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. Kyle H
    July 27, 2016 / 11:36 pm

    I’m interested in knowing how much you pay each month for health insurance and who your provider is.

    • Kyle H
      July 30, 2016 / 8:37 am

      I’ve looked all over for information on healthcare plans that are not state specific and it is incredibly difficult to find any information on the topic.

      • Beverly
        August 21, 2016 / 11:17 am

        I don’t know if they offer non-employeer plans, but Oxford Health (by United Healthcare) does multi-state plans for distributed workforces. Sorry I can’t be of more help, but perhaps the tip will lead you down the right path.

  2. Cindy King
    June 30, 2016 / 9:09 pm

    Tiny House Giant Journey, I talked to my State Farm agent and she said they would cover my future tiny house under RV or Recreational camper. You may want to inquire about these options. Hope this helps

    • June 30, 2016 / 10:00 pm

      Thanks Cindy. Our State Farm agent contacted State Farm 2 years ago when we were getting started and they wouldn’t consider it. Maybe things changed! If you plan on building it yourself, make sure they are OK with that too.

  3. Janna
    May 25, 2016 / 7:46 pm

    If you traveled around just one state, let’s say Colorado, would your house be easier to insure? Is it so expensive because you go from state to state? Is there not some RV insurance that would cover the house?

    • Cinnerlu
      June 2, 2016 / 5:56 pm

      If the house is legally considered an RV and registered as such, typical RV coverage should work just fine. Coverage territory for most policies is the US, its Territories and Canada. Outside of this, you’re at the mercy of that country; some will allow US insurance carriers to settle claims, others do not. Going into Mexico, you’re usually safer buying their insurance at the border.

      What an awesome experience; it’s exciting to live vicariously through your journey!

  4. Ron E.
    May 14, 2016 / 10:19 pm

    I would think using a “gooseneck” trailer would be more beneficial as it would distribute the weight more efficiently.
    I am also wondering if any weights and measures authorities have ever stopped your setup to inspect for safety.
    I live in a budget deprived state that could probably see it as an “advantage to take advantage” of a rig pulling a setup like yours if it isn’t appropriate to bridge laws,etc.

    • May 14, 2016 / 10:24 pm

      Well, we’ve never been pulled over just for an inspection. Our tiny house is perfectly legal on the road, with Recreational Trailer license plates, within street legal dimensions (both height and width) and weight restriction of the trailer.
      While a gooseneck trailer usually tows better, it wasn’t a good choice for us. Most gooseneck safe longer than our rig and we didn’t want anything bigger. They also make the bed of the truck unusable and they make it hard to build something that actually looks like a “typical simple house.”

    • Janna
      May 25, 2016 / 7:48 pm

      I am looking at a gooseneck trailer as well. It seems like it would be safer on the road.

  5. Jenna Krabacher
    February 25, 2016 / 12:52 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! We are in the processes of working to get where you are and this information is really helpful. It’s one thing to want to do this, but when you get to the point where you think you can and then find out you simply cannot afford it it’s a complete let-down. This is absolutely doable and I thank you so much for sharing and giving more support to my dream 🙂

  6. December 15, 2015 / 4:42 pm

    Thanks for your article about the costs of towing a tiny house. The tiny house movement is gaining a lot of momentum these days. I know that a lot of tiny houses can work around building requirements/codes if they have wheels instead of a foundation. That’s great that you have a vehicle that can tow your tiny house. If you don’t, I’m sure you can hire a towing company if you decide that you need to “move.”

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