Is It Cheaper to Build a Trailer or Buy One?
You've decided a utility trailer will make your life easier. Maybe you need to haul something specific or maybe it will benefit your business.
No matter the reason for wanting a utility trailer, choosing between building a trailer and buying one will likely be the next decision. If you're on a budget, it's important to know whether building a trailer or buying one will be cheaper.
Let's look at the different factors to figure out which is cheaper and which is right for you.
Buying the Materials or a Kit
Since the cost of a new utility trailer is one of the main reasons people decide to build their own, it's important to look at the cost of materials or buying a utility trailer kit. When you start pricing the materials, you will almost certainly find that cheap materials are poor quality. Buying quality materials is important when building a trailer since you don't want junk.
Most new trailers you see for sale on a lot or in the ads are factory built. The factories can buy materials for very low prices due to the quantity they will be purchasing. Buying your own materials can be expensive.
However, buying a utility trailer kit offers you similar discounts compared to the factory-built trailer. In fact, a trailer kit you will build yourself cuts out other costs and often costs much less compared to buying an actual trailer.
The Labor Trade-Off of Building a Utility Trailer
Just like with many other DIY projects, when you decide to build a trailer instead of buying one, you'll be putting in the work. Factories have to pay for labor, pay to make their factories safe for workers, and they have to pay for the tools to build trailers.
Do-it-yourself builders don't have to pay for any labor and you likely own the tools already or you wouldn't be considering building a utility trailer.
However, it's still a tradeoff, as you have to put in the time to build the trailer yourself. For some, it's worth it as you will also gain the pride in knowing you built the trailer. Even when you buy a utility trailer kit, you have to do the building.
Ability to Customize
When you go to a trailer dealer and you buy a trailer, you may be able to add a few things to customize it. Maybe you upgrade the trailer by adding an automatic feature or an add-on. However, you didn't build it, so you're limited when it comes to customizations.
Buying a utility trailer kit gives you the base trailer. Some kits will come with customizations and upgrades, but you can choose what you want and how you want your trailer to look and function.
Even if you want to fabricate your own customizations after you've built the base trailer, you're free to do so. With factory-built trailers, you may be limited when it comes to customizations.
Answering the original question, when it comes to the actual cost, building a trailer is often cheaper than buying one. You will be the one putting in the labor, but you also gain the ability to customize the trailer to your liking.
There's also the hidden and forgotten benefit of knowing how your trailer was built. When an issue comes up and you need to make a repair in the future, you'll know exactly what you're getting into because you built the utility trailer.