Expertec has been on the cutting edge of upfitting and outfitting trucks and vans for over a decade, and in that time, we’ve seen lots of trends, fads, and new technology being used. Lots of them didn’t last, but one of the latest ones is, in our opinion, one of the smartest.
Lately, we’ve upfitted a variety of trailers. Small, large, hitched and fifth-wheel; they all seem to be claiming their spot as savvy fleet managers and business owners opt for an upfitted trailer in addition – or in lieu of – a fully upfitted truck or van.
Now, if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense – today’s trucks and vans are more powerful than they have ever been and yet, get better mileage than ever before. At the same time, payloads and towing capacities have grown as well. The trade-off for all this power has been costs. Trucks and vans cost far more today than their counterparts a generation ago. Of course, the “creature comforts” that are now standard – cruise control, air conditioning, traction control, and power seats – were formerly just options… options that many contractors and fleet managers didn’t choose.
As a result of these larger, more powerful and more expensive vehicles, many companies have to plan on how to make their investments last longer. We’ve seen that many of them are choosing to design a “towable” solution that gives them the customization they need to do the job and the flexibility today’s customers demand.
To put it simply, trucks and vans, even the smaller delivery-style vans, can be easily modified to tow a trailer. For companies that operate fleets or work remotely, the idea of a customized, fully outfitted trailer makes a lot of sense. Everything your team could possibly need can be taken, reducing windshield time and, if need be, the tools and the equipment can be left onsite, locked up safely. An unexpected benefit, assuming the site is safe to leave a trailer overnight, is that team members will consume less fuel commuting to the jobsite since they only need to bring a smaller fleet or personal vehicle.
So, what are we doing to empty trailers? Well, for starters, we’re adding shelving and storage options. Quite a few of our customers have optimized their trailers with workstations to allow their team to get the job done out of the weather. We’ve installed multiple lighting systems in trailers over the last few months as well, and with a simple-to-wire power inverter in the tow vehicle or a built-in generator, a full electrical system can be supported. (And yes, before you ask, even a “micro-cell” wi-fi hotspot can be powered for a truly remote workstation that needs to be connected.) Other equipment options include air compressors and the results allow our customers to carry every solution they need when they need it.
Why are we seeing this uptick in custom-outfitted trailers? Well, as we stated earlier, nearly any of the common fleet vehicles built today can be fitted to haul a purpose-built trailer. Just as importantly, a new, empty trailer can be purchased for pennies on the dollar compared to a work van or truck. Lastly, more and more contractors are using their personal vehicles for work. The ability to drop a work trailer on Friday, hook up a boat or camper trailer for the weekend, and take off has a great appeal – lower costs, less space consumed, and a much lower price point.
What’s not to love?
When you factor in the working life of a customized trailer – in years, not in miles – and the negligible maintenance costs, it’s easy to see why so many companies and contractors are opting to design a trailer solution in conjunction with upfitted vans and trucks in their fleets. If you’ve thought about this but still haven’t taken the plunge, feel free to call us and see how the solutions that Expertec is offering in upfitted trailers are just as robust as the ones we offer in trucks and vans.