See all that blacktop? In a typical year, you can see way less of it. But as we’ve all seen since last March, nothing is typical anymore.
A lot has changed in the past year and the trailer industry is no different. If you are shopping for a trailer, chances are you’re either having trouble finding exactly what you’re looking for, having to wait longer than you would like to get it, or paying more for it.
We can assure you; we don’t like it either!
It seems every month we receive notice from our manufacturers that their prices are increasing. Again. It’s not because they want to raise prices, but they have no choice. The increases are coming from their suppliers of steel, wood, and other commonly used parts such as air conditioners, awnings, generators, and more. It’s a chain reaction from the Covid-19 shutdowns of 2020 and the China tariffs.
U.S. Steel shut down many of its blast furnaces last April, and while some of them reopened later that summer, others – such as the one in Gary, Ind., which is right in the heart of trailer country – didn’t reopen until December. The result was a $920 million full-year net loss for U.S. Steel
The U.S. forest industry shuttered sawmills as furniture sales plummeted 66 percent last April, and the tariffs imposed by the trade war between the U.S. and China have both driven prices up and decreased timber harvest and lumber production.
Amid shortages of both steel and wood, trailer sales haven’t slowed. Couple that with a booming RV industry as cooped up families look for safe ways to travel, as well as an exploding housing market – new homes were averaging $4,600 more in October than they were at the start of the pandemic – and the picture becomes clearer about why prices are rising as so many industries compete for limited supply and labor.
That was a quick and generalized overview of the current reality, but it all comes down to supply and demand. We absolutely hate turning away potential customers or telling them that we can’t get them what they want when they want it at the price they want it for. We have always been known as the custom trailer dealer, the one that could turn our customers’ dreams – no matter how wild they are – into reality.
Now, manufacturer lead times are double, triple, or more what they used to be! Some manufacturers aren’t even making certain types of trailers right now and most are prioritizing standard models that they can make and ship quickly, simply to meet demand. That means that custom options are even harder to come by, so if you can make do with a basic trailer with standard features, you have a much better chance of getting it sooner. If you need customization, be prepared to wait even longer.
While our lot looks painfully bare, we currently have more trailers on order than we ever have before at one time. They will be arriving in waves over the next few months, so even if you don’t see what you’re looking for on our online inventory, give us a call. If we have it on order we’re happy to pre-sell it to you so that it’s yours as soon as it arrives.
We’re also looking for used trailers and accepting trade-ins, so if you have a trailer you’re looking to sell or if you want to upgrade, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Like everyone, we’re adapting throughout the pandemic and the working through the challenges our industry is facing. It’s not unique to our dealership or the trailer industry, but we continue to remain competitive without price gouging our customers. When suppliers raise their prices, manufacturers have to raise theirs, which means we have to raise ours too or else we won’t be in business long.
We’ll never take advantage of the customer, but we want you to be aware of what’s going on in the industry so you can make an informed decision. With supply chain problems leading to product shortages and longer lead times, there is more buyer competition for the limited product available.
We are working on a plan that will allow you to get on a waiting list to be the first to know when the trailer you are looking for comes in. In the meantime, we invite you to view our real-time inventory or give us a call at 630-524-2029 to see if we have what you need.