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Should I buy, hire or lease a trailer for my business?

When you operate a business and you need to transport items, there may come a time when you wonder ‘should I buy, hire or lease a trailer for my business?’

Some small businesses are based on trailers that have been custom-built for the job: a mobile fridge for catering, a takeaway food outlet or a mobile dog-washing service, for instance.

Others, such as landscapers or vets, will use a trailer to carry equipment, remove rubbish or transport animals, while larger businesses might need one for a sales or promotional campaign.

Let’s take a look at some answers to the question ‘should I buy, hire or lease a trailer’ (or a fleet of them) for your business.

Buying

For:

  • The trailer can be customised.
  • It’s available whenever you need it.
  • It can advertise your business.
  • The costs incurred in buying and maintaining the trailer may be used as a tax deduction.

Against:

  • The upfront cost can be expensive – if you take out a loan there will be interest costs.
  • There are registration, maintenance and insurance costs.
  • If the trailer breaks down or is damaged, you might need to hire another one until it’s back on the road.

Hiring

Hiring a trailer is best if you only need it sometimes and for a short time (a few hours to a few days).

For:

  • There are no registration fees or upkeep.
  • There’s no need to find storage or parking.
  • You have a wider choice.
  • You are fully supported if you have a mechanical issue.
  • It’s convenient – many petrol stations and car-hire businesses have trailers to rent by the day or by the week.

Against:

  • A hired trailer will invariably advertise the hirer.
  • It will quickly become expensive if you have it for too long.
  • It can’t be modified to suit your needs.

Leasing

For:

  • The trailer can be used for multiple jobs.
  • Depending on the lessor, you may be able to customise it.
  • There’s usually an option to buy the trailer at the end of the lease.
  • Leasing a trailer for business may be a tax deduction.

Against:

  • There’s no backing out of a lease agreement once it’s signed.
  • A lease often ends up costing you more than buying outright.
  • Some leasing companies place restrictions on customisation.

Leasing can be easier on your cashflow, but then a second-hand trailer might be just what you need for a fraction of the cost.

Next time you ask yourself ‘should I buy, hire or lease a trailer?’ think about what you want to do with it and how often you are likely to use it.

Buying a used trailer can be a cost-effective option for your business. Here are some questions you need to ask the trailer seller.

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