EXPLOITING THE TRAILER.
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Motor Agents are Recommended by Our Contributor to Turn Their Attention to Trailers By "Vim."
UP TO DATE, the trailer has not received anything like the attention it desenes, or so I think. For very heavy work it is used extensively, but, in general, it has failed to achieve popularity. No doubt this is due to the restricted speeds enforced by law where motor vehicle's are drawing trailers, and probably the more or less imaginary difficulty of manceuvnng these road. trains in towns and narrow lanes and into and out of loading bays sustains prejudice against them. The successful use of a trailer depends entirely on the) class of work that a van or lorry has to perform.
It is no mission of mine to try to persuade owners of motor vehicles to consider the trailer as a means of adding to their carrying capacity at very little initial expense. The motor agent and the garage proprietor are the readers to whom my remarks are always particularly addressed i
, and it s their point of view that interests me. There appears to me to be very considerable scope for the. motor trader to do businesia with trailers, except where circumstances are unusually unfavourable. Provincial traders,especially those situated in country towns amidst residential districts, should study the question very carefully, because the locality must be very extraordinarily situated indeed where there is no money to be made out of an agency for a good make
of trailer. . .
The Business to be Done in Trailers.
Trailers for widely-different load capacities are obtainable from the several manufacturers who specialize in building these vehicles, and, since most of them advertise regularly, there is no need for me to take up space in describing their productions. It will be (or, perhaps, I should say, may be) of more . practical help if I confine myself to pointing out some of the directions in which business can be done with trailers, both in hiring them out and in selling them. . To deal With 'selling first, the initial step for the garage proprietor to take is to secure from the makers details of the various trailers on the market, to consider the claims made for them, and to familiarize himself with what they will do in the. way of load carrying. He should then investigate the work which the motorvans and lorries owned by tradesmen and business concerns in this district have to perform. It will be found that vehicles which are chiefly employed for delivering goods are, nevertheless, frequently used for collecting, and, where this is the case, trailers/can almost always. be attached to them with great advantage. An ironmonger, for instance, who runs a light van for delivering to the scattered large houses in a country residential area, probably sends it once a week to his wholesaler in a distant town, to bring I :Lek supplies for his shop. A light trailer, of from halfton to one tan capacity, would be an immense boon to him on such occasiens, and, if he managed his business properly, should enable him to reduce the number of trips so made by 50 or 75 per cent. There are many other classes of tradesmen similarly placed with regard to deliveries and collections, notably furnishers, butchers, purveyors of milk, greengrocers, etc., all of whom are rapidly motorizing their transport to meet the competition of the great 'stores of London and other cities. Amongst farmers, too, an extensive field for exploiting the trailer exists, and the same may be 'said of residents of country houses, more especially in connection with the lighter types of wheeled attachments. Many farmers who, as yet, own no motor tractors or wagons, already possess knock-about :touring cars. Pneumatic-tyred trailers, both two and four wheeled, are obtainable, which are quite suitable to be drawn by any strongly-built tourer, and by means of which a private car can be converted into a light goods vehicle when required.
All things considered, therefore, it is. not unreasonable to say that an enterprising agent who is willing to devote thought and energy to pushing trailer business has great opportunities before him, so far as sales are concerned. It maynot be the easiest thing in the world just now to get rid of motor vehicles, but one of the factors that are operating at present against that business (I refer to the shortage of real money) will assist him in selling trailers. Their cost is, naturally, incomparably less than that of a complete van or lorry; their upkeep amounts to next to nothing ; and they increase the earning power of the heavy capital that has already been, invested in the towing vehicles.
Letting Trailers Out on Hire.
Coming now to hiring, I am of opinion that, giyeri the right kind of situation, a garage proprietor should find it profitable to purchase a few trailers of the lighter sorts for letting out to owners of commercial cars in hie neighbourhood. It should be at least as paying a game, in proportion to the capital invested, as hiring out motor vehicles themselves, and not nearly such a risky one. I do not think that he would have to wait very long for custom if his trailers had painted on their sides the words: "This trailer hired from ," followed by his name, for the utility of the service would. be immediately apparent to all beholders likely to be interested in motor transport. His customers would, of course, come from amongst the same claases of commercial vehicle users as those mentioned above. And, having hired from him once or twice, the chances are that they' would be, willing to consider purchasing, so that the hiring department would net as a feeder for the sales department. It would also bring the garage man into touch with, many new customers, and so lead to business in other directions.
The Value of a Demonstration Vehicle.
Even if sales should be the only thing that has any strong appeal to the agent who reads this, he will see the force of buying at least one trailer of a popular size for demonstration purposes. No advertisement for a pudding is half so good as the eating thereof, and all the talk that can becrosvded into an hour's conversation with a " prospect " will not be half so convincing as a practical test of one of these machines. Running behind the agent's own van or lorry in the streets of his locality, it is bound to arouse interest and to promote inquiries. If a demonstration car is necessary in order to work an ordinary ear agency to advantage, it is doubly necessary in the ease of a trailer, for, while it is now generally accepted that motor transport pays, the trailer question still remains unsettled in the minds of the majority of users'. They need convincing; and. nothing is calculated to convince so quickly as the evidence of their own eyes.
So I say to the motor agent and garage proprietor, it is worth while giving more than a passing thought to this trailer proposition. It requires to be taken hold of and handled in the right manner; but that it what the trader is here for, mid this stipulation will not frighten him.