Questions & Answers

              WARNING: This next section is long....So get prepared....Grab a snack or some water and settle in for some more info

                                    that we hope you will find helpful, or informative.

 

 

 

       Why are your Tiny Homes so much more expensive then the ones I see on TV.....?

       

       Ahhh, we all love our favorite DIY shows don't we? Me too !!  The purpose they serve is inspiring television  The detriment they impart to its viewers (how to say this nicely) ...To not be as truthful about the cost as they should be (or could be). Now don't get me wrong, they do put that fact in there, usually at the end and in very small print. You may have seen it...It usually says something like.."Thanks To".... And there it is. The subtle clue that many of the items in that T.H show build (or similar DIY shows) were donated in lieu of some advertising. Are they trying to trick you? No..I don't think so, but it leaves people like me who build Tiny Homes (or any trade work for that matter) holding the proverbial bag. I then have to walk my potential clients through the facts that "they" built that trailer in 1 week because they had 25 people working on it 12 hours a day or more, or/and that all the appliances or lumber where donated so that they could meet the T.H buyers budget. Now, this is a bit over simplified but the facts still stand.

       In fact, several years ago a show about "Flipping Houses" shot in Texas had been sued for promoting an in-accurate fact on their shows leading many to believe that "you too can make $100K a flip"...And you can...IN TEXAS. That formula doesn't work in MA or CA and defiantly not in HI. The average median price of a 2000sqft home in TX runs $135,000, the same house in the suburbs of CA cost $572,800 and that same home in HI costs around $100,000 more then CA.

        Another lesser known fact, is that Tiny Homes are almost always "custom built" unless you are buying a sample house or a previously owned one. In order for me to buy a trailer from CA (our only source right now for custom TH trailers) the shipping alone for the trailer adds more then $2000 to the price of my T.H., and thats before any building even starts. Then, add to that the shipping required for specialty toilets, cabinets, sinks, PV systems etc. and you can begin to see how those "TV Shows" mislead you to believe that the base price for all T.H should be between $30K - $45K.....And you can get them for that price...If they are grid tied base models that are only 16ft to 20 ft long (or you have sponsers, or family memebers or neighbors, donating some items for free).

         One final point is that a Tiny Home built by T.H.E.K is designed and built on Kauai for living off-the-grid in Hawaii (yes, we do offer grid-tied or semi-grid-tied if required). The T.H you see on T.V are set up for being connected to the grid. If you listen carefully, they constantly talk about going "off-the-grid someday"  but don't actual set the T.H up with all the specialty items, including low draw appliances and lighting needed to support off-the-grid living.

       I know that was a long answer....But lets be honest, it's the #1 question I get and it deserves to have some light shone on it. 

 

 

                        Cant I just ship a finished Tiny Home over from the mainland?

 

          Of coarse you can. The rate that I was quoted for shipping a T.H was close to $13,000.  May I also point out that none of those mainland T.H builders that I am aware of use only Photovoltaic for their T.H build. I rely solely on Photovoltaic to build your T.H.E.K Tiny Home so you can really hit the ground running in reducing your overall carbon footprint....Plus, how are they goona fix any issues you may have from the mainland? I doubt they will fly someone out to address and issues you may have with your new T.H. 

 

 

                 I feel the need to expand a bit more about the first question asked above...

 

         Im proud to say that our T.H are built for complete off-the-grid living. (we do offer 1 grid-tied  or semi-grid-tied option). This in and of itself raises the final price of our Tiny Homes by nearly $10,000.

         Its one thing to promote a T.H by saying "Our T.H can be used for off-the-grid living" its totally another to specifically design a T.H for that purpose.  Any home can be made "off-the-grid"...But not without expensive upgrades. Many T.H builders plan to have you connect to a power source and waste system. With endless parks and campgrounds on the mainland, designing them this way makes sense from a design and a cost point of view.

       We plan for just the opposite at Tiny Home Eco Kauai. Our Island chain does not have the appropriate DIY waste disposal collection facilities to support sewage waste collection from a holding tank or parks and campgrounds that have RV type Utility connections. Its one thing "to be designed specifically for off-the-grid living"..... Its another to just claim " you could go "off the grid" in the future if you really wanted to.

       Like you, I have read this line on countless web sites "We chose to stay grid-tied for now to keep the initial costs of our T.H build down, but we hope to go off-the-grid in 3 or 4 years." 

       Now....Im sure they mean well, but it is human nature not to change. I just know that I have read only a handful of articles about people who actually finally went off-grid after years of living Tiny.  It seems that most of those guys took the "off-the-grid" plung  just so that they had something new to blog about....

       It dosent surprise me. What they all have in common is the belief that with just 1 or 2 used PV panels and a car battery " You too can live off-the-grid"....And you can, just not successfully. Which (by the way)I define as having a system that only goes down a dozen or so times a year, requires little to no maintance (these days) and your batteries last a min of 10 years or more. 

       Why those guidlines I heard someone ask?.....Because a well set up system will run exactly like that, without constant overdraws on your battery bank, without your inverter being out sized by your panels and so on and so on.....

       When it comes to a power source for your T.H, ours are designed specifically for appliances and electrical systems that are supported and/or run using either  propane or photovoltaic. An example is.....Our no-water compost toilet costs nearly $2000 installed....A regular toilet that needs to be connected to a waste system can be bought on island for $150 . Our base model Photovoltaic system with 1 battery made in the U.S.A runs roughly $6500 installed (thats right..no miss print)….The electrical systems on other T.H are "plug-ins" and would run about $550 for all the plugs, lights and wiring. While there are PV systems that can be used to run your TH for far less then our system, those systems are really designed for "weekend" or "limited use". Our PVsystems are cross supported and made for deep draws off the system 

repeatedly without losing their charge or ability to accept a full charge over time. Our system is complete, expandable and comes with a transferable warranty.

       I think you can start to see why a "Green T.H" is not as inexpensive as a traditional T.H run on public utilities.  T.H.E.K Tiny Homes are more cost effective over time and truly capture the spirit behind the notion of going Tiny . We proudly offer T.H that are self sufficient and leave a small carbon footprint on our 'Aina.

      In closing....We would not be here at this point in history without those pioneers who tried and lived with those early PV systems. I give them all the credit in the world. It's because of those "out of the box" thinker's and doer's that we have the great PV systems that are available to us today. So there is no need to "see what will work"anymore....They have done it all for you already.

 

 

                                                              Do you make T.H that can be connected to Utilities?

 

       Yes... Our Model I must be connected to the local power grid using an Rv connection that we supply (its a heavy duty electrical cord). 

 

                                                                                         Are T.H allowed on Kauai?

 

       YES... If you own 7500 sqft you can have 1 dwelling ( or T.H) if you have over 10,000 sqft you can have 2 dwellings ( or 1 main house and 1 T.H or just 2 T.H).  

       Can they be parked at beach parks...camp grounds...Polihale...etc.....NO.

       They also are not allowed in neighborhoods that are run as a "gated community" and collect a fee or have bi-laws specific to what you can or cannot have on your property.  Other then that the state has (at this time) no restrictions regarding T.H . This may change in the future as with anything...But people thought they would never allow food trucks...Yet I enjoy eating at them all the time here on Kauai thanks to public demand and to those who own and run those trailers of deliciousness for being  very thoughtful of others and using their common sense to prove that Food trucks can be a benefit to us all here on Kauai, even if you have never been to one, their presence is to be applauded and supported.  In the same way, T.H are not for everyone, but we need to be good stewards of the land and good neighbors to show that a T.H owner is not a "squatter" or similar, but a community member and good neighbor who cares about the 'Aina and his/her fellow Islander's.

 

          THAT BEING SAID....IT IS UP TO YOU TO DO YOUR DUE DILIGANCE AND SPEAK WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS TO SEE IF A T.H WOULD BE THE RIGHT FIT IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD.

                                                                      What other things can a Tiny House be used for?

      Let your imagination run free....It would make a great Yoga studio, easy to heat up for Hot Yoga....Or how about a Personal workout room with amazing views out large windows.....A place for Grandma when she comes to visit (no stairs to climb)....A place for you when your sister-in-law comes to visit....A man-cave complete with big screen, a beer fridge and your own bathroom.....A school house for Home schooled kids....it also would make a great place to Bedazzle, or knit or just sit and meditate.....A massage studio would do well in Tiny House... The sky is the limit, its more cost effective then renting studio space from someone else.....Tiny Living is outside the box thinkings. What is being inside the box keeeping you from doing?

 

                                  What if my PV system runs out of energy in the middle of the night?

 

       Like everything in life there are limits, and this goes for the limits of technology too. What we do here at T.H.E.K is to use tried and true formulas to determine what output you need to live your life comfortably and suggest the best system to support that lifestyle. Example ...If you are a night owl and do most of your work/play after dark, our base PV system will probably not be enough for you. While if you're a book worm and just read with a couple lights on till midnight, our base package PV should be more then enough. Part of what we do here at T.H.E.K is to break down your lifestyle and the appliances you need in order to sustain your happiness (or inner child) and provide you with the most efficient PV package to supply those needs. 

      After all of that is done and you still find that the PV system is not meeting your demands...don't worry..our systems are made to grow. We can add panels and batteries to any system to help reach your life's "output". We also offer backup generators for those who want even more piece of mind.

 

                                                                      What if I want a deck built onto my T.H?

 

       We recommend not having your deck not be perminatly attached to your Tiny Home since it would take up too much cubic ft. from the inside your T.H. What we do offer is to build a "portable" deck that will build for you and deliver to your Tiny Home Plot. We will then install it and attach it to your T.H frame. We can also install exterior sun shutters (known as Bermuda shutters) or just an overhang for over your front  door. These are extras and installed after your home is on its Tiny Plot. When you need to move, just disconnect them and reconnect at your new Tiny Plot.

 

                                                                      Do you provide the water catchment system?

 

      No, ..We do build your T.H to be ready to accept a water catchment system but everyones needs vary too greatly to supply a "universal" tank. Some people want one that is not noticeable and Home Depot sells one that looks like a wooden barrel and holds about 55 gallons or so. Do you like 1/2 Hr long showers? Then you need something more in the 200 to 700 gal range. Which can be ordered from Oahu or the Big Island. In truth, most land on Kauai has water running to it so more then likely you can just connect to that using a simple garden hose or schedule 40 pipe.

 

                                                                                What forms of payment do you accept?

  

      We accept all major credit cards, local checks and cashiers checks or similar...and of coarse cash .

 

                                         I Think I want one, but how will I know, can I meet with you for free?

 

      YES....What we will do is sit down with you to answer all your T.H questions and to hear what Tiny Home would meet your wants and needs. Now this may be done in 1 sitting or take weeks if not months of ironing out the details (A house is a house...Tiny or not...They are complex and have many variables and moving parts that need to be addressed and coordinated).

     Now, we don't charge for the initial consultations, however, our time is as valuable as yours so we ask with all due respect  "Please only meet with us once to learn all you can about T.H.E.K " but then it's up to you to do your "home-work" (pun intended). We request that you pull together all your ideas and thoughts into a clear conversation of what you want your T.H to be. Use pics and saved articles from the web or magazines....Whatever is easiest for you to convey your vision to us during these meetings.

      Once we meet the first time and you feel comfortable about having your T.H build by T.H.E.K  but you decide that "Maybe in 4 years or so you will be ready" we humbly ask you to wait 4 years to call us back for more meetings. 

      These secondary meetings should really be all about T.H.E.K  helping you to galvanize your ideas of what you want included in your T.H and discuss a time frame to start construction of your new T.H. usually with a down-payment deposit.

      If we feel our meetings are not moving forward the "idea of getting you into a T.H", but instead just romanticizing what it may be like to live in or design a T.H, we may have to ask that we not have anymore meetings without charging you a non-refundable design fee.

     PLEASE...don't worry, this is common especially if you have never bought or took part in designing a home before, and we don't mind walking you through it step by step. However we will need to charge a fee for our time and knowledge.

      Now, what the following meeting with you should be like (if you haven't made up your mind yet), is us listening to you describe what colors or extras  you want and determining what appliances you need and how may windows you want. In this meeting we will also cover the interior finish etc.  Some people will do this all of this in one meeting, but don't worry if it takes several...It's a big investment...We at T.H.E.K dont take this fact lightly, and we believe in walking our customers into their new T.H....Not pushing them.
       Its not that we don't want to talk Tiny Story with you, but with the thousands of choices available, and options too vast to count, its important that you come to us already up to speed on the basics of the T.H movement and what it means to you, have a realistic budget and a time frame for when you would like the build completed by.        

       Bottom line....We are here to help you.

       I have a favorite business quote that sums it up...."If you insist on being helpless, your needs will exceed my abilities to help you and I'll have to move on"  Author unknown.

       We promise to do our job, which is to have a web site that is educational and informative in order to help you in making that "final decision"....

       From there, it should just be us meeting with you, seeing if we feel we can work well together and then just adding or organizing the finishing touches to choices you should have already made....That you want to go Tiny, but who will you trust to get you there?.... What will the costs to get one here on Kauai be?

       Please...don't let that scare you. If you are just curious and have some questions....Don't hesitate to go to our Facebook page or the comment area of this web page. Everyone one is curious about T.H....And thats great!!!  Its people like you who will be the new T.H owners of the future. All we ask is for you to respect our time and only set up a meeting if you feel that "now is the time for you to Go Tiny".

 

        If I have you walk me through the entire process of Design because Im to busy to look into the endless info on the web will I get that money back?

 

       If our meetings turns into you're buying a T.H.E.K....Then YES we would consider* offering a refund (in full or partial depending on the time invested) of your design fees by taking that amount off of the scheduled final "payment due"

      If our meetings lead no where and we cant seem to work together to get you toward the goal of owning a T.H then no, we wont refund that money....We hope you will look at it as a good investment...Better to pay a little up front now, then to buy a T.H and find out that it just isn't a good fit for you. 

 

                      Im ready to buy a T.H.E.K ( Tiny Home Eco Kauai) how do I pay for it?

 

      It depends on which package you have chosen. Ive listed them below based on your chosen T.H package:

 

       

       Shell Package (if you didn't choose the window placement...we did) then you pay 60% upon signing                    the agreement to build your T.H shell and 40% upon completion.

     

      Shell Package (you chose window placement or added more windows) then its 75% due upon signing               the agreement to build your T.H Lock-out shell and 25% upon completion

       

     Base Packages I - III  is 40% due upon signing agreement to build your T.H....40% due when shell is                  water tight ( windows,door and roof and siding are installed)..20% upon completion  

       

     Base Package IV is 65% due upon signing agreement to build your T.H....25% due when shell is water                tight...10% upon completion.

     

      Custom Package...…80% due upon signing agreement to build your T.H......10% due when shell is water            tight...10% upon completion.

     

        ("Upon signing" means the day the contract is signed to reserve your T.H trailer and materials are                          ordered specifically for your T.H build. (This happens simultaneously) No work starts on your T.H until              all the materials needed to complete your T.H, arrive on Island and are delivered to our build site. 

 

            ( These are meant to be helpful "guidelines" and your T.H build may require a payment plan not listed above)

 

                                         Why do you need so much up front for some T.H and not others?

 

       Although we have placed our T.H into convenient "packages" all our T.H are really custom built. Some are just more custom then others. So we need to collect enough funds in case you "decide to" (or for some reason can't) not pay to have your T.H finished, we need to be able to have collected enough to cover our expenses/loses. A Tiny House built specifically for you, may take months if not years to re-sell to someone else or cost us thousands to re-design to makeit  re-sellable. Since our build times are so short( 6 to 8 weeks on average), most people would prefer to wait to get their T.H built to their design rather then purchase one that was started with your design in mind. Should you be unable to make your payments due deadline, you will be given 30 days to come up with a cash-out payment which covers all of our expenses and any losses we incurred or may incur due to your cancelation of the build. Upon reciept of this payment, the T.H will be released to you in "as-is" condition. After 60 days, a storage fee will be added to the cash-out payment. If this payment is not met we will have the right to retain your T.H and resell it in hopes to recover any lost investment and holding costs.


  

 

          YOUR WEBSITE LISTED PRICING FOR YOUR PACKAGES. WILL THAT BE THE                                              EXACT PRICE I WILL PAY FOR MY TINY HOME? 

 

       Probably not: Here at T.H.E.K, we are tasked with two ideas that don't always work in harmony together. The first is, that most of the people who visit our website are looking for one thing...…PRICING.

      The second is that from that group is a sub group, this group is looking to actually BUY a Tiny Home in the next 6 months and are trying to decide who they will have build their new T.H.

     

       Being that we are primarily web-based business, we have an obligation to address both of these groups equally. We also believe that being on the front line of T.H sales, it's to our benefit to have a well informed and educated buyer but also to serve those T.H enthusiasts who may never buy one, but who still support the T.H movement because they love all things Eco-friendly. The best way to achieve this is by having an informative web-site.

     ( Some would call it...Wordy or long winded....And yes...Its longer then the directions of how to toast a Pop Tart, but shorter then War and Peace....Its all about compromise.)

 

       Our pricing can change without notice for many reasons, the most common being the increase in shipping cost to the islands. Matson and the like are always raising their port fees and adding fuel charges quarterly and at some point we need to incorporate that increase into our pricing.

       Another reason for a price change happens to T.H companies, especially those that offer PV systems, is that there is always something new and better coming to the market. In order for us to offer the best PV panels, inverters, batteries ect. we reserve the right to raise our pricing as we see fit to be able to offer our T.H clients the latest systems when we feel that the price increase is justified by the improvements that the new system offers. The other side of the coin is we get questions wondering why we dont use product XX instead of product Y. It usually falls into the realm of.."is there a dealer for that product in the islands"? ....And does the new system offer huge advantages over the older system. Many new systems come to market each week, but if the improvements aren't substantial then we think it best to stick with the tried and true and wait a bit longer for it to improve. An example is the Tesla battery....That was going to be our "go to battery"....But it fell short of what Tesla promised it would do, so we were forced to adjust and go with another type of Battery for our PV system.

 

     The most common reason for you're pricing not matching our advertised web-site price, is that most people will add or subtract from the amenities that are included in that package. My website is wordy enough. At some point I cant list every tiny option that is included, but I do include the largest, most common items, or items that cant be left out in order to make it a livable space. Yet that still leaves a vast amount of items that could be added which of coarse would increase the price of your T.H.

 

      I tend to look for a jumping off point when I am going to buy something, and I firmly believe that this "jump off point" will help me to make up my mind if I want to pay that much to begin with, or if I quickly come to the realization that this dream of owning an off-the-grid T.H is just out of my reach for right now. Hopefully, by showing an example of my pricing, it will help answer those questions for you. It's no different then looking for a "full-size" house. When the realtor tells you "This one is only $50K over your budget"....You quickly get a sense if you can afford to own that home with 5 bedrooms or if its time to "re-think" about what your needs really are and maybe even reduce your wish list of "must haves" in order to find one that fits your budget.

 

       EVERY TINY HOUSE I SEE BUILT ON T.V OR FOR SALE OFFERS MICROWAVES OR CONVECTION MICROWAVES...WHY DONT YOU OFFER THESE DEVICES THAT SEEM SO IMPORTANT TO HAVE WHEN LIVING TINY?

 

       ONE SIMPLE REASON (who am I kidding, I cant keep my answers short)....Having a T.H means having a small PV system. Any T.H that has those devices or similar (including irons, hair dryers ect) call for a huge draw on a PV system. The bank of panels required to run such equipment would be larger then the sqft of your T.H roof. This is where the phrase "learning to live Tiny" really hits home. Its more then just reducing that amount of blue T-shirts you own ( I have 12) It really means that every device that makes your life "easier" or lets be honest...Just faster, takes a lot of energy to run or just to start up. Living Tiny means going back to the simple things...Like boiling your tea or coffee on the propane gas stove....And being self-aware of what you're using and the energy it consumes. 


         Sound beyond your ability?

 

       Im not so sure....Do you know how many calories a majority of the food you eat has? Do you make a conscious effort to avoid the higher calorie foods? Do you drive to a separate store just to buy less expensive milk or fresher vegetables? (Hopefully from the farmers market)               Then you ARE capable of going Tiny.

       Its all just a matter of reading the "label" of your appliances just like you do with your food. Its right their on the side(or bottom) of your cappuccino machine....Or online. Sometimes there are two numbers (one is the power required to "start-up" the appliance) the other (usually smaller number) is the energy it consumes to run constantly till you shut if off. Just use the larger of the two numbers.

       There are many web sites now that tell you which products are best and why. The fridges we offer in our T.H are great on energy but not so much on space. If you plan to go Tiny then you are actually signing up for fresher meals...More vegetables and fruit ( which require no electricity to store) and desserts that have more real fruit in them, then high fructose corn syrup....So where is the down side??              

       Thats for you to determine.

       Going Tiny isn't just about reducing the square-footage of your living space, its about NOT shopping at Costco anymore....Its about supporting your local farmers by buying your dinner on the way home from work at their roadside fruit and veggie stands. Thats means nearly 60% or more of your meal is fresher then you may have every had it before. Having those stands on every corner really makes going Tiny easier...And healthier.

        Still wondering how you will make up that lost time that nuking your breakfast saved you every morning? Just get up earlier...You really only save around 11 min each day thanks to those devices, you just think its more.

 

         Stop..Breath..Spend 1 week without the constant white noise from all these devices that we have become numb too. You wont regret it.

 

      Have other questions...email me, leave a comment on this web site or go to our Facebook Page using a link at the bottom of the page. Good or bad... Every comment leads to self-improvement and a better product and experience for you and other T.H enthusiasts like you.  Mahalo nui loa…( Thank You Very Much)