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  1. #1
    Silver Member
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    Mar 2011
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    West Friendship, Maryland

    Default Cost feasibility of building versus buying a trailer

    Looking to get involved in a couple of projects. First, building a 6x10 10,400 pound dump trailer, then an 18 foot car/equipment hauler also rated for 10,400 pounds. Last on the list would be a wood splitter that I am still working on the plans for. I already know that one will be a lot cheaper than the $6,000 wood splitters like it.

    Question is, after buying all the materials to build the trailers (e.g., axles, wheels, tires, jack, raw materials), would it be cheaper versus buying them, and if so by about how much? Have not researched much on the trailer options out there, but I would want to have Dexter axles on them and have no idea if this is even an option on pre-built trailers.

  2. #2
    Super Member mjncad's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
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    5,114
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    In the civilized First World
    Tractor
    A couple

    Default Re: Cost feasibility of building versus buying a trailer

    Without a BOM (Bill Of Materials), it's tough to guesstimate whether you'll save money or not. My guess for common trailer designs is that you'll be lucky to achieve a comparable cost with something you can buy from an established manufacturer. But once you start getting exotic, you may very well save some money.

    I'm basing my apples to oranges comparison on the three computers I've built in the past year. The more exotic the build, the more money I can save than having an established manufacturer make one for me. When it comes to run of the mill PC's, I can't compete with Dell and HP with their low-end loss-leader computers as I can't get components as cheap as they can since they buy in bulk.

    In the end, you need to decide whether building your own trailer is something you want to do to get it the way you want, and the fabrication process is part of the joy of owning the trailer; or whether it makes sense to buy a trailer from a reputable brand, and have a warranty, parts support, etc and be good to go the day you buy it.
    Paraphrasing Douglas Adams - So long and thanks for all the bacon.

  3. #3
    Super Star Member
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    Jul 2011
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    14,431
    Location
    Yanceyville, North Carolina
    Tractor
    Kubota L4400

    Default Re: Cost feasibility of building versus buying a trailer

    Are you planning on using the trailer on the highway? If so, you may have problems obtaining a title and license plate if you build it yourself. In your area, are you required to have a title, even if the trailer is used only for agricultural needs? Just a thought?
    The PUPIL who does not surpass his Master, fails his Master.

  4. #4
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    136
    Location
    West Friendship, Maryland

    Default Re: Cost feasibility of building versus buying a trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by creekbend View Post
    Are you planning on using the trailer on the highway? If so, you may have problems obtaining a title and license plate if you build it yourself. In your area, are you required to have a title, even if the trailer is used only for agricultural needs? Just a thought?
    Title and tags are pretty easy to obtain. Obtain a temporary tag from MVA. Take the trailer to a garage that does Maryland inspections and have them do the inspection. Then, assuming the trailer passes the inspection take the inspection certificate and invoices for the materials used to MVA and get a VIN plate, title, and tags.

    To answer your direct question though, I am not planning on using the trailer on the "highway", but definitely on rural roads, and who knows what might happen over time. Just might use it on the "highway" at some point in time at speeds above 45 mph. Definitely would not be limited to agricultural use.

  5. #5
    Elite Member CurlyDave's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
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    4,098
    Location
    Grants Pass, OR
    Tractor
    JD TLB 110

    Default Re: Cost feasibility of building versus buying a trailer

    10,400 lbs capacity is an unusual choice. In many states there is a license fee break at 10,000 lbs.

    In Oregon, my dump trailer is nameplate rated at 9,990 lbs gross. This saves me on registration fees, and allows me to tow it with a standard license on my pickup truck. If it were rated at 10,001 lbs gross I would need a "T" plate on the truck and it would cost a minimum of $260 per calendar quarter for truck registration.

    It would have to be a very unusual situation to justify 410 lbs of extra capacity for $1040 per year in extra costs.
    40 Acres on a hill - fantastic view. JD 110 TLB, 4-n-1, 12" bucket, 18" bucket, Addington thumb, rock bucket (doubles as root grapple)

    Not only do we not understand the universe, if someone explained it to us, we would not know what he was talking about.

    Isaac Asimov

  6. #6
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    340
    Location
    Corpus Christi. Tx
    Tractor
    Case 485

    Default Re: Cost feasibility of building versus buying a trailer

    I priced out building vs. buy new for a 20' G/N with 7k axles last yr. Definetly cheaper buying new, but I bought direct from the trailer MFG. not one the retailers. The small single 3500 lb axle trailers I can come out cheaper building rather than buying new ones most of the time. If you were in OK or TX I could get you some names to check our for good priced trailers. The last tandem axle trailer I built was back around 1999, buying direct from one of the MFG's has been the sheaper way to go I have found.
    That said I dont really have a good hook up on good steel pricing either. Not like a welding shop etc would.

  7. #7
    Elite Member
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    Oct 2003
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    3,220
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    the Steernbos (Holland)
    Tractor
    Zetor 3011, Zetor 5718

    Default Re: Cost feasibility of building versus buying a trailer

    Two major questions:

    - how do you value your own time ?
    -can you buy components such as coupler, axles, lights, as well as the steel, for wholesale (or near wholesale) prices ??

    I have a former employer in the area where i can get steel for a good price, i call the chief and tell him what i need, he cuts it for me when he has some time inbetween large jobs, and calculates a few % over purchase. The agricultural dealership in town calculates 3 times purchase price, and another dealership with a small fab shop, calculates 30 to 50% over wholesale price. (or, they are smaller and therefor get different discount rates, and calculate the same margin as the big company )
    I have also worked in the trailer business so i get some discount at the axle wholesalers i used to deal with too. but if you want to buy everything new at smaller local shops, you'll pay more and still have all the work with it.

    I cut short by buying an old trailer with some bad components, modifying it to my needs and refurbishing it at the same time. If you start low enough with the major components you can custom build a trailer to your needs for decent money.

    Oh, and here in Holland most factory made trailers from the automated production lines are junk, made of pressed steel and not enough crossbars under the floor. a custom made trailer often is twice as expensive but lasts 20 years in daily use, where a production line trailer lasts just a couple before it starts cracking up. Quality is worth your time of building it
    Free scrap is a good investment !!!
    “The worst enemy of life, freedom and the common decencies is total anarchy; their second worst enemy is total efficiency” · Aldous Huxley
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    1973 Zetor 5718, shiny paint, high houred, home made loader
    1978 Zetor 5718, low houred but rough
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Cost feasibility of building versus buying a trailer

    Without question, buy a new trailer from a decent manufacturer (Sure-Trac, Mac-Lander, Moritz to name a few). You'll be money and time ahead........
    Last edited by firefighter jim; 01-13-2013 at 08:49 AM.

  9. #9
    Elite Member TomSeller's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
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    timbuktu
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    Default

    There is no way I would have time to build a trailer. I wish I had that time because it would be fun. I need a larger trailer and I think I will just buy a good used one.

  10. #10
    Super Member
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    Dec 2007
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    Ohio
    Tractor
    JD 5520, 790 TLB-- Kub L4300, B7800, MX5100

    Default Re: Cost feasibility of building versus buying a trailer

    Farm stuff you should build and over the road things you should buy from the safety perspective unless you weld every day and are very experienced or certified as a welder. Always been my motto.
    ******

    May I be the kind of person my dogs think I am,

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