Manufactured Home Transport Takes Planning, Time and Patience
Michael Oslau has covered many thousands of miles across the U.S. in the name of manufactured home transport.
He’s a shipper, toting homes for Skyway Custom Transport of Renton, Wash. His job is manufactured home transport, but certain parts of his day involve little extras, brought on by necessity. He can be a little bit home inspector, a little bit landscaper, a little bit physicist, sometimes meteorologist.
“I rely on a tear down guy, and it’s hard to make sure they caught everything,” Oslau said. “There are a lot of factors involved in the transport.”
When he’s going to pick up a new home, he can be largely rest-assured the details have been covered by the manufacturer or dealer. But previously lived in, existing homes can be a different story. Sometimes homeowners want to save money and prepare the home themselves, and even if a contractor has been hired, not all outfits are the same.
We asked Oslau, and he thankfully agreed, to answer a few questions about how consumers – and their transport professionals – can gain the best experience possible in prepping and moving a home.
What is the first thing you check when you arrive to pick up a home?
“I look for leading edge board on the roof tile. If the wind gets it, it will pull the roof off. Tiles can go flying, and the state police doesn’t like that. Sometimes the roof can peel off all at once. No one likes that either.”
How do you secure a dilapidated roof?
“If you think you might need a new roof, take the old one off before we ship. You can ship without a roof, but you can’t have stuff flying off the home. You can put the new roof on at the new site.”
How important is making sure the home is strapped properly?
“New homes are easier, because it’s ready to ship for the most part. When someone gets a used home it’s more difficult, and many times the customer wants to get the work done themselves. They can be poorly strapped,” Oslau said. “This creates a twisting motion when you lift it, and can cause some problems if it twists too far. It’s more than a cracked wall. That can be fixed. Sometimes the walls will peel off the floor.”
How does an older home fare during a move?
“Is the siding falling off? Is it wood, aluminum or even concrete siding? Was it built with concrete? Sometimes features are added after the home was originally purchased and sited, which means there’s a good chance the home weighs more now than it did when it was put on that chassis. The chassis is original to the home, and it’s only made to carry the weight of the original home.
“You also want to make sure the axles, tongue and A-frame are in good condition, with no damage or erosion that can weaken their ability to carry the load.”
What should be taken out of the home?
“Anything that’s not fixed to the home, and even some items that can be detached, should be pulled from the home. Again, these axles can only hold so much weight. It’s designed to carry the weight for that section of the home that sits above it, not for all of the stuff that might be left in it.”
What else needs to be secured before moving?
“Doors and windows need to be secured. I had one with a tip-out on it, and I had to have the set-up crew come back and put boards over it. The window kept wanting to slide out of the house, off the truck.”
What do you need in terms of access to the home?
“Usually if the home’s in a community, it’s going to work out alright. If it’s a home out in the middle of the woods, the access better be clear and straight. Sometimes a home has been in a place long enough for trees to grow up and block the way. Sometimes trees and other obstacles need to be removed, and that’s something a homeowner can do themselves or contract out.
“You can ask your shipping company to do a site check,” Oslau said. “Some will, some won’t.”
Additionally, even transport of the smaller homes require 14-feet of road width to be passable.
“A 14-foot wide driveway off a two-lane highway won’t take a 14-foot wide home,” Oslau said. “When you’re turning off a tight space, the width is more like 30 feet wide.”
Where are you unable to put a home?
“Depending on how much money you want to spend, I can put one on the top of a mountain if you want to build the road,” Oslau said.
How does weather impact your work?
“Most of this stuff needs to be done during the summer,” Oslau said. “And wind is something you need to be aware of. There actually are highways in some places that have signs saying ‘no manufactured homes’. But, really, it’s about knowing what you’re doing when you get into truly scary places.”
Let MHVillage Help!
With a bevy of buying options, you’re sure to be eager for the purchase of a home that’s truly your own.
However, when the complications of tear-down and transport arise, It may seem like your plans need to come to a screeching halt. Please, don’t give up until you’ve looked at all available resources. At MHVillage, we have tools to connect you with mobile home movers and transporters.
On our Manufactured and Mobile Home Movers and Transporters page, you can browse by state to find a professional in your area.
Many transporters operate in multiple states, and can give you the low-down on pricing options in multiple regions. If you’re starting the process of moving your home, just browse our page to contact movers in your area today.
You also can find more resources and related products on our Mobile Home Parts page.
Happy home moving!