Getting Started with a Specialty Trailer

Creating a mobile experience—no matter the application—is much like building a custom home. A number of decisions must be made to arrive at the finished product. But an experienced sales and design team, like the one at Featherlite, will help to make this process much smoother.

The first few questions you should consider include:

  • What do you or your client want to accomplish with this project?
  • How much are you or your client planning to invest in the project?
  • What's the preferred launch date?

As you can tell, Featherlite works with both the end user of the trailer directly or will work with an agency or tour company throughout this process.

Let's take a look at some of the key components to launching your specialty trailer project!

Objectives

Your objectives should be specific and relevant. Some examples might be to build brand awareness, build product demand, provide a point of sale to complete transactions, improve response times, conduct business more efficiently offsite, capture leads, etc. Everything in the project should contribute to achieving the objective and getting you a return on the investment.

Budget

Featherlite sometimes gets the question, 'What does a trailer cost?'. The simple answer: It depends. In order to determine a specific price, a specific design must be determined. If you need to establish a budget before a specific design is finalized, you can start with an estimate.

An estimate is an expectation made before the final design is known based on information provided and from past experience from similar projects. If the actual final design differs from the initial information and expectations, then the actual price could also vary proportionately, but it's a starting point. This differs from a quote, which is an offer made to build a specific design for a specific price once the final design is known. It is documented by a drawing and/or written specifications.

If you don't know where to start when it comes to budget, browse through the website and collateral and find a trailer that looks similar to what you're envisioning. The sales team can then provide a rough estimate of what that trailer cost and this may help to determine if you're in the right range and if a Featherlite specialty trailer is the best solution.

Timeline

Indicating your desired finish time will help the sales team know how best to advance the process and whether your timeline is feasible.

The Players

Before we get into the design of the trailer, let's consider who might be involved in the process.

Trailer Manufacturer

Specialty trailer manufacturers, like Featherlite, produce custom trailers that take whatever your operation is and put it on the road. Some manufacturers modify an existing trailer and others build it from the ground up. Those that modify typically start with an existing mass produced steel freight trailer. They build mostly with steel components because they started with an existing steel trailer.

Others, like Featherlite, design the whole trailer first, and then build it from scratch with aluminum, except key structures, like axle sub-frames and framing of expandable openings where steel is used. Some manufacturers are very vertical and do virtually everything in house, like Featherlite does. In contrast, some subcontract almost all of the work to others, acting as a general contractor for the project. Others are somewhere in between.

At Featherlite, your main contact through the design and manufacturing process will be a single Specialty Sales Manager. Any questions and decisions will be communicated through this person.

Paint & Graphics Provider

Typically manufacturers will paint and/or graphic the trailer according to the customer's design, or there are independent companies that do this. Featherlite has a unique relationship with Featherlite Graphics that will make this part of the process seamless. They provide full and partial wraps, vinyl decals and stripes and custom airbrushing. The exterior of the trailer is really what can 'wow' people depending on your objective.

Interior Designer

Interior design architects can often provide design creativity that is beyond the skills of trailer manufacturers. But some of these firms can be very expensive. Featherlite has a skilled staff that can help you make these decisions as well if you prefer. In addition to looking great, functionality and durability of the design are also paramount.

Tour Companies

If your objective is more marketing oriented, it may be wise for you to engage a tour company. They can help you to select events that are best matched to reach your objective. Look for companies that have a professional tour operator who is also a truck driver. The driver needs to do more than just go from point A to point B. They have to set it up, maintain it, stock it, clean it and take total responsibility for the operation of your equipment. Many times they will also operate the event, interacting with prospects and taking traffic counts as well.

The tour company can also hire people to run the events if you choose not to staff it yourself. Your marketing team may have the know-how and resources to operate the tour itself, but if you have it in your budget, it's worth a look at hiring a tour company. Featherlite does not provide these services but can help make recommendations that best match your needs.

Check out the list of trailer uses and trailer configurations if you don't have a specialty trailer function in mind. Then the next step is to determine the design and customization elements of the trailer.