One company looks to automate the short term-trailer rentals (load-out) allowing customers and carriers to book and reposition trailers throughout the United States and Canada entirely online.
Shippers and trailer owners are sometimes faced with a challenge while managing their trailer pools: moving capacity from one location that has an over-abundance of trailers to another location that does not have enough trailers. Typically they are forced to use their own equipment to reposition the trailers or they hire outside carriers to move the empty trailers. Some of these trailers are moved as load-out trailers, which allow the carrier to essentially “rent” the trailer for a period of up to ten days and get paid a couple of bucks to do it.
Many carriers use these trailers rather than purchasing their own trailers depending on where they pick up and deliver. My previous trucking company did this. We had a trailer location in MD where we could pick up a trailer, use it for up to ten days and then deliver it to a location in Massachusetts. It worked for us as we needed the trailers and instead of paying $400-$700 a month to rent a trailer, we were being paid $250 to move a empty trailer from MD to MA and we could fill it as many times as we wanted in the meantime.
One Canadian company, vHub, is taking a unique approach to the challenge of moving these trailers. After building their system to accommodate the trailer repositioning needs of its parent company, equipment financing company Finloc 2000 Inc’s 10,000 trailers they thought about opening up the platform to outside customers. The app has been live in Canada for the past nine months and has managed 20,000 rental days and has 4,000 trailers listed.
The app works seamlessly to connect drivers and trailer owners. A driver or company owner registers with the site, fills out required paperwork and submits proof of insurance. Then they are able to look up trailers near them, see photos of the trailer and book the trailer online. Prices for trailer rentals vary from $10 to $50 per day depending on the trailer type and purpose. The driver is able to submit the request to book the trailer entirely online.
vHub trailer owner benefits:
- Generate revenue from unused trailers;
- Reduce operating costs by avoiding empty distances to reposition their fleet
- Gain additional revenue through a fully automated digital experience without increasing workload.
vHub renter benefits:
- Find and rent trailers close to their needs to avoid empty distances;
- Avoid calling multiple rental companies to find a trailer
- Simplify management of the rental process by centralizing all reservations, invoices and rental history in a single web portal.
We look forward to learning more about the program in the future. It is expected to become available for the United States market in March.