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My time is invaluable.
I would have charged you at least 1.2 mil.
You got a deal.
 

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Judy, some do some don’t. My 300 watt solar system cost about $500 and probably took a few hrs to install not even worth filing for it. In your case - yes!
 

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I'm curious how many hours DIYers put in on their builds and whether anyone has tried to quantify it and put a value on their time.
I didn't count hours, but spent about 4 months last winter building mine. I have Lithium, Solar, Inverter, etc, just a small version of some of the things yours has. As you say it's more a compulsion I have to DIY and the fact that I can't stand to settle for others trade offs or paying for a bespoke custom build. So I do it myself and learn along the way.

Thanks for sharing your experience and van. We see on this forum many variations and individual choices along the way and it makes the community richer for having them to learn from and compare.
 

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Discussion Starter #65
I didn't count hours, but spent about 4 months last winter building mine. I have Lithium, Solar, Inverter, etc, just a small version of some of the things yours has. As you say it's more a compulsion I have to DIY and the fact that I can't stand to settle for others trade offs or paying for a bespoke custom build. So I do it myself and learn along the way.

Thanks for sharing your experience and van. We see on this forum many variations and individual choices along the way and it makes the community richer for having them to learn from and compare.
Thank you, akarmy. I didn't know what to expect when I joined last week. I've appreciated the kind welcomes and have learned a lot already.
 

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We are a "tough" group here but we tell it like it is.
No one learns anything in life without careful consideration of "who, what, why". Always look for the opposing thoughts and opinions as well as those from people who claim to be the experts with all the answers that only they know.
 

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Hey, what's this "we" malarkey?
I'm charming and delightful.
I'm like the freakin morning sun.
 

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2014 136” HR
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I’m at the far end of the spectrum in time spent—five years into it and still not finished because I don’t want to finish. I’m one of those who enjoy the creative process, so now I’m venturing into “how can I improve what was already good”.

First, I want to thank you for joining our forum, and I do hope you stick around. But I do wish you had come sooner. Now that you are asking questions and contemplating your next build, maybe we can start speaking more freely. Nobody faults you for hiring out the upfit. I upfitted my son’s van because he had neither skills, tools, nor time. And especially given that your van was a one-off for your builder, I do not begrudge in the least a fair wage for his time, including the inevitable head-scratching time.

My beef is with the advantage taken of your trust. Like KOV said, there’s nothing about your electrical system that remotely justifies its price tag. For comparison, my 300W monocrystalline panels cost less than $300 three years ago. If, in the unlikely event they get destroyed by hail, I can probably replace them with better ones for less than $300 because the technology is still evolving. My $150 meter, generally considered one of the more accurate, gives me 8 parameters on its first level, and there are five levels. Lithiums are the priciest part of your package, but the best ones out there are only about $1,000/100Ah.

When we were calculating our tax rebate (very clearly applicable to the van), stretching the definitions as far as we dared, we managed to find a bit over $1,000 in eligible expenses. Add a couple more thousand-plus for LFP instead of my AGM’s and I’d be real close to your capabilities. For anyone with any van building experience, installing the electrical system should not take long. So by my guesstimate, KOV is being generous when he said, “double”.
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Hi,
I tried to keep track of my labor as a went -- breakdown on cost and labor on this page: https://www.buildagreenrv.com/our-conversion/our-promaster-conversion-weight-of-conversion/
I think that if anything, I missed a few hours.

Really like your build. A lot of people spend something like $120K to get a cookie cutter layout from a Winnebago or the like -- you got exactly what you wanted with very high quality workmanship for the same price.

Gary
 

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Meh, it's just money.
You can't eat it, drive it, play with it, live in it, etc. It's pretty worthless.
That's why I trade it in for those things.
Handful of worthless paper for cool stuff.
Ha, suckers.
I get 'em every time.
 

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Discussion Starter #76
I do hope you stick around. But I do wish you had come sooner. Now that you are asking questions and contemplating your next build, maybe we can start speaking more freely.

My beef is with the advantage taken of your trust. Like KOV said, there’s nothing about your electrical system that remotely justifies its price tag.
Thanks so much again, MsNomer. I do plan to stick around since no one stoned me outta here and I may do another van due to a life change.

I have a lot to learn. I had 3 upfitters, a big NO GO for #2. (First the solar guy, then radiant heat, then Marc Vroman who did my interior build whom I'd definitely hire again.)

He agrees we can bring the cost way down next time, which would be way cool since I still prefer my van over more pricey custom vans I've seen.

Wish I had the gene that would make me want to do it myself, but I feel it's something they'd make me do in hel*. While listening to rap music.

I enjoy hearing what DIY people choose, what they like, change their minds about, all of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #77
Hi,
I tried to keep track of my labor as a went -- breakdown on cost and labor on this page: https://www.buildagreenrv.com/our-conversion/our-promaster-conversion-weight-of-conversion/
I think that if anything, I missed a few hours.

Really like your build. A lot of people spend something like $120K to get a cookie cutter layout from a Winnebago or the like -- you got exactly what you wanted with very high quality workmanship for the same price.

Gary
Thanks Gary. Love your breakdown.
Judy
 

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2018 3500 EXT
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Hey JudyPDX

Yes please “stick around”

4 days & 4 pages ... Id say you are a hit here ?

You have a very nice custom build. If we are talking costs, it really should not be compared to DIY in my opinion. The only comparison in my mind should be to a similar product which in this case would be a factory build. In that light from what I have seen, you have an excellent product at a fair price (& a better deal than the factory builds).

DIYers reasons for building? Mine are basically a cost/benefit analyzed in two parts (the van a depreciating asset of time and mileage) & the build (another depreciating asset of time & associated with mileage). I built it myself as I wanted maximum miles per dollar, thus the equation is total cost divided by total miles. My van is very basic & I figure I am into it for $50k to $55k Canadian not including my many hours. If I purchased factory new it would be $150k Canadian. Custom Sprinter about $150k Canadian & not as nice as JudyPDX’s PM. So I can build 3 van & get 3 times the mileage for the cost of factory (which is way fancier than what we want/need)

That is basically it for me. $150k plus my time for 3 vans or $450k for 3 factory units (assuming the same mileage). There is one other factor - If I built it, then I can fix it ?

I kinda liked building the van & I learned loads along the way. I think I could build the next one in about 30% to 40% of the time it took me to build this one. No kidding, there is so much time utilized in research and just plain figuring it out. The second time around, there would only be research of “the newest & greatest products & technologies“

DIY is not for everyone. Time is money & money is money. I have a lot of hobbies where my friends in the hobby do not properly account/analyze economics. There are more opinions out there than truths

Thank you for sharing on this forum?
 

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2014 136” HR
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The only comparison in my mind should be to a similar product which in this case would be a factory build.
Judy’s build is better than factory, not including the fact that it was built to her specs. High quality materials throughout that you won’t find in factory builds. I just don’t buy that it should cost more than materials, which we know are relatively modest, plus a reasonable compensation for the guy’s time.

One more note: The window trim deserves whatever praise It receives.
 

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2017 159, w/dual sliders. SF Bay area
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Funny thing about that electrical setup. Just looking at the list, I'd bet most of it is Victron. It looks a lot like my electrical list. Frankly, Victron is expensive. That isn't the same as over priced. FWIW, a Victron 100 Ah battery is almost $1400. So for everyone who is saying that things were "over priced" I'd say get over it. You don't know exactly what is in there or exactly what was involved.

Judy, I'm 700-1000 hours into my build. It is a good thing I'm free labor because I could not afford myself.
 
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