April 20, 2012 – We picked up our trailer today from D & K Trailers in Christmas, Michigan today. We were driving downstate a few weeks ago and stopped in to ask some questions and check out prices. Dean and Connie were super helpful in finding the right trailer for our needs; they were also very excited about our project and wanted to know all the details. We were planning on stopping at one other trailer place downstate to compare prices; however, we appreciated the knowledge that Dean and Connie had in helping us figure things out and we wanted to support a local business, so we ordered our trailer that day from them.
We decided on an 18′ double-axle equipment hauler style trailer from Big Tex with a 10,000 lb rating. The plans call for a 7,000 lb rating, but we decided to go a little beefier in our trailer so that we had the option of using heavier materials if need be.
Our trailer was not custom-made so some materials needed to be removed in order to get it ready for the tiny house. Dean removed the front metal bar making our trailer a true flat-bed in addition to the spare tire mount. He also lowered the price a little bit and kept the ramps that came with the trailer as we have no need for those.
When the trailer was weighed by the manufacturer prior to shipping it came just over 2,500 lbs, which means having to purchase a title. Connie was able to take the trailer to the weigh station after the excess metal and ramps were removed and re-weighed the trailer. This saved us some money at the Secretary of State as we only had to purchase a trailer plate and did not need a title; we only had to register it.
There was some discussion at the Secretary of State whether or not we needed to register the trailer in the first place, as we’ll have to go back when the trailer is finished and re-register it as a camper. However, we will be using the trailer to haul materials and we might be changing building locations a few times before the tiny house is finished, so we decided to make sure we were legal all along. It might end up costing us an additional $75 for a whole new plate when it comes time to register it as a camper.
When it does come time to register the tiny house as a camper, we have to have the state police inspect it and make sure it is road legal. They will fill out a form and if the trailer does not have one already, they will issue us a VIN number. We will then be able to take the form back to the Secretary of State and get a new plate.