Dump trailers are a cost-effective option for individuals and small businesses that need dump capability without the expense of owning and operating a dump truck. Choosing the right trailer for your business may not be straightforward, however. In addition to sizing a trailer that fits your needs, you must also take into account the hauling capacity of the tow vehicle. If your company already operates one or more work vehicles, then matching your trailers to your existing vehicles is as important as matching a trailer to your loads.
How To Read Trailer Capacity Specifications
When you're browsing through a listing of available trailers, you need to make a note of two specifications: trailer weight and gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). Trailer weight is the overall weight of the unit when "dry," or empty. On the other hand, GVWR is the weight of the trailer plus its maximum load. In other words, the maximum capacity of the trailer is the GVWR minus the weight of the trailer itself. If you've worked with standard trailers before, this terminology should be familiar.
Ultimately, the key is to know your loads. If you are hauling heavy bulk materials, such as sand or gravel, then take the time to calculate the weight of your typical loads. Many people refer to load sizes in terms of yardage, but knowing the total weight of the material you are hauling is crucial when it comes to selecting the correct trailer.
Physical Size Matters
Selecting a trailer with an appropriate weight rating for your cargo is the first step since a trailer that cannot handle your loads is both dangerous and likely to fail. Once you've selected a trailer with appropriate capacity, it's time to move on to size and style. As with weight limits, it will pay to understand your cargo requirements. If you're primarily hauling bulk materials, then consider the yardage that you usually carry. For containers, pallets, or other non-bulk loads, pay special attention to the most substantial items that you'll be hauling. For these cases, it may also be worthwhile to consider dump trailers with side gates for more effortless loading.
Matching It To Your Fleet
Finally, it's essential to ensure that the trailer you select will work with your company's fleet. Fortunately, calculating the towing capacity of a vehicle is relatively straightforward. For each towing vehicle in your fleet, look up the gross combined weight rating (GCWR). From this value, subtract the vehicle's curb weight, along with the weight of fuel, passengers, and any additional cargo. The remaining amount is the vehicle's maximum tow capacity. In addition to vehicle towing capacity, be sure to check the weight capacity of the tow vehicle's hitch. In some cases, upgrading to a heavier-duty hitch may be necessary.
Getting the most out of your dump trailer purchase is all about sizing a trailer for your loads and ensuring that the weight of the trailer will not overstress your tow vehicles. By paying careful attention to both of these aspects of your purchase, your new dump trailer is sure to become a significant asset for your business.