« This couple has built his tiny-house on wheels for $ 25,000 and can live everywhere! »
We often see this kind of publication on different pages and in different news articles, but what is it really? The THOW market is one of the most complex in the field of alternative housing. We will try to demystify all that surrounds the cost of tiny houses on wheels to enlighten self-builders as well as people who want to get one built.
First of all, the price of a tiny house depends on several factors. The dimensions, the level of insulation (yes, it always takes a minimum, regardless of the climate!), energy needs, equipment and finally the self-sufficiency options (off the grid). Indeed, the dimensions affect the choice of the type of trailer (width, length, number of axles) as well as the quantity of materials required for the construction. Walls, floor and roof insulation can consist of different types of materials, but some are preferable for a tiny house on wheels. The choice of different devices affects the cost of your project, because even if most owners of THOW are content with little, there are some elements that are almost always present in a home. Their level of quality and performance is at the customer’s choice, but it must be taken into account that some small compact equipment costs as much, if not more than conventional sized ones. Finally, the self-sufficiency option constitute the biggest investment on your project, because not only the equipments are expensive, but their installation affects the whole system.
For tiny houses to be credible for financial institutions and municipalities, it goes without saying that they must be built in a state of the art manner. The same goes for the safety of the inhabitants. Even for self-construction, it is important to refer to the building code for the various components of the structure and construction techniques. In the same vein, electricity, plumbing and propane lines must be installed by certified professionals to ensure quality and safety. When comes the time to insure your THOW, be it registered as an RV or as a park house, your insurance company will certainly ask you questions about your construction. In addition, it would be irresponsible and sometimes even illegal not to insure your product, like any type of home or recreational vehicle.
For example: a 8.5×20 tiny house with a loft, running on electricity with a 50A input, no appliances or autonomy option generally has between $ 30,000 and $ 38,500 CAD in materials only. Skilled labor, even at a competitive price, represents an almost equivalent amount. It is therefore easy to say that a base price for a THOW purchased from a builder is around $ 65,000 to $ 75,000 CAD + taxes and delivery. All that remains is the appliances and you have a mobile home of quality and isolated 4 seasons.
There are several reasons for the cost difference between some tiny houses built by self-builders and those built by professionnals. As a business, there are several expenses (fixed costs, variable costs, insurances, etc.) that a self-builder does not have to worry about. There are also fees related to the different certifications that professionals must comply with in order to sell this type of product. Some homes for sale by individuals may have been made according to the rules of art, but with a certified company we ensure peace of mind and long-term sustainability, which is essential for such an important purchase. It is true that the cost of this type of home is lower than a typical house, but twice as small does not necessarily mean half the price. Indeed, many elements are recurrent and essential regardless of the size (shower, toilet, sink, sink, air exchanger, front door, etc.). On the other hand, the reduction of the ecological footprint, the mobility and the low energy consumption represent real advantages. So you have to balance things out and find out from informed people.
In sum, the use of proven techniques and appropriate materials is the best way to achieve sustainable and safe construction. Several products are offered in different price ranges and we invite you to ask more about the technical rather than the aesthetic. It is much better to invest a little more initially than to end up with problems afterwards. As the proverb says so well: a wise man is worth two!