Completing the Trailer Productivity Picture

A trailer isn’t a white box commodity on wheels. It’s a tool of productivity and profitability, and managing its efficiency and total cost of ownership (TCO) lifecycle is a key component to running a successful transportation business. That’s why Great Dane is upping its used trailer game, leveraging its extensive network of 107 facilities (both within Great Dane’s dealer network and factory branches) and offering a helping hand when it comes to getting the most out of your trailer lineup.


“It’s completing the whole picture of not only building trailers, but providing parts for those trailers, servicing those assets for our valued customers and now offering our customers the opportunity to take the equipment out of their fleet and giving them the flexibility to replace or expand their trailer roster,” said Jeff Weber, Great Dane’s director of Used Trailer Sales. “In a market that’s as strong as it is today where build lead times are already out through the end of the year, customers need something today they can put freight in. Plus, the buying cycle is much shorter than in years past. A used trailer program helps our customers expand or shrink their trailer fleet to meet their business demands.”

Successfully managing the productive life of your trailers means running the numbers. At a certain point in any trailer’s lifecycle, there will come a time when components need to be replaced or updated. Think wearable parts: brakes, tires, etc. Using round numbers, if a trailer is costing you $100 per month in maintenance to operate and you project that in the next 12 months that will likely increase by $50 per month given the life and condition of the trailer, trading the trailer in for a new asset might make a whole lot of business sense.

“On the other hand, we also have customers who typically only buy used trailers,” Weber explained. “Their math looks at adding two 7-year-old trailers in the place of ordering one new asset, depending on the application. Maybe they have applications that are abusive on their trailers and that would eat into the residual value of a new trailer too quickly. Or maybe they’re running routes in the northern United States where deicers like liquid magnesium chloride deteriorate the trailer more rapidly than would in the southern states.”

Great Dane’s network plays a key role in making this work on a level that is unmatched in the industry. Let’s say your operation is in Nashville, but you can’t find anyone in that area to buy your trailer. Then you’d have to truck that trailer to another region to get the value for it.

“That costs our customers money,” Weber said. “With Great Dane’s 107 facilities that service all major markets, you can drop a trailer at one of our locations that’s local to you and we can more efficiently bring that asset out of your fleet and give you the value for it. Furthermore, Great Dane’s localized ability to service that trailer and bring it up to trade terms means customers don’t have to take it back to a terminal to do it themselves. If they’re bogged down servicing trade trailers, they aren’t making money hauling freight.”

And at the end of the day, whether you’re running new trailers or used trailers, the name of the game is making money and staying profitable. For more on our used trailer program find a branch or dealer near you using the locator on our website.