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Trailer buying insanity

5103 Views 31 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  ejb69
For the last few weeks I’ve been hunting a new trailer. Specs are 18-22’ long, bumper pull style, 14k capacity, full tilt deck with power up and down. The exact features I want varied by what manufacturers offered but that’s the general “hard” requirements.

Nobody has one. If I order today, off of an approved option list H&H can have me one in 6 months. PJ can have me one in 4 months, Big Tex told me it would be April 2022 before I saw delivery. If I can find a dealer that has a trailer with my specs in line to be built already I can get it whenever it’s produced, but after nearly a dozen dealers in four states I’ve only found one. It’s built by MaxxD, and a local dealer has the exact trailer I want listed on their website, $9995 and “on order”. Played a little phone tag and ended up driving down today in person. I’ve been trailer hunting for a while, they have this one in the process of being built, I woke up this morning with every intention of putting a deposit down and doing paperwork today. $10k is a hefty price, but this trailer has a full 102” deck, dual jacks and batteries, power tilt up and down...the works. If there was an option, they’d ordered it. More than I needed, but this trailer should last me 20 years so buy once cry once right? The guy on the phone confirmed that if I put a deposit down today on their existing order, I could get it for $9995.

I looked at their trailers on the lot and quality was good. Paint was about average, welds were decent, electrical connections were all heat shrink from connectors which is fine. My only gripe was the tilt latches, they seemed a little cheesy for a 14k trailer but not a dealbreaker. The price though...since it hasn’t been built yet, that $9995 isn’t locked in and at current pricing it became over an almost $12,000 trailer. With every single option that we could strip off removed, it was still just barely under $11k and that was all they could do.

The lack of inventory across the industry is surprising. Every lot I went to was pretty sparse, every dealer has said they’ve never seen anything like this. My buddy bought the exact trailer I want (and have been borrowing) from HH two years ago for $4700 out the door. Today that exact trailer is $6500 and the next one my dealer had available will be ready in July. I could buy a small rollback truck for around the price of a trailer, be more maneuverable, faster, look more professional, etc for what a bumper pull trailer would cost me.

I didn’t buy anything today, left with the cash in my pocket and made a few more phone calls. I’m changing plans, found some stuff up in Nebraska that should help me get done what I need to without spending as much on a trailer...wait, more. Without spending more on a trailer than I did the truck to pull it with.

Are other folks shopping trailers finding the same lack of inventory or rapidly rising costs?
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I shopped for weeks for an open, aluminum utility trailer and finally found one, after having spent the equivalent of a full time work week simply trying to find the trailer. Many dealers aren't even bothering trying to keep their online inventory accurate as the inventory changes so quickly. Phone calls and deposits are the only way to secure something in this economic environment.

The trailer I ended up buying was at the dealer for less than an hour from when it was delivered from the factory, when I was able to purchase it. Then, when I was at the dealer later that same day and hooking it up to tow it home, another customer pulled in and offered me 10% more than I paid for the trailer if I would sell it to him, right there on the dealers lot. He seemed genuinely perturbed I wouldn't consider his offer. Oh well.

As you know, the Elkhart, Indiana surrounding area is the trailer capital of the U.S. While it's a 15 hour, 1,055 mile drive due east of Cheyenne on I-80, the inventory of finished product is higher there than likely anywhere else in the U.S.. There are dozens of dealers, some within sight of one another, within a few miles of the Toll Road exits. Check online and perhaps try some calls to these dealers.

When looking for dealers, search within the 50 mile radius of Elkhart and you will locate the majority of the dealers as well as manufacturers who will sell directly to the public. While many of the companies also have factories in different regions of the U.S., many of the companies are headquartered in the northern Indiana area.

It might require a drive, but the inventory of product is concentrated in that geographical area and worth a try.
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