For these options, you would need to approach any of the numerous world-class manufacturers and providers of semi-trailers in the U.S. and elsewhere around the globe. Remember that whether you go for renting, leasing or buying, the driving force is to improve your fleet to provide better freight transportation.
Here is what you need to know if you are looking to get into freight haulage, improve your semi-trailer fleet, or you just need more storage space.
A semi-trailer rental provides a short-term or long-term arrangement that allows an owner or operator to pay for the use of a freight trailer for a given period.
When Do You Need a Semi-trailer for Rent?
Normally, it should be when you have assessed your transportation needs and determined them to be short term. For most people, short term trailer needs range from a few days to a month or two- which means that that need is only seasonal.
Just as well, you would look to go for renting services when you incorporate a new customer whose transport requirements forces you to go for additional equipment. However, these needs may only be short term and thus do not require you to look at long terms means like leasing or buying.
You should also consider renting an eighteen-wheeler when one of your assets in the fleet is unavailable for a period-maybe due to things like accidents or repair.
Here are some benefits of renting a semi-trailer:
- It has low investment requirements due to the fact it is a short-term need
- You can access the newest semi-trailer rental
- You do not need to worry about maintenance or insurance costs- these are handled by the provider
Leasing a Semi-Trailer
When is it time to consider a semi-trailer lease option?
Ideally, you look at leasing when you feel short-term rental option won’t be a better option. You can also go for a leasing deal when you only want to access the semi-trailer services but not fully own the asset.
Many freight handlers are increasingly turning to lease semi-trailers. The increased popularity of leasing lies in it being a financially less expensive option of owning a semi-trailer (short-term), compared to purchasing one.
When you lease a semi-trailer, dealerships will normally expect a down payment followed by monthly payments as agreed. You also pay for insurance.
But considering that you would make much more in a month, all the upfront costs and an average of $800 for a used semi-trailer and $2500 for a new one should be a massive deal.
As a freight haulage provider, go for leasing when operating on constrained cash flow.
Here are some of the benefits and advantages you are likely to enjoy with this alternative.
- Opportunity to utilize available cash to handle other operating expenses
- You can make comfortable payments every month
- Predictability of payments allows for better use of funds
- You have the option to return the semi-trailer or purchase it
The Cost of a Semi-Trailer for Sale
A semi-trailer for sale, whether new or used, will set you back a few thousand greenbacks and the actual price will very much depend on make, truck horsepower, and weight. When looking to buy one, browse myriad models from established manufacturers and dealerships. In the U.S. and North America, you can check out top brands like Daimler’s Freightliner and other names including Penske, Kenworth, Mack, Ryder, and Peterbilt.
Generally, a new semi-trailer for sale (inclusive of the truck cab) will set you back between $160,000 and $250,000. A new eighteen wheeler trailer currently costs anywhere between $40k and $90k.
Used semi-trailer sales begin from as low as $15,000 and run up to $100,000. The cost of a simple day cab could sell at the bottom of that range but including a sleeper pushes the price up massively.
Is it Best to Buy or Rent a Semi-Trailer?
You may need to make a few serious considerations when it comes to deciding between going for a semi-trailer on rental terms or buy option. As noted above, and as anyone in the freight business will tell you, each comes with its own set of benefits and cost implications.
However, just like many other trailer owner-operators in the country, you are likely to favor a combination of these alternatives, including leasing. Number-wise, the National Private Truck Council estimates that over half of carriers own their semi-trailers, with another 40% operating on a lease arrangement.
So, is it better to own or choose a semi-trailer rental? The answer lies in your response to these considerations.
- For how long do you need the trailer?
- What is it you need the semi for?
- What’s your cash flow?
- How healthy is your credit-worthiness?
- Can you manage and maintain the extra asset?
In the earlier parts of this article, we talked about renting a semi-trailer and gave the mitigating factors that could necessitate that move. We also mentioned some of the key benefits of rentals.
But what does buying a semi-trailer, an option that gives you full ownership of the asset entail? Basically, the main consideration is the cost factor. Note that the purchase option could see you make a huge outlay on the initial investment. However, when compared to its overall benefits, buying becomes a lot cheaper long-term.
Here is what you also get:
- Buying the trailer in cash adds to your fleet without getting you into debt
- Potential for a return on investment e.g. when you sell the semi-trailer.
- Offers more convenience since the assets are at your disposal whenever needed
- You can build your equity if you purchased the trailer on credit.
Making a Decision
When ready to make the rent or buy call, one small step you could take is to consult market advisors or a dealership for one final input. While many companies offer a full range of options, a few only provide certain services.
One of the things professionals will offer you is the insight into a company’s over-the-road technology and how that can positively impact your fleet operations.
In this case, you are fully considering your specific needs in the rent or buy options and understanding the resources accessible to you when you go for either alternative.
Whether to buy or rent will also depend on cost. What does it cost to buy and own a semi-trailer versus what it costs for semi-trailer rental?
If you rent a semi-trailer, cost implications regarding maintenance and insurance do not fall on you. However, if you buy one, then you need to shoulder all the attendant costs of owning the trailer- you have to pay for maintenance, insurance, federal and state licensing as well as employee wages.
What Can You Use a Semi-trailer For?
A semi-trailer is a freight trailer attached to a semi-truck. The two are connected at the fifth wheel or hitch. Freight haulers use semi-trailers to transport goods
Semi-trailers have wheels but lack the front axle and have no engines. They thus can’t move unless powered by a semi truck’s engine and what you rent/lease/buy is a combination that is commonly referred to as eighteen-wheeler, semi or big rig.
Examples of Semi-trailers and What They Are Used For
What you can use semi-trailers for depends on the type of trailer. Here are a few common types of semi-trailers used in freight transportation.
Low beds and removable gooseneck (RGN) trailers are used to transport very tall and heavy freight of between 40- 75 tons.
We also have semi-trailers that are used in the transportation of gas and petroleum products by road. Our highways are teeming with tankers transporting liquefied petroleum gas, liquefied natural gas and compressed natural gas (LPG, LNG, and CNG).
Another common usage is the transportation of cars and other trucks on heavy-duty haulers. Shipments are also moved in heavy container trailers that are normally 20-40 feet long.
Some semi-trailers known as tipper trailers are designed to transport construction materials like sand and gravel which are emptied from the trailer when the hydraulic piston or hoist is engaged and “tips over” the trailer.
We are also seeing increased use for semi-trailers in providing mobile storage. Finally, we have van trailers (two common types are dry van trailers and refrigerated van trailers) that are used to transport various types of goods.
Semi-Trailer for Mobile Storage
Rapid growth and changes within the transport industry has seen the semi-trailer become a key component in the storage of goods. Semi-trailers now provide access to mobile storage, offering additional space at considerably low costs compared to traditional storage facilities.
With so many dealerships in the U.S., carriers are spoilt for choice when choosing semi-trailers for mobile storage. Generally, most companies offer both short-term rental and lease arrangements.
Among the many FAQ is why semi-trailers have become so popular when it comes to mobile storage. The reason should be clear when you imagine an extra 50+ feet of space that is easily accessible, even on the go. One selling point is that semi-trailers can be relocated from one point to another as the need arises and thus providing much-needed mobile storage.
Dry Van Semi-Trailer for Rent
Dry Van semi-trailers are widely used to transport all manner of goods, and play a crucial role in freight transportation. If you are one of the many commercial carriers or freight haulers around, then getting a reliable dry van semi-trailer rental service is important for business success.
Dry van trailers come loaded with various features that enhance transit goods protection and thus their suitability in the market. Many modern models have top-notch security fittings like an e-track system and air-ride suspension that helps increase cargo protection.
Two common Dry Van semi-trailers are the 48 and 53-foot trailers. These mostly measure 13ft. 6 in long and 8ft. 6 in wide. Inside height will normally be 110 inches while its weight capacity is 65,000 GVW.
These are the dimensions common to the 53 footer trailer for rental. However, while many companies offer these specs, expect slight variations from one model to another. Just as you need to consider several factors when renting, leasing or buying any given semi-trailer, so should you when checking out a dry van.
Like any vehicle or machine, semi-trailers need great attention when it comes to maintenance. How durable the trailer will be is likely to depend on how you service or maintain key parts.
Here are the parts you need to always check to ensure they are in peak condition: tires, axle alignment, air-spring suspensions, braking system, and the lighting and electrical system. If you are looking to have a semi-trailer that better serves your freight business, then begin with maintenance.