Tiny House Builders: How to Choose One

Choosing from the many Tiny House Builders can be a daunting process. But with a little know how and a lot of research, you can find someone that you will be able to trust and who will get the job done properly. Here are five questions to ask yourself to help you choose the right tiny house builder.

1. How long have they been tiny house builders?

The tiny house movement is in its startup mode and therefore it may seem ok that a tiny house builder has only been in business for a year or so. The truth is that many tiny house building companies have been around a lot longer than that. With many people jumping onboard this movement and everyone trying to “make a quick buck,” you may be getting more than you bargained for.

2. How many tiny houses have they built?

Tiny House Builders - ResearchMany tiny house builders were large home builders in a prior life. They will tell you that they are the most qualified because of that. You need to know that they have built tiny houses before. If not, they might not understand the fine nuances of tiny house building. They may not know what type of trailer to use for a tiny house or that you should forgo standard building materials like sheet rock or tar roof shingles because of weight.

3. Can they build what you want?

There are plenty of ways to skin a cat. Don’t think that you are stuck with a design because your builder only does that. There are plenty of builders who will work off of your plans and even some that will custom draw them for you. At the same time, keep in mind that some builders only build their own designs.

4. Are you comparing apples to apples?

Tiny House Builders - ApplesWhen you are looking at finished houses, different details cost drastically amounts of money. Look at what they are using and know what you are up against. For instance, OSB (that flake board looking stuff) is extremely cheap but it does not stand up to moisture well, it outgases and it is heavy. Plywood will cost you a little more but is WAY more durable, lighter and has relatively low VOCs. Appliances, fixtures and even the type of interior sheathing can all affect the price of the tiny house. Don’t just look at the bottom line and take the cheapest tiny house builder.

READ MORE: How Much Does a Tiny House Cost to Build?

5. What is their reputation?

Online ratings are not everything they are cracked up to be, but they are out there. Look at what people are saying about the company and its products. Don’t be afraid to ask the company for personal references from customers that have built with them in the past. This can also give you another outlet to vet the companies building process as well.

What questions would you / did you ask of your tiny house builder? Let us know in the comments below.

10 thoughts on “Tiny House Builders: How to Choose One

  1. Mike Geyer (HikerMiker) said:

    Question:If a prospective customer,like myself, who lives in Phoenix,AZ. we’re to submit to you,Tom and Dan,a amateur drawing of a three axle,32ft x98″ Tiny House.Deliver the trailer to Logan,Utah,where one of your plants is at, and get the exterior shell and metal roofing done?

    • Tom Bastek said:

      Mike,
      We only manufacture homes in the DeLand, FL location. My recommendation would be to have the trailer build in Logan and then to hire a local contractor to construct the shell.

  2. rybyn said:

    hi…can a 120-180ft tiny house be built and pulled by a honda mini van?

    • Tom Bastek said:

      Rybn,
      It generally comes down to the towing capacity of the vehicle. A 20 ft tiny home (around 160 sq ft) is around 8500#. You will have to contact the manufacturer of your vehicle to find out if you are able to pull that much weight.

  3. Daren said:

    Great Article Tom. May i ask you some questions?
    How much does it cost? How long does it take in general? Because i own a home building company and we get some requests about tiny homes. So i thought we could add this to our services. Thank you

  4. Gloria Durst said:

    I agree that when choosing a tiny home builder you need to check their past experience. Finding out what kind of past work they have done would be really helpful. My husband and I want to build a tiny home, so we’ll have to find someone who has built many before to help us out.

  5. Marc Lee Winnig said:

    Don’t forget logistics! I know someone who “got a great deal” on a tiny house built 1,000 miles away. Transportation cost $2,000 more than estimated, delivery was delayed due to breakdown of tow vehicle enroute and seller, transporter and buyer are arguing a year later about who damaged it! A couple of leading builders are located in her home State!

  6. Judy Billar said:

    Which is better, a metal tiny house frame or one made of wood. I have conflicting information. The tiny house with the metal frame is supposed to be lighter and repellant to bugs. The wood frame seems to be more like a ‘house’.
    What is your opinion?

    • Clarice Mounier said:

      I live in a steel house with steel siding and a steel roof. It looks like a regular house and is very strong – wind proof to 135 mph. Steel is a bit harder to work with, but a good option for a tiny house. Check out videos on You Tube.

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