What to take careful note of when purchasing a trailer?

Posted by Broshuis BV on May 11, 2017 9:59:00 AM

Purchasing a trailer is not something you do every day. To help you on your way when it comes to purchasing a trailer, we have summarised the seven most important points. 

  1. Reliable supplier
  2. What does my trailer cost?
  3. Have a look in the kitchen
  4. What load are you going to be transporting?
  5. Service life of the trailer
  6. Paint and preserving treatment
  7. After Sales

1: Reliable supplier

You will be using a trailer for many years after purchasing it. That’s why it's important to make your purchase from a reliable partner:

- Financially reliable

For most trailer manufacturers a deposit is required, sometimes as much as 30%. This is used for the many costs, which a manufacturer incurs during the preliminary phase (drawings, materials and labour). For you this means that you are making a prepayment of €30,000 for a €100,000 trailer. You only do so if the trailer manufacturer is financially reliable so that you do not end up losing your money in the event of a potential bankruptcy. Factors that determine whether a company is financially reliable include growth, financial performance and continuity.

- Reliable products

In addition to the reliability of a trailer manufacturer, a reliable end product is also really important. Safety when operating the trailer in traffic and safety when working with the trailer are essential. Only choose a partner therefore, which is well-known for safe and reliable products. You can recognise safe and reliable products by companies with a VCA certificate and an ISO 9001 certificate.

2: What does my trailer cost?

A trailer is not something that you purchase every day and it demands a significant investment. Ultimately you want to know what the return is on your investment (ROI) or what the total costs of the trailer amount to, preferably per km (Total Cost of Ownership). You might well think that a cheaper trailer delivers a higher ROI. Unfortunately it is often the case that ‘you get what you pay for’. For example, this may mean more downtime due to repairs, not being able to transport the desired load and a shorter service life. It may well be that over time a trailer with a higher purchase value delivers more than a less expensive trailer. Calculating accurately is therefore essential when purchasing a trailer! In the meantime do you just want to focus on the purchase price of a trailer? If so, before doing so take a quick look at a trailer manufacturer's web site on how to configure your own trailer. 

3: Have a look in the kitchen

To really find out whether a supplier makes a high-quality product, you need to take a look in their factory. Based on a visit to the factory you can see with your own eyes how and where your product is going to be made. You can then view trailers for yourself at various stages of the production process. When doing so, take note of the materials used, the construction method, the work ethic of the fitters, the accuracy of construction and the orderliness and cleanliness of the factory. After this your gut feeling is often indicative enough. Were you made to feel welcome?

4: What load are you going to be transporting?

If you want to purchase a trailer, it is important to know what you are going to be transporting. A trailer is in fact determined by the kind of business you are in. What are the dimensions of the load, what is the weight of the load, does the load support self-tracking? These are essential questions to ask before proceeding with a purchase. It is recommended that you are advised by an expert so that you purchase a trailer, which completes your work as effectively as possible. Do you first want to find out for yourself to what extent the trailer that you are looking at is able to transport your load? Then have a look at an axle load program.

Many companies select an expensive and heavy-duty trailer for transporting the largest materials that they own. They often do so to be flexible in terms of deployment. The greater the flexibility of the end product, the more you are able to set yourself apart from other hauliers.  Depending on your corporate strategy, you can also focus more on the ROI. Where that is the case, it is often more sensible to purchase a more lightweight and less expensive trailer and to arrange for the largest piece of plant to be transported by another company.

When determining the load and selecting a trailer, the legislation is the most difficult issue that carriers come up against. In any country they use different rules and these rules change virtually daily. What can you take note of now as a carrier? Axle load, wheelbase, turning circle, tare weight, projecting load, total weight are a number of factors, which are relevant for getting onto the road fully legally. To be certain whether you are purchasing the right one, a discussion with the manufacturer's specialist department can provide you with greater clarity. This just once again emphasises the fact that a good partner is essential.

5: Service life of the trailer

A trailer is often purchased for use over many years, after which you hope to get something back for the old trailer. There are even companies, which sell the trailer at a later stage and still want to receive a relatively high trade-in value. The service life of the trailer is the most important factor in this. A new trailer always looks spick and span, from every supplier. But appearances can be deceiving… Look around you and ask those in the know what their experience is of different suppliers. During the visit to the factory you also find out about the service life.

6: Paint and preserving treatment

Rustproofing a trailer is essential to its service life. To ensure good adhesion, your trailer is first of all sand-blasted. After sand-blasting it is recommended to get the trailer metalized. This involves burning a zinc layer into the trailer. Many trailer manufacturers galvanise the trailer. However, this is something completely different, and in fact involves applying a zinc layer on to the trailer. The difference between the two is that if firing zinc into the trailer, the trailer will never rust again. In addition, trailer manufacturers often offer different methods of metal spraying. For example, is the whole trailer metalized or just the visible parts? This is an essential difference for the service life of your new trailer.

7: After Sales

Downtime costs money and is something therefore that you would want to minimise. A strong partner in After Sales is important whatever the circumstances. You might say that with a good product you don’t need any After Sales but in practice everyone ends up calling on this department. After Sales makes the point that their job is actually about anything after the sale has been made. This also means that as well as repairs and maintenance you can always deal with your partner on all issues. Unfortunately, you often only find this out after the purchase has been made. It is thus recommended to ask your network whether the supplier is also a good After Sales partner.


If you are considering purchasing a new trailer, it is above all important to find out information at an early stage. Take the opportunity, therefore to go to the website of a trailer manufacturer, configure your own trailer if this is possible or request no-obligation information from an expert. Finally, you are recommended to subscribe to a newsletter so that you are subsequently kept up-to-date on the most recent developments and innovations.

Topics: Semi low loader, low loader, flat semi-trailer, English