A Business’s Guide to Buying a Trailer: What You Need to Know Before You Start Shopping

We’ve written this Buyer’s Guide to help you assess your hauling needs and find the best fitting quality trailer for your business’s investment.

Do you need a cargo or utility trailer for work?

Whether you and your company just realized a need to purchase one trailer or one hundred, every business’ hauling needs are unique; so we’ve made up a list of questions to help you figure out how to buy the cargo or utility trailer that will meet your work’s needs. To help ease your decision making when you’re shopping for a trailer for your business we’ve also included a list of Quality Spotting Tips for you to keep in mind when you compare trailers at a dealer.

First thing’s first…

1) How much weight will you need to carry in the trailer?

Your ability to answer this question will ensure you purchase a trailer that is capable of meeting your hauling needs. It is especially important to buy a trailer rated with a payload capacity** Higher than your desired cargo weight because overloading your axles is dangerous!

So….How do you determine how much weight you’ll be carrying? Your answer to #2 should help you figure out how much weight you’ll need to carry in your trailer.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: Many people often confuse the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) with the trailer’s Payload Capacity…Let’s clear up the confusion:

  • The GVWR is the total amount of vehicle weight: this includes the weight of the empty trailer +plus+ the maximum amount of cargo weight that can be safely loaded.
  • The maximum amount of cargo weight you can safely load into the trailer is called the payload capacity. It is important that your trailer’s payload capacity can haul your desired cargo.
  • Consider this before you buy: If the GVWR could accommodate your desired cargo, but the payload capacity is under your desired cargo weight, then purchasing the trailer will most likely lead to you overloading the trailer’s axles, which will crack the frame and axles, which can lead to a Expen$ive repair bill and voided manufacturer’s warranty, or totaled trailer entirely if the inevitable unfortunately occurs on the freeway!
  • Expert Tip: Save yourself the headache, and purchase a trailer that has a payload capacity rated higher than the weight of your desired maximum cargo!

2) What will the trailer be used for?

This question raises many more specific questions to help you think about the various ways you may need to use the trailer for your business, which will help you calculate how much weight will need to be added to the trailer, as well as any upgrade preferences that will ease the use of the trailer.

Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Will you be using the trailer to transport cargo from point A to point B: will you need tie downs, tracking, or shelving for your cargo?
  • Will you need to work inside the trailer: how much space will you need, how tall should the interior height be?
  • Would rear Cargo doors or Ramp doors ease the loading of your cargo?
  • Will your cargo need ventilation: constant ventilation or when you regulate it only?
  • Will you be transporting liquids, so the interior should be protected?
  • Will you be wrapping the trailer; do you prefer wrapping over smooth side or riveted panels?

The clearer  you can picture the potential needs for your trailer, the more likely you will be to purchase a trailer that will be perfectly suited for your company for years to come.

1) and 2) may seem like simple questions, but they’re essential to making sure the trailer you buy will be able to accommodate your business’s needs…Once you can answer these simple questions, you’re ready to start shopping!

Expert Tip: Invest in a Quality Product and You’ll Save yourself Stress, Time, and Money during your trailer ownership!

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Quality Spotting Tips to keep in mind when You’re Trailer Shopping:

  • A Nationwide Warranty: If the trailer has a warranty, especially one of 1 year or more years, the company clearly stands behind their product. If the warranty is backed Nationwide you’ll be covered for the long haul, and that will make your life easier over the length of time you own the trailer. Be sure to Consider: warranty length, number of warranty repair locations
  • Weld Quality: Since the integrity of the trailer is entirely dependent on the quality of the welds it is important to look for smooth uniform welds. Dump Trailers especially, poor weld quality could mean spending excess time manually clearing the dumpbed of material caught on jagged or raised welds; and low quality welds in the bed don’t give much confidence in the trailer’s frame welds. Be sure to Inspect: frame welds under the trailer, and tongue weld quality
  • Radial Tires: Steel belted radial tires are not only more durable when sitting for storage than a bias ply rubber tires, but also can travel significantly more miles than standard rubber tires.
  • American Made Axles: American engineered and built axles are tested for quality, feature superior engineering support, and are typically backed by warranties and quality customer support from the axle manufacturer.

Food for Thought: How often are cheap products also Quality products? Not very often. And since you need a Quality trailer to help get your jobs done, and make your life easier…Spending a little more than you initially intended will be better than not spending as much as you should have, and regretting it later! If you invest in a Quality trailer, it will last to meet your business’s needs for years to come!

Now that you’re equipped with the questions to answer and things to consider when shopping for a trailer you’re ready to get started with your trailer search! Are you located in California? Norco Trailers is an excellent place to compare the Best National Name Brand trailers on the market that exceed our Quality Spotting Tips list’s minimum requirements! If you’re located in Central California or Southern California, Norco Trailers is your closest Authorized Pace American, Look Trailers, Haulmark, Innovative, Playcraft, and Featherlite Dealer for Quality enclosed cargo trailers, open utility trailers, dump trailers, and horse trailers!

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7 thoughts on “A Business’s Guide to Buying a Trailer: What You Need to Know Before You Start Shopping

  1. I appreciate the information on the different trailers for different jobs. I agree it is important to really think about ALL the things you could be using the trailer for so you get one that is big enough and can get the job done. My brother is looking into getting one for his business, I will be sure to share this with him.

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    1. Thank you for the comment Ben. We’re glad you enjoyed our post offering trailer shopping tips for businesses and individuals. We hope your brother also likes our content, and hopefully finds a great quality trailer that meets his hauling needs!

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  2. I like that you talked about considering what ways you’ll be using the trailer. I will probably be transporting liquids, so that would be good to consider. I’ll need to make sure the interior is safe from spills. I’ll make sure to think about this while looking for a trailer.

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    1. Since you’ll be hauling liquids I’d recommend buying a trailer with the engineered wood Drymax (it’s oil and water resistant, harder than plywood, and offers a pre-sanded surface so it can be painted with a high gloss paint if you want to wipe down the walls) or consider potentially having the interior sprayed with a bed liner type of sealant to protect your wood from rotting in case you have an inevitable spill transporting liquids

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  3. My wife and I are thinking about buying a trailer to take camping next summer, but we aren’t sure where to start. I like that you suggest buying a trailer rated with a payload capacity higher than your cargo weight to avoid damage to the axles. This would also allow us to carry more gear if we ever decided to start bringing along friends. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. There are a lot of questions that should be asked when researching the kind of trailer that you want to buy. One of the more important ones, as the article points out, is how much weight the trailer will be carrying. After all, you do not want the trailer to be weighed down and effecting your gas mileage while your hauling.

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