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The tiny home movement has spread and grown over the years. This prompted an influx of custom tiny house trailers to the market thereby making them more affordable and easier to purchase.
But when you look through any itemized list of tiny house materials, you will find that the trailer is the single most expensive purchase. So how do we choose the right one for me? Let’s find out.
Just like buying a car, a used trailer is just as good as a new trailer as long as it’s well maintained and in good condition.
However, the types of trailers that are sold as “used” are typically utility trailers that need additional modifications before turning the trailer into a tiny house trailer.
If you’ve worked with trailers before and see a great deal, go ahead and purchase a used trailer (assuming that it is in working condition).
For our tiny home, we decided to purchase a new trailer. Buying a new tiny house trailer allowed us to skip right to building our home instead of making additional modifications.
We would recommend the same to anyone building a tiny home on wheels.
There are many different styles of trailer, each serving a specific purpose. The two types of trailer you should pay attention to are utility trailers and tiny home trailers.
Utility trailers are non-motorized trailer that can haul anything as long as the weight doesn’t exceed the weight rating of the trailer. Most utility trailers aren’t suitable for building on top of them unless you make additional modifications.
Tiny home trailers are similar to utility trailers in their functionality but are designed to carry more weight, have drop axles, and have tiny-specific modifications already in place to make building a home on wheels easier.
We recommend purchasing a tiny home trailer over a utility trailer.
Living tiny is about living in a small space, but you shouldn’t try to shave off costs by choosing a trailer with smallest possible dimensions which makes you feel forever #claustraphobic.
The size of your trailer needs to be big enough to accommodate everyone including your pets and potential guests.
Do you plan on having guests over frequently? Do you already have kids or planning on having kids in your tiny home? If so, how much is space is necessary and enough?
These are the questions that need to be addressed while you size your trailer.
It is important to remember that tiny house dimensions are restricted by the size allowed on the road by the DMV. Although the allowable dimensions vary slightly from state to state, generally you cannot tow a vehicle that is taller than 13’6″ and wider than 8’6″ without an oversize permit.
Finally, you have to think about how frequently you will be moving a tiny home once completed.
If you plan to travel frequently with your tiny home, it makes more sense to build a more compact tiny home (20′ or less) to make the towing process easy. Also, it will save on gas money if you are the one towing it!
Hot Tip – If you only plan on moving your tiny home a couple of times in its lifetime, you should try to maximize the width of the trailer to make it feel more spacious. Having a 10′ wide tiny home feels much more spacious than living in a long, narrow home.
Once you select the size, how heavy do you think your tiny home will be?
Unless you are loading your home with bricks, you don’t have to worry about the weight rating as long as purchase a tiny home trailer.
All tiny home trailers are built with a total weight of a tiny home in mind. They are built to carry typical tiny house loads.
In addition, tiny homes are built on heavy-duty, multi-axles that can easily handle 10,000 pounds or more. When in doubt, discuss your tiny house plans with the manufacturer directly, and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
The more customizations and accessories you want on your trailer, the more expensive your price tag will be.
Some of the additional options for a tiny home trailer include:
To get the most bang for your buck, we recommend that you get square fenders and undercarriage flashing if the options are available to you.
Square fender makes framing around the fenders a breeze, and pre-installed undercarriage flashing saves you a lot of time and swears words if you DIY it.
These options cost only a few hundred bucks total and will save you lots of headaches later on. Trust me.
Note: Some people choose the drop axles option to have their trailer’s height lowered by 3″- 4″ to gain an extra 3″- 4″ of headspace in your loft. We didn’t choose this option as we didn’t see much benefit, but it is something worth considering.
The trailer is an expensive purchase. In fact, a tiny house trailer is the most expensive per unit cost item on my itemized tiny house materials list.
The prices of your trailer will vary depending on the size and the location of the trailer manufacturer. If you are trying to reduce the overall price tag of a tiny home trailer, you must consider both the unit cost and the delivery cost.
Manufacturer will give you a quote on delivery costs but you should also reach out to local towing companies or request a delivery quote on UShip to get more accurate delivery estimates.
Do you live close to the manufacturer? You can pick it up and save on delivery costs.
In our opinion, there is no single best tiny home manufacturer. Trailers that have the same size and weight rating will have similar quality and finish across various trailer manufacturers.
They will all safely take your tiny home on wheels from point A to point B. And that’s all that matters.
Simply google tiny home trailer manufacturer near you on Google and look up the specs and pricing.
If you don’t know where to start looking, here are a couple of companies that we recommend you consider. They are all household names in the tiny house community, and you won’t go wrong by purchasing a trailer from any one of them.
Tumbleweed Trailers – Tumbleweed Tiny House Company is pretty much a household name in the tiny home community. They are based in Colorado and deliver their trailer across the country for a fee. Update: They may only sell complete tiny homes at the moment. Check directly with Tumbleweed for trailer availability.
Tiny Home Builder Trailers – Not only do they teach tiny home building and host workshops, they also manufacture & sell custom tiny home trailers. You can customize your own trailer and request an online quote on their website.
Tiny House Basics Trailers – Tiny Home Basics is a company we used to purchase our 24′ trailer. They manufacture tiny home trailers from their locations in California, Alabama, Pennsylvania, and Oregon and ship them to all 50 states plus all Canadian provinces. You can customize your own trailer and request an online quote on their website.
Iron Eagle Trailers – Iron Eagle Trailers make custom tiny home trailers and sell them through authorized dealers located across the country.
Always request a quote from multiple trailer manufacturers to compare prices. Ask for a discount if you want to go with a specific manufacturer but other companies are providing you with a cheaper quote.
Once you select the trailer you want and the company you are ordering the trailer from, you work with manufacturer to process payment and move forward with shipment.
It is normal for manufacturers to require down payments when making an order. It may take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months for trailers to be made. Upon completion, you pay the remaining balance at pick up.
Do your due diligence by asking any questions about the trailer and about additional costs associated with custom requests. Here is a screenshot of the last email I received before I pulled the trigger on buying our tiny house trailer from Tiny House Basics.
Note: You can ask for exact dimensions of the trailer you plan to order (fender height, thickness of cross members, etc.). You can then draw up a trailer into your SketchUp file and design you house right away instead of waiting for the trailer to arrive.
Once trailer is made, you will be notified by your supplier that it is ready for pick up. When it’s time to pick up your trailer, you have four options.
Of course the cheapest option would be picking it up yourself. But this option might not be feasible if you live a few states away from the pick up location.
Provide your shipping address to the manufacturer and ask for a shipping estimate. They should be able to ship your trailer to you for a flat fee.
You can call up local towing companies to get an estimate. However, the cheapest option for me was hiring a professional commercial drivers on uShip to move my tiny house trailer.
Always shop around and choose the best option for you. Depending how far the trailer needs to be delivered, delivery costs can vary anywhere from $500 to a few thousand dollars.
Tiny house trailer costs vary depending on the size, weight rating, and customizations. It can cost anywhere from $2000 ~ $8000.
You need trailer large enough to fit you and your belongings without feeling too cramped. From personal experience, a 24′ tiny home can easily house two people and all the household essentials without feeling claustrophobic.
Unless you are a professional welder, I would highly object to DIY-ing a tiny home trailer. You will save time and money if you simply buy a tiny home trailer in the long run.
Unless you are buying a well-maintained, like new trailer, we suggest buying a new tiny home trailer directly form a trailer manufacturer.
Tiny house delivery cost ranges from $0 (pick it up yourself!) to a few thousand dollars depending on your delivery location.
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UShip is an online platform where you can create a listing asking for bids to ship anything from cars, RVs, trailers, heavy machinery, and even pets! I first came across this website when I attended tiny house festival in VA. It was highly recommended to me at the time, so I decided to give them a try.
Simply, you create a listing including the weight and size of the trailer, pick up address, drop off address, and approximate date of pick up and delivery date. Then, once the listing is up on UShip, professional towers start bidding on the listing. You can close the bidding anytime if you find a tower you like.
Make sure you review previous delivery history of drivers, reviews, and bid price to decide on the driver who is the most right for the job. If the driver is responsive and answer any questions you have in a timely manner, this is sign of a good match.
One good thing about UShip as a customer is that your shipment is insured both by UShip and from driver’s insurance. Professional towers carries a special insurance to tow large ticket items like trailers and cars. You have the ability to track your shipment in real-time, and you only have to release payment to the driver after the shipment is delivered.
The cost of delivery was significantly less than what it would have cost if we chose to have Tiny House Basics shipping partner deliver the trailer to us. By the time we tried to rearrange shipment with the THB’s shipping partner, it would have cost us around $900. So we decided to give with UShip.
We used UShip three times so far (Delivering our brand new trailer to us, Moving our finished tiny home from our building lot to parking space, Moving our tiny home one more time to our current semi-permanent parking location). We haven’t had much issues and we will continue to use UShip again.
Have you used UShip before or any other services that provide something similar that you recommend? Drop a comment on our Instagram! We love to hear about it!
Try to take videos or pictures of the delivery on your delivery date. If there is any damage done to the trailer or the property where the trailer will reside, you can have a record and dispute your transaction with UShip in a worst-case scenario.