Many people who investigate carports as an alternative to full garages are hoping to find a drastic difference in cost. And while the cost of materials (specifically for prefabricated steel buildings versus full garages) can be significantly less, many people neglect to factor in the cost of installation.
Carport installation costs vary depending on the size of the structure to be installed. Obviously, larger structures will cost more to install, while smaller structures, e.g. for motorcycles or single cars, can occasionally be built by the customer themselves, though a certain level of proficiency with small scale construction projects is recommended before attempting to install any structure on your property, as well as a thorough understanding of your local zoning laws and regulations.
Clients should also carefully choose where their new carport will go, since the ground may require some preparation, whether through basic leveling or even the pouring of an entire concrete foundation, which can certainly add to carport installation costs. Remember, proper anchoring for your new structure is absolutely essential. After all, a common reason for purchasing a carport is to avoid hail damage, and hail most frequently occurs in areas that may also experience high winds during storms.
Choose your material wisely. Some materials hold up better in certain conditions than others, but at the cost of flexibility or aesthetic appeal. In my experience, galvanized steel offers the best all around benefit, providing a variety of looks and textures, while performing extremely well in any environment, from industrial to coastal and everything in between.
Above all, beware of anyone trying to sell you unbelievably low priced carports with DIY installation instructions. You will inevitably get what you pay for. Do the research, weigh your options, and plan ahead. If you think carport installation costs are too high, imagine what it would cost to replace a shoddily installed structure once or twice. Or worse, what it would cost to have that same structure allow (or even cause) damage to the very vehicle it was meant to protect.