Oct 26, 2021

Trailer trends: how to buy a trailer despite today’s current supply chain challenges

If you’ve been looking for a new heavy duty trailer to haul your skid steer loader, excavator, or other heavy equipment, you’ve heard this familiar refrain:

Expect historically long lead times.

Supply chain woes. Labor shortages. Cargo ships unable to unload needed supplies and raw materials. All of this contributes to the skyrocketing prices of trailers which are up close to 18% over last year. But that doesn’t stop buyers. Demand for trailers at Lano Equipment this year is up about 41% compared to 2020. 

To shed some light on this, we had a conversation with Nathan Uphus, Sales Manager for Minnesota-based Felling Trailers Inc. to get some insight into what’s going on in trailer manufacturing. Like so many items these days, we asked why are trailers so hard to come by? 

Well, it’s complicated. To begin with, Uphus says, steel prices are up almost 400% over last year. Ouch! Plus, prices for component parts are up 20% to 30% over last year. Uphus says that delivery of critical components can create a bottleneck in the manufacturing process. Just recently, for example, they nearly ran out of primer in the paint shop and almost had to shut down. Anytime components are unavailable or shipments are late, it threatens to shut down production. 

“It’s tough waiting for a $5 part to finish a $10,000 trailer, but it happens.”

Nathan Uphus, Felling Trailers

The biggest challenge, Uphus reports that their labor force is down about 40 people. To put this in perspective, he claims they simply don’t have the capacity to keep up with the high volume of orders. But they’re doing the best they can, and customers continue to take delivery of new Felling Trailers every day. At Lano Equipment, we currently have over 500 units on order, all scheduled for delivery between now and 2023. 

Patience is key

For customers interested in new trailers, Uphus advises them to do their online research, look for stocking dealers (like Lano Equipment) and make sure you see a price, model #, pictures, even a build sheet to make sure the unit is legitimate. And above all, be patient. Manufacturers like Felling are doing their level best.