Used Trailers versus New: Which is Best for You?
When you’re shopping for a trailer in Michigan, you’ll probably consider whether you should opt for a new trailer or used options. Whether you’re looking to haul your recreational toys or need a trailer for your business, it’s important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of both options. Consider the following as you shop for your trailer, and then contact the trailer experts at USA Trailer for help finding the right trailer for your needs.
How Quickly You Need It
Before you look at any other factor, consider how quickly you’ll need to use the trailer. Most used trailers are available on a “as-is” basis, so you can start using it immediately.
A new trailer may not be available that quickly. It’s possible you’ll visit a Michigan dealer, like USA Trailer, and pick out something they have on their lot, in which case it may be available right away. However, these trailers are usually the basic model, waiting for customization to fit the needs of the purchaser.
If you need to have accessories installed on a new trailer, you could be waiting for a while, depending on the dealer’s schedule and if they have everything in stock.
Further, if you choose a trailer they don’t have in stock, you’ll have to wait for it to ship and be delivered, if not also waiting for fabrication. This process could push out when you’ll take possession of your trailer considerably.
Your budget is another important consideration when shopping for both new and used trailers. You may be able to pick up a used covered trailer with accessories for the cost of a new open bed trailer. This will get you into your trailer quickly and less expensively, but may not be a great long-term decision.
Trailers are a lot like cars in that their value drops considerably once it’s purchased and used. In fact, you’ll see the value of a new trailer drop 15-20% over the first year. You’ll continue to see it decline another 10% every year thereafter.
If you hold on to a trailer for 5 years, that means you’ll only recover about 45% of the initial purchase price. If you’re purchasing the used trailer, that translates into a substantial savings for you with considerable life left on the trailer.
Expected Service Life
Beyond the resale value, you’ll want to consider how long you’ll want to use the trailer. A quality trailer will typically last between 10 and 15 years when properly maintained. If you buy a 5-year-old trailer, you’ll expect to still have between 5 and 10 year left to use it, at the most. During that time, expect that you’ll have some repairs to keep it in good working order, and you never know when those will pop up.
If you’re going to depend on the trailer for your business or some other critical need, you may want to consider buying new. This will give you several years where you can depend on the trailer before it requires significant maintenance.
Brand new trailers typically come with at least a 1-year manufacture’s warranty, depending on the trailer. These may be separated into a limited warranty, which is usually shorter, and a structural warranty, which some manufacturers cover a little longer. If something happens to your trailer that’s attributable to a manufacturing defect, it’ll get taken care of for you.
However, these warranties are typically non-transferrable. That means if you’re looking at used trailers, it won’t come with a warranty, even if the trailer is less than a year old. Any problems you may encounter will be yours to try to resolve.
Upgrades and Maintenance
Who do you expect to handle maintenance, repairs, and upgrades to your trailer? If you’re planning to do them yourself, you may very well void any manufacturer warrant a new trailer includes. This makes some benefit to purchasing a new trailer null, so be sure to consider this aspect before signing the purchase agreement.
If your trailer is for business purposes, there are some additional considerations before making your purchase. If you’re going to claim the trailer as a business asset, you’re going to need a sales receipt. You’ll get this from a dealer regardless of whether you purchase a new or used trailer. However, if you’re looking at private sellers, this may affect your ability to claim depreciation on your taxes.
Additionally, consider how you will use the trailer for your business. Will you add a company logo or an advertisement to the side of your trailer? You’ll want to ensure the trailer’s will work with the coating or paint, and that it’s in good enough condition to be painted. Will you need to add racks or mounts to the trailer? Make sure the structure can support your needs, both in terms of condition of structure, but also in terms of weight-bearing capacity.
Finally, if you’re considering used trailers, do you have a backup plan if the trailer fails in some way? You want to avoid making a business investment, only to have it cost you the very business that pays for it because it broke down.
Whether you’re looking for a business or recreational trailer, USA Trailer has a variety of options to meet just about any need. Come by and work with one of our trailer specialists to find the perfect rig for your specific needs.