Truth About Trailers
Allstate Utility Trailers, Inc. in its dedication to bringing you the best possible deals has put together this do's and don'ts list of trailer shopping. Unfortunately in the business world not everyone is honest and we find a lot of mis-conceived deals on the internet. So below are some basic ways to cut through the haze and get down to apples to apples or the brass tax if you will.
1. Be careful of the use of ambiguous words to describe a trailer. A good example of this would be Prime treated wood. Treated wood has a grade like #2 or #3. What grade is prime? Sounds good, but really does not tell you how good or not so good.
2. Do not be fooled by thinking a trailer has a lot of options when all they are doing is listing standard items that are on almost 90% of all trailers. For example: DOT lighting, comes with all the paperwork (MSO), safety chains, trailer rated tires, X size coupler, etcetera and so on. Instead look for additional options or compare grades of flooring, spacing of crossmembers, how did they paint, quality and thickness of materials used in construction. The weight of a trailer can often tell you how well they built the trailer.
3. Check for the proper stickers - Vin tag or sticker, federal mandated tire sticker (some leave off), and DOT reflective tape if required by DOT.
4. Always check the date when the trailer was manufactured. This is on the vin tag. We have seen customers purchase trailers from other dealers where they were told it was a 08 but when the trailer came to us for service or repair the tag said 2006. Do not be fooled by misleading representations. We match price on same brand, options, and date when built due to increases.
5. Check to see if their web site stays up to date and current. Do they offer other services beside sales? Does their site give you information and plenty of options to contact an actual store? Can you make an offer?
6. Do they have a current inventory on their site that allows you to not only see what they have in stock, but, gives full details of that trailer?
7. Watch for dealers who claim they have a large inventory. Most dealers count stock that is on the ground at the factory. Hundreds of dealers can pull from this same stock and most often when you need the trailer, they do not have it. Allstate Utility Trailers, Inc. truly keeps over 450 units at 2 of its own stores. Can you image how many we will have as we add future stores?
8. Watch the ole bait and switch. This can especially occur on auction, bid sites, some dealer and manufacturers as well as paper ads. Even we bought a trailer from an auction site and on picking it up it was not the same trailer. The trailer did not match the picture or name brand and we were stuck with it.
9. Pay very close attention to bid sites. Dealers will not match bid prices especially if they have not finished or met the reserve. (I.e. EBAY)
10. Look at the fine print. Most prices on the internet will say factory pick up. This does not take into account hidden cost. For example: your time in going to get the trailer, gas, food, or room if it is a long round trip. Most often at the factory or factory pick up means NOT IN STOCK!
11. Take in account their website itself. Is it a 1 or 2 page site that is very uninformative? Is their site gaudy or cheaply done? Does it look unprofessional? If it does this may also reflect the type of trailer and service you will receive.
12. How many physical locations do they have to actually serve you with? Some sites make it appear that they have a big store or stores when in fact it may be a field with 15 to 50 trailers.
13. Check and see if they are an authorized dealer for the brands they sell. Some dealers try and sell brands into other dealer's area through sub-dealers they set up on their own. This actually voids your warranty should you buy that unit.
14. Check the validity of the factory as well. How long have they been in business? Do they carry product liability? Are they a national brand? Your better and more valued trailer dealers and manufactures will have been in business more than 15 or 20 years. We watch many new companies and dealers pop up every year and then watch the majority go out of business in 2 to 4 years. Some have even boasted a 5 or 6 year warranty and then went of business in less than 4.
15. Don't get taken into the ole we're #1 deal when there is no organization, agency or any information compiled that can truly say who is #1. Instead call and talk to the dealer and make sure they are right for you.
16. A big thing to understand is like cars, trailers have a wide range of levels to choose from. Do you want to buy an Ugo or a Cadillac? We can provide you with almost everything but the Ugo.
These are just few tips to be thinking of when shopping for your trailer. If you have any stories, bad experiences, good experiences or tips on buying a trailer we would like to hear from you. Just e-mail your story or comments to email@example.com.