The Cost of Towing a Tiny House

The Cost of Towing a Tiny House

We travel full time with our Tiny House and so far we’ve gone 15,000 miles in eight months. We’ve figured out the logistics on our own, including the cost of towing a tiny house. Below I’ve outlined OUR monthly expenses in hopes that it is helpful for our fellow travel bugs.

So, here you go folks, these are the REAL COSTS for towing a tiny house.

OUR MONTHLY EXPENSES ON THE ROAD

GAS: $726

Our Tiny House weighs 10,100 pounds when fully loaded. We tow with a Ford F-250 Diesel 4×4 and get between 8-10 mpg. We put 2,070 miles per month on our truck. That number includes ALL driving, not just towing.

MAINTENANCE ON TRUCK: $294*

*This number has been divided by the eight and a half months we’ve been on the road to calculate our average monthly expenses. Total truck maintenance is $2,499

This number is SUPER high! We had to replace a few parts in our truck, including the FICM, the alternator and two batteries. I can’t say whether this is due to towing or not, because the 2006 Ford F-250s are known for these problems. Sigh.. that’s life I guess. Hopefully this number will start to go down.

MAINTENANCE ON TRAILER: $55* 

*This number has been divided by the eight and a half months we’ve been on the road to calculate our average monthly expenses. Total trailer maintenance is $467.50

We had a regular 10,000 bearing inspection (they were good). We had to replace our tongue jack because we crashed the Tiny House on our maiden voyage… Full explanation here. We also had to replace our chimney cap a few times due to damage from low tree branches.

TRUCK INSURANCE: $95 

We are insured through State Farm. We have liability coverage on our “tow load.”

TRUCK PAYMENT: $0

Our truck is paid off. Yippee! We used to have two cars and a motorcycle in our “pre-tiny” lives. Not having a car payment is a blessing.

TINY HOUSE PAYMENT: $0

Our Tiny House is paid off. Yippee! We used to pay $2000 a month in rent in Los Angeles.

TINY HOUSE INSURANCE: $0

So far we haven’t found a Tiny House Insurance plan that is affordable and available as a multi-state / multi-country plan.  At this point, it’s not affordable for our tiny house to be insured. While we travel down the road, it is covered under our truck insurance as a “tow load.” When we are parked and detached, it gets tricky. Let us know if you have heard of an insurance plan that would work for our situation.

MOBILE INTERNET: $130

We use Verizon wireless as our provider because they have the fastest data service. We’ve been relatively happy with the service, but it’s expensive. Due to our web related jobs, we need at least 30 gigabytes a month. Obviously if you do not need 30 GB (or the internet at all) this number is irrelevant. Campgrounds sometimes have WIFI available, but it’s usually terribly slow.

CAMPGROUND FEES: $208

We park in campgrounds on average 8 nights a month. The rest of the time we park on private property, offered by some of the most gracious people in the world (our followers and other Tiny House enthusiasts). That helps A LOT! Campground fees can average between $10 – $60 a night. We are a member of Passport America, which offers a 50% discount on thousands of campgrounds all over North America.

PROPANE: $12

We use propane for our cooktop, water heater and sometimes to power our refrigerator.

WATER / ELECTRIC: $0

We fill up our water tank in campgrounds or from our parking hosts. So far we haven’t had to pay for water or power (of which we use very little), aside from our campground fees.

TRASH: $0

We carry our trash and dispose of it responsibly in campgrounds.

TOTAL AVERAGE MONTHLY EXPENSES FOR TINY HOUSE GIANT JOURNEY  = $1520

While this number might seem high, it’s less than our old apartment rent payment in Los Angeles (which was $2600 a month not including utilities, car payments, gas, etc)! We could save a lot of money by traveling less and canceling our internet, but that’s not the lifestyle we want.  You might notice that we did not include food expenses, phones expenses, health insurance, student loans, etc. That is because those expenses would be the same on or off the road, tiny or big.

We hope this is helpful! Could you do it cheaper?

*This article was originally published on Tumbleweedhouses.com

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68 Comments

  1. November 2, 2015 / 3:32 pm

    when you think about it, $1550/2 is not that expensive for all the things you do. The cost of living in any major US city is far greater than that!

  2. Jonathan benabed
    September 14, 2015 / 6:45 pm

    Hello guys !
    I’m from france so sorry for my bad english 🙂 Here is some questions :
    How often do you move the house ? every day ?
    What about security , people with RV have sometime unwanted visitors especialy when they are alone.
    For the truck maintenance the insurance do not help ?
    Is the solar pannel enought to feed your computers, pump, lights and internet system ? can you detail your power uses and production? What’s happen if you run out of electricity ?

    Any way, you do a great job with your house, very inspiring. Thanks to sharing your experiences, So congrats !!
    Have fun, living your dream 🙂

    • September 18, 2015 / 10:29 am

      We moved our house on average a couple times a week. Sometimes every 2-3 days, sometimes once every two weeks.
      We have never been worried about security. We have a hitch lock just in case, but it’s never been a worry for us.
      Some insurances cover truck maintenance but they are very expensive and not that common.
      The solar is enough for us. We now was 390W of solar panels and a 1,250Wh battery/inverter system. It all depends on your use. Our computers use 55-75W to charge, light bulbs are about 5W, waterpump is around 100W when in use and Internet is through our phones (5W chargers). We can usually plug in where we park, so we never run out of electricity.

      • Jonathan benabed
        October 12, 2015 / 7:09 am

        Thanks a lot !! And what about cold an hot temperature? Do you plane to do a movie about your trip ? Have fun 🙂 !!

  3. april
    September 13, 2015 / 9:55 am

    What do you do for work? How can i start a job online?

    • September 13, 2015 / 12:18 pm

      Photography, writing, travel journalism, workshop hosting, blogging. You have to create your own work!

  4. September 2, 2015 / 2:51 pm

    Could you talk a little bit more about your electric situation? Do you use solar power at all? Was it difficult to find appliances, (the fridge specifically) that could run both on power and propane? How do you keep your food cold on the road? Thanks in advance!

    • September 4, 2015 / 8:24 am

      On the road, we use a small solar system. We have two 100W panels and a Goal Zero Yeti 1250 solar battery. Finding appliances wasn’t too difficult as they’ve been available for RVs for a long time. We just made sure most of our energy heavy appliances could run on propane. Our fridge is a three way fridge, Dometic RM2354 and our water heater is instant propane, PrecisionTemp RV-550 NSP. As for being on the road, the fridge is a great cooler! We can go 6-8hrs with some ice in it and it’ll stay cold enough. But we do have it set up now so that it can run on propane as we drive around, not needing to fill it with ice.

  5. August 12, 2015 / 2:39 pm

    This has been very helpful though I am all by myself it will be hard starting over my dream is to live in my very own tiny home I have no car payment or bills just cell but have to start over due to very bad sircumstances , I’m saving for my new tiny home and it is my dream and future need all the knowledge I can get I would like to help build it but would need help don’t know anyone by myself hopefully this will change in the future I watch all your videos on u tube I have a U tube channel in my name DENISE SANABIA , I CANT WAIT TILL IM LIVING IN MY TINY HOME

  6. July 3, 2015 / 4:51 pm

    Helped so much, have an Elm on Martha’s Vineyard (haven’t found a spot for it yet} but your cost analysis let me see what truck I needed, I thought I needed a 350! If I leave the island and travel, now I know what $ I need to do it. You guys are my heroes. Kayaked around Alaska to glaciers & walked to a glacier lake – you will see many more – and don’t miss cramponing up a glacier – what a thrill. If you get discouraged, just know you are my heroes!

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