In the interest of getting up to speed on the Matchbox's current status with a long overdue post, let's talk trailers.
|A basic utility trailer.|
The trailer, of course, sets the parameters for the entire home: its length, its width, its height. A few constraints are consequences of the home's not-a-house-but-a-vehicle status: as something that will be on the road, a trailer's width is typically limited to 8.5' and its height to 13.5' (length is more flexible; anything under 40' or so is fine). For my design, I opted for a custom-made unit with fairly standard dimensions: 22' in length (enough foundation for the house and the porch), 6'10" of space between the wheels, and about 29" off the ground (allowing for roughly 10' ceilings inside).
Brian and I both ordered our trailers from Kaufman Trailers, a trailer wholesaler based in North Carolina. After a few weeks of tweaking preferences and making a few key trailer design decisions, our orders were put into production, and by the end of May, they were ready to ship to their new home on the Boneyard lot.
|My trailer being unloaded from the delivery trailer.|
The solution to this conundrum was to have our trailers shipped up with a third trailer—one being delivered to a site with a crane and the space to operate it—and have the recipient of that trailer help us unload ours as well. And so, the day before the start of Memorial Day weekend, Brian and I rented a pair of Uhauls, drove down to Sterling, VA, and watched as our trailers were individually lifted from the delivery trailer, placed onto firm ground, and reunited with their detached tires. We then hitched our now-complete trailers to our now-much-slower-to-accelerate Uhauls, paid the crane operator an unexpected and mildly unfortunate $100 each for the offloading job, and hit the road back to DC with trailers in tow.
|Brian's trailer entering the District.|
Upon arriving at Boneyard with our dusty Uhauls and our shiny new trailers, we began the arduous and surprisingly challenging task of correctly backing the trailers onto the lot. The narrow alley and aforementioned difficulty in operating a trailer in reverse made a clean offloading impossible, so after getting them as close as we could to their ideal locations, Brian, Tony, and I had to manually lift and roll each of the three-thousand-pound behemoths to just the right spot.
You'll notice that the trailers pictured don't have any decking on them: since we'll be building our own subfloors, it's simply easier, cheaper, and less wasteful to opt for a bare-bones steel frame and just work from there (consequently, I am now the proud owner of a utility trailer that is virtually useless for all pursuits but building a tiny home upon its foundation).
|The Boneyard lot, with the trailers in the background.|
I'm including a list of trailer-related expenses below, along with a running cost of total tiny home expenses (which, right now, just includes the trailer). I should probably note that this doesn't include things like registration, titling, sales tax, and other bureaucratic complexities that are introduced when one makes the not-a-home-but-a-vehicle jump; these will likely be covered in a future post. Questions about the cost, the delivery process, or anything else trailer-related? Let me know!
Cost, utility trailer foundation
- Custom-made, 22' trailer, sans decking, from Kaufman Trailers: $3,494
- Delivery from North Carolina to Sterling, VA: $300
- Crane offloading and tire installation, provided by Down Under Construction: $100
- Uhaul rental, round-trip, Washington, DC to Sterling, VA: $157
- Trailer, total: $4,051
- Matchboxes expenses to date: $4,051