Transporting a tiny house is the kind of thing that sounds easy. Just hook it up to a pickup truck, and off you go, right? Weeellllll, actually, it’s a little trickier than that!
Here at the Great American Tiny House Show, we pride ourselves on giving you up-to-date information straight from the source. That’s why we reached out to Taylor Tefft, owner of One Call Logistics, to give us the 4-1-1 on tiny house transportation.
Unlike other transportation companies, One Call Logistics specializes in moving tiny homes. This is important because moving a tiny house is different from moving other kinds of structures. Many people think that they are qualified to transport their tiny house because they’ve driven a camper or two in their day. But again, our response is weeellllll...
Here’s the thing. Tiny houses are much heavier than campers. They are also not nearly as aerodynamic. After all, most tiny home owners only move their house once in a great while, so aesthetics and livability tend to be prioritized over ease of transport. So what are you risking in the transportation process? Well, not to scare you, but everything from tire blowouts to ‘swaying’ to not accounting for insurance that covers the house while in movement.
People do it, but transporting your tiny house yourself is definitely not for the faint of heart. Professional transporters exist for a reason. And as a reminder, that reason is to make sure everyone lives through the experience. Oh, and that your house does too.
OK, but let’s say you really, really want to do this yourself. Here is a checklist to assist you with going about it safely.
1) Make sure your tiny tires are in good shape! In fact, be sure and read our previous post about tires. You’ll want to make sure there is no dry rot, that the tires are properly inflated, and that the treads are in good condition.
2) Plan your route carefully. Don’t be that person who takes their roof off while driving under an overpass. Proper route planning also means accounting for weight restrictions, hairpin turns, road closures, weather conditions, the necessity of using ferries, elevation climbs, and the feasibility of parking the house at your destination.
3) Get insurance. Important PSA: many tiny house insurance policies do NOT cover the house while it is in motion! If you have to purchase specialty insurance for your trip, do so. Also, note that professional tiny house transporters should have insurance that will cover you during the move. This is one of the benefits of going with a professional.
4) Obtain any necessary permits and tags. This is another thing that professional transport companies will handle for you. But if you’re doing it on your own, make sure your paperwork is in order. If your tiny falls into the ‘oversize’ category, keep in mind that you will need special permits in each state you pass through. What qualifies as oversize can vary, but anything bigger than 8.5’ wide, 13.5’ tall, or 44-ish feet long is likely to fall into that category. Weight can also qualify a tiny house as oversize.
5) Make sure your tiny house is properly prepped. Is your refrigerator bolted to the floor? Definitely find out before you try to move your tiny house! If it’s not, use ratcheting straps to make sure that bad boy stays put. And while you’re at it, grab a pair for your washer and dryer situation as well. Cabinets should be closed, furniture wedged, doors locked, and when in doubt, seal anything and everything with painter’s tape. You forgot the sliding barn door in your bathroom, didn’t you? Don’t do that. Oh! And that AC unit. Those can come loose, so be sure to check on yours throughout the journey!
6) Use an appropriate truck. We know your uncle has an F-250 with a ball hitch on the back. And thank you, but no, Uncle Dave, we don’t want to borrow it. Remember, tiny houses are heavy and not necessarily built to cut smoothly down freeways. This is a situation in which bigger actually is better. Dually wheels and sway bars go a long way too!
So how are you feeling? We’re not going to talk anyone out of a pioneering spirit, but please be honest with yourself about your personal limitations. If your driving experience is limited to a Honda Accord, please think twice before transporting a twenty-one thousand-pound house across the country. There are other people on the road too, you know?
If you decide that transporting your tiny house is too dangerous or scary, or your mom won’t let you, then it’s time to call a professional. Just make sure you do your research first! So how do you know if a transport company is any good? We’re glad you asked! Here are a few good signs.
1) They have an online presence. If it’s a reputable business, it should be clear that they are, in fact, doing business. There should be a website and maybe an Instagram or Facebook page. There should also be reviews somewhere, and those reviews should say nice things. Things like, “my house arrived in one piece,” for instance.
2) They are educated about tiny homes. You know everything you learned from reading this blog post? Yeah, your tiny house transporter should know these things too. If they seem unfamiliar with tiny house terminology or give you vague answers, run.
3) It’s not exactly cheap. We know you want to save money, but don’t save a couple thousand dollars on transport, only to be forced to buy a new house because your off-brand, Craigslist transpo-human couldn’t handle tiny-house-sway, and now you own a very expensive pile of splinters somewhere off I-70. You also don’t want someone who gets freaked out mid-drive and abandons your house on the side of the road. Yes, that happens. Get three quotes and go with someone who feels good in your gut. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Alright, well, that’s our lesson for today! Special thanks to Taylor with One Call Logistics for sharing these tiny transpo tips! We hope you learned something and that you stay safe out there.
See you next week!