Deciding your truck and trailer combination can be tough for beginning car haulers. Should you choose a tractor and double decker trailer? Do you get a Ford F450 and a wedge? These questions require a lot of thought. For a first time hauler, it is hard to make a decision. At Super Dispatch, we think the most important consideration for a beginning car hauler is trailer capacity.
How to decide what trailer size to buy
We created a flowchart to help you choose the best size trailer.
“Do you have a CDL?” is the most important question to start with:
Clearly, most of this decision will rest on the type of cargo you decide to haul. In this industry, certain cargo goes best with only certain kinds of trailers.
Best trailers for different kinds of car hauling
- New cars are a high volume market and require larger trailers manned by experienced haulers.
- The exotic car hauling market prefers enclosed trailers for extra protection.
- Personal Vehicles shipping requires residential delivery so smaller trailers (attached to trucks instead of tractors) are more commonly used.
- Tractors have fifth wheel steering and air brakes and thus can only be driven by CDL licensed commercial drivers.
- Airport vehicle moves are some of the highest volume section of the industry, which requires large trailers (7-11 car haulers.)
- Inoperable cars usually require forklifts to be moved, and can not be easily put on large double decker trailers.
The best all- around car hauling trailer
If you still aren’t sure what kind of hauling you will do, there are versatile trailers. Joey Slaughter, owner of Blue Ridge Transport LLC and author of The Beginner’s Guide To Auto Transport, suggests that new drivers buy trucks with 3 car wedge trailers.
“If you’re just beginning and have no equipment, I suggest starting with a three-car wedge trailer,” he writes. “It’s a reasonably inexpensive way to get into the auto transport business. I bought a new, three car trailer for approximately $7,000 and a used Dodge 3500 dually for $18,000 when I started. It’s easy to keep a three car trailer full, plus it’s a lot easier to maneuver in residential areas where a lot of deliveries are made.”
Super Dispatch’s product manager Vin agrees with Joey. He started hauling on a three car wedge in 2012, because of the easy profit margin.“If you can start with a three car, the first two cars will cover the cost of operation, and the third car is complete profit,” Vin says. Generally, only experienced car haulers can drive large capacity trailers. But do well hauling 3 and 4 cars at a time, and you will level up to hauling 7 or 11 cars quickly.
Stay tuned next week for our second piece about buying trailers! We will cover financing options, red flags to look out for and best buying practices.