Hello my friends. I am an outsider looking in. Consider me a curious normie. I have a couple of odd questions about the trucking industry, in particular, the trailer.
1. Who generally owns the trailer? - I'm assuming that y'all receive orders and you show up to a location (say, Target or Walmart), and you have to pick up the trailer full of merchandise. Who owns that trailer? Walmart?
2. Who are the biggest manufacturers of the basic 18-wheeler trailer? - Closed trailer that your average American would associate with a stereotypical 18-wheeler in pictures. Like below:
3. How do the usual manufacturers of these typical trailers sell their trailers to companies?
4. Do companies generally lease trailers for extended periods of time with warranties? - Remember. I know nothing of this world. I'm assuming that manufacturers could offer this option to lease out their trailers to big companies and give them assurance of fixing any mechanical problems if they arise.
5. If question 4 is not a reality, then companies like Walmart buy these trailers in bulk. If this is the case, it can be assumed the Walmart owns a fleet of thousands of trailers, correct?
At the heart of these questions is: I want to know who OWNS the mass-majority of trailers we see out on the road. Is it independent companies? Or is it rented fleets?
For me, understanding the above can help me form my next set of questions which I'd love to posit later.
Newbie with ODD Questions - Outsider Looking In... Who Owns the Trailer?
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Generally the trailer on the 5th wheel of company tractors is owned by same.
(Unless contracted to haul another Company's trailer and freight for income)
Owner Operators own their own trailer, unless renting or leasing from a National type Renter of trailers and trucks.
Ownership of specific trailer can be determined by the registration card held in the small capsule bubble near the glad hands connections area below the Bill box.
As far as who build trailers? well many have come and gone. Pines, Wabash, Strick comes to mind... (There is a oldie), Great Dane, East, Fontaine,Freuhauf in particular among so many.
Stores like walmart maintain and own own tractors and trailers. Sufficient in fleet numbers to do whatever they need doing.
Trailer problems are fixed either at the dealer for them, at the company shop usually or turned in to renter to have fixed in exchange for another.
Finally but not last. The existence of 18 wheeler is just one possible vehicle combination out of many. Everything you eat, wear, consume (Retail, etc) or use in life has been brought to you by a big rig at some point. Without trucks your life would be reduced to very little of what you can make on your own using old time craftmanship locally. And would not say enjoy Strawberries from CA, MO, AR etc in season delivered by reefer to you in a different part of our Nation unable to grow strawberries. It's a example. I have a box of strawberries brought from CA Salinas in particular Natriupe Farms, two pounds worth. It rolled by reefer probably to the Searcy Distribution center and then to the store I picked it up a couple of days ago. It probably shipped last friday in time sensitive. 4 days to Arkansas. Walmart would make sure that every store in range will have all 48000 pounds of them using their trailers in temperature control.
Im very picky about my strawberries, I usually don't eat what I have not hauled myself over the years so I know that farm from hauling out of there a time or two. Missouri and Arkansas do good berries too. But in the store it's not always present and if I wanted to I can drive 15 miles and get a whole basket if it's grown. There is a whole farm there,. Come get it. You pick your own.
Thanks a bunch for the detailed response! A couple of follow-on questions!
1 - What is the % of truckers on the road that are owner-operators?
2 - Of those truckers that are owner-operators, what % would you say own their own trailer?
3 - What % of trailers on the road today are rented/leased? What are the biggest companies that lease out trailers?
4 - Out of the trailer manufacturers you mentioned: Pines, Wabash, Strick, Great Dane, East, Fontraine, Freuhauf... which of those would you consider the most 'progressive' in business practice? - Meaning, open to change?
5 - What are the major shops that fix trailers? Is there one? Is there a national chain that mainly supports trailer maintenance?
---Thanks also for the great insight to the value of the trucking industry. This is one of the reasons I'm curious! We'll get to robo-truck questions later!
Forget the Robotruck. There are plenty said about them.
Trailers? HA. DOT sets forth what needs to be on them when they are built to market and offered to those who wish to buy them onesies or tenthousandsies. I know nothing about progressive. We don't have time for that. If the trailer has what we want, it's good to go. Otherwise someone else will get the money.
Your questions are too invasive for simple truckers like myself. If you have designs to go make trailers for a living to a Country full of truckers who will want it, then hop to it. No market share survey needed.
You don't always need a shop to fix a trailer. Shade tree will do just fine if you have the parts and big enough tools. And sometimes not even that.
It is easier for you to search in top right of the TTR webpage and come up with a decade or more worth of writings for just about anything trucking. There are just certain things I don't worry about, it's above my pay grade. Life is easier this way.
Appreciate the context.
So the DOT has control over the standards that trailers need to be for public safety etc. This makes sense.
Here's a question:
1 - Why don't owner-operators who have their own trailers not 'pretty' them up? Meaning, have trailers that are more than just plain-old-white with years-old-dirt-on-them...
2 - Does the DOT not allow owner-operators to put decals or designs on the trailers?
3 - Or is there a trucker culture of 'we just don't care about the trailers'?
Let's see. If you think back to the 70's or even earlier you can see custom vans fitted with full houses inside of them, it will cost ten thousand or more to do that today. It's too much. Trailers are not a vanity. NOW.. if it is deemed important it WILL recieve the necessary paint, decals, and maybe some metalwork to fight the sun etc at a cost that really is not a concern to those who have the money.
We absolutely care about the trailer. What is it is that there is a percentage as in all things Mankind does... that does damage to the trailer. Crooked tandems dragging lines, overloaded in the belly for van trailers ruin the frame and so on. Many times working with a trailer is like trying to back a case of wine glasses without sloshing the drinks. But to this small percentage they hurt the trailers and it will show and be obvious to everyone. Particularly the DOT.
Dirt or storm grit, road dust etc on a big rig coming past going the other side of the interstate tells me a major winter storm is at hand, particularly if a thousand trucks come off there mountain pass in need of Blue Beacon. That tells me to get ready for battle. It's like a story book reading it.
We clean the trucks. Now and then. Some more than others. You would find me pulling a flatbed out of a blue beacon loaded dripping at 33 degrees outside in winter. Why in the world would I do that? Because I don't want that PA salt to get into the Aluminum coil for uncle sam going to Oklahoma. It's a good trailer but that coil needed to be CLEAN. So when the situation calls for it it's cleaned up.
It is actually easier to run your eye over a plain jane white painted Reefer front to back checking the rivets for wall intergrity than one covered in fancy muck a muck. It's a working trailer. No real need to be fancy. It's already expensive enough. And you run 1000 of them? whew.
Usually when a large company over does the graphics, the more fancy they are (Showboat...) the worse is the BS within them. CR england comes to mind among others.
I can understand that if a company over-does the graphics it looks... cheap.
Now we're getting somewhere. All of the other questions provided context for my understanding of this world so I can ask these questions:
1- Why aren't companies/vendors providing incentives to truckers/owner-operators to put advertisements on their trailers? OR graphics... or personalize the trailers...?
2 - Why hasn't this been done? Or has it? Why did it fail?
3 - What would be required to incentivize YOU (as an example) to put advertising on your trailers that you drive?
I would quit before I drive a advertising clown car. Er Truck.
There is no money in that.
IT hasn't failed. It's just that outside of the Steamup, Show, Race Circuit it's not necessary to doll them up.
When I have a plain trailer there is something in my eye from a lifetime of pulling them that if something does happen to it back there Im all over it. If I had a gaudy trailer eh... *Shudders. Im just not gaudy or showy other than... allowing the 18 wheeler to do a little stunting now and then long before the kids learned drifting in their generation.
Can you imagine being inside a ... Advertised adult Pampers Diapers trailer? Radio would call out, HEY You Diaper man, you gots your ears on? You need to clean up and wipe some of that spot. It's messy.
No thank you. The chorus of laughing will run me off the road.
I appreciate your long history, personal feedback, and unique perspective.
While you may conjure up ideas of not wanting to advertise adult pampers diapers certainly makes me crack a smile... I have to assume there are many industrious truckers out there that wouldn't mind some extra cash in their wallet for... let's say... a skittles ad, or a snickers ad. Not too bad isn't it?
Please don't assume that I have any connections/interest or desire to put stickers on your trailers.
I just find that this seems like an opportunity-missed.
Is there anyone else that would love to give me insight as to why such great canvas' that are traversing the great USA need to stay blank???x1Heavy Thanks this.
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