One big problem for folks who are preparing to purchase their first tiny home is that sourcing your trailer will be a hassle if you don’t know where to go or what to look for. Thankfully, we’ve got your back with a brand new guide on everything that has to do with trailers.
Before we actually start to discuss the different places you can find a trailer, let’s talk about the whole issue of getting the right trailer. Technically, tiny homes don’t require trailers. If you don’t mind having your home stationary, you can just opt for a foundation made of concrete.
A common misconception about tiny house trailers is that they need to be specially built for tiny homes. There was a time not too long ago that trailers were just trailers—and that’s okay. It all started from somewhere, didn’t it?
If you can’t spring for a trailer specially made by a tiny house supply company, you can make do with a regular trailer as long as it has enough support.
The first thing you’re going to have to do is find out where large-scale trailers are being bought and sold. There might be some trailer dealerships in and around your area that may carry trailers appropriate for tiny homes.
However, it’s often better to go online and find trailers that are specific to your home building project. Some of the best choices for your trailer hunt include:
- TinyHouseBasics.com - This site is nothing short of impressive. It’s one of the few places where you can get a custom-built trailer for your specific tiny house plans.
- eBay - Though Amazon is the larger marketplace, many tiny home builders have found eBay to be the better platform for cars, trailers, and other similar items. Just make sure you choose a good, vetted seller.
- TinyHomeBuilders.com - Another top-rated site, this company received tons of acclaim for its house-ready trailers. They are also ready to help you understand how each trailer option will work with your home plans.
Having a legitimate trailer built for your tiny house is going to be a great move, especially if you get it from a specialized dealer. Anyone who tells you otherwise might be kidding themselves. Here’s why:
- You will have more stability and versatility. Trailers built with tiny homes in mind will be less likely to tip. With that said, the chances of having a trailer tip are very slim, even if you have a regular old trailer.
- If you have questions, the customer service personnel will actually be able to answer it. If you shop from a tiny house trailer vendor, the people who sell the trailers know what you’re going to go through. This makes them way more knowledgeable about common questions and more capable of pointing you to the right trailer.
- You get the design you want. If you use any trailer you see, your design options will be limited based on your trailer size. A custom-made home trailer is different. It’ll be made to fit your home, rather than have a home that’s built around the trailer.
- There’s also just more peace of mind. It’s good to know you have the right thing for the purpose you want to use it for. Even if you can use a regular trailer for your house, that reassuring vibe is what makes many people choose a tiny home trailer.
For the most part, you do not have to get too concerned about getting a new trailer. Trailers are meant to be remarkably resilient. After all, they can literally support a whole house on top of them!
However, their resilience doesn’t mean that they will be completely immune to the strain of time. So, it’s still important to take a close look at the trailer. Do not buy a secondhand trailer that shows signs of damage, extreme rusting, or other forms of potentially structure-hindering wear and tear.
If you want to save a buck and seek out a cheap used trailer, by all means, do that. But, if you do, make sure you do your due diligence. The structure of your home depends on it.
Obviously, you’re going to need to know what to look for when you’re shopping around. There’s not just one tiny house trailer type. There are several, each with their own perks and pitfalls. Here’s what you need to know:
- Bumper Pull Trailers. These are a standard trailer with a 2 5/16th inch ball for the hitch. They’re usually left for very tiny homes. Bumper pulls can only be found in 10 to 48 feet, making them the smallest pick.
- Gooseneck Trailers. Gooseneck trailers have a long, large rail extending across the truck’s tailgate and locks onto a ball hitch inside the truck. If you need extra stability, gooseneck trailers are a good choice.
- 5th Wheel Trailers. Have you ever seen the trailers on large semis? You know, the ones that have a fifth wheel that seems to have a swinging plate hitch that always remains stable? That’s a 5th Wheel Trailer. They’re great for larger tiny homes, as long as you have a truck capable of towing it.
Another important aspect of your tiny home building plan is understanding how trailer sizing works. Without the right size, you’re going to end up with a bad trailer or a mismatched home. Trailers can go from 10 feet to 56 feet in length, in foot-long increments.
You will also need to know the total Gross Weight Vehicle Capacity, trailer width, and axle capacity when you work. Trailers can have up to four axles and can carry up to 28,000 pounds.
Here’s what you need to be aware of when choosing a trailer size:
- A typical tiny home will be 500 to 550 pounds per linear foot.
- The most you can carry on two axles is 14,000 pounds.
- If you need to get a third axel, you’ll be able to reach 18,000 pounds.
- Most tiny home trailer widths will be 7 feet 10 inches to 8 foot 6 inches.
- Any tiny home trailer that’s wider than 8 foot 6 inches will require a permit for each state that it passes through.
This all depends on the size of your home as well as your intended usage. For the most part, gooseneck trailers tend to be the most popular. They’re a good middle-road choice compared to 5th wheels or bumper pull trailers.
If you want to know what the best tiny home trailer is for your place, it’s best to discuss it with a person who’s educated on the matter. Different tiny home designs will require a different trailer. What might be the best for a 10-foot home might be downright awful for a 20-foot home.
Regardless of where you live, you will also need to pick a trailer size that will work with your driving license—or make the decision to upgrade your license. If you are not willing to take the courses to upgrade your license, stick to a smaller house.
For the most part, you will be able to know how long of a trailer you need by looking at your tiny house plans. However, if you feel lost or just need someone to look over the plans, it’s best to link up with a professional in the industry.
Most companies that specialize in tiny home supplies and trailers tend to have at least one or two people who can help you size out your home’s trailer correctly.
Like many things regarding tiny home-building expenses, this can vary wildly depending on how much house you’re going to be building, the trailer type, as well as the company you get your trailer from.
It’s possible to find affordable bumper pull trailers for as little as $2,000. However, most trailers will cost between $4,000 to $8,000 depending on the features, the material, and the structure you’re going to be getting.
At the extremely large size of the tiny home trailer gamut are 56-foot, quad-axle, extra-wide trailers. These trailers can cost as much as an entire tiny house in some cases, with many of them clocking in at $12,800 or more.