Author Topic: Trash services vs hauling my own  (Read 2174 times)

Syonyk

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Trash services vs hauling my own
« on: August 31, 2017, 01:59:40 PM »
Sanity check me here, please.

I'm paying $18.50/mo for curbside pickup right now, and we don't make amazing use of it.  We haul the trash can up every 2-3 weeks, typically (unless I've been receiving a lot of packages, at which point it might go out every week, but that's mostly cardboard, which we don't have a recycling option for).

That's $222/yr.

My (semi) local landfill charges me $5 to dump up to 600lb (and then a whopping $14.70/ton - quite cheap).  And, if I head that way in my truck, I burn about $7 in diesel to get there and back (at current prices).

This means that even if I were to haul trash once a month, I'd be coming out even - and, if I haul it less, I'd be coming out a good bit ahead.

I can find a cheap trailer locally for $250-$500 (depending on quality and construction).  $500 gets me a cheap enclosed trailer (usually a pickup bed trailer with a topper), and worst case I can buy a Harbor Fright trailer cheap and put some sides/top on it.  Maintenance on a trailer used a few hundred miles a year, tops, is super cheap.

I'm working on getting some larger compost pits up, which would divert a good bit of the stinky stuff from the trash, and my daughter is starting to make it through nights dry more regularly, which reduces the diaper load (usually just wet - she's in cloth during the day, but disposable at night because they're more absorbent).  And I could toss a divider in the trailer to put cardboard on one side to haul into town for recycling at some point or other.

Based on a few trips a year, I'd be dropping from $222/yr to about $40-$50/yr, which would pay for a trailer in 2 years and be pure savings beyond that point.

And, no, I don't mind hauling trash.  As long as the trailer is enclosed, it should be fine most of the time, and if it starts to stink too bad, I can just drag it early (plus, most of the winter, it would be frozen anyway).

Does this sound sane?  Cancel trash service, buy a trailer, haul my own trash?  Anything I'm missing here?

J Boogie

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Re: Trash services vs hauling my own
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2017, 02:30:04 PM »
I personally wouldn't want to do that, but like you say, you don't mind hauling.  I hate chores though.  I want to spend all my non-family time woodworking or doing something else enjoyable.

I'm guessing you're using the smallest option the waste service offers? Sometimes they offer smaller bins.

If they don't, I'd say go for it and do it as infrequently as possible for environmental & financial reasons.  I think the increased fuel you'd be burning might be offset by the fact that you'd be recycling now.




soccerluvof4

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Re: Trash services vs hauling my own
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2017, 02:46:18 PM »
are you close to neighbors? if so give them 5$ and see if you can take to there curb. Chances are they will just say if its only a few times a month dont worry about it.  I wouldnt want to haul trash either BUT we are family of 6. If just boxes and stuff burn it or yea..put in car tilll you go somewhere.

Syonyk

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Re: Trash services vs hauling my own
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2017, 02:59:48 PM »
I personally wouldn't want to do that, but like you say, you don't mind hauling.  I hate chores though.  I want to spend all my non-family time woodworking or doing something else enjoyable.

I don't mind excuses to get off the property on occasion.  Likely what would happen is that I'd haul the trailer whenever I was making a dump run for other reasons, or heading out that way (we've got some family out that way in general, so detouring isn't adding many miles).

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I'm guessing you're using the smallest option the waste service offers? Sometimes they offer smaller bins.

Correct, this is "the option" from the only company that services this area.

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If they don't, I'd say go for it and do it as infrequently as possible for environmental & financial reasons.  I think the increased fuel you'd be burning might be offset by the fact that you'd be recycling now.

My guess is that it would be on the order of 5-10 gallons a year, total extra fuel burn.  If I went with a lighter trailer, the car could tow it, but I'd have to be making more frequent trips, so probably about a wash.

are you close to neighbors? if so give them 5$ and see if you can take to there curb.

Not really.  It would be quite the hike to haul trash to the nearest neighbors with trash service (the closest neighbors just use burn barrels and haul those to the dump every year or three, but they're set up to lift a 55 gallon drum of ash).

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If just boxes and stuff burn it or yea..put in car tilll you go somewhere.

Eventually the boxes will be fuel for a rocket mass heater, but I don't want to store them until that point. :)

Rural

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Re: Trash services vs hauling my own
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2017, 06:41:53 PM »
There are other hazards to a long-term trash trailer on the property: stink, potential for tetanus or other nasty sharp-garbage outcomes when you do get around to it, bears, raccoons, or your area's varmint of choice.

Having hauled and paid at the landfill for all of my childhood and most of my adulthood, I know it's perfectly possible, but at this point in my life I'm happy to pay $53 per quarter for about as much use as you seem to make of your trash service.

Regardless, if I were going to go back to hauling, I wouldn't want an enclosed truck bed trailer, I don't think - the top would be too low to effectively get in there and shovel it out at the landfull, and if you haul infrequently, there will be times you need a shovel. (If you think you will haul frequently, you will probably actually do so... sometimes. Then there will be the other times.)

Do you have some means to try it out temporarily before you buy a trailer? We just used our tractor hauler trailer. If you don't have to buy something to give it a trial, I think that would be a good idea. I guarantee that if you cancel your trashe service but then discover you'd like to pay for it again, they'll let you.

Syonyk

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Re: Trash services vs hauling my own
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2017, 06:55:18 PM »
Short of dedicating my truck bed to garbage, not really.

Dusty Dog Ranch

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Re: Trash services vs hauling my own
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2017, 11:11:47 PM »
We've debated this too. Our number one issue is that we don't want bears habituated to garbage anywhere around us. We could lock our trash in a jobox, which has been tested with grizzlies, but then it would get super stinky except in the winter. Also not a ton of space. We keep our grill in one currently, so we'd need to buy another one.

Luckily we are living the high life (lol) and using DH's work dumpster for free (with permission).

We have one friend in Idaho using an old box truck for his trash hauler. He's had bear issues though.

jo552006

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Re: Trash services vs hauling my own
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2017, 01:06:01 AM »
I think you're missing it.  $7 in diesel probably means I wouldn't call your dump local at all.

I've hauled a lot of my own trash, just due to the towns I live in not having a trash service.  It can be a pain, but I kind of enjoyed it and it got my truck out, but we're talking about 5 miles at the most.  You may have family and can detour, but you're taking a Diesel truck to visit them rather than a car to haul trash.

My vote (given the information) is to keep paying the service at least for now if it is your only alternative.  I don't value my time as high as some, but that seems like it'd be well worth the money in this instance.  I'm assuming if your local dump is that far and there is no trash service, you're not paying taxes for trash service or a transfer station, which is usually baked into a higher mil rate in larger towns.

You're looking at multiple year payback on a trailer, to allow your trash to collect for weeks to months?  After 2 years you're still looking at ONLY $150/year savings.  I'd pay $150/yr not to have to go that far out of my way and do dump runs, and let my trash collect and smell, even if I didn't make that much trash.

None of this takes into account the trailer itself.  I've looked (within a year) in LCOL areas for trailers.  The ones in the price range you mentioned sucked where I live.  The harbor freight ones also sucked.  You're assuming almost no maintenance, but that may not be the case.

Now, if you want a trailer anyway and don't mind the stench and maggots that's a different story, but it seems like you're talking about it just being used for trash.

former player

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Re: Trash services vs hauling my own
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2017, 02:15:45 AM »
The mustachian answer is to become a no waste household - limit what comes in to the household to what you can dispose of on site (composting, and there are gardening uses for cardboard as long as you are careful with where the inky stuff goes) or send to recycling.

Also, you could start campaigning locally for a cardboard recycling service.  Given the amount of stuff people have delivered these days, the figures to make this financially viable probably stack up now when they might not have in the past.  And if you are that keen on hauling waste, you might even be able to make it a side hustle yourself.

Syonyk

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Re: Trash services vs hauling my own
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2017, 10:05:11 PM »
Sorry for the lagged reply, was out camping on a lake for the weekend.  I suppose I won't mention the diesel cost to get out there (still can't quite fit toddler camping gear in the car, but we're getting closer - once she's on an air mattress, it should be doable for shorter trips).

We've debated this too. Our number one issue is that we don't want bears habituated to garbage anywhere around us.

We don't have bears - we have the occasional pesky wildlife (ok, a lot of it), but no bears, not really much in the way of raccoons, and generally it should be fine.

The concern is the stink, which I think can be attacked with a well sealed trailer and keeping the food waste out of the stream.  The kid diapers at night are occasionally messy, but mostly just wet (she's in cloth most of the time, but we can't get a cloth to hold up overnight, so she's in a size larger disposable at night).

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Luckily we are living the high life (lol) and using DH's work dumpster for free (with permission).

Definitely not an option for me - the dump is closer than work. ;)  I work remote, so my actual coworkers are quite a few hundred miles away.

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We have one friend in Idaho using an old box truck for his trash hauler. He's had bear issues though.

Northern Idaho, I'd guess?  You have to be in the forested mountains for bears to be an issue.  I'm down in the southwest corner, so mostly high desert.  Bears simply aren't a thing here.

I think you're missing it.  $7 in diesel probably means I wouldn't call your dump local at all.

Well, good for you.  You're obviously not living out where I am.  It's about the same distance to the dump as to a Home Depot, or a Costco.  So... yeah, reasonable enough for me.  Especially if I combine trips.

It's about 30 miles round trip to the dump and back, and the truck gets... oh, 13-15mpg, depending on wind and speed (if there's no traffic I back off and cruise at 45 for fuel ecnoomy).  I consider that perfectly reasonable for where I live (can't hit any neighbors with a baseball, amazing views, family right near by).  Yes, I spend a bit more on diesel than someone living in a city, and I'm fine with the tradeoffs.  The laughably small amount I spent on my house compared to other areas pays for an awful lot...

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My vote (given the information) is to keep paying the service at least for now if it is your only alternative.  I don't value my time as high as some, but that seems like it'd be well worth the money in this instance.  I'm assuming if your local dump is that far and there is no trash service, you're not paying taxes for trash service or a transfer station, which is usually baked into a higher mil rate in larger towns.

Correct.  My option is the trash service I have (with no recycling), or hauling my own.  Property taxes have nothing to do with trash service out here.

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You're looking at multiple year payback on a trailer, to allow your trash to collect for weeks to months?  After 2 years you're still looking at ONLY $150/year savings.  I'd pay $150/yr not to have to go that far out of my way and do dump runs, and let my trash collect and smell, even if I didn't make that much trash.

Pretty much, yes.  $1500/decade for a few hours of my time a year seems sane to me.  I intend to live here the rest of my life, and stuff doesn't rust (super dry).  So, payback of the trailer in 2 years and 40-50 years of saving money.  Yes, trailers last 50 years out here.  My inlaws run all sorts of stuff from the 60s and 70s around, and it's just fine.

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None of this takes into account the trailer itself.  I've looked (within a year) in LCOL areas for trailers.  The ones in the price range you mentioned sucked where I live.  The harbor freight ones also sucked.  You're assuming almost no maintenance, but that may not be the case.

I'm looking at a pickup bed trailer with a camper shell/topper/canopy/(whatever you call that fiberglass thing).  There's no brakes (I'm not concerned about that given my tow vehicle), the tires can be used scrap rubbish from the used tire places (super cheap), and there's pretty much nothing else to them.  If the axle craps out, I replace it with a junkyard truck axle, which is also basically the cost of scrap metal.  I'd rather have one of those than a HF trailer - the HF trailers are quite rubbish.

Plus, if I find the right one, I've got a gas tank I can plumb up, toss a battery in, and have a fuel tanker as well.  I go through enough fuel on the property (most of my personal transport is on a sidecar motorcycle rig) that having another 30-50 gallons of storage would be useful to me.  And, in the winter, that will fuel the tractor I clear snow with.

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Now, if you want a trailer anyway and don't mind the stench and maggots that's a different story, but it seems like you're talking about it just being used for trash.

I am.  It would be a dedicated trash trailer.

The mustachian answer is to become a no waste household - limit what comes in to the household to what you can dispose of on site (composting, and there are gardening uses for cardboard as long as you are careful with where the inky stuff goes) or send to recycling.

That would be nice, though "to recycling" also requires hauling it myself.  The one trash service that offered mixed recycling (which made the bulk of our waste volume) stopped handling my road about a year ago, so I'm down to "trash service."  And, as noted, paying a good bit for it.

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Also, you could start campaigning locally for a cardboard recycling service.  Given the amount of stuff people have delivered these days, the figures to make this financially viable probably stack up now when they might not have in the past.  And if you are that keen on hauling waste, you might even be able to make it a side hustle yourself.

It's really not a very dense area.  And the point here is to not make regular trips to haul trash/recycling.

My plan, at the moment (with wife-support, who actually thinks I'm sort of silly for having trash service out here and has said so since we moved), is a pickup bed trailer with a camper shell, split down the middle with some plywood.  Toss trash on one side, cardboard on the other, and haul it when full (or full enough).  I can hold my breath and shovel trash into the dump easily enough.  Or poke it with a stick from the windows.

jo552006

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Re: Trash services vs hauling my own
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2017, 12:43:39 AM »

I think you're missing it.  $7 in diesel probably means I wouldn't call your dump local at all.

Well, good for you.  You're obviously not living out where I am.  It's about the same distance to the dump as to a Home Depot, or a Costco.  So... yeah, reasonable enough for me.  Especially if I combine trips.

It's about 30 miles round trip to the dump and back, and the truck gets... oh, 13-15mpg, depending on wind and speed (if there's no traffic I back off and cruise at 45 for fuel ecnoomy).  I consider that perfectly reasonable for where I live (can't hit any neighbors with a baseball, amazing views, family right near by).  Yes, I spend a bit more on diesel than someone living in a city, and I'm fine with the tradeoffs.  The laughably small amount I spent on my house compared to other areas pays for an awful lot...


Whoa, I wasn't trying to be offensive, you literally asked at the bottom of your original post if you were missing it... to which I answered I think you are.  And yes you are quite correct, you'd have noticed me at some point making breakfast or showering if I were living where you were ;-).  I understand a lot of places (some which I've lived) are not close to anything.  I was just trying to point out that 20+miles round trip isn't objectively close.  It may be close for you, but we are talking about time & expense on a forum that praises urban living due to low commute costs.  FWIW, I hate cities DW & I have made major life choices to avoid them.



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You're looking at multiple year payback on a trailer, to allow your trash to collect for weeks to months?  After 2 years you're still looking at ONLY $150/year savings.  I'd pay $150/yr not to have to go that far out of my way and do dump runs, and let my trash collect and smell, even if I didn't make that much trash.

Pretty much, yes.  $1500/decade for a few hours of my time a year seems sane to me.  I intend to live here the rest of my life, and stuff doesn't rust (super dry).  So, payback of the trailer in 2 years and 40-50 years of saving money.  Yes, trailers last 50 years out here.  My inlaws run all sorts of stuff from the 60s and 70s around, and it's just fine.


I will never discourage anybody from replacing money with time & labor.  I do it quite frequently, even when I'm working for a loss.  It is easy to look at a decade and see a large number.  $150/yr is probably 10 hours of work or less.  That's not assuming a high earnings rate.  I'm cheap by most people's standards, but I would pay the price if those were the only options, even if does extrapolate to $1500/decade.  Realistically in a year how many hours do you think these runs will take?



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None of this takes into account the trailer itself.  I've looked (within a year) in LCOL areas for trailers.  The ones in the price range you mentioned sucked where I live.  The harbor freight ones also sucked.  You're assuming almost no maintenance, but that may not be the case.

I'm looking at a pickup bed trailer with a camper shell/topper/canopy/(whatever you call that fiberglass thing).  There's no brakes (I'm not concerned about that given my tow vehicle), the tires can be used scrap rubbish from the used tire places (super cheap), and there's pretty much nothing else to them.  If the axle craps out, I replace it with a junkyard truck axle, which is also basically the cost of scrap metal.  I'd rather have one of those than a HF trailer - the HF trailers are quite rubbish.

Plus, if I find the right one, I've got a gas tank I can plumb up, toss a battery in, and have a fuel tanker as well.  I go through enough fuel on the property (most of my personal transport is on a sidecar motorcycle rig) that having another 30-50 gallons of storage would be useful to me.  And, in the winter, that will fuel the tractor I clear snow with.


You obviously have the ability to keep this going with minimal effort.  I was not simply assuming that from your original post.  Not everybody can is willing to learn to do things like throwing on a new axle.  I don't know how those truck bed trailers are made, but I've seen some where the pinion gear was spinning like crazy.  Can you find one of those trailers where the wheels actually spin freely? Spinning ring and pinion gears by driving the ring gear uses more energy than freewheeling.



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Now, if you want a trailer anyway and don't mind the stench and maggots that's a different story, but it seems like you're talking about it just being used for trash.

I am.  It would be a dedicated trash trailer.


If you expect it to be a dedicated trash trailer, it's different than if you'll use it for other things like a fuel tanker.  I'm taking from your response that you aren't looking for a reason to get this trailer, it's main intention is garbage.

I'll add another option, if you're okay with the trash being stored on property, can you, or you and a couple neighbors get a dumpster?  I have a friend who uses one dumpster for his family and two neighbors, and they save money AND time/effort.

Obviously you will and should do what you want and I mean you offense, but you did ask for a sanity check.  I just can't help but wonder if the time/effort/stench of this idea is worth whatever savings there may be.

Just a thought, if you do end up with one of those truck bed trailers, I'd see how stiff it is.  The leaf springs from a truck may be a lot stiffer than required for a utility trailer, and simply removing a spring or two might make it ride better. 

frugaliknowit

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Re: Trash services vs hauling my own
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2017, 11:43:55 AM »
Are you counting "wear and tear" as well as diesel?  $7 in diesel sounds like at least 15 miles each way.  At $.50 per mile, that's $15.  I don't see where you're saving money.

Furthermore, I would think the trash would get pretty nasty sitting that long...

Syonyk

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Re: Trash services vs hauling my own
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2017, 11:57:23 AM »
Generally I put few enough miles on the truck that maintenance is time based and not mile based. So I consider them separate.

The hope would be to cut trash enough that I can haul it every few months.

Syonyk

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Re: Trash services vs hauling my own
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2017, 03:40:42 PM »
Ah, missed that this was a badly quoted set of replies.

I will never discourage anybody from replacing money with time & labor.  I do it quite frequently, even when I'm working for a loss.  It is easy to look at a decade and see a large number.  $150/yr is probably 10 hours of work or less.  That's not assuming a high earnings rate.  I'm cheap by most people's standards, but I would pay the price if those were the only options, even if does extrapolate to $1500/decade.  Realistically in a year how many hours do you think these runs will take?

I'd guess 4-8, depending on how often I haul it (which is dependent on how much I can divert).  Even if it comes out as a wash initially, I expect we'll get more efficient with it as time goes on.

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You obviously have the ability to keep this going with minimal effort.  I was not simply assuming that from your original post.  Not everybody can is willing to learn to do things like throwing on a new axle.  I don't know how those truck bed trailers are made, but I've seen some where the pinion gear was spinning like crazy.  Can you find one of those trailers where the wheels actually spin freely? Spinning ring and pinion gears by driving the ring gear uses more energy than freewheeling.

The energy wasted in spinning the differential guts is minimal compared to the general drag losses of the trailer.  You probably can remove some of the guts, but I'd be concerned about lubrication - the ring gear spinning in the gear oil slings the oil all over and generally lubricates the axles and such.  It's unlikely to make enough of a difference to bother with pulling the differential apart, and removing a tiny bit of drag to destroy the axle from lack of lubrication is false savings.  I'm not even sure you could measure the difference.  I'm OK with spending time on things with a low return, but I'm pretty sure de-gutsing a differential on a trailer has so nearly zero return as to be not worth the effort.

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If you expect it to be a dedicated trash trailer, it's different than if you'll use it for other things like a fuel tanker.  I'm taking from your response that you aren't looking for a reason to get this trailer, it's main intention is garbage.

It would be a dedicated trash hauler, but if it still has a fuel tank under there, I'll probably spend the bit of time to wire things up so I can use it as a fuel tanker as well.  Go to the dump, go fill it up with ethanol free and my general blend of stabilizers/etc (Seafoam, Stabil, and ethanol free mean I don't have to winterize motors for the few months they sit), and then let it sit until the next run.  If I need gas before then, well, I've got a bunch of 5 gallon jugs I can use (what I'm doing now).

I definitely am not looking for a general purpose trailer.  I have access to quite the wide variety of them with friends and family, and don't need them terribly often.

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I'll add another option, if you're okay with the trash being stored on property, can you, or you and a couple neighbors get a dumpster?  I have a friend who uses one dumpster for his family and two neighbors, and they save money AND time/effort.

Worth looking into, but there's about one neighbor within easy trash carrying distance, and I don't think they'd be terribly interested.  The main problem with a dumpster is that we'd have to convince a garbage truck to get down our driveway to pick it up.  With a trailer, I can haul it on my terms.

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Just a thought, if you do end up with one of those truck bed trailers, I'd see how stiff it is.  The leaf springs from a truck may be a lot stiffer than required for a utility trailer, and simply removing a spring or two might make it ride better.

True.  I expect they're still sprung for the full weight of the truck.  Though it's not like the trash will care if it gets beat around.

Syonyk

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Re: Trash services vs hauling my own
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2017, 07:36:49 PM »
Hm.

And after asking around a neighbor has an old pickup bed trailer with coil springs and a topper that fits it.

Needs new tires, a new floor (plywood will work fine), and the wiring is shot. Not too much cost to get it back into usable shape - maybe $150.