Rebuilding Small Trailers for a Profit

You can make create a part-time business by finding and rebuilding small trailers for a profit, includes understanding the market, how to find and buy used trailers, how to recondition small trailers and selling trailers.

| September/October 1982

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    Often you can double your investment by buying a diamond-in-the-rough hauler, reconditioning it, and selling the refurbished trailer at a tidy profit!

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Whether you live "uptown" or "down home", you can make money from this part-time business. Learn how to create a small business rebuilding small trailers for a profit. 

With automobile and fuel prices climbing while the average American's disposable income shrinks, the cars and pickup trucks that we buy are, for the most part, getting smaller. However, our carrying capacity requirements — whether for work or recreation — remain as large as ever. That being the case, it's no wonder that the market for moderately priced, reconditioned utility trailers has never been better.

If you're already a seasoned bargain hunter, scrounger, and barterer (or are willing to learn how to become one), you can get in on the trailer boom with a minimum investment and expect returns of 25%, 50%, or even 100% on your initial outlay. Simply use your skills to find a suitable "reclamation project", and then to acquire building materials . . . accumulate tires and other spare parts you may find useful . . . and arrange for any services (such as welding or metal cutting) that you can't perform yourself. Reconditioning used trailers isn't especially difficult, but it does require that you be organized — and systematically opportunistic — in order to reap the best returns for your time and money rebuilding small trailers for a profit.


I'm fortunate to live in a west central Oklahoma town that boasts a four-year college and is surrounded by farm country. The available mixture of urban, rural, and student markets almost guarantees that I'll find a customer for any reconditioned trailer I have to sell . . . if I take the time to understand what each group of buyers will be looking for.

Take the students, for instance. Just as the turkey buzzards return to Hinckley, Ohio every spring, these scholars arrive in late August and hustle home in mid-May. So at summer's end I buy the trailers that the newly resident undergraduates (who can always use extra cash) no longer want . . . and in the spring I have little trouble finding migrating collegians in desperate need of conveyances to haul their possessions (which seem to increase magically over the course of the school year). For the most part, students favor two-wheelers that are lightweight and inexpensive, with 1- to 4-foot sides and no extras . . . something, in other words, to do little more than get their goods and chattels home.

My other groups of customers are more choosy. Farmers and stockbreeders, for example, tend to want sturdy, no-frills carts capable of standing up to the punishment of carrying agricultural equipment, feed, and fertilizer. In my experience, such individuals are particularly eager to buy low-profile flatbeds that measure 4 to 6 feet wide and 10 to 15 feet long. And most country buyers expect to see good rubber on the ground and to have a spare tire thrown in with the deal.


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