While the global economic downturn has led to a fall in sales of new trailers across Europe, the market for used vehicles remains buoyant.
Schmitz Cargobull (UK) Ltd reports an 18 per cent year on year increase in used trailer enquiries, while orders are up 50 per cent .
"In the current financial conditions refurbished trailers clearly represent an attractive alternative to new models for a lot of applications, but it is easy to make a costly mistake if buyers do not do their ‘homework’ before committing to a purchase," says Brian Parkinson, General Manager for Schmitz Cargobull (UK) Ltd. Used Sales Division
Brian Parkinson continues: "Apart from making a careful appraisal of the overall condition of the trailer’s chassis and the superstructure, any buyer of second hand equipment has to consider the add-on spend. By this I mean the extra investment that might be required to repaint and re-livery the trailer, especially Curtainsiders if the curtains need to be replaced because they are heavily marked with the previous owner’s logo. In short, before buying, think about what it is likely to cost to get the trailer back on the road in the condition that you want it to be in."
With refrigerated trailers it is also essential that, in addition to checking the overall condition of the trailer itself, the buyer investigates the condition of the fridge’s motor. "Firstly, check how many hours the fridge engine has on the clock," advises Brian Parkinson. "All fridge motors have a digital read out on the front of the unit. As a general rule I would suggest that any five year old reefer with over 12,000 hours on the fridge has been worked quite hard.
"Also make sure that the fridge has a current ATP certificate and if a used reefer has been fitted with a temperature recorder, check that the recorder itself has been regularly serviced. Ensure where possible that all the necessary fridge service history paperwork is available.
"The same goes for tail lifts. Ensure that tail lifts are in working order and have the current weight test certification."
Brian Parkinson continues: "Check the tyres – anything with less than 5/6mm of tread should be avoided – and ideally the trailer should have a valid MOT. There should be some record of a service history. The ‘O’ licence requires trailers generally to be serviced every 8-10 weeks. So, if a used trailer has been off the road for a few months it is quite likely that it has not been serviced in this time and is due for its MOT. Problems with brake system components and suspension and tyres are among the more common causes of MOT failure for trailers."
"In addition, it is worth remembering that trailers with specifications that match the requirements of mainland European markets, ie, 4 metre overall height curtainsiders – particularly with sliding roofs – and Reefers have the best re-marketing opportunities and therefore command higher third and fourth life values."
Quality second hand trailers – particularly refrigerated vehicles – are so sought after at the moment that they are increasingly difficult to come by, as Brian Parkinson explains: "There are very few used Schmitz Cargobull reefers on the market. Generally our trailers hold their value and users find they can be resold easily. They are very marketable commodities."
A side effect of the strong demand for used Schmitz Cargobull trailers, is that the company is able to set some of the most competitive Operating Lease rates for its new products, as Brian Parkinson explains: "Operating Leases involve setting a residual value (RV) for the trailer at the outset of the deal. The RV is the expected market value of a trailer at the end of the lease period and payments are calculated on the initial cost of the equipment and its residual value. For example if a new trailer costs X and its RV has been set at Y, the monthly installment is calculated on the difference between the two amounts. This means that trailers that can command the highest residual value should be available on a cheaper monthly rental."
Schmitz Cargobull are now offering this Operating Lease product on their refurbished second hand trailers through the company’s Cargobull Finance facility.
Schmitz Cargobull offer a full advisory service to operators looking to upgrade their trailer fleet with either new or used trailers. All of the quality used and refurbished trailers can be viewed at the company’s Regional Business Centre’s in Warrington and Doner, and at Mundon in Essex.