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Last Post 11/01/2014 8:31 PM by  SteveZ
5th wheels worth it?
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tr414
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04/15/2010 11:58 AM

    I've been an adjuster for several years but always stayed in a dumpy motel.  A few months ago a family friend gave me an older 5th wheel, but it is still in great shape.  I already have a 3/4 ton diesel pickup to pull it so I don't have to spend any money to haul it.  I wanted to know what are you're thoughts on them?  I live in Texas and I just don't know if it would be worth it to haul it up to Minnesota or Florida with the added gas expense and rv park costs, but it would be nice to come home to a place you call your own at night to right claims.  There is also something to be said about not packing everything in your truck, just hooking up and heading out.  I guess the number of claims you work would be a factor, but when you get on a storm you never know how long you'll be there unless it is a Major Event.

    Tags: RVing
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    Allan Freeman
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    04/15/2010 2:02 PM
    In the long run it is better than a dumpy motel. I think you sleep better in your own bed. The problem is, you don't know how long you'll be gone. If you go and leave your trailer at home, then find out you'll be gone 2 months, you'll be wishing you had it. That being said make sure you are comfortable with every aspect of the trailer, if not take it camping a few times first, at the storm area is not the time to learn about your trailer. I've had rv's for 20 yrs, so for me it's no issue. The rv park rates are usually about 25-30 dollars per night, where a hotel could cost 60+, the savings from that will cover the fuel and you will have some money left over. A friend of mine who worked Katrina, was deployed for 18 months and spent enough to pay for a trailer. Just feel comfortable with it. You will also meet some great people while you are there.
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    sdraeger
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    04/15/2010 7:20 PM

    It's the only way to go. I've got a desk set up in mine, a freezer, and a washer/dryer. Take it you'll be glad you did.

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    sbeau4014
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    04/15/2010 8:48 PM
    Been doing the 5th wheel/motorhome travel since early 2001 and would never do anything different. I've done mostly long term jobs (a couple over 2 years each) and the savings on motel/eating out vs RV park (at the monthly rate) and getting meals by way of grocery store is huge. We actually full time in our motorhome on some acreage we own, so the extra expenses for us to work a storm fuel to get there (twice what normal gas would be and that is driving our motorhome, with Harley on lift and car towed behind it), the monthly rent (always sign up for a monthly rate) and office expenses such as paper costs/claims program. Depending on who you work for, all of those costs are a write off. We have hi def TV's in LR and DR, Blu ray DVD, all the creature comforts of pf a home, etc. We hppen to have a big investment in going the motorhome route, but did the 5th wheel deal for 4-5 years and loved it. Will probably go back to that (tow hauler type) once we build our house and have a place to set down our land legs when not working.
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    ChuckDeaton
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    04/16/2010 8:42 PM
    I have a motor home, bought it used before Katrina, because of the motor home my income jumped.

    The motor home and a diesel pickup.
    "Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
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    Olegred
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    04/18/2010 12:22 PM
    No. Cost of the trailer+trailer park fee+cost of the gas\diesel to tow+necessity of having huge truck (gas waster in itself) makes this option unattractive. Extralight small trailer could be the way to go, given that cat is a significant one. If it's just the hail storm then extended stay hotels are my choice.
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    KLS
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    04/18/2010 10:17 PM
    I used a motor home for a couple of years but sitting for so long became a problem with the motor so I went to a truck and fifthwheel. The problem is that it's not cost effective on storms less than a month when you factor in the extra fuel cost over my car, usually the park will be $30 a night and the motel would be around $60. Also I have to watch where I'm going. Working in Norfolk last fall and New Jersey this past month on floods, I took the car. There is NO WAY that four door, long bed dually 1 ton would have even made it down a lot of the residential streets I breezed through with my car (let alone having to park the darn thing on those streets for my inspections).
    KLS
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    Kemahsabe
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    04/29/2010 4:47 PM

    Man, I love working out of my trailer.  There's a picture of it on this site somewhere.  Much more comfortable and much cheaper than a motel.  I've always found a park with a monthly rate between $300 and $400.  Good luck finding a suite hotel for 4 times that.  It gives me a free place to sleep enroute and when I get there I'm ready to go.  If there's no space available in a park I'm completely self-contained so I can stay at a Walmart or wherever for at least two weeks before I have to dump the tanks. 

    There are negatives.  My gas mileage drops from 18 to 10, and it takes longer to get to the event because of the slower speed and the extra gas stops .  But I've run spreadsheets that show I have to go well over 1,000 miles before the extra gas costs outweigh the savings on lodging.  Also, if I'm working in a large city there's unlikely to be an RV park within reasonable distance of my claims. 

    On major disasters it's the only way to go.  Working Katrina I met an adjuster that was driving 180 miles from Pensacola because that was the closest place he could find.  He scoped all day, slept in his truck, scoped a second day then went back to P'cola to write them up.  I was parked in a friend's back yard on the West Bank. 

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    Olegred
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    04/30/2010 9:29 AM

    How about the cost of the trailer itself? motel is 139 per week at some extended stay hotels....  convenient? yes... cost ineffective? yes...

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    sbeau4014
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    04/30/2010 10:42 AM
    I haven't researched extended stay places for a while, but the ones I did look at or stay at when I needed to travel without my motorhome or 5th wheel were more like 250-300 a week. As for the cost of the trailer or motorhome, it can be a bit costly, depending on what route you take (MH or 5th wheel) and what level of comfort you want in the unit you get. Also a big factor is what expenses you have back home to deal with such as a house with a mortgage, etc. There is no doubt that the motorhome or 5th wheel has extra costs attached to it and if there is a payment on it, it is a monthly extra expense that goes on whether you are working or not. You also have an asset that is yours once paid off that has value to it, the interest on the payment is a write off like your home mortgage interest, and part or all of the payment itself may be deductible depending on your individual circumstances.
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    rickhans
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    05/03/2010 3:14 AM

    A 5th wheel is not the only trailer option.  I pull a vintage 1972 31' Airstream that I restored paying cash as I did it, ending up with a nice office on wheels and a couple of beds and a full bathroom.  Towing with my Dodge diesel my mileage only drops about 2 to 3 mpg depending on how fast I drive, but it does not slow me down.

    I started using it for adjusting after Ike because there were no motels to be found from Houston to Galveston, and even trailer spots were hard to come by.  I ended up paying $110 per week for full hookups but Internet access was extra.  If I get some work in Arkansas or TN, I will most likely be towing it.  I have a goose neck hitch, but not a 5th wheel, but prefer to tow the "bumper pull" trailers using a class 5 hitch allowing me to carry a generator, compressor, and other stuff in the bed.

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    Olegred
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    05/03/2010 8:48 PM
    that's not a bad deal, the way you describe it... but, anyways, I drive jeep patriot, which only can tow small trailer.... If major CAT hits, I will buy a small trailer but on hail and wind motels are better for me... :)
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    ChuckDeaton
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    05/04/2010 10:01 AM
    When the big money events happen, Katrina for example, the real money goes to the best prepared, that is the best equipped. I am still working Katrina claims. And Gustav claims and Ike claims. Now we have the oil spill.

    Most of that work is directly related to equipment, which included a motor home.
    "Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
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    SteveZ
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    02/14/2012 6:24 PM

    A couple of things to consider...

    1.  The choice of recreational vehicle you choose to use is personal.  I began working out of an 18' pull trailer with no slideout room.  Cramped, cabin fever came quickly, but it was still better than sleeping in a strange motel.  Motels are generally filthy places, no matter whose name is on the sign, or whether they leave the light on for 'ya or not.  I upgraded to a 32' fifth wheel with three slides, and a built in office in the rear. 

        Advantages:  I know WHO slept in MY bed, WHO showered in my bathroom and WHO cooked in my kitchen.    I know that I can cook my own food which saves a boat-load of money compared to eating out, and I have a certain amount of privacy that you just don't get in a motel.  I know exactly how much my note is, and roughly how much I will pay per week/month to stay in an RV park.  I write off ALL related expenses including getting a tax deduction for a second residence.  I can take it camping when I am not working.  My kids pictures hang on the wall, and the three televisions pick up every channel I need.  I don't have to worry about 'hiding everything' in the morning for fear of room service stealing from me.  I park it, drive my truck to handle claims, and my 'house' is waiting in the evenings.    Some campers even have a washer/dryer onboard, but most RV parks have a laundry facility onsite.  If I want to make a fire, sit under the stars and sip a cold one outside while watching the TV, I can. 

        Disadvantages:  In our business, not knowing how long a deployment will last can sometimes mean dragging a camper across country only to have to turn around in a couple of weeks when the storm ends.  Sometimes campgrounds are not exactly "close" to the city where you have to report in, or even as near to your claim load as a hotel would be.  There are costs associated with maintenance, breakdown, etc., and you DO have to make your own bed. 

    I truly enjoy the RV lifestyle.  My unit has an office in the rear 1/3 of the RV, that I can close off at night to separate the work area from the living areas. 

    Just my two cents.  

     

    Z

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    SteveZ
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    11/01/2014 8:31 PM
    ABSOLUTELY !!!   I started out with an 18' pull-behind travel trailer with no slide-out room.  It was small, but got the job done.  I moved up to a Colorado 32QB-M5-BS fifth wheel, three slides, sleeps up to 9.  Queen bed in the master bedroom area, sofa-sleeper and dinette table converta-bed in center kitchen/living room section, and a built-in office with a second sofa-sleeper and two bunks in the rear office area, separated by French doors.  Generator, satellite TVs, and all the comforts of home.  

    I know who has slept in the beds, showered and who has cooked/eaten in the kitchen.  My office allows for private work space away from the living area.   It is usually much cheaper by the month at an RV park than at a hotel, and I don't worry about bedbugs, loud noise in the room next door, and since I have a kitchen, I can cook my own food (much cheaper than eating out every day). 

    Wouldn't trade it for the world. 
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