Need Help With Trailer Options


From original questioner:

It's time to replace our delivery trailer of 10 years. It's in fine condition, but what we are selling now simply does not fit. We currently have a 7x12 V-nose with a single axle and max 75" interior height. The floors and walls are bare plywood. It has a ramp door on the back, two interior lights, a side door, and a manual roof vent. We have added some D-rings to the walls at various locations and heights. We also added one cabinet, partially in the V-nose, for some spare parts and tools. The wheel wells are outside of the cargo box, so they do not interfere with interior storage. It works fine, but it isn't big enough now for what we are selling.

A lot of the pieces we sell very often are tall cabinets (83" or higher). The inside height of the trailer is about 75" so the cabinets are placed on their back on the floor. There is typically one larger cabinet piece (say 66" x 82" x 10") that gets strapped to a side wall. This works ok. The typical job has been two of the tall cabinets and one of the large pieces.

The issue now is that we now have orders for a number of larger pieces (80" x 82" x 10") plus a couple of tall cabinets. The larger piece will NOT fit into the trailer. They cannot be store upright. It will not even fit on the floor by itself. The larger piece takes a few hours to assemble, so we really need to assemble them at our plant. Furthermore, some of these jobs are 4-6 hours drive time one-way. To be cost-effective we also want to deliver more than one job on each of these trips, especially the longer ones. There simply is not enough room for multiple jobs in the current trailer.

So, given all of that, we are trailer-shopping again. And, I am looking for some experienced advice on what is essential, nice to have, or just frivolous. Here are some of the options under consideration. Some are what I have thought of. Some are recommendations by the trailer distributor. The last section is taken from the distributor's website listing the standard features of this particular model.

1) 7x16 Trailer: That means the wheels are outside of the cargo space, and there are NO wheel wells inside. cabinets can be strapped directly to the wall on both sides. The 16' length means we can load multiple jobs at once as well as carry the occasional long pieces of lumber, crown moulding assemblies, etc.

2) OPTION: 93" Height. Standard height is 75" for this particular model. They offer height increases in 6" increments. If we stand the tall cabinets up they take up a lot less floor space and we can load a lot more, so we want the extra height. We think that 87" is too short since we have 82-83" cabinets being loaded with a hand truck. We would probably do not want the back ramp door to be that tall, but want it taller than our current trailer. (Hitting your head on the steel door frame is not fun.) ($400)

3) OPTION: E-Track. This would be installed by the trailer mfr. The tracks are welded to the frame and recessed/flush within the plywood walls. We were thinking of two horizontal strips on either side of the trailer: one at 3' height and one at 5' height. (approx: $500) OUCH! But, we need to fasten the pieces to the wall, of course. After-market E-track can be had for a fraction of the cost. But, it would not be flush with the side walls. We have never used E-Track so we are not sure of the benefits over surface-mounted D-rings, or surface mount vs. recessed. We normally blanket wrap our pieces every time.

4) OPTION: 0.030" Metal walls instead of the standard 0.024". Salesman says this will be stronger and present a less wavy look on the sides. We will be adding signage on both sides and the back. ($160) (Now that the salesman has mentioned it, we noticed the wavy-ness on our current trailer. It was always there, but does it really make that much of a marketing impression difference? Or, will it really add that much strength?)

5) OPTION: Soft V-Nose. Other options (same pricing) are Hard V-nose or Flat Front. (V-nose allows a bit more storage room at the front, and probably better fuel mileage, but soft vs. hard?)

6) OPTION: Screwless Exterior ($224) Salesman says this important for vehicle wraps (signage), but also says it is not quite as strong as screws.

7) OPTION: RTP (Rubber Tread Plate) on rear ramp door ($195) (RTP looks like diamond-plate, but is a sheet of rubber with the diamonds molded on it. Is this hard to keep clean? We currently have sheets of cardboard lining our plywood floor. This protects the plywood floor and protects the wood cabinets from being damaged if they hit the floor wrong.)

8) OPTION: RTP (Rubber Tread Plate) on interior floor ($400)

9) OPTION: Recessed Tire Box in Floor (place to store the spare tire inside the trailer; essentially a hatch door inside the trailer to a box under the trailer) ($165)

10) OPTION: Transitional Flap for Rear Gap (fills the gap between the floor and the ramp so hand truck tires don't get stuck. we currently use a wooden filler we made that slips into this gap for our current trailer) ($125)

11) OPTION: Tongue caster Wheel for Front Jack (we store our trailer inside on a smooth concrete floor. We think this would be handy to readjust the angle of the trailer if it was backed in crooked.) ($40)

12) OPTION: Spare Tire ($95)

13) OPTION:Tires: Radial tires instead of the standard bias tires ($195). We will be doing a lot of Interstate driving in hot weather. This was recommended by the salesman.

The base price is $3395. But the options can run this up to almost $6K. We need a trailer that does the job, but this is a business tool not a hobby toy. The costs and options need to be justified.
STANDARD Specifications taken from the trailer website:
Heavy Duty 1x1 Tube Steel Frame for Walls & Ceiling
Heavy Duty 2 x 4" Tube Steel Tongue
Premium 3/4" PRESSURE TREATED Plywood Floor
Premium 3/8" Plywood Sidewalls
Baked Enamel Aluminum Exterior (.024 Metal)
Wall Members 16" On-Center with Tubular Steel Frame
Floor Members 16" On-Center
Roof Members 24" On-Center with Tubular Steel Frame
Fully Insulated Therma-Cool Ceiling Liner
Galvalume Roof with High Tech Sealant

Slightly Rounded for Water & Snow Runoff
2 5/16 Coupler with Heavy Duty Safety Chains
2,000 lb. A-Frame Top Wind Front Tongue Jack

Axles & Tires
3,500 lb. Lippert Leaf-Spring Axle with E-Z Lube Hubs
Electric Brake on Axle
2-Year Lipper Axle Warranty
Drop Axles (Lowers Trailer about 4 for Easy Loading)
15" Six-Ply Bias Tires (ST205) Load Range C with Modular Rims

Special Features
32" Upgraded Piano-Hinge Side Door with Door Tie Back & Chain
Flush Mount Lock on Side Door

with Dead Bolt & Key Easily Locked/Unlocked from Inside of Trailer
24" ATP (Aluminum Tread Plate) Stoneguard on Front
Aluminum Fenders with Premium LED Lights
14 Non-Powered Roof Vent
High Tech Automotive-Grade Salt-Resistant Undercoating
Covered License Plate Bracket with Light
NATM Certified (National Association of Trailer Manufacturers)

Trailer structure and quality inspected and certified!!
5-Year Factory Warranty

Lighting Features:
12-Volt Interior Dome Light with Wall Switch
All Exterior Lights LED Lights
Triple Rear Lighting All DOT Approved
7-Way Round Wiring Harness with Breakaway Battery System

Trailer Features:
Axle Capacity: 7,000 lbs. less Gross Weight of Trailer: 2,260 lbs.
Equals Payload Capacity of Trailer: 4,740 lbs.
Interior Height: 6 3
Interior Length: 16 Box with 2 Additional if V-Nose
Rear Door: 75 Width Clearance x 69 Rear Door Height Clearance
Side Door: 32 Width Door Tie Back and Door Chain Included

Your thoughts, comments, suggestions, and critiques are welcomed. We plan to have this trailer for the next 10 years and want to get it right.

From contributor Je

You can get these much cheaper if you drive to Georgia and pick them up. The savings is pretty substantial if you have the time. I've been researching them for a while as well.
I have a 7 x 16 and there ARE wheel wells inside the trailer. Not real deep, but still have to be worked around. I would definitely check out the 3M screwless sides for your signage. They claim to be less wavy and much quieter.

From contributor ma

So, Charles, are you trying to sell trailers?
I'd prefer double axles, seems like it has 2, yeah? "Heavy duty" doesn't mean anything: get the gauge of the structural members. I'd also prefer a welded structure with weep holes for the tubing. Check the opening height in addition to the ceiling height, and make sure that your product clears on the hand truck diagonally. Spare tire under your cargo is stupid; mount it outside on the V. Make sure that all the fasteners under your signage are stainless. That's all that I can think of without wanting a new trailer myself...

From contributor Ed

Check out R&R trailer in Michigan. All aluminum. Very customizable. Reasonable prices especially if you pick it up.

From contributor ja

well aware I am off topic !! I have never regreted the day we moved from trailers to box vans !!

From contributor Lo

Off topic also, but what about hiring a moving company? We have an open account with a moving company. They show up with a crew of guys, blanket wrap everything and deliver. They will put the stuff in the rooms where it goes, they will even deliver all of the installation tools. They wrap and pack stuff alot faster than my guys do, my guys can be building things while they pack and deliver, and my installers show up ready to work without having spent the better part of the morning humping cabinets around.

From contributor Ga

We use old house carpet on the trailer floor and an old 120 grit widebelt glued to the ramp door for traction.

Base price of$3395. How can you get any cheaper than that?

I have an all aluminum 18' with v-nose. Wonderfully light and pulls very easily. It does get tossed by the wind a little more when empty then a heavier trailer.

From contributor Da

Here was my solution to having the ease of a flat bed trailer and the benefits of an enclosed trailer (tailored for cabinets). We bought a curtain side box from a moving company that was replacing the boxes on their bobtail trucks. The original frame was too narrow (meant to mount on a truck frame) so we welded a sub frame with 2 #7000 pound axles and a 2 5/16" ball coupler, wired up the lights and trip to DMV to register it and we are on the road and never looking back...mostly because it is 8.5' wide and close to 11' tall because of the 8' tall box and over the deck axles. But we are able to haul large kitchens in one load!
I could not find any manufacturers that built such a trailer but the curtain side boxes are readily available and most trailer builders could do the rest. So all in all we are in it for about $10k.