For many business owners, trailers are an essential investment. They can improve how your small business operates, how your workers do their jobs and, ultimately, how you service your customers.
If you’re looking to invest in a trailer, it’s important to take the time to do some research so you can make the most informed decision. To help, we’ve put together a list of things that you should consider before buying a trailer for your business.
Different Types of Trailers and their Purposes
First, consider what you’re going to be carrying and the features that your trailer needs to have to accommodate it.
If you need to transport waste, a box trailer might be the best option as it will allow you to easily load and safely transport the rubbish. However, if you need to store or transport something more valuable, like power tools or motorbikes, then you might want to invest in an enclosed trailer. This will keep the cargo safe during transit and prevent it from being stolen.
Other features to consider are ventilation, loading ramps, interior height, how the load will be secured and cargo protection.
Additionally, you also need to know how much weight your trailer can carry. To determine this, you need to understand gross vehicle weight rating and payload capacity. These two terms are often misunderstood, leading users to unknowingly overload their trailers.
Gross vehicle weight rating is the maximum amount that your vehicle can weigh including payload. Payload capacity, on the other hand, is the maximum amount of weight that you can load on to your trailer. To stay safe on the road, make sure that the cargo that you are loading is under the payload capacity.
Should you Buy, Lease or Hire?
As a business owner, you need to be smart with how you handle expenses. Depending on your business type, it might be worth considering leasing or hiring a trailer as opposed to buying.
If you only need a trailer for a short period of time then hiring might be a good choice. One of the major benefits of hiring a trailer is that it costs much less than buying or leasing. Additionally, you don’t need to worry about registration fees or long-term maintenance. It’s downsides include not being able to advertise your business and, if you need it for a longer period of time, it will end up causing you to pay more.
With a leased trailer, you will have access to it for a longer period of time without having to buy it outright. Since it’s being used for business purposes, it can also be tax deductible. Some lessors even provide an option to buy the trailer once the leasing contract is up.
The last option is buying. You can customise the trailer, advertise on it and use it whenever you want. If it’s being used for business, certain maintenance costs can be tax deductible. Alternatively, you can also buy a second-hand trailer, which might cost you much less than a leased one. One of the major downsides of buying is having to pay a higher upfront cost. You also have to register your trailer and pay for maintenance costs.
Like with the vehicle that it’s attached to, trailers need to follow safety regulations. So, when you’re customising your trail for your business needs, it’s important to remember key safety features. In Australia, under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act of 1989, a trailer is defined as “a vehicle without motive power designed for attachment to a road motor vehicle; or a piece of machinery or equipment that is equipped with wheels and designed to be towed behind a road motor vehicle.”
Here are a few key safety features to keep in mind.
First, the length of the trailer must not exceed 12.6 metres. For semi trailers, the distance from the point of articulation to the rear overhang must be less than 9.5 meters.
Dog trailers’ overhang must not exceed the lesser of 3.7 metres or 60% of the wheelbase. For semi-trailers it must not exceed the lesser of 3.7 metres or 60% of the distance from the point of articulation and the line from which the rear overhang is measured.
There also must be enough ground clearance. The underside of the trailer (besides the tyres and wheels) must not be less than 100 millimeters.
You’re now ready to take your business to the next level. If you’re still unsure about any of the points discussed above, contact a trailer provider for advice. They will make sure to set you up with a trailer that’s right for you.