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Trucking Trailer Types & Making A Purchase Decision

Whether you're in the market for new or used trailers, understanding the different types of equipment and considering key factors can help you make an informed decision. Let’s explore the three primary types of trailers: dry van, flatbed, and refrigerated (reefer)!

Dry Van Trailers

Dry van trailers are the most common type of trailer and are like big, enclosed boxes on wheels. They are used to transport everyday items like electronics, clothes, and non-perishable goods. Dry van freight is widely available, so there are typically many job opportunities. However, due to competition, profit margins may be lower for the better lanes/routes or better freight. Dry van trailers are relatively easy to operate, making them suitable for both experienced and new drivers. You can read more about the specs of dry van trailers here.

Flatbed Trailers

Flatbed trailers have a flat, open deck without any sides or a roof. They are used to transport large and bulky items that cannot fit inside enclosed trailers, such as construction materials, machinery, and vehicles. Flatbed trailers offer higher earning potential than dry van trailers as they handle specialized cargo. However, job availability may vary depending on location and demand. Operating flatbed trailers requires additional skills for securing and covering loads. Truckers need to know how to distribute the load properly and secure it safely. Maneuvering large and irregularly shaped loads can be challenging. There are many different types of specialized flatbed equipment including step decks, drop decks, lowboys, and more. Check out our blog here to learn more about each type!

Refrigerated (Reefer) Trailers

Refrigerated trailers, or reefers, have cooling units to maintain specific temperature ranges. They are used to transport perishable goods like food, pharmaceuticals, and other temperature-sensitive items. Reefer trailers offer higher-profit margins than dry van trailers because they transport perishable goods. Operating refrigerated trailers requires additional responsibilities, such as monitoring and maintaining the temperature inside. Truckers need to know how to handle and secure temperature sensitive and perishable cargo properly. You can read more about the specs of reefer trailers here.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing Trailer Equipment

When it comes to choosing a trailer, you will want to consider the type of cargo you are interested in hauling, market demand, and your own personal preferences. Consider the specific requirements and challenges that each trailer type presents before making a decision. Once you’ve made a decision, there are multiple factors to consider when purchasing new or used trailer equipment:

  1. Condition and Maintenance History: For used trailer equipment, carefully inspect the condition of the trailer, including its structure, flooring, doors, and mechanical components. Look for signs of wear and tear, rust, or damage. Ask for the maintenance history to ensure regular servicing and repairs have been performed.

  2. Trailer Specifications: Consider the specific needs of your business and the cargo you intend to transport. Look for trailers with appropriate dimensions, weight capacity, and features that align with your requirements. Verify if the trailer meets local regulations and safety standards.

  3. Reputation and Reliability: Research the reputation and reliability of the trailer manufacturer or brand. Look for feedback and reviews from other truckers or companies who have used their products. A reputable manufacturer is more likely to provide quality trailers and reliable after-sales support.

  4. Warranty and After-Sales Support: Inquire about the warranty offered by the manufacturer for new trailers. Understand the coverage, duration, and any conditions that may apply. Additionally, consider the availability of after-sales support, including access to spare parts, service centers, and customer assistance.

  5. Trailer Features and Customization Options: Evaluate the features and customization options available for the trailer. Look for features that enhance convenience, efficiency, and safety, such as advanced braking systems, trailer tracking technology, or additional security measures. Consider customization possibilities to match the trailer with your specific requirements.

  6. Price and Financing Options: Compare prices from different sellers or manufacturers to ensure you get a fair deal. Consider the overall value offered by the trailer, including its features, quality, and brand reputation. Additionally, explore financing options if needed and carefully assess the financial implications of your purchase.

  7. Maintenance and Repair Accessibility: Evaluate the availability of maintenance and repair services for the trailer. Consider the location and accessibility of service centers, as well as the expertise of mechanics in handling the specific trailer type. Easy access to reliable maintenance and repair services can minimize downtime and ensure the longevity of the trailer.

  8. Resale Value: If you anticipate selling the trailer in the future, consider its potential resale value. Certain brands or types of trailers may hold their value better over time, which can be beneficial if you decide to upgrade or change your equipment in the future.

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Soshaul Logistics LLC and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. It is meant to serve as a guide and information only and Soshaul Logistics, LLC - Copyright 2023 - does not assume responsibility for any omissions, errors, or ambiguity contained herein. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction or operation.


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