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Buying your own folding utility trailer vs renting one from U-Haul

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  • Feb 25th, 2020 8:17 am
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 27, 2015
1651 posts
210 upvotes
East York, ON

Buying your own folding utility trailer vs renting one from U-Haul

Hi guys

I was not sure if this should be posted here or in the Auto section.
Since this is more about money and availability I decided to post here

So I am split between buying my own folding utility trailer and renting one from U-Haul as needed.

Here are the costs to get one first:
-buy a brand new one from Harbor Freight in Buffalo for USD269 (4'x8')
So to me it looks like a no brainer (even if you add 40CAD for gas and 10CAD for crossing bridges and for highways in US/CA)
Image
final cost is 269*1.04(US sales tax)*1.33(conversion to CAD)*1.13(GST paid at the custom-import fee)=420CAD
which is WAY LESS than buying from a local source CAD646+GST (?)
(this is the way to go Canadian economy, it costs us less to import!)
Then you need to pay like 75CAD to register the trailer.

Now if you get one from U-Haul it is going to cost you 22CAD (GST included)
My understanding is that there is no mileage included and you get it for a day
So for the ~460CAD+75CAD that I would spend to buy and register a folding trailer I can rent a U-Haul trailer for around 24 times which will probably cover my needs

Image

My only question is this: have you had any issues with renting a Uhaul trailer any time you wanted one? Are they available any time?
Are there any peak periods when these are difficult to get ?
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60 replies
Deal Guru
User avatar
Oct 6, 2010
14064 posts
8487 upvotes
Toronto
Are you going to use it enough to justify the purchase? Where you going to store it?

I've never had any issues trying to rent anything from uhaul. You do the reservation online and pick it up. I've rented car trailers and utility types.
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[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 27, 2015
1651 posts
210 upvotes
East York, ON
No that is the problem, probably 25 trips will be enough
The only thing I did not count is that I could resell the trailer and get back some money
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Member
Nov 13, 2016
430 posts
243 upvotes
You also need to account for the storage space when the trailer is not in use.

CD
Deal Addict
Dec 9, 2003
4917 posts
761 upvotes
Calgary
I thought you need to get US trailer inspected/certified before licensing for the road?
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Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 16, 2008
7788 posts
2527 upvotes
Maple
OP

Rent the trailer then you don't have to worry storage and resell it.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Nov 23, 2011
602 posts
592 upvotes
West GTA
Uhaul is the way to go IMO. No trailer maintenance, no storage to worry about, and they're super easy to reserve and pick up.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 27, 2015
1651 posts
210 upvotes
East York, ON
Storage is not a problem I can put in the garage or in the shed
@mickman good point although I do not know what maintenance it might require before I get to sell it on Kijiji (after those 25 times at max that I plan to use it)
It might cover for unplanned trips , returns ..etc.
@cough Not sure about that, When you buy it is a bunch of metal bars and two wheels in two boxes that will fit in an SUV.
You put it together yourself. Does it count as US vehicle then ?
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Deal Addict
Dec 17, 2007
2271 posts
1252 upvotes
Alliston, ON
What are you hauling with it? The Harbor Freight one might need some sort of frame built around it to help contain whatever it is you haul. If its for junk removal its much easier to have something with sides like the uhaul trailer to contain small items or debris
I've never had a problem renting a small trailer from uhaul. The enclosed trailers can be a bit harder depending on the time of the month
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 27, 2015
1651 posts
210 upvotes
East York, ON
Plywood, drywall, kitchen cabinets-maybe-not sure about these, stone slabs for landscaping (small batches),wood ..reno things in general for DIY projects
I will also use it to dispose things
it seems that I forgot about the cost to build that ... :-) good point, thank you!
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Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
2937 posts
1935 upvotes
Toronto
Really boils down to do you have room to store the trailer UNFOLDED. Don't get fooled by this folding nonsense. Nobody folds up their trailers.

If you have room, buy a used good quality utility trailer. Not Princess Auto or Harbor Freight. Aluminum if you can afford it.

Now, that being said, I own the red folding trailer you posted and its sitting up at the cottage. I paid a couple hundred for it and use it from time to time, but since getting it I bought a truck. It's been sitting outside for years and is still in one piece and I use it to haul trash to the dump if I'm cleaning things out. I bolted 3/4" plywood to the deck locking it into position.

I may toss a hitch onto the wife's Fiat to use it up there for that if my truck is elsewhere.

If you don't have room for it to sit without folding it up, just rent when you need one. I still rent trailers when hauling motorcycles etc. sometimes as it's a pain to put a motorcycle into my truck unless I have help.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 27, 2015
1651 posts
210 upvotes
East York, ON
torontotim wrote: Really boils down to do you have room to store the trailer UNFOLDED. Don't get fooled by this folding nonsense. Nobody folds up their trailers.

If you have room, buy a used good quality utility trailer. Not Princess Auto or Harbor Freight. Aluminum if you can afford it.

Now, that being said, I own the red folding trailer you posted and its sitting up at the cottage. I paid a couple hundred for it and use it from time to time, but since getting it I bought a truck. It's been sitting outside for years and is still in one piece and I use it to haul trash to the dump if I'm cleaning things out. I bolted 3/4" plywood to the deck locking it into position.

I may toss a hitch onto the wife's Fiat to use it up there for that if my truck is elsewhere.

If you don't have room for it to sit without folding it up, just rent when you need one. I still rent trailers when hauling motorcycles etc. sometimes as it's a pain to put a motorcycle into my truck unless I have help.
Is it so difficult to fold it ?? Seems like a 4 minutes job to fold it and to unfold it with some head scratching in between ...watch the video

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[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 27, 2015
1651 posts
210 upvotes
East York, ON
OK I just realized that looking at the numbers I ignored the plywood and the 2x4s needed to build this plus the hardware (nuts and bolts) which might add anouther 100CAD to the equeation
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Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
2937 posts
1935 upvotes
Toronto
To your original question about renting U-Haul trailers - it's dead easy. The online reservation tool tells you where the trailer you want is, reserves it, promises $50 I think if it's not available etc. Renting both here in Toronto and in the US has been painless. Just rent from the higher-rated U-Haul centers.

If a $500 trailer depreciates to basically $0 over 10 years, that's $50 a year to own it plus some maintenance, so maybe $60 per year over 10 years. You'll need a replacement tire/wheel from time to time, lube the bearings etc.

Do you use a trailer more than 3 times a year? More than 5?

I'd happily pay $100 per year to rent a trailer 4 to 5 times, get the trailer I need at the time (enclosed, motorcycle, large utility...) and not have to worry about storing it, maintenance etc. vs. $60+ a year to own one.

Why do you say 25 trips? Are you starting a reno project or something? If you need it on-demand and quickly, then buy a used one and sell it when you're done.

Or just end this and buy a pickup. GMC Canyon's are nice.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 9, 2010
2728 posts
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Windsor
The Harbor Freight trailer you linked is rated for 1,200lbs ... the "Canadian" one you mentioned looks to be 2,000lbs capacity. Maybe that doesn't matter to you, but the build quality difference between those two trailers should be not insignificant, and I personally believe justifies the price difference (assuming it IS actually built better). Also, Hazard Fraught doesn't exactly have a great track record for longevity/build quality, and with the folding, I can't imagine this added complexity bodes too well in that regard. As for resale: assuming the lights work, it's not too beat up, and the tires aren't cracked, you'll get $300 back for either of those trailers EASILY ... meaning the HF one is ~ $200, and the Kijiji one is ~$400.

Regardless, maybe the Harbor trailer is plenty for your purposes, and you're cool with rewiring it (unless you store it indoors, that wiring will almost definitely fail within a few years), and realise the platform needs to be purchased; that still only brings it to $500, which isn't too bad. OTOH, those UHaul trailers are SUPER easy to come by; there's always a ton of them available, if not at your closest location, one that isn't too far (generally). Now, it's a lot more convenient to hook up a trailer at your house in 5 minutes and continue on your way ... with UHaul, it's at LEAST 1hr to fill out paperwork, get it attached, then get it detached. I use a trailer for some random job at least once/month, so owning my own trailer is a given (also I built a light-duty 4.5 x 10' trailer, which doesn't actually exist to buy non-custom, so there's that too). I also easily have the space to store it though, which helps.

Another thing you might not have considered:, what vehicle are you towing with? That Harbor Freight trailer probably weighs like 200lbs, meaning it's carrying capacity is quite high, even if you've only got a Chevy Sonic (for example) to move it around with. The UHaul one, OTOH, weighs at nearing 1,000lbs with nothing in it, which could be a concern. I'd suggest you try and see if they'll even let you tow that trailer with your vehicle. For example, I can't tow the UHaul trailer you linked with my A4, meaning UHaul won't rent it to me (they connect the trailer themselves), even though my towing capacity is plenty for moving that trailer with my snowmobile in it.
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