Author Topic: Need family fleet advice.  (Read 3577 times)

TMBear

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Bothell-Woodinville, WA, USA
Need family fleet advice.
« on: December 28, 2016, 12:58:20 PM »
Hi guys,

After years looking after kids my wife is finally starting a job, it can be a point where it's possible to optimize our family cars and it'd be nice to hear your opinions. And I have to confess of having a huge problem - I want a truck. A big, diesel one; I always wanted one. Rumors say it has something to do with masculinity/sizing, but I overgrew that age and I still want a truck.

The current situation: 2 adults, 2 kids, 2 cars (both cars > 10 years old):
- small sedan (Toyota Corolla)
- minivan (Toyota Sienna)

Corolla is the primary coach, we put ~20-25k/yr miles on it. It's a really hard working horse, I love it and am sorry for it. It goes everywhere - school, shopping, camping, you name it. My plan is to run it to the end, then buy another one or something a bit more mustachian (prius?). Looking from current situation buying a minivan was probably a mistake. But 4 years ago when we moved from Australia we thought we can get along with one car only and bought the most versatile one (it didn't work out). By now we bought a house and the minivan mostly sits in the garage collecting dust and small scratches from me moving lumber around. Having said that, minivan is still a huge help when we use it. We like breaking/fixing/renovating things in our home, 4x8 plywood fits in Sienna perfectly (though only 4-5 sheets, if more the front sits get into the way), lumber up to 10 feet (longer one goes on the roof), I'm yet to see anything from Craigslist not fitting it.

The problem is that my wife will need to drive to work, I'll be responsible for driving kids to school (which probably require driving to work as well - currently I ride my bike to a nearest bus). Also minivan doesn't cover all transportation needs - I can't load gravel or manure for our yard, a lot of things are more convenient with truck (firewood, free pallets for reclaimed wood etc). And, you know, I have masculine/size problem that requires truck to fix.

So far I came up with a couple of options but can't make up my mind (which makes me unhappy):

1. Do nothing. Minivan would get more miles, gravel/manure would wait or somehow come by itself, finally I'll find out something from Craigslist that doesn't fit Sienna. I'll probably buy a motorbike, but later - when I'm in or close to FIRE.

2. Replace the minivan with a truck. It'll require 5-10K investment (which is not that critical). Truck would get some miles from driving kids around, gravel and manure would get a nice ride in it, I'll never find out if anything from Craigslist doesn't fit Sienna. I'll probably buy a motorcycle, but later - when I'm in or close to FIRE.

3. Sell minivan, buy a mustachian small car to drive kids around - something like Prius or Leaf (should we now wait for Chevrolet Bolt?) or even 2-seat Smart would do. Then buy an oldish shitty truck. It would require 7-10K investment, relatively small insurance hike (that will get paid off by shifting miles from truck/minivan to a smaller car); gravel and manure get even jollier ride in the shitty truck; I'll never find out if anything from Craigslist doesn't fit Sienna; and I'll probably buy a motorbike later on - when I'm in or close to FIRE.

Sorry for such a long post for such a small problem (I don't have any credit card debts or situation with 401K that I could offer for discussion). I wanted to summarize my case study but since my situation changes my statistical data is not valid anymore, maybe next year I'll do it. But up my honest, 3rd party opinions would be of a great help.

Currently I'm with option 1, but not because it was decided upon, it's merely because I can't make any decision.

mxt0133

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1559
  • Location: San Francisco
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2016, 01:15:03 PM »
Exactly how much gravel and manure do you need?  Why don't you just have it delivered.  I'm pretty sure it will still cost less than having to get a truck at 7-10k cost, not investment.

Stick to option 1.  If it ain't broke don't fix it, applies here.

MrsDinero

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 935
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2016, 01:19:44 PM »
Can you buy or borrow a used trailer to hook up to the minivan for when you need manure and gravel?

TMBear

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Bothell-Woodinville, WA, USA
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2016, 01:26:16 PM »
Exactly how much gravel and manure do you need?  Why don't you just have it delivered.  I'm pretty sure it will still cost less than having to get a truck at 7-10k cost, not investment.
Stick to option 1.  If it ain't broke don't fix it, applies here.
Not much so far, it's mostly here and there, and in the past we did exactly what you said, though it's not very convenient (delivery minimum 12 yards of topsoil for our garden beds is a kind too much, now I need sand for our chicken coop, no way I want 12 yards of it). In the past we had a good neighbor with a small truck that was happy to help us, but he moved out.

Anyway, thanks for your opinion - it'd give a basis for what I'm doing now (nothing :).

NoStacheOhio

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2143
  • Location: Cleveland
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2016, 01:28:31 PM »
Can you buy or borrow a used trailer to hook up to the minivan for when you need manure and gravel?

This was my first thought. Either that or rent a U-Haul or Home Depot truck by the hour.

TMBear

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Bothell-Woodinville, WA, USA
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2016, 01:41:11 PM »
Can you buy or borrow a used trailer to hook up to the minivan for when you need manure and gravel?

This was my first thought. Either that or rent a U-Haul or Home Depot truck by the hour.

We did considered a trailer right after we bought the minivan, even installed a hitch (use it now for a bike rack now). But we have two friend that both broke transmissions hauling trailers with SUVs so we're a bit afraid of doing it.
Hiring HD/U-Haul truck was on our radars as well when we thought of selling minivan and buying a small cars, but as far as I remember we come to conclusion that hiring a truck once a month is more expensive than own a shitty one.

NoStacheOhio

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2143
  • Location: Cleveland
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2016, 01:49:09 PM »
Can you buy or borrow a used trailer to hook up to the minivan for when you need manure and gravel?

This was my first thought. Either that or rent a U-Haul or Home Depot truck by the hour.

We did considered a trailer right after we bought the minivan, even installed a hitch (use it now for a bike rack now). But we have two friend that both broke transmissions hauling trailers with SUVs so we're a bit afraid of doing it.
Hiring HD/U-Haul truck was on our radars as well when we thought of selling minivan and buying a small cars, but as far as I remember we come to conclusion that hiring a truck once a month is more expensive than own a shitty one.

If you're breaking your transmission hauling a trailer, then you're probably doing something wrong. I can't imagine a short trip across town with a small trailer would be that problematic.

trammatic

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 218
  • Location: Gettysburg
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2016, 02:00:06 PM »
Or how about a hybrid between 1 and 3?  Keep the minivan and buy a shitty truck, then you can keep your cost under the 7-10k range..  I found tons of trucks on Seattle's craigslist for under 3k:

http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/ctd/5934926540.html
http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/cto/5906487794.html
...

frugaliknowit

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1670
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2016, 02:46:38 PM »
Purely from a mustachian viewpoint, I don't see the real need for a truck.  Outsource the hauling needs via deliveries or renting a truck when needed.

TMBear

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Bothell-Woodinville, WA, USA
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2016, 02:54:23 PM »


If you're breaking your transmission hauling a trailer, then you're probably doing something wrong. I can't imagine a short trip across town with a small trailer would be that problematic.

Agree, these friends were doing mostly highway hauling - frequent trips with a smaller boat trailer and another a box trailer over the mountains. I'm probably for a bigger load (1/2 yard of gravel is probably close to 1 ton) and a much shorter distances. And they're definitely more aggressive drivers. Will definitely think about this option.


Or how about a hybrid between 1 and 3?  Keep the minivan and buy a shitty truck, then you can keep your cost under the 7-10k range..  I found tons of trucks on Seattle's craigslist for under 3k:

http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/ctd/5934926540.html
http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/cto/5906487794.html
...

These are exactly the trucks I'm looking at as "shitty" (I usually filter by diesel and manual, but it doesn't really matter). The problem is that I don't get the point of keeping both track and a minivan. As soon as we get a truck minivan became absolutely useless and it's better to replace it with something small (like prius or leaf or even Smart), which is option 3.
I agree I probably overestimate price - it was based on 7-9K Leaf and truck priced similar to minivan (~5k). Actually this option can come much cheaper - maybe just a couple of grands. As I said, hike in insurance premium is surprisingly small (probably due to keeping the same 2 drivers) and will be paid off by offloading miles from bigger minivan/truck.

PS. Term "shitty" is too subjective, I'm pretty sure my neighbors and friends think we own shitty cars, but I give no, well, shit about it.

TMBear

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Bothell-Woodinville, WA, USA
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2016, 03:03:13 PM »
Purely from a mustachian viewpoint, I don't see the real need for a truck.  Outsource the hauling needs via deliveries or renting a truck when needed.
Delivering means big loads - we had to buy 12 yards of topsoil, which were too much for our garden beds. Hiring a truck only works for infrequent jobs - as we calculated, more than once a month and you're better off with your own truck. We love craigslist, especially "free" section, so we do more.
We definitely can get along without a truck, it's just not comfortable in some situations. I'm just trying to figure out if the comfort worth the investment.

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3225
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2016, 03:52:02 PM »
I came into this thread with a preconceived "Minivan is always the answer!" reply, and I think it still fits :)

I'm not sure how using a truck once per month makes it worth it.  The Home Depot/Lowes/Menards truck rental is $20 for an hour, or $240/year.  $10k@7% (the incremental cost of the truck) comes out to almost 3x that much.  You're also neglecting the increased cost to fuel the truck vs the minivan.

Also, it *is* possible to transport loads of compost or gravel in a minivan.  I know, because I did it just a few months ago.  Fold down/remove the seats, insert a large tarp so that it covers the floor/sides of the van, and dump the dirt in. Easy peasy.  I also find it hard to believe that you can't get topsoil delivered in quantities under 12 yards.  There are tons of places around me that have far smaller minimum delivery quantities (usually 3-5 yards minimum).

What it sounds like to me is that you're looking for validation for your desire to buy a truck.  Phrases like "finally I'll find out something from Craigslist that doesn't fit Sienna" or "5-10K investment" are red flags for me.  If you want a big, burly, beefy truck, that's fine, but don't try to kid yourself that it makes financial sense.

TMBear

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Bothell-Woodinville, WA, USA
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2016, 04:58:08 PM »

I came into this thread with a preconceived "Minivan is always the answer!" reply, and I think it still fits :)

I'm not sure how using a truck once per month makes it worth it.  The Home Depot/Lowes/Menards truck rental is $20 for an hour, or $240/year.  $10k@7% (the incremental cost of the truck) comes out to almost 3x that much.  You're also neglecting the increased cost to fuel the truck vs the minivan.

Also, it *is* possible to transport loads of compost or gravel in a minivan.  I know, because I did it just a few months ago.  Fold down/remove the seats, insert a large tarp so that it covers the floor/sides of the van, and dump the dirt in. Easy peasy.  I also find it hard to believe that you can't get topsoil delivered in quantities under 12 yards.  There are tons of places around me that have far smaller minimum delivery quantities (usually 3-5 yards minimum).

What it sounds like to me is that you're looking for validation for your desire to buy a truck.  Phrases like "finally I'll find out something from Craigslist that doesn't fit Sienna" or "5-10K investment" are red flags for me.  If you want a big, burly, beefy truck, that's fine, but don't try to kid yourself that it makes financial sense.


That's true - partially I'm trying to validate my thoughts and find if there's any ground for a more convenient truck (and if it's possible to fit it at all). Also it's a peace of mind to talk myself out and hear other opinions. So far I crossed out option 2 - though I have no intention to embrace mustachianism in full strength I do agree with everyone that I can't justify a "proper" truck.

Renting a truck for $19.99 is more of a myth. There're hidden costs - you need to buy insurance, pay per miles, one hour is definitely not enough. I'd say it's closer to $40-50 each rent. It wouldn't warrant for a 10K truck, but owing a shitty $3K one would be cheaper. Gas prices is not a big player here with such a low miles (after I ditched Sienna in favor of bike one fill is good for two months, though mpg drastically went down to almost 15).

Rationale for 12 yards was the price per yard. The one we bought from was a kind of wholesale that deliver only big dump truck, 12 was the minimum there. Other places offered prices twice as high, so we went for 12. On the long run it probably paid itself off - it lasted almost 3 years. Pickup prices are even cheaper so here come the truck thoughts.

It looks like I'm trying to justify truck even in this post, but honestly I'm not. I wouldn't dare loading minivan with gravel, but trailer is definitely an option I need to reconsider again (especially since I have hitch and electric already installed). The thing I don't like is that now minivan will get additional miles where small car would do better - this part I didn't pay much attention to.

Anyway, your opinion is much appreciated, one more voice to leave everything as it is.

meandmyfamily

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 227
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2016, 06:56:53 PM »
Our Sienna minivans (we are on our second) haul a small trailer with NO problems.  I think the minivan can do it all!  Our first last 11 years and 170,000 miles driven by us and we are 1.5 years into our second Sienna-great vehicle.  We also have 4 kids so car isn't an option.

Paul der Krake

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4596
  • Age: 11
  • Location: USA
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2016, 07:03:00 PM »
Stay below the towing rating of your minivan/sedan, don't gun up the hills, and you will be fine. When you do need a truck, rent one.

Unnecessary truck is unnecessary.

CowboyAndIndian

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1484
  • Location: NJ, USA
    • KOWines: Deep discount wine/spirits store.
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2016, 07:53:49 PM »
Check out lacking ambitions trailer pulled by a car. He redid multiple homes...

http://lackingambition.com/?p=1188

You should be able to haul a trailer with  the Sienna.
This should cost you less than a $1000.

fordman302

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2016, 10:50:16 PM »
I'll admit, I only skimmed this thread, but I have a truck (2005 F150 super crew) and use it as a truck every week.   Whether to haul 2 bikes for santa, bring home christmas trees, firewood, or water, or trees to plant, haul trash, cans to the recycle, it is incredibly convenient. Yes, 80% of the time it's just me driving to work, but I will never not have a truck for those times I need one.

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3225
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2016, 07:44:49 AM »
I'm not sure how using a truck once per month makes it worth it.  The Home Depot/Lowes/Menards truck rental is $20 for an hour, or $240/year.  $10k@7% (the incremental cost of the truck) comes out to almost 3x that much.  You're also neglecting the increased cost to fuel the truck vs the minivan.
...
What it sounds like to me is that you're looking for validation for your desire to buy a truck.  Phrases like "finally I'll find out something from Craigslist that doesn't fit Sienna" or "5-10K investment" are red flags for me.  If you want a big, burly, beefy truck, that's fine, but don't try to kid yourself that it makes financial sense.
That's true - partially I'm trying to validate my thoughts and find if there's any ground for a more convenient truck (and if it's possible to fit it at all). Also it's a peace of mind to talk myself out and hear other opinions. So far I crossed out option 2 - though I have no intention to embrace mustachianism in full strength I do agree with everyone that I can't justify a "proper" truck.

Renting a truck for $19.99 is more of a myth. There're hidden costs - you need to buy insurance, pay per miles, one hour is definitely not enough. I'd say it's closer to $40-50 each rent. It wouldn't warrant for a 10K truck, but owing a shitty $3K one would be cheaper. Gas prices is not a big player here with such a low miles (after I ditched Sienna in favor of bike one fill is good for two months, though mpg drastically went down to almost 15).

Rationale for 12 yards was the price per yard. The one we bought from was a kind of wholesale that deliver only big dump truck, 12 was the minimum there. Other places offered prices twice as high, so we went for 12. On the long run it probably paid itself off - it lasted almost 3 years. Pickup prices are even cheaper so here come the truck thoughts.

It looks like I'm trying to justify truck even in this post, but honestly I'm not. I wouldn't dare loading minivan with gravel, but trailer is definitely an option I need to reconsider again (especially since I have hitch and electric already installed). The thing I don't like is that now minivan will get additional miles where small car would do better - this part I didn't pay much attention to.

Anyway, your opinion is much appreciated, one more voice to leave everything as it is.
You can get a decent sized trailer for a few hundred bucks.  Sure, then you have to find a place to store it, but Harbor Freight has a folding one that doesn't take up much space.

I don't quite understand your objection to "minivan will get additional miles."  Isn't it the same number of miles whether you use the minivan or a truck?

TMBear

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Bothell-Woodinville, WA, USA
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2016, 11:03:45 AM »
I don't quite understand your objection to "minivan will get additional miles."  Isn't it the same number of miles whether you use the minivan or a truck?

That's the case when I either keep minivan or simply replace it with a truck (I ruled this option out). I hate driving a big car when smaller is more than enough, so another option was to add a small car as the third vehicle and then decide what to do with the minivan.

TMBear

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Bothell-Woodinville, WA, USA
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2016, 11:12:38 AM »
Thanks guys for your thoughts and advice.

As for now my mind is set to make no changes, start looking for a suitable trailer and see how many additional miles we get due to my wife's new job. If the additional miles warrant a third car then add a gas-efficient one and then decide on swapping minivan to a truck; if not - the trailer would cover all my needs. I do agree that truck is more convenient in hauling stuffs around, but simply replacing minivan with a truck wouldn't work for me - 95% of the time it'll be used to haul up to 4 kids only.

Guesl982374

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 501
Re: Need family fleet advice.
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2016, 08:38:50 AM »
Corolla is the primary coach, we put ~20-25k/yr miles on it.

The problem is that my wife will need to drive to work, I'll be responsible for driving kids to school (which probably require driving to work as well - currently I ride my bike to a nearest bus)

No one administered a face punch for this already? How in the world are you putting 25,000 miles per year on a car when you bike/take a bus to work and your wife is a SAHM?!!?