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View Full Version : Making my own trailer vs. buying one


vball2116
07-26-2006, 11:08 PM
Hey everone! I am 17 and slowly starting to get into the lawn care business and I have just outgrown my bed of my truck because I now have a riding lawn mower for now and am moving to a waklbehind next year. So its time for me to get a trailer to meet my needs of hauling my equipment around. I am getting a hitch installed now and have some questions about trailers. I have posted and searched already and I want a 5X10 trailer. I drive a 2000 Ford ranger V6 Automatic transmission so I know my truck could handle the trailer but what is the usual cost of a regular open landscape trailer? My uncle has suggested to me that if it would be cheaper he and I would make our own because he does metal work and has many friends that weld and do things along that line. Did anyone ever design and make their own trailer and how did it turn out? I know that there are some trailer blueprints out there and I would follow their plan but would it be worth it? I know putting the hard work into one and seeing the finish product would be a great success and I could do some of my own ideas already incorporated into trailer like a side gate, but I would just like some imput to see what your personal opinion would be? I know once I got into this project I would never back down from it so what would your personal advice be? I appreciate any help or ideas that you may have for me! Thanks in advance.

Jeff

lawnmaniac883
07-26-2006, 11:12 PM
You can get a new 5X10 for around 600 or 700 if you look around. I would just buy one unless you really have good fabrication skills plus the price of steel is ridiculous right now.

Team-Green L&L
07-26-2006, 11:19 PM
Hey everone! I am 17 and slowly starting to get into the lawn care business and I have just outgrown my bed of my truck because I now have a riding lawn mower for now and am moving to a waklbehind next year. So its time for me to get a trailer to meet my needs of hauling my equipment around. I am getting a hitch installed now and have some questions about trailers. I have posted and searched already and I want a 5X10 trailer. I drive a 2000 Ford ranger V6 Automatic transmission so I know my truck could handle the trailer but what is the usual cost of a regular open landscape trailer? My uncle has suggested to me that if it would be cheaper he and I would make our own because he does metal work and has many friends that weld and do things along that line. Did anyone ever design and make their own trailer and how did it turn out? I know that there are some trailer blueprints out there and I would follow their plan but would it be worth it? I know putting the hard work into one and seeing the finish product would be a great success and I could do some of my own ideas already incorporated into trailer like a side gate, but I would just like some imput to see what your personal opinion would be? I know once I got into this project I would never back down from it so what would your personal advice be? I appreciate any help or ideas that you may have for me! Thanks in advance.

Jeff


Dont take this the wrong way, but your idea is that of a 17 yr old. It is all easy in idealogy, but a welder and fabricator capable of building his own (road -safe and to spec) makes a starting wage of $45 hr. working for someone else. The point is this: trailors cost money because you cant simply build one like legos. If your uncle can design and build a good trailor for under the price of a better used one, then go for it. Chances aren't likely to turn out in your favor this route.

tthomass
07-26-2006, 11:44 PM
safety is #1................#2, due to your truck, I would HIGHLY recommend an aluminum to save weight.......#3 should you build your own, careful not to make it too heavy using thicker/diff metal

gammon landscaping
07-27-2006, 12:02 AM
i will tell you this from my experance. i am a trailer freak i buy them and they pile up on me. i have 3 right know that i have built or that are home made. the trailer guys get better deals on steel and they build where they have little or no scrap. they also don't make much on trailers and do it on volume. when you build one you self it has very little resale value and you get stuck with them . the 5x10 you want you will out grow fast, and when you do you will have to either build a new one or buy one. the good bet is trade the 5x10 in on the 7x16 that you will want next when you get off the ground and you get a new powerstroke you will need.
go ahead and buy one save time, have some resale, and have one you can tag easy

p.s. i still buy homebuilt trailers but it is just a bad habit of mine

vball2116
07-27-2006, 12:09 AM
Hey guys I appreciate all the posts. The more thinking I do about this the more work involved it could be and that means a bigger hassle than just buying one. I thought that a 5X10 were around $1000 so I thought that maybe making one could be much cheaper but now that I look into it a bit more the price of me doing everything the way I want could easily be 500 more. So i think I will take the safe route because safety is always the number 1 priority in my book and just buy one and add some things to it myself. I mean my uncle would do most of the fabricating work and he has friend that would do the welding, etc. But in the long run I may only save a 100 at most so I will play is safe and buy one. Would there be a best time to buy one either like the end of this season in the winter or right before the mowing season starts next yr. I want to thank you guys for looking out for safety over a better deal. The extra money will be worth it in the end and quite a few less headaches. Thanks again! :)

Jeff

Scag48
07-27-2006, 12:24 AM
Yeah man, just buy a trailer. It would more than likely cost you more to build one than it would to buy, that is assuming everything is perfect when it's all done. Even if all the metal work is perfect, you still have to wire the trailer and trailer builders get huge discounts on their lights and wire than you ever will, I'd say it would cost at least $60-$80 to buy all the lights and associated hardware to wire the trailer. So by building a trailer, it's a lot of time spent for something that can be had for $1,000 or less.

rfed32
07-27-2006, 01:49 AM
i would also buy one. u can prob pick up a good used one cheap. then you dont have to go thru the hassel of getting the stuff you need buildin it and you deff dont want to mess up. i would buy one if your gonna get one that size and if you need bigger years down the road you can always build one then...good luck if you deside to build...also i saw your from pa. if you check out trade n times and stuff like that you can find one...where in N/E pa are you??

vball2116
07-27-2006, 03:13 PM
Hey guys thanks for all the posts...I live by the Wilkes-barre/Scranton Area if your familar with that. Thanks

Brendan Smith
07-27-2006, 04:06 PM
i built mine, and love it because i was able to set it up the way i wanted. cost about 2/3 of what buying one would have with an identical set-up. BUT it was the off season and that weekend i didn't have anything going on. if it was the busy season, i would have bought, no questions asked. i also love to build stuff, so the satisfaction i got from building versus buying figured into the equation also. i also have complete confidence in my welding abilities, but still got another person who does pipe welding to make the main structural welds to be safe.

vball2116
07-27-2006, 04:23 PM
i built mine, and love it because i was able to set it up the way i wanted. cost about 2/3 of what buying one would have with an identical set-up. BUT it was the off season and that weekend i didn't have anything going on. if it was the busy season, i would have bought, no questions asked. i also love to build stuff, so the satisfaction i got from building versus buying figured into the equation also. i also have complete confidence in my welding abilities, but still got another person who does pipe welding to make the main structural welds to be safe.

Hey do you have any pics of what the trailer looks like now and did you just follow your own plan or just buy one of the blue prints and made some adjustments?

Jeff

Brendan Smith
07-27-2006, 05:36 PM
Hey do you have any pics of what the trailer looks like now and did you just follow your own plan or just buy one of the blue prints and made some adjustments?

Jeff
i forget what site i got them from, but the plans were really, really lacking detail (fine by me, they were free and i enjoy fabrication). i drew some plans myself, but ended up going with their basic layout. the trimmer rack and cargo box were fabricated with no plans whatsoever, just an idea in my head. i don't have any pics, and since the whole project only took three days (granted they were loooooong days), i didn't think it was important enough to doccument. one thing i found, wood floors are way more durable (i used 2x6x16's) than expanded metal (expanded steel is ok with proper reinforcement, but you have to virtually tack every intersection and it still pulls loose with time), and be careful when you choose your expanded steel (some of it is overlapped wire, other types are appear to be punched out of a solid sheet and that is the higher quality type you want). don't be afraid to add extra bracing, and build it beefier overall than you think you have to. it won't break because it is overbuilt. another thing - your shackle mounts, tounge bracing, and tounge, i feel, should be bolted through with at least grade 8 bolts, as if one of these welds breaks, you are F***ED. good luck if you decide to build, and if you haven't done alot of welding, bring in someone who has for the main structural stuff at least. :weightlifter:

308
07-27-2006, 05:58 PM
I have a 5x12 that I built, but I got the material in exchange for the labor to build another trailer.
If I had to do it again and buy the material, plus my time, its just cheaper to buy one ready made.
The guys building the trailers get good prices on metal and hardware because they buy so much at one time, you can't compete with their metal prices

At today's steel prices material alone will cost you 70 to 90 percent of what you can buy the trailer for to start with. Joey S

DoetschOutdoor
07-27-2006, 08:00 PM
I ordered my plans for northern tool I think and then the price of steel made me buy a trailer. You are not going to hardly save ANY money, it will be a hassle, it might not be perfect, you gotta wire it up, etc. I see 5x10 trailers around here used for 3 or 4 hundred bucks. Give it a good paint job and replace/seal the boards and you can have a trailer that looks and functions just like a brand new one for a whole lot less

allenh60
07-27-2006, 08:31 PM
Hey guys I appreciate all the posts. The more thinking I do about this the more work involved it could be and that means a bigger hassle than just buying one. I thought that a 5X10 were around $1000 so I thought that maybe making one could be much cheaper but now that I look into it a bit more the price of me doing everything the way I want could easily be 500 more. So i think I will take the safe route because safety is always the number 1 priority in my book and just buy one and add some things to it myself. I mean my uncle would do most of the fabricating work and he has friend that would do the welding, etc. But in the long run I may only save a 100 at most so I will play is safe and buy one. Would there be a best time to buy one either like the end of this season in the winter or right before the mowing season starts next yr. I want to thank you guys for looking out for safety over a better deal. The extra money will be worth it in the end and quite a few less headaches. Thanks again! :)

Jeff
I agree with Gammon. Don't buy a small one. you will definately out grow it sooner than you think. I made my own first 2 trailers out of a small boat trailer and the other out of a pop up camper. I out grew the boat trailer one in 2 months and then the pop up camper one in about 3 months. Then I ran across a deal for a 7x16 for $500.00 and jumped on it. It's sufficient but I am already thinking about a longer one. Watch the classifieds and trailers setting in peoples yards for sale. Also if you don't mind traveling a ways, E-bay usually has some good deals if you go pick it up.

rfed32
07-29-2006, 03:52 PM
i live right outside philly i know where scranton is never really been there tho...

Mike33
07-29-2006, 09:34 PM
I own 5 trailers any thing from small for my 4 wheeler to a 12,000 gvw for my hydro seeder. I was pfof. auto body for 15 years with my own shop. I would of had the eq. to build one. How ever i purchased all 5 and happy i did. Put a price on running 12 diferent direction for parts not fun. Then here in Md. they have to be inspected which is good because of idiots putting junk on the road. You will not save anything. Good luck to you and go to college and forget the landscaping business. Run a computer in the ac instead of sweating your ass like most of us here that does not have a choice.
Mike

muddstopper
07-29-2006, 11:54 PM
I built my 6x12 dump trailer myself, but only because noone sold exactly what I wanted and, to special build one they wanted much extra. I have built several trailers to suit my particular needs at the time and I can guarantee you it is much cheaper to just buy what you want if you can find it. Steel prices are just part of the cost of the trailer. Dealers can get better pricing on axles, tires and rims, lights, wireing, springs etc., etc. Not to mention the time involved. I have plasma cutters, welders, saws, cutting torches and the ability to use them. Still, if I can find what I want, I would rather buy than built anyday. The difference in money saved has to be considerable before I build another trailer.