You’ve outgrown your two-horse trailer; or that four-horse is too big. You want a new model but that’ll only happen if you get some cash from your current vehicle. Here are a few things to think about—a reality check so you won’t be disappointed, and some tips for upping the odds in your favor.
Appraise the Worth
There is no official Blue Book on trailers like there is for automobiles, so check where the market is in local equine publications, at local dealers and especially on the Web.
Like any other vehicle, horse trailers are subject to trends. Aluminum trailers are still fashionable, while painted aluminum—especially if painted white—is today’s most popular style. But steel, at half the price, is not going away.
Be realistic about your pricing. While trailers depreciate more slowly than cars—and certainly a well-kept 10-year-old trailer retains value much better than most cars of that age—you still shouldn’t price your 10-year-old 4-horse gooseneck at $16,000 if you can buy a new one for that same amount.
Be realistic, too, about the condition of your trailer, examining it as a potential buyer would. How you maintained your trailer affects its value. A “creampuff,” looking like new, will gain a higher price than a beat up one, so be honest with yourself about dents, wobbly hinges and latches, hoofprints on doors and walls, rust and corrosion.
If you want to sell through a dealer as a trade-in or on consignment, be prepared for a more intense inspection—almost certainly more intense than the typical horse owner would make.
Marketing the Trailer
Now it’s time for all the details, like making sure you have such required paperwork as the original bill of sale, current registration, insurance documentation and any inspection reports. It’s also time for sprucing up the trailer, sweeping, washing—perhaps acid-washing an unpainted aluminum model. And when it looks as good as you can make it, take clear photographs of all four sides as well as the interior. From these you can prepare sales flyers by photocopying a collage of the photos.
The rest is advertising (local media, Web ads, flyers in tack shops and feed stores, “For Sale” sign in trailer’s window) and negotiating.
And when you haul your new trailer home, promise yourself to maintain its condition and value. Someday, you’ll start thinking about its resale.