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Old 03-11-2013, 09:33 AM   #29
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Brave or Just Naive?

About the cost of your time - you COULD take a second job instead of working on the Airstream. You COULD afford more toys for your Airstream IF you took a second job.

You wouldn't have time to travel or CAMP if you took a second job...

It does make sense to track the time you spent on renovating the Airstream even if you can't recover it when you sell. You'll think longer and harder about selling!

You'll also be an enormous help to those who follow in your footsteps. How?
  • By reducing the number of half finished basket cases rotting in people's barns, garages and drives. {Yikes! 3 weeks at 20 hrs per week won't do it?!}
  • By encouraging others to make better cost vs. efficiency & quality choices. (Pay to have a new frame built with subfloor & new axles installed, while you remove interior & prep for lift... Then popping shell neatly from the old frame to the new one in a single day.
  • by allowing hobbiest restorers to plan better and finish faster
  • by giving Frank et al more work
  • by sending some people running to the dealer to buy new!
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:06 AM   #30
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If you were to buy a house and renovate it then sell it you wouldn't say, "just give me $75,000 instead of $252,000... I did all the work myself" Would you? If that same house burnt the ground you wouldn't tell your insurance company, "hey I only have $75,000 for the purchase price and $25,000 in materials so just give me $100,000." The same is true of your trailer. Say it got wrecked. "Oh, JQ Insurance, I only have $8,500 in it" No, you would want the full amount you feel it worth.
You must live in a different world from mine. I can only sell my house or trailer for what the current group of buyers will give me for it, based on their knowledge of comparative market value, their finances, their needs and desires, and my patience. I know of no-one who would "give away" their house or trailer for less than what the market will bear, and no-one who would pay more than it's market value. But if somebody wants to do either of those- so what?
The amount of payout I get from my insurance company, either for my house or a trailer, is based more on actual market-based replacement costs (and the premium amount I am willing to pay) than how much time I say I spent tinkering with it and what arbitrary hourly pay rate I would like. You must have a different kind of insurance, or pay a lot more for it.
I suspect that what quite a few folks here are saying is that they didn't even bother to keep track of their time whilst fixing up their trailers (or houses) because it's not important enough to do so. It is, in fact, at least for me, besides the point.
I think most of us DIY-ers on this thread have made it clear that our costs do not reflect our time, so that those seeking professional refurbishing will not be sticker-shocked. Relax.
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:59 AM   #31
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:10 PM   #32
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I think most of us DIY-ers on this thread have made it clear that our costs do not reflect our time, so that those seeking professional refurbishing will not be sticker-shocked. Relax.
There are a lot of DIYers for Airstream renovation, and there are a lot who pay professionals to perform some or all of the work. Under other circumstances, I'd pay Frank a healthy sum (aka king's ransom) to do an entire restoration for me. It would result in a much higher quality product than what I am going to have when I'm doing my own work.

I hope Frank doesn't think any of the DIYers on this thread don't value the amount of time it takes to perform quality restoration work on a trailer. If anything, the DIYers who've performed major renovations understand better than anyone-- anyone that is not a professional, of course.

I don't mention exceptions like "excluding the cost of my labor" because I don't value the time. I make those exceptions specifically because I DO value that time. Anyone who takes a major renovation lightly and thinks the work is going to be easy, will be in for a major shock. I went in with eyes wide open and was still surprised on numerous occasions just how difficult and/or time-consuming some things were.

Heck, one of the hardest things of the entire renovation was backing out those blasted slotted screws they used on all of the framing in 1963!
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Old 03-11-2013, 01:10 PM   #33
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FYI as just another data point, I've been tracking costs pretty intimately (although need to update the last 6 months), and if I subtract out the reg, insurance, and storage fees, which I had included initially, the total cost of our 18' 1959 for a complete shell on renovation and minimal use of original interior materials is tracking to total approximately $17k, including purchase price. In fact the only supplies remaining are a small LED TV and the hardwood flooring, which I have budgeted for in that total. We had originally assumed $15k and let it expand a little as we picked out some of the materials.

Now if you count labor, hoo boy-- this is a $100k trailer

EDIT: One further aspect of the data is I am allowing a $2k further expense over the next few years to go toward new axle/ running gear, and solar panels.
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Old 03-11-2013, 02:16 PM   #34
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When the OP asks what it costs to renovate an Airstream, it depends. If you are asking that of a DIY, which I am, then you are going to get out of pocket costs. In post #12, my out of pocket costs so far are about 10k. By the time I am done they will be 15k or somewhat more. I have done the work myself because I am able to. Now I would never sell my Tradewind for just what I have in it. I don't even think about what it is worth, because I don't really plan on selling it period.

Now if I did not have DIY skills and I had to pay to have my Airstream renovated, then I would need to quote a price based on the actual total cost of getting it renovated, including parts and labor. This could easily be 30-50k or more based on the level and the quality of the renovation work.

Dan
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:51 PM   #35
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Didn't think I would take a beatin for telling people not to sell themselves short...
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:11 PM   #36
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Didn't think I would take a beatin for telling people not to sell themselves short...
Awwww...its ok, were just trying to make you feel guilty so you'll donate some of your time on OUR projects. Is it working yet?
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:22 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by worldinchaos View Post
FYI as just another data point, I've been tracking costs pretty intimately (although need to update the last 6 months), and if I subtract out the reg, insurance, and storage fees, which I had included initially, the total cost of our 18' 1959 for a complete shell on renovation and minimal use of original interior materials is tracking to total approximately $17k, including purchase price. In fact the only supplies remaining are a small LED TV and the hardwood flooring, which I have budgeted for in that total. We had originally assumed $15k and let it expand a little as we picked out some of the materials.

Now if you count labor, hoo boy-- this is a $100k trailer

EDIT: One further aspect of the data is I am allowing a $2k further expense over the next few years to go toward new axle/ running gear, and solar panels.
Oh, oh...this means another $95,000 to go. Easy could keep me from retiring for another 20 years.
Sandy
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:56 AM   #38
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Awwww...its ok, were just trying to make you feel guilty so you'll donate some of your time on OUR projects. Is it working yet?
What do you need help with? I get numerous calls a day... I try to help in any way I can.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:04 AM   #39
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What do you need help with? I get numerous calls a day... I try to help in any way I can.
Frank is extremely generous with his time and advice. There's no way I could have done even 1/2 of the things I have so far on my reno without his patient explanations. First thing I do any time I'm about to undertake a task, is to check his blogs. Chances are, he's already done it, and written about it in great detail.

Thanks as always Frank, and I don't think folks are attacking you, just explaining why they don't include their time in their reno cost summaries. For some (like me), it might just be too overwhelming to calculate the cost if my time is valued at even $10/hour!
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:46 AM   #40
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I admire the fact that you do this for a living, Frank! You know, the mouse turds, dirt, icky, icky bellypan, etc.etc.etc. Not sure I could do it for someone elses RV. It's like taking care of kids: I do it for mine because they're mine and I love them, hate doing it for other peoples. No attack intended.....

Kay
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:07 PM   #41
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I admire the fact that you do this for a living, Frank! You know, the mouse turds, dirt, icky, icky bellypan, etc.etc.etc. Not sure I could do it for someone elses RV. It's like taking care of kids: I do it for mine because they're mine and I love them, hate doing it for other peoples. No attack intended.....

Kay
Well said! Same goes for me. Kudos both to the Pros, and the fearless DIY-ers!
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:33 PM   #42
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Ditto...but I still want to adopt Frank. I can offer up a slightly damaged 76 Argosy project whereby he can toil away at his leisure, while I work the BBQ and the bottle opener to keep him happy. Smiles.
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