After years of talking about and planning our tiny house, we finally took the leap. Last night we ordered our trailer, which marks the moment when the our tiny house moved from just some idea we’ve been kicking around, to an actual real thing that we are doing.
Why a new trailer?
When we originally started talking about building a tiny house a few years ago, we knew one of our goals was to use recycled/repurposed/reclaimed materials as much as possible. We want to do this for two reasons. The first is to keep the environmental footprint of the house to a minimum, so anything we can take and reuse helps with that goal. The second is to keep the cost down. Since one of our major goals is to live debt-free, we are building this house ourselves and cash-flowing the whole thing (on a semi-related note, if you aren’t already familiar with the YNAB budgeting tool, it’s an actual, literal life-changer). So if we want to use a bunch of reclaimed materials and keep our costs down, why did we order a new trailer?
Since the trailer is serving as the foundation of the house, we wanted to make sure we had something that was in excellent condition. We were originally looking at used trailers, only to find that they either needed significant alterations to be retrofitted for a tiny house (which can absolutely be done and is an awesome way to keep your costs down if you are comfortable with this step), or they were in pretty rough shape and would need to be heavily refurbished. We didn’t want to spend several thousand dollars on a non-tiny house trailer that was still in good shape, and then still have to go in and retrofit it to make it suitable for this project. We simply weren’t comfortable with structurally altering the foundation of our home ourselves. We have confidence in our ability to build the house itself, but structural trailer alterations were not something we felt comfortable tackling. So that left us with the option of buying a new tiny house trailer.
Once we had made the decision to buy new, it was time to start researching tiny house trailer companies. We looked around for quite a while to find places that were reputable and well-established, and found quite a few options:
- Iron Eagle – Note: We ended up having to rule out Iron Eagle simply because they only do bumper pull trailers, and we knew we wanted a gooseneck, but other than that they seemed like an excellent company to work with.
- Tiny House Basics
- Tiny Home Builders
After lots of emailing and phone calls, we decided to go with TrailerMade. We made this choice based on several factors – a large one being that they are the trailer manufacturer of choice for several of the leading tiny home builders (e.g. Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses), which really is a testament to the quality of their trailers. In addition to their excellent reputation, we found them to be exceedingly responsive and knowledgeable. Their sales coordinator, Tracy, is an absolute gem and knows the nitty gritty details of tiny house builds inside and out. We have been conversing with her for a few months now regarding the details of our build and are very happy to have our trailer in their hands.
For many months, we have been going back and forth on different trailer sizes. Did we want a standard width trailer (finished house width of 8’6″ for permit-free towing) or a 10′ wide trailer? 36′ main bed or something shorter? After a lot of planning, modifying, editing, and completely starting over on layouts several times, we landed on the behemoth: a 10′ wide, 36′ main bed with a 7′ gooseneck. We chose this option since we only plan to move this house once or maybe twice in its lifetime and we will both be working from home with not insignificant computer monitor requirements (we have learned that we work most effectively with dedicated office spaces and not sitting at a table somewhere in the rest of the house). This will allow us to build something we can live in comfortably for several years, without being in a rush to get out of it.
Now that our trailer is ordered, we have a few weeks before it arrives. In this time, we will be refining the layout and starting to order materials so we are ready to begin framing when the trailer arrives in June. As soon as the trailer arrives, we will get the decking/subfloor installed and lay out our floor plan in tape so we can walk through everything and see how it feels. After we make any refinements, we can start framing!
We are super excited to actually be starting on our tiny house journey. This is something we have been thinking and talking about for a long time and it’s a little surreal to think that things are actually happening for real now. Looking forward to getting our trailer in June and seeing things really start to take shape!