I Have an Idea!

April 9, 2013 § 25 Comments

So, I am building on a goose-neck trailer and I drive a Prius… obviously I am going to need help when it comes to moving my house.  Here are a few options I have considered, let me know if you have others!

1) I would rent a UHaul if it was just a standard hitch, but it isn’t.  I have called everywhere to see about renting a truck with a goose-neck hitch, they just aren’t out there.

2) Plan ‘b’ has been to put an ad on Craigslist and find someone willing to move it for me with some sort of compensation OR

3) hire a tow truck, either would work ok but I would be tied on schedule, which is hard for me AND I would be out probably a couple hundred bucks every time I want to move… my next thought was

4) to install a goose-neck on my dad’s or my brothers’ truck which would cost near $800 and be sort of an inconvenience for them…

5) So, I had the idea to cruise over Craigslist, see what the prices were like on a truck that is able to pull it.  Now I don’t mean a brand new truck, I mean an old, reliable type of farm truck, I mean it’s a farm trailer… why not go for the matched pair.  Then the idea is that I can sell the truck back to someone else after it’s moved.  As I got to looking at the trucks I had another idea!

6) One of the biggest issues I have had with downsizing my life is that I am a ‘crafty’ person, I like building things, I have a decent amount of tools that I would be storing somewhere or getting rid of… either way it is hard to use them if they aren’t with me.  The welding truck below was what gave me the idea… service trucks are often made to be portable shops with toolboxes and storage throughout… I could get a truck that is able to become my sort of ‘shop’ AND pull my house when I need it too… I could probably even throw my plastic car on the porch and be all self contained when I want to move (joking!).

So that is where I am thinking now… just a quick look through CL and there are tons of options well under $4,000 bucks… With how low of a budget I have had on my house I don’t know that that is an option that is out of the realm of possibilities.

What are your thoughts, how have you, would you or do you move your house? or do you?

Here are some pictures of some of the trucks, I haven’t really looked at any in real life but they all seem to be decent deals:

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§ 25 Responses to I Have an Idea!

  • I think that is a smart idea! I love the idea of the compartments for tool storage – perfect! Super smart as well to look at farm vehicles…

    I am going to have similar tool storage issues. My trailer isn’t gooseneck, so I was going to get a pick up truck with a topper. Now I think I might get a van… tools, bicycle… etc could go in the van. I haven’t done any research on that yet – but I’ll need to before year’s end. Your

  • Casey Friday says:

    LoL! I kid you not when I say I just started surfing AutoTrader for a used truck two days ago! Our diesel VW Beetle with 99hp won’t pull our 8k lb house!

    I spoke with one of my truck loving friends, and he suggested making sure it’s a Dodge with a Cummins engine, preferably 94-98. They’re really easy to work on, and their Diesel engines have been known to get up to 30mpg. Not as good as our Beetle or your Prius, but still pretty good!

    Anyway, my plan is to resell the truck when we’ve moved the house, but depending on how fun it is, who knows?

  • Alek says:

    My trailer is bumper-mounted, not a goose-neck, but I ended up buying an old used truck after coming up with the same general options and conclusions as you. Got a great deal on an F250 super-duty. High mileage so who knows how long it will last, but when you consider the price of a one-way, cross-country uhaul rental, the cost of buying a truck quickly justifies itself, especially if you can sell it later at little or no loss. Now I have two cars (which is also kinds of annoying), but have no issues with towing or collecting materials.

    • Macy M says:

      That is exactly what I am thinking, this very possibly could be moving across the country, even a one time use at 2k would be worth it… so long as it lasts through that one time 🙂 Thank you for chiming in!

  • john says:

    Pay Per move. Here’s why….the insurance cost alone each month would pay for a move, repairs and maintenance would be equal to your insurance costs…
    There are options other than tow companies, my local Home Depot rents a flatbed truck with a gooseneck trailer hitch, there are many construction and landscape companies who have them, there are mobile home and shed companies that can do it as well…so many options, you need only look and make some calls.
    A lot of guys would love a side job now and then…
    Being mobile and doing it yourself is really optimal, but it’s so costly that it almost negates the financial benefit you get from going tiny/small.
    To be truly mobile you’ll need a one tone truck, a dually set up for towing…not just a hitch, but oversized radiator, a transmission cooler, heavy duty brakes, high capacity tires for heavy loads, an electric brake control unit…it’s not simple, it’s not cheap, the only way it can be done and not invest 10-30k in vehicles is to get rid of your Prius and use the truck as a primary vehicle…so you see, paying for towing is so much better financially…

    • Macy M says:

      with liability only and with it not being my main car insurance would be fairly cheap, I believe I can even insure it only on the days it’s being used if it is an accessory vehicle. The repairs may be costly but that could be mitigated by picking right I think. a good portion of older Fords are pretty easy to work on. It may be inconvenient potentially but I feel like it could be a fun project also, I actually enjoy doing work on my vehicles. I do agree that there are several other options as well, I’m not sure which direction I am going to pursue but I like the idea of having a mobile workshop for my hobbies that serves a bigger function too. Points definitely noted, thank you for your thoughts!

  • Adam Noyes says:

    You are certainly on the right track. Some important things I’d offer up for consideration:

    The finished “All in” weight of the trailer dictates what type of suspension setup to look for on a truck. Your standard full size pick up (As in Ford F150, Chevy Siverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, Dodge Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra, and Nissaan Titan are all considered to be “half ton” trucks, while the F250’s and 2500’s are 3/4 ton, 350’s & 3500’s are 1 tons, etc…the 3/4’s and up are often referred to as Heavy Duty, or Super Duty, and that’s generally where you want to start for tiny house pulling.
    What is the difference between 1/2 ton trucks and heavy duty trucks? What give them the ability to safely and reliably haul heavier loads is larger suspension components, incresed engine and transmission cooling ability, and larger, more powerful braking components. It’s all too easy to forget about the latter, but to me, this is the most important part. Too many people only focus on whether or not the truck has the ability to pull the load, and then find themselves in trouble on the back side of a mountain pass.
    There have been a few exceptions where trucks designated as 1/2 tons may have been factory outfitted with more heavy duty gear, (As in the 2002-2004 AWD GMC Sierra Denali with quadrasteer) but generally speaking, 1/2 ton trucks should be out of the question for what you wish to do with it.
    You will want to research the manufacturers gross towing capacity for whichever truck you have your eye on. I am guessing that your house, as long as it is is going to
    be tipping the scales close to 10K lbs, which can be a threshold number if you intend to do interstate hauling on a non commercial driver’s license.

    The next big consideration, especially for a used truck on the cheap, is what type of travelling do you intend to do? If your move is just for initial positioning or very short trips, you’ll get the most bang for your buck with a gasoline motor. If you plan on longer, more frequent trips, go with a diesel motor. You’ll pay quite a bit more, but they are far superior for this type of work, they last much longer, and they usually are more economical to operate.
    Finally, before you make a decision, ask a trusted mechanic about the reputation of the vehicle(s) you are interested in. A good many of the used vehicles listed with significantly lower prices than the rest are priced that way for a reason. Some are known to be problematic, or what most mehcanics would call “Dogs”.

    Good Luck!

    • Macy M says:

      Wow Adam! I just learned SO much, thank you, I actually didn’t know mos of the information you just stated, I was ramping up to do some heavier research but you just cleared up a lot for me, thank you so much for that! You rock!

  • John says:

    Check out a M1008 off of GovLiquidation.com its concidered a 1 1/4 ton truck, so it will be able to tow your trailer no problem, its old, simple electronics, a super common vehicle that it is derived from so parts are cheap and plentiful, and its easy to work on.

  • caseyfriday says:

    I was totally thinking of doing the same thing 2 days ago. I don’t want to feel awkward having someone hook my 8k lb house to their truck, so I thought why not just buy a truck and resell it once the house is moved?

    My truck-loving buddy suggested a 94-98 Dodge with a Cummins engine for the job. I found a couple of them for less than $10k while looking online. He found this gem, as an example: Dodge.

    Our diesel Beetle will do no good towing a house, much like your Prius. (Rock on, fuel efficient cars!) Anyway,best of luck finding something!

  • Jack says:

    6b, is what I’m planning. I will be loading the Jeep as well. Now if l just had the funds to build it.

  • goldenpath2 says:

    Macy, a lot of good advice here…but I am going to step out of the box and offer something new, it is called an automated safety hitch, and info on it can be found at: http://www.automatedsafetyhitch.com. In the end, the biggest consideration is about “control when towing”. This device takes the physical punishment of towing off of the towing vehicle, making towing safer.

    • Macy M says:

      Oh Wow! I didn’t know that existed! I am going to look into that more for sure! Do you (or anyone else reading this for that matter) have experience towing with one of these by chance? I am wondering how easy they are to handle. I wonder also if they rent them out anywhere. Seems like an amazing idea! Thank you so much for sharing, I may have to poll some people on Facebook to learn more too! I love your out of the box thinkings, extremely helpful!

  • ET says:

    I think john has the right idea – pay per move. Unless you are an expert and willing to take all the risks of moving a large load in traffic let people who have done it before and are insured take the risk. So many things can go wrong and there are really no limits to the costs.

    • Macy M says:

      I am accustom to towing trailers, and know others who are as well. I think the biggest liabilities would be with shotty construction and it falling off down the road, none of which hiring someone would help, it would still come back onto me, if only because I wouldn’t let someone else take the fall for my [would be] crappy construction. I’m not positive I feel the same amount of risk and I honestly feel more comfortable potentially breaking my own stuff rather than trusting someone else to who doesn’t has as much invested… I imagine the first trip out will feel like sending my first born off to school for the first time, I would rather be the one moving those waves I think :). I really appreciate you chiming in!

  • Esther says:

    Sell the Prius and buy a diesel truck!

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