How do you guys get 4' x 8' sheet goods home from lumber yard or big box store?


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This is a long shot. 

I drive a 4 door sedan, a VW Passat with no luggage rack on top. I do not plan on getting a pickup truck, SUV, or any kind of luggage rack any time in the near to distant future. I have needed to figure out some kind of transportation solution though for several years. What I have done so far is just no longer something I'm willing to do. I used to literally rent Home Depot's big industrial sized pickup trucks for $20/hour whenever I need to get large sheets of plywood or MDF home. A lot of time, I don't even buy the wood from Home Depot, but instead from a local lumber yard that has a better selection and better price sometimes, but I still rent the Home Depot truck because it is less hassle, cheaper, faster, and the truck is much larger than if I rented from a local Enterprise or something like that. 

The problem is... if I am one minute over returning the truck, it costs and additional $20, and I am ALWAYS over by 3-5 minutes at least. Plus, I very rarely need to buy a big load of 10+ sheets of plywood, but more often than not, I just need one, maybe two. So spending the money, the worry, and all the bullshit that goes into renting a truck has just... I can't do it anymore. I've looked into trailers and trailer hitches, and those get north of $1k immediately. Even things like adding a luggage rack is not an option, because I decided to give leasing a car a try (don't do it... buy a used car before leasing a car. It's a bad idea). But anyway... luggage racks cost hundreds of dollars and I'd have to have it installed on a car that isn't even mine. So... 

I am kind of in a bad way, huh? I've put off asking "the group" about this, because I have just assumed you guys would make fun of me (ha!) or suggest something I'd have to buy (luggage rack, trailer, etc). But to be perfectly honest, I am just not in a position to invest really ANY money into anything other than materials to complete paying projects. Anybody know of any totally DIY methods for tying down sheet goods to a sadan that won't end up with me on the evening news for being the world's first flying Volkswagon?

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I bought my first pickup at age 14, haven't been without one since. I don't know how you stand it.

I know this thread is pretty much dead but I ran across this today and thought it might help someone. Tractor Supply has trailer rentals. 6x10 trailer for $14.99 for 4 hours. $10 more for all day. I w

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If you aren't willing to get a rack, trailer, or pickup you really don't have many options. I listed options i can think of below in the order I'd do them.

1.   See if they deliver?

2.   U-haul rents for not much more but longer periods (around here). $20 plus $0.59/mile for 4 hours.

3.   Get a battery powered track saw and break the sheets down to fit your car.

I grab stuff in my pickup. Couldn't live with out the thing honestly. Gets 25-30 mpg can tow 3,500 lbs and is a good daily driver.

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You can rent trailers from UHaul for $20/day around here. Not sure if you would be able to with your car.

I would either get the lumber shop to deliver if you can't break it down there. Might make sense to do some larger orders depending on the fee.

Or, walk around your neighborhood until you find a guy with a truck and offer him some beer to use it.

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When buying plywood I calculate how one cut, rip or cross cut, to make it easier to handle. All sellers are willing to give me one cut. I re-cut their work. Usually I have it ripped in the middle. 2 x 8"s are much easier to manage. And I have a truck.

Or If your local high school has wood shop, ask the teacher if any kids have a truck. They always want gas money.

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2 hours ago, Dolmetscher007 said:

I am just not in a position to invest really ANY money into anything other than materials to complete paying projects.

If these are paying customer projects and you have your pricing so tight that you haven't allowed for material transportation, which should be part of your overhead figures in your estimate for the client, then you are most likely short changing yourself all the way around in your quotes.

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+1 for Chet's answer. I lucked out. I made friends with the guy that runs my local lumber yard. He passes my house on the way home and will drop off a small load if I ask. I try not to abuse the privilege and don't ask him to drop off more than a sheet or three.

I drive a Hyundai Sonata and I was surprised with the amount of straight lumber I can get in it. The back seats fold down and their is a tunnel from the trunk. If I am careful, I can get a 10 foot board in there. But sheet goods I have to either pay to have them delivered or ask my friend.

If I need a stack of sheets delivered or a lot of lumber, I sometimes have to pay for it. I have learned that if I ask them to delay it until they are out on another delivery in the neighborhood, they will usually knock the delivery price down, or on a big enough order, do it for free. I have been a regular customer for quite a few years now.

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5 minutes ago, gee-dub said:

Add a hitch.  Rent a trailer as needed.

I wish I could do that. We have a Hyundai Sonata and a Hyundai Elantra - no hitches allowed. :(

When I retire, I have to come up with a small pickup for this. Or buy a lot of beer for my lumber yard buddy.....

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I do think the advice to review your pricing is actually the best. Nancy Hiller has some good posts on all the things that go into pricing work, a lot that I never would have considered. Matt Kinney also talked about this on his podcast. 

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1 hour ago, wtnhighlander said:

I bought my first pickup at age 14, haven't been without one since. I don't know how you stand it.

Especially if you own a home.  I bought my first truck a couple of months after our first house and like Ross I haven't been with out one since.  I don't know how home owners do it with out a truck.

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53 minutes ago, Chet said:

I don't know how home owners do it with out a truck.

I can understand how some home owners manage without a pickup, IF they had a hitch on 1 vehicle. I could get as much done with just a hitch on a Carola as i get done with a pickup it would just be slightly (maybe*) less convenient.  Those fold able trailers are quite capable and don't take up much space.

* I say maybe less convenient because i use my trailer as much as i use just the bed of my pickup. it's easier to load and unload.

This comes from a guy with 3 cars and an ATV all with a hitch receiver (it's worth it just for a bike rack),  & 3 trailers, to be fair I'm counting Megan's car because i use it often enough to count. I've been disgusted with my pickup lately maybe i should trade it for a carola, and put my money where my mouth is.

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All great ideas, especially having the seller make the first cut free and usually additional cuts are $1. Also like the idea of the battery operated circ saw. I’m just a tad north of 25 yo and I just bought my first pu. Prior to that, I owned 3 Suburbans and I wasn’t the least bit embarrassed, going down the boulevard with a 4x8 or 5x5 sheet on my roof. I always had to calculate my turns to insure I was going with the wind. 

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12 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

I can understand how some home owners manage without a pickup, IF they had a hitch on 1 vehicle.

Judging by the posts I see asking for Handymen, most homeowners by me can barely hang a picture up. 

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8 hours ago, legenddc said:

Judging by the posts I see asking for Handymen, most homeowners by me can barely hang a picture up. 

I've been trying to teach Megan how to hang her own picture frames.... somehow she gets worse and worse each time.

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You can also use a battery powered jigsaw, in lieu of a circular saw, to break down plywood in the parking lot.  The jig saw then has other uses in the shop.  Though it might take a lot of breaking down to get a sheet into a sedan. 

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11 hours ago, Chet said:

Especially if you own a home.  I bought my first truck a couple of months after our first house and like Ross I haven't been with out one since.  I don't know how home owners do it with out a truck.

I agree. When we started out I didn't own a truck but my FIL did so I always had access. When he passed I ended up using my Ford Escort hatchback as the primary hauler. Although I never hauled sheet goods in it I did haul a lot of stuff in that little car, poor thing. From there I got a Ford F250, then an Avalanche, in 2012 I got a 4dr Jeep wrangler but it only lasted 3 years becuase I got really really really tired of the trailer solution so in 2015 I got my Canyon. I will never be without a truck again.

OK back to the original post. Sorry but I don't think there is a way to do what you want with a leased car. If you go outside you will most assuredly alter the vehicle either in damage or changes, if you go inside same deal. I would get used to the rental for now and plan for a future change.

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2 hours ago, Chestnut said:

I've been trying to teach Megan how to hang her own picture frames.... somehow she gets worse and worse each time.

My 5 year old daughter just hung up 2 things in her room up essentially by herself. Her and the 2 year old helped us move 3 yards of dirt not that long ago. It's shame more people can't do things themselves.

Back to the original topic. If you're taking paying jobs and $40 to rent a truck is making you lose money then you're not pricing your projects properly. At the very least build that into the cost but in any business, that small of a margin is a recipe for disaster. If you're just helping make something for a family member or friend and they're giving you money for materials then getting the materials to you is part of the cost.

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All good feedback and ideas above.  You need to find a way to optimize your truck rentals - rent from a different place, or stock up and get more material in any one trip.  Or, you need to get a trailer or something.  I did a quick search on the local craigslist and found a number of trailers available for $400 or less.....the harder part would be putting a hitch onto your leased car.  

To the original question  I use either a Yukon XL (fits 4x8 sheets laying flat inside), or a 6x10 utility trailer. 

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