So over at Treehugger they posed a good question: How much should at Tiny House cost?
My first gut reaction is that if a normal house plans cost $2500-$5000 for your 3000 square foot home that it essentially costs $1-$3 per square foot at retail. With that logic we could pay $150 to $450 for a Tiny House. Now we should recognize that the cost of developing a set of plans can be costly. I know from talking to Jay Shafer of Tumbleweed has about a 6 month development process. Once they do develop these plans they can sell them over and over, since they are digital, there is no reproduction cost and next to no distribution cost as its via email.
I guess I look at it this way. There are two factors: what the market will bear and what is the ethical price. Now some would argue that these two things aren’t mutually exclusive, while others wouldn’t give a single thought to ethics. I won’t go into what the market will bear, because that’s pretty straight forward.
Why Ethics? In my thought process I have come to focus on some things. Primarily that everyone has the right to clean water to drink, good food to eat, and a safe place sleep. In the United States I generally think people have access to free clean water, but will integrate water into my other efforts. So I focus my efforts on food and housing.
For food I work to develop community gardens and consult to get new ones started. Local food that is highly diversified, decentralized, and sustainable is key to a healthy planet, a healthy community and essential for food security. For housing I think Tiny Houses are the key to connecting those without a safe place to sleep with a place to call home. I have looked at the solutions around and feel it is the most viable.
Now certainly as a business it is smart to have different price points for certain segments of consumers, which will be higher. Tiny Houses are very affordable to their McMansion counterparts, but is being less than a large house enough? Wouldn’t it be neat if Tumbleweed were to develop a free house plan that was ultra low cost? From another view point, that housing is a right, what should the cost be? Free? $10? $100?[poll id=”5″]