When buying trailers for your rental business, the first thing you should ask of a manufacturer is, "What is your liability coverage? Have you asked the DOT inspector into your plant? Does one of your management team attend the meetings provided by various truck and trailer organizations to stay abreast of changing laws?" Don't be afraid to ask some questions.
Suppliers should be your source of information for the trailer industry; after all, they are the experts. "The salesperson should educate as well as sell trailers," says Knudson with Towmaster. "Ideally, the salesperson can make the customer feel comfortable enough to ask the questions needed to allow a better understanding of his/her needs."
Don Huber with Trail-Eze agrees. "The best thing the customer can do is ask questions."
Maximizing the payload
To maximize hauling efficiency, you might want to move two or more machines in a single payload. There are, however, some added considerations involved.
When sizing a trailer to haul multiple machines, first determine the dimensions of the longest machine the trailer will carry. You need to have adequate deck length and dimensions to ensure proper weight distribution. If in doubt, ask your trailer supplier to perform a weight distribution analysis to determine if specific machines can be safely transported in a single load.
The legal maximum gross weight can also be a limiting factor. A permit is required if the truck, trailer and payload exceeds 80,000 pounds. Technology that is helping in this area is known as an air scale system. Air scales are becoming more popular because operators will know where they are weight wise before they leave the rental yard.
A final factor to consider when hauling multiple pieces is how they are positioned on the trailer so that the tongue weight remains proper.
Off loading one piece of equipment from a trailer without repositioning the others can put undo strain on either the trailer or the tow vehicle. Having too much tongue weight might bottom out the springs on the tow vehicle, making it ride and drive extremely rough. In extreme cases, too much tongue weight might make the tow vehicle hard to control, because the weight might be lifting the front end of the tow vehicle off the ground. In the reverse, too much weight remaining behind the axles might cause the trailer to sway while towing. The swaying might not start until after the driver reaches posted speed limits on the highway, pushing him into a situation he can't safely recover from.
The best way for rental businesses to avoid overloading their trailers is to know the weight of what is being loaded. Every trailer must have a vehicle identification tag that will show the carrying capacity of the trailer. Employees must know the weight of any item they are loading. This can be found in the equipment owners manual or direct from the manufacturer. Be sure to take into account the total weight with fuel and attachments. Be cautious of renting a trailer by itself. Customers must know the same information and load the equipment on the trailer within the safe limits.
Many times trailers are taken for granted and treated as a secondary item. This shouldn't be the case. Be sure to buy a quality trailer of the design that best suits your applications, and your trailers will serve you well over many miles of roads.