Dry vans, refrigerated trailers, flatbeds. They’ve all been refined and optimized to provide highly efficient transportation from A to B. (And many of them use parts fabricated by us!) But what if you need a semi-truck trailer for less utilitarian purposes?

Maybe your business could use a mobile showroom or store. Perhaps having a classroom to take out to customers, or a way to transport specialized equipment or machinery would help improve the service you offer. Or, how about making custom modifications to improve efficiency and lower operating costs?

For all of these situations, needs, and applications, the most cost-effective approach is probably to tailor a semi-truck trailer to suit what you want. At Wiley, we have a lot of trailer know-how, and we like using it to meet your specific needs with customized solutions. This blog details the approach we take to projects like these.

Understand Wants and Needs

We’ve found it’s very important to drill down deeper into the initial inquiry about customization. We’ll ask a lot of questions about what’s being asked for, and why, or what problems and opportunities customization is intended to address. That helps us bring our experience to bear on the request and ensures we don’t spend a lot of time on something that won’t be quite what our client wants.

Explore the Start Point

A detailed understanding of what’s needed lets us offer up some options that customization can start from. Once we know the kind of load the trailer will be carrying – particularly weight and volume – we can discuss what kind of trailer should be used. For example, is a regular dry van appropriate or would it be larger than necessary? Would a flatbed work better? And having answered those questions, is one model or brand preferred over others?

Engineer for Durability

When a client is investing in a trailer for a specific purpose, we know they expect it to last. That’s why our engineering team spends time exploring and developing robust solutions. Then, once the design is set they work on identifying possible weak spots and adding strength and durability through the materials and components they select.

Add Innovative Features

This is the part of the project that might be most fun. With our trailer knowledge and experience, we’re able to suggest a lot of add-ons that can increase the convenience and utility of a custom trailer. Here’s a partial list of the options:

  • Aerodynamic design features, to increase fuel-efficiency
  • GPS tracking, so you know where it is at all times
  • Side doors, for loading or human access
  • Ladders, steps, and ramps that make it easier to move people and loads in and out
  • Windows and skylights, for better interior visibility
  • Interior storage systems
  • Custom flooring
  • Custom colors
  • Generator(s)
  • Heating and/or air conditioning

Benefits of a Custom Semi-Truck Trailer

There are two main reasons for having a semi-truck trailer customized. It’s either to save money (or time, which amounts to the same thing), with convenience or fuel-saving measures, or as a way of providing new or better service to customers.

To dig a little deeper, let’s start with a look at the time and money-saving benefits.

Clearly, improved aerodynamics will improve fuel efficiency. Whether there’s an ROI on that will depend on how many miles, especially highway miles, the trailer is going to go.

What can be a real-time saver are enhancements and upgrades that speed loading and unloading. Anything that gets a trailer back on the road faster is going to let it work a little harder. Again though, the actual financial benefits depend on the type of use the trailer will get. (With modifications that speed loading the benefits will be greater on short trips than on cross-country journeys.)

As for how a customized semi-truck trailer can help improve customer service, as the old cliché has it, the only limit is your imagination. However, here are two examples. It could be used as:

  • A mobile classroom that gets taken to customers, saving money on hotels and letting customers put more employees through the training
  • A mobile showroom or retail outlet. Cheaper and more flexible than renting space, and again, suitable for taking directly to client sites.

Why Compromise? Get a Custom Trailer Instead

Semi-truck trailers take many forms, but perhaps it’s worth getting one customized to meet your specific needs. If this is something you’d like to explore, talk to Wiley Metal Fabricating. We’re a very experienced fabrication shop with a great deal of trailer experience. Whether you need parts or a complete, custom trailer, we can help. Contact us and let’s talk.