Stash Your Cash: Utility Trailers As an Extra Vehicle Alternative
More often than not, if my husband and I need an extra vehicle on any given day, it’s for hauling one thing or another. Early in our marriage, we debated at length the wisdom of buying a truck as a back – up vehicle. On the surface, this idea can make a great deal of sense. But the more we thought about it, having an open bed truck didn’t seem to fit with our lifestyle or long term family plan. We opted for a tow-behind utility cart instead. Following are the reasons behind our decision. You may find they apply to you as well.
While it’s true any home or property owner has the need to haul large items and rubbish on a regular basis, this does not necessarily warrant the purchase of a second (or in our case, third) vehicle. For us, if one vehicle breaks down, we do not have the option of operating with less seating capacity which would be the case with a truck. I’m sure anyone with children or large pets can relate. Truck beds also don’t have as much storage space as you might imagine.
Additional automobiles also bring with them the duplicated maintenance, registration and insurance costs. Utility trailers do not. Ours costs less than $20 a year to insure and in Arizona, needed to be registered only one time. In Maine, it’s every two years, but still way less expensive per year than a traditional vehicle. Utility trailers do not come with gas bills, oil change requirements, or complicated engines to fix. You can also purchase them, even brand new, for less than the cost of a beat-up used automobile of questionable reliability.
This requires some power shopping, and probably going with an independent welder. However, it will most likely require much less time than shopping for a used truck. We were able to get a brand new, custom-made, single axle utility trailer with six foot mesh sides for well under a thousand dollars. The nearest place that sold them in mass wanted more than twice that . . . during their 50% off sale! We went with an individual who made them on the side for extra money. He exceeded all the industry standards and worked with us on all of the custom features we wanted. We have never regretted our decision and usually use our cart several times a month, conservatively. We can also haul more with it, because the steeper sides give us more storage capacity.
You do need a vehicle capable of hauling the cart and will need to make sure a hitch is installed. Our cart more than paid for itself in the first three months.