Author Topic: Advice? Looking for carpentry vehicle options  (Read 1768 times)

FrugalInTheBigSky

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
  • Age: 46
Advice? Looking for carpentry vehicle options
« on: March 10, 2017, 07:48:51 AM »
My partner has recently ended his relationship as a 20 year employee of a small construction company and is going out on his own. This is part of our sort of FIRE, scale back, live frugally, MMM-inspired life...
But he needs a different vehicle.

The Good: He doesn't need to carry a lot of tools, but he does need to have them easily accessible (not crawling in the back of a truck topper)and locked when in town. Would like to be able to carry 8 foot sheets of sheating/plywood/OSB. Ideally could carry lengths of lumber on a roof rack. The lumber yards in town deliver free of charge, so it isn't necessary for him to carry great volumes and the projects are relatively small. We have other vehicles-- this doesn't need to be a recreation/trip vehicle too. We are handy, and can do many repairs ourselves. We buy and use high mileage vehicles and aren't afraid of them if they have a good reputation.

The Bad: We commute. I know, I know--- it is a waste. But we live a rural life where we farm, recreate and recharge. And we have done it for (gasp) 20 years. We love where we live and we don't want to live in town. Had we been MMMers a long time ago, perhaps we would have chosen differently. But anyway... it is about a 30 mile / 35 minute highway drive to town, where most all of the work will be and has been done. To me, the best gas mileage we can get out of this situation is critical. So a pickup truck isn't ideal for mileage and winter driving, but it is an option.

He is a car guy, and tends toward things he feels are 'cool'-- and he really wants a Sprinter. But they are expensive and I think overkill for what he needs. MMM does his construction out of a minivan, and we have focused our search on trying to find a reasonably priced older Toyota or Honda van, but sometimes our geography leads to weird shortages of supply of some vehicles and higher than book value prices. A Transit type might be too small. Honda Element? Toyota T100?

I suggested a tool trailer that we could leave in town, locked at a friend's place. Then we don't have to haul everything up and down the highway, and maybe the tow vehicle could be smaller, lighter, more efficient. He doesn't warm to the idea, but maybe a suggestion would spark his interest.

Help from the tradespeople in the MMM community? What more information could I give?

Thanks in advance,
The Concerned Mustachian Partner

lthenderson

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1693
Re: Advice? Looking for carpentry vehicle options
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2017, 07:58:05 AM »
I use my Honda Odyssey as my home remodeling vehicle. It can do all that you mention. However I'm just a small time handyman and house fixer upper. If I were actually in business to make money, I would probably buy a used panel van. They are plentiful in the used market. They have a bit more room and can allow full sheets of plywood up on end allowing you to access a sheet without first having to remove all your tools sitting on top like I have to do with my Odyssey. You lose some gas mileage but I think it is more than made up by hauling capacity and convenience. Also, construction work is extremely hard on the interior plastic paneling of passenger mini-vans and I'm assume hurts the resale value if you ever have to sell it. Panel vans generally have all steel interiors and thus hold up much better.

J_Stache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
Re: Advice? Looking for carpentry vehicle options
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2017, 08:20:59 AM »
My answer as a former contractor is dependent on a few things:
How many days a week does he expect to work?
What type of jobs?
How much do you plan to charge? (e.g. above average cost for your area or below)?

FrugalInTheBigSky

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
  • Age: 46
Re: Advice? Looking for carpentry vehicle options
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2017, 08:33:00 AM »
My answer as a former contractor is dependent on a few things:
How many days a week does he expect to work?
What type of jobs?
How much do you plan to charge? (e.g. above average cost for your area or below)?

We are budgeting for average 3 days per week.
Small homeowner remodels, trim, fix stuff, replace doors and windows, decks maybe. Hoping to focus on the projects that are too small for a contractor, too big (or too involved) for the homeowner. Also hoping to develop a monthly service to (mostly, this has been the historical need) women that have a list of shit that needs to get done. I would say average cost. He would be paid a lower rate for subbing on large projects for contractors he has worked with in the past, because he isn't dealing with the homeowner, other subs, planning etc-- just providing labor. Higher rate for the small homeowner projects. Hope this helps.

phred

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 506
Re: Advice? Looking for carpentry vehicle options
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2017, 01:19:42 PM »
most of the carpenters where I live that specialize in remodels & upgrades drive a full-size pickup and pull an enclosed 8 or 10 foot trailer. 
Plumbers, electricians  and heating cooling all seem to drive full-size vans.

snogirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 367
Re: Advice? Looking for carpentry vehicle options
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2017, 02:11:44 PM »
My answer as a former contractor is dependent on a few things:
How many days a week does he expect to work?
What type of jobs?
How much do you plan to charge? (e.g. above average cost for your area or below)?

We are budgeting for average 3 days per week.
Small homeowner remodels, trim, fix stuff, replace doors and windows, decks maybe. Hoping to focus on the projects that are too small for a contractor, too big (or too involved) for the homeowner. Also hoping to develop a monthly service to (mostly, this has been the historical need) women that have a list of shit that needs to get done. I would say average cost. He would be paid a lower rate for subbing on large projects for contractors he has worked with in the past, because he isn't dealing with the homeowner, other subs, planning etc-- just providing labor. Higher rate for the small homeowner projects. Hope this helps.
I do exactly what your partner wants to do. I drive a Toyota pickup and have cheap small landscape trailer for getting rid of debris. On the trailer I run a lockable tool box bolted to the front wishbone. This setup has worked awesome for all sorts of jobs & side gigs.

Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk


dcozad999

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 700
Re: Advice? Looking for carpentry vehicle options
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2017, 03:38:31 PM »
Instead of buying a tool trailer, how about a cheap, beatup pickup and leaving it at the friend's house?

I'm assuming he already has an economy car that gets him to town.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2017, 03:40:28 PM by dcozad999 »