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June 15, 2024

Trailing Along: Is Your Trailer Effectively Covering Your Company Needs?

What do you want in a trailer? Is your trailer effectively covering your company needs? Depending on your plan, purpose, and budget, you have a lot to consider.

You start with the nature of the business. Your company may haul goods as its primary business purpose. Perhaps, your business hauls with a fleet of full-size trailers over long or short distances. In that case, you want trailers with long-term reliability, quality construction, and cost-efficient maintenance.

Or, your business may haul product occasionally on short routes, picking up and delivering, making door-to-door calls, or sitting by until needed. In this case, you need convenience, durability, and low-cost care.

Or, your company may need utility trailers to carry tools, machines, and equipment to and from work sites. Landscapers, for example, need sturdy, simple, and low maintenance trailers to carry their mowers, trimmers, and blowers.

As Andrea Martins of Green Socks warns, “Your lawn mower, car and trailer will probably be your three biggest starting expenses. Don’t let them break the bank. Customers will not ask you how old your equipment is, so don’t let ego cloud your purchasing decisions. Consider buying these big, three essential mowing business items second-hand, then upgrading once cashflow allows. It will give you more breathing space at the beginning and ensure you don’t lose sleep over your credit card payments at night.”

But, only you know which trailer effectively covers your specific company needs.

Consider these bits of help when assessing your trailer needs:

1. Construction: You must first assess the trailer’s construction. It will determine how long it lasts and how it suits your business needs. Your best option is an integrated system where frame parts are secured well.

You want welding, so look for triangulation and gusseting. You want to avoid bolts except where required for attachments and accessories, and even then, you want to see lock nuts and tabs that secure bolts against vibration and loosening. And, in smaller trailers, you want to see galvanising that protects against rust and road damage.

● The frame supports the trailer. On large, mid-size, and small trailers, it could be an I-beam, C-channel, L-shaped, or tubular. The best trails use quality aluminum or steel. The more metal, the stronger the frame. But, the more metal, the higher the price you will pay.

What you need in frame strength, however, depends on what your trailer will carry.
Heavier loads need cross-members at intervals of 40.64cm or 60.96cm. Valuable and fragile goods need stability. And, utility trailers, like a mower trailer, must carry durable machines with care.

● Trailer walls depend on your trailer’s purpose. Sturdy and insulated walls add weight and cost.

The strength of enclosed trailer walls depends partly on the number and placement of studs. For example, if the studs are 40.64cm apart, they will be stronger than and last longer than walls with studs at 66.04cm intervals.

If heavy use and durability are concerns, you should inspect the walls for insulation, moisture barriers, and toxicity.

Even open trailers that carry landscaping or construction equipment need sturdy walls to keep equipment in place and hold tools and accessories

● Look for safety features for cargo and for the people using the trailer. You’ll need E-tracks and D-loops to secure your load in open or closed trailers The electric wiring must be secured, and its taillights and turn signals working to regulation.

Loading ramps and automatic lifts must work and exceed expectations. And, drivers, handlers, and users must have easy and safe access.

● You’ll want to confirm the load capacity in terms of weight and volume. You should walk the trailer with your own tape measure to verify the specs. Then, you need to determine if the axles are up to that capacity.

● You need a hitch coupling that stands up to the pull and a spare tyre for emergencies.

2. Suspension. Cargo rides safer on a smooth suspension. And, the trailer’s suspension is all the more important if you load heavy, transport frequently, and carry valuable or fragile cargo.

Leaf springs remain the common suspension on many trucks, trailers, and all-terrain vehicles. But, the metal-on-metal grind in leaf spring systems creates friction and a bouncy ride.

You’ll want rubber torsion suspension for a smoother ride if that’s important to your cargo. Rubber torsion suspensions work independently to prevent unnecessary shift, tilt, and sway.

3. Brand: Big brand names and custom-made trailers can cost more, but those trailer manufacturers risk their reputation unless they are prepared to offer quality product and customer support. You should be suspicious of unnamed items when you can shop for the quality and specs you need with a little research. See some well-known Aussie brands below.

4. Warranty: Buying new or buying used, you should look for a warranty on the frame and key features. Warranties are a comfort, and they confirm the manufacturer’s commitment to excellence

5. Dealer: You can — and many will — make private deals. But, you would do better to buy your trailer from a reliable and stable dealer. Only a dealer can support your warranty, service your trailer needs, and provide some peace of mind.

Australian-made mower trailers:

This is a short list of Australian products ready to cover your company needs. Each represents a different manufacturer and type of mower trailer just to show the various options available when your work calls for trailing along:

● Ozziquip Trailer: With 2900 mm X 1900 mm usable deck space, this one will carry full-width, zero-turn mowers, ATVs, UTVs, and golf buggies. With a 1500 kg capacity and a tare weight of only 460 kgs, this Ozziquip has a 100 mm X 50 mm X 3 mm drawbar, a 2.5 mm checker plate floor, and twin drop down ramps. Fully galvanised, it rides on disc brakes and 45 mm X 8 mm 7 leaf springs.

● Zocon Tipping Trailer Z080: This loading and tipping trailer carries an 8000 kg load, equipment, supplies, or product. A hefty 2300 kg, it measures 450 cm X 220 cm X 60 cm. It pulls easily behind 60 horsepower and rides over tandem tires under leaf spring suspension. With galvanised upper and lower framed, the Zocon has a mechanical lock system, sideboards, and hydraulic self-closing backdoor. You also get hydraulic brakes and full lighting system.

● Polmac: This Perth manufacturer offers trailers for landscape professionals with tandem axles licensed at 2000 kg gross weight on rocker springs. A 12-volt hydraulic power pack, rear ramp door, and override mechanical brakes are standard, but Polman also offers customers the chance to customize their orders.

● Modern Trailers: Modern Trailers presents a total landscaping package with solid walls, welded steps, and enclosed closets and tool boxes. The floor is 2.5 mm checker plate over 40 mm X 40 mm X 2.5 mm. Two mesh barn doors at 0.9144m high are securely hinged with 2 spring handles. The side toolbox has a lift up door access to two shelves. It has override disc brakes, ADR-approved LED lights and front clearance reflectors.

● Victoria Trailers: Medium or heavy duty Victoria trailers have smooth floors and 300 mm sides. Landscape trailers include an internal shelf and a lawn mower platform with ramp. But, you can also customize your trailer’s walls and cage quality.

● Trailers 2000: This Sunshine Coast brand makes mower trailers to customer spec. You will find trailers with custom cages, drop ramps, side steps, jerrycan holders, swing tailgates or slide-away ramps, and more.

Your landscaping business options

In its coverage of must-have landscaping tools of the trade, Entrepreneur advises that mower trailer “is a must if you have significant equipment and don’t want to be hoisting it up repeatedly into your van or truck bed.” So, when you’re shopping ask yourself a few key questions:

1. Why do I need the trailer? You only need a light duty trailer, say, 1.2192 m X 1.8288 m or 1.2192 m X 2.1336 m, if you are only carrying a lightweight mower or equipment. But, if you move a heavier mower like the standard zero-turn, you should look at 1.524 m X 3.048 m. And, if you carry something in the Bobcat line, you need reliable lighting and braking systems.

2. How much weight and volume will you carry? You must consider the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) your work typically moves. You should overbuy just to give you some extra protection and room to grow. And, while you must try to distribute your load evenly, that rarely happens in a day’s work.

3. How much can your vehicle pull? You should select your vehicle for its pulling capacity. You need enough pull to handle your gross load (trailer weight plus payload). But, again, you might want to buy higher pull to permit future growth. As a rule, your full-size pickup will have a Class 3 trailer hitch rated for up to 4535.923 kg

With a full understanding of what you need in trailers, you can now shop in person, online, and by phone. With a grasp of purpose, measurement, and quality, you can shop at your own convenience for trailers that effectively cover your company’s needs.

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