Buyer’s Guide to Custom Enclosed Trailers
For many professionals – tradesmen, gas field and pipeline workers, hotshot carriers and the likes – owning an enclosed trailer isn’t just a convenience: it’s an absolute necessity. It shouldn’t, therefore, come as a surprise that many of their trailers have been so thoroughly outfitted for specialized tasks that they hardly qualify as purely convenient conveyance anymore.
Capable of performing a wider range of functions than simply protecting their contents from the elements, sticky fingers and prying eyes; trailers have evolved to serve as mobile offices, workshops, and warehouses complete with specialized shelving, lighting, ventilation and more … and all designed to address a mobile business owner’s specific requirements.
And not to marginalize recreational trailer owners, either – from weekend race car owners and musicians, to campers – they too frequently require a one-of-a-kind trailer that’s unlike any that can be purchased straight off a lot.
Now, if you too can recognize the benefit of owning your bespoke trailer for business or recreation, then you’ll want to read further and understand what decisions need to go into opting for a one-of-a-kind trailer.
A Trailer’s Tale
While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with ready-made trailers, designing a custom enclosed trailer made exclusively to fit your precise needs can often be the most advantageous and cost-effective option.
You know what you want, and you know what’s available – but electing to go with a custom trailer doesn’t mean you have to begin the design process by immediately overlooking or dismissing what may already be available with a standard model, and discussing with the manufacturer how to refit it to match your needs.
In most cases, this will be, hands-down, the best starting point – both upfront and on the back end. Keep in mind that the day may inevitably come when you’ll want to move on to another trailer, and designing a unit whose scope of usage is so narrow that it won’t have any resale value may not be the best idea; so let practicality be as strong a consideration as functionality in customization.
On the other hand, however, there are instances where refitting an existing model won’t suffice. It may be that your needs are indeed so specific that there’s simply no alternative to starting completely from scratch – think, mobile ATM trailer – or, you need a trailer whose colourful, and chrome-plated uniqueness are a critically ingrained aspect of brand identity – think, caterers or food service trailers. If either of these is indeed the case, then speaking with the manufacturer about a one-off, ground-up design is the only option.
Regardless of what role you need a custom trailer to serve; ultimately, that trailer’s tale begins with asking yourself a few simple questions about what exactly you expect it to do.
What Will it Be Used For?
Length, width and height are certainly important here – it’ll determine the number of axles, braking requirements, as well as how strong the frame needs to be – but it’s also a question of whether you’ll need shelving or cabinet arrays for organizing multiple items, whether it’ll need electrical fixtures, or even climate control or special security features. Remember; the reason behind having a custom trailer is for it to fulfil its purpose better than any standard model can: not just to somehow suffice at getting the job done, but to excel at it.
How Far and Where Will You Be Going With It?
If you can imagine towing a trailer and its contents off-road or possibly clear across the country, then you also understand the need for a sturdier-built trailer with potentially higher ground clearance, the imperative for having either lighter- or heavier-weight sidings, or the equipping of spare tires. If you plan to spend a lot of remote time travelling with the trailer, maybe having it outfitted with a custom workspace and overnight accommodations aren’t out of the question either.
How Do You Expect to Load and Unload the Contents?
If you’re transporting wheeled cargo, then sliding ramps or ramp doors would undoubtedly be the way to go, but for more conventional cargo, either rear barn or side doors may prove to be the best … or even a partially enclosed storage deck. Likewise, where vehicles are concerned; this could also necessitate the need for stabilizing jacks or even multiple load levels to allow regulated stacking of cargo.
These are all points that need to be assessed when looking at what features are most desirable in a custom trailer; and subsequently, you’d also be correct to expect it to be capable of delivering slightly more than even what you’ve designed it to do.
A Trailer’s Tail
There’s one other factor that has to be considered when designing a custom-built trailer that’s just as important as the features it’ll have. That is, what’ll be pulling it. Right along with length, width and height must come the inevitable question of weight. Designing the most impressive, best-looking trailer to ever lay a tread on the highway will be all for nil if it exceeds your intended tow vehicle gross vehicle mass (GVM) limit.
Fortunately, your trailer manufacturer will be able to advise you conclusively on just what size trailer you’ll be able to tow with your current vehicle … or more precisely, what type of tow vehicle you’ll need for the trailer you wish to have. Your towing vehicle is, in effect, the trailer’s tail; and everything from the type and height of the hitching equipment, wiring, and even aerodynamics and fuel economy, will determine how suitably they’ll match up together.
At the end of the day, you want a trailer that’ll eliminate all your problems – not create new ones – and that’s what customization is all about.
When it’s all said and done you should be able to walk (… or drive) away with a piece of equipment that’s significantly more than just a piece of equipment. Custom enclosed trailers aren’t expensive, but as capital investments, they’re big, shining representatives of your business. It’s their uniqueness that best reflects your commitment to going beyond the standard to perform a task, no matter what it is.
Regardless of what you need it for; if you’re looking to purchase an enclosed trailer, don’t hesitate to look into having one custom built. You’re guaranteed to be surprised by just how favourable – and affordable – an option it is.