby shop to store your boat that you take to Lake Okoboji every year. Plus, there would be room to host the Cy-Hawk game this fall!

Maybe your daughter has been asking for a pony, and you need an equine barn to house it in. 

Perhaps you just upgraded to a bigger John Deere planter and need a larger farm shop. Plus, if you have a building under contract and it will be completed during 2023, you can write off 80% of it on your taxes in the first year and then the remaining 20% over a 20-year period!

Whatever the reason you find yourself interested in building a pole barn, the frequently asked question is, “How much does a pole barn cost?”

Eight factors play into the cost of building a pole barn. Read below or select each category to learn how they affect the overall cost of building a pole barn.

Those factors are:

  1. Pole Barn Design
  2. Pole Barn Size
  3. Building Features
  4. Location
  5. Permitting
  6. Quality of Building Materials
  7. Crew Size
  8. Finishing Costs

Ultimate Guide to Pole Barn Cost_FBi Buildings

Eight Factors That Affect Pole Barn Cost

1) Design

Screenshot 2023-01-06 at 10.24.40 AM

First, you must decide on the primary use and type of barn. Then, think through all the ways you want to use the post-

frame building. For example, whether you want a pole barn big enough to host the holidays in or with living quarters so you can utilize it during hunting season, there are many options when it comes to function for a pole barn.

Maybe you want a multi-purpose building with a shop and office to have the best of both worlds. You can now design that with a bump out on our website through our Design Your Own Pole Barn. In addition, you can add a boat, horse, or even a 40’ bean head to help you determine the size and possible features you want for your pole barn.

Design Your Pole Barn_FBi Buildings

Another new feature allows you to place your design next to your existing home on Google Earth! Seeing it in real time will help you determine the best size and location of your pole barn for your property.

With our design online feature, you can build a custom pole barn and see what color combinations and features interest you most. This one-of-a-kind design feature is entirely free to you!

2) Pole Barn Size

Choosing the function(s) of your pole barn will then help you determine the pole barn size.

They say bigger is better, and in pole barn projects, that can be true! But did you know that smaller barns can cost more per square foot?  

Several factors play into the cost per square foot. First, no matter the size of your project, there will always be initial:

  • Processing
  • Permitting
  • Engineering
  • Drawing
  • Administration expenses

These costs are consistent for all projects. 

The next factor that plays into the cost per square foot is the three (3) Ms. Every project requires getting:

  • Men
  • Materials
  • And machines to the construction site

For all projects, we have to factor in the preparation and transportation of materials; whether the semi is a full or a half load plays into the cost. 

Richard Dvorsky_Garage_800x500_1

Since these costs are consistent, the cost gets divided across the price for square footage. That is why large pole barns are less per square foot.

For example, in the case of project 20-0325-00, this 42' x 62' x 14' post-frame garage would run $30-40 per square foot.

Did you know pole barn prices are coming down? You can save up to seven percent on your next post-frame building and secure your building spot before spring. 

Here are several examples of the cost per square foot for the shell of the building.

Cost blog- Jan 9, 2023-1

*All prices are dependent on design and features and are subject to fluctuation. These are based on January of 2023 for Iowa. Prices for pole barn homes are different. Please call for details. 

 3) Building Features

Next, you need to consider what added features you may need.

Have you always dreamed of a barndominium with a wrap-around porch? Porches can add a great place to kick back with a Busch Light while you watch the sunset! 

First, you must find the linear footage to determine an approximate cost. Adding the length to the width of the porch will give you linear footage. 

Next, multiply that number by $200-250 to find the cost of a wrap-around porch. 

Today a wrap-around porch costs $200-250 per linear foot. There is a range since you may for example choose to wrap your columns in cedar, or you may want to add miter joints. 

Some additional building features you may choose but can not see after the project is complete are Perma-Columns, building wrap, and insulation

These may cost more initially, but you will thank yourself later for having a warm barn and no rotten columns

You may want a farm shop with a 24' x 14' garage door, two cupolas, and numerous doors and windows. Each feature can add up quickly! That is why we encourage you to reach out for a quote specific to all of your project's details. 

Richard Dvorsky_Garage_800x500_4

For project 20-0325-00, the custom features include the following:

  • 36" color-matched designer wall
  • 12" end overhangs & 18" side overhangs
  • Simonton windows
  • (2) 12' x 12' overhead door frame outs

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4) Building Location

Location, location, location is the saying in real estate. So whether you want to build a horse barn on five acres outside of Iowa City, a barndominium to start your family's homestead, or even a 60' x 120' farm shop, there are things to consider after you have your site selected.

If you find yourself building in the Hawkeye state, you need to prepare your site to save time and money. 

Note that we currently cover almost half of the state of Iowa. Check our service area to see if we cover your county. While we would love to build your pole building, we understand that some of you are do-it-yourselfers. 

If you want a DIY pole barn, we sell kits! A pole barn kit is a great option to get the high-quality materials that FBi Buildings has on all of our post-frame buildings while saving money on labor costs.

Site prep is the work done on your ground before construction–finalizing location details, gaining access to the site, drainage, and more. This process allows you to identify site complications and address them before post frame construction begins. 

Costs can vary depending if you are putting down stone to create a pad versus dirt or sand pads. Additional costs include bringing in dirt to level the pad. As well as the cost of materials to create a driveway for the building, whether stone or concrete. All of these things add to the cost. If you plan to pour concrete, adding stone is critical.

Site prep is designed to set you and your building up to succeed. Although it is more work for you upfront, it has the potential to save you time and money if done correctly. Problems are much easier (and cheaper) to correct before equipment and schedules are involved.

FBi Buildings, Site Prep Brochure CTA

Naturally, some projects require more site prep than others, affecting the cost. Below are the typical site costs for the following building types:


$1,000 to $30,000


$500 to $5,000


$1,000 to $50,000


$500 to $20,000







*Please note that the information above is averaged to help with your planning. Costs may vary by project size.

Proper site preparation will extend your building's lifetime and reduce construction costs. In addition, you can further lower costs by owning the machinery and performing your excavation.

5) Pole Barn Permits

There are 99 counties in Iowa, and they all have different requirements regarding building permits

Some counties do not require building permits, which would save you time and money. When going through the building process, we have a Pre-Construction Coordinator who helps customers identify the necessary permits.

So you may be wondering what the cost would be. It can range from $0 to several thousand dollars. 

The range is because some counties require them for ag buildings, and others do not.

In addition, you can expect additional fees for commercial buildings to cover fire and life safety, review drainage plans, retention water plans, and more.

These permits cost because someone has to review them. Some counties have to send the site plans to a 3rd party reviewer. On average, you can expect to pay $200-600 for most projects.

6) Quality of Building Materials

When investing in a pole barn, it is vital to have quality materials so your building will last for years to come. We have a team that specializes in purchasing wood, metal, and screws to help you get high-quality products at a more affordable cost for your pole barn project. 

When building your pole barn with FBi Buildings, you choose a company that puts quality first. Some might even say we’re the Cadillac of pole barns since we only use the best materials!

Here are our top five industry-leading materials that we use in all FBi Buildings.

1. Steel

Many builders emphasize low initial cost over building longevity and strength. But, as with most things in life, when it comes to post-frame buildings, we get what we pay for. 

When considering a new pole barn or re-siding your existing building, it’s important to ensure you are getting the best steel to ensure structural integrity.

2. Lumber
Did you know that FBi has its own truss plant? When building our trusses, we build differently than other manufacturers.

For example, others roll the gusset plate (flat metal plate with teeth at the joints on trusses) onto the truss. By doing so, the teeth in the plate can go in at an angle. Instead, we machine stamp ours into the truss. This process takes a little extra time, but it ensures a straight plate. 

Speaking of lumber, we also go with the best! Machine stress-rated (MSR) lumber undergoes testing to measure its ability to perform under stress. It also must meet specific visual grade requirements. 

Wood is graded based on any defects(knots, splits, warping, etc.) and the size of the wood. 

Typically, you will hear wood referred to as #1 or #2 and their species, such as #2 Southern Yellow Pine(SYP). 

The MSR grade we use in every FBi Building trust and SYP for the columns and purlins is specifically selected to ensure the strength of each board exceeds the standards required where it is used.

3. Screws

Regarding the quality of screws, we don’t screw around! The screws we use have a high and low thread combo on the shank. 

This makes our screws like a steel and wood combo. In addition, the cap on the screw is made out of stainless steel. They are designed to umbrella over the washer, so they do not deteriorate as fast.

Plus, we have a lifetime warranty on our screws! Finally, since the cap is stainless steel, you do not have to worry about future rust streaks down the side of your building from your screws.

Check out this video comparing competitor screws. 

4. Paint

We offer industry leaders such as Kynar 500 paint system. Nothing says quality like the Kynar 500 paint system. Your metal panels will have that “just painted” freshness for years. 

The result is a durable structure that withstands abrasion, ultraviolet radiation, extreme weather, chemicals, and solvents.

5. Purlins

In addition, we screw the purlin differently than any other pole barn builders. Check out this video to learn more.


To ensure quality with every project, we precut building materials. For example, the roof purlin material is precut and predrilled to help with straight angles at installation. 

In addition, the wall girts are precut and color coordinated. These are just a few things we do to ensure the building process goes quickly without sacrificing quality.

Design Your Pole Barn_FBi Buildings

7) Crew Power

Our staff undergoes ongoing training to ensure we are up to date with the latest technology and safety features. 

This includes our QYLFT Building System. The QLYFT building system is an unprecedented way of erecting post-frame structures. It was created to improve field employee safety while taking building quality to new heights. 

Depending on the size of your pole barn project will determine the number of crew(s) and equipment your project may need. This is a factor that can affect the cost of your project.

Select a quality builder like FBi Buildings to build your pole barn when diving into a significant investment! We are here with you every step of the way when it comes to pole barn construction. 

What sets us apart from our competitors is our consultation approach with customers. 

Another thing that sets us apart from other pole barn builders is that we employ the staff and procure the materials your project needs under one roof

Other competitors will sell you a plan, work like a dealership, and outsource.

Instead, we have our own engineers to ensure your project is structurally sound, a truss plant to build high-quality trusses, crews, and sales staff to guide you through the process of getting your project built from the ground up.

Pole Barn Gallery_Pole Barn Pictures_FBi Buildings

8) Finishing Costs 

While FBi Buildings only builds the shell, finishing costs are at your discretion. Your project is unique as you are, and no two projects will cost the same. The cost to finish can vary significantly based on the above factors and make the total cost of your project differ significantly. 

You could hire a general contractor to build your dream interior with all the bells and whistles. Plus, hiring a contractor will save you time, so you can enjoy your pole building sooner.

Or perhaps you are more of a DIY person; you could save money, but it may take more time to complete. There are many finish options when it comes to the interior. 

You must consider concrete, insulation, drywall, plywood, steel, and more

The finishes go beyond finishing a couple of walls. Finishes also include landscaping, rock or concrete driveway, and more. Plus, did you know by adding landscaping, you can reduce some of your energy costs?

Since they all vary by building type and project scope, you can spend a wide range on this category.

Are You Ready to Build a Pole Barn in Iowa?

While you may have come to this blog for a quick answer to "What does a pole barn cost in Iowa?"  You may have picked up that there is more than one answer to that question. 

Your project is as unique as YOU. We are here to partner with you to help you learn about pole barns, answer all your questions about building a pole barn, and help you navigate the building process.

The cost of building an Iowa pole barn is based first on the size and features you select. 

Like the example project 20-0325-00, you can expect a 42' x 62' x 14' average pole barn cost to run between $80,000 to $120,000.

FBi Buildings is continuing to expand to serve our customers better. In 2022, we added 13 new crews, with several crews who cover the Iowa area.

We cover many of the 99 counties in Iowa. If you are ready to take the next step with building a pole barn in Iowa, fill out our request a quote form, and our sales team will be happy to start the partnership with you today!

Pole Barn Quote_FBi Buildings

Have more questions about pole barn trusses not covered in this article? Please contact FBi Buildings at 1.800.552.2981 or click here to email us. If you are ready to get a price, click here to request a quote, and a sales team member will call you.