If you’ve been in the transportation industry for a while, you’re probably familiar with liftgate semi trailers. You might have used them or, at least, seen them in action. But if you’re new to the business, you may be unfamiliar with liftgate trailers you rent or lease and interested in learning more about them.

This article explains what a liftgate semi trailer is, why you might need one, how this type of trailer works and more.

What Is a Liftgate Semi Trailer?

A liftgate semi trailer has an electric- or hydraulic-powered deck or platform at the end that can be raised or lowered to make moving loads into or out of the cargo area easier. You might think of it as a “mini freight elevator.”

When the driver isn’t using the deck, it folds up and sits parallel to the trailer door. The liftgate adds weight, which is one reason all trailers aren’t equipped with one. But in certain situations, a movable deck can be essential.

Why Might You Need a Liftgate Semi Trailer?

If you exclusively transport heavy items or pallets of goods or materials from and to sites that have a loading dock, you probably don’t need to own, rent or lease a liftgate trailer. On the other hand, if the origin or destination of a shipment doesn’t have a dock, you probably need this type of trailer.

One exception to that rule of thumb is that you may not require a liftgate if a forklift (and someone skilled in removing pallets from trucks) is available at both ends of the trip.

Scenarios where a liftgate semi trailer is commonly used include:

  • Deliveries to homes
  • Deliveries to smaller businesses
  • Deliveries to construction sites
  • Any situation where the availability of a loading dock or forklift is unknown

It’s important to determine the availability of a loading dock or forklift in advance, if possible. No driver wants to arrive at their destination and find that unloading will be difficult or impossible. That can be a costly error that people are left scrambling to correct.

Benefits of Liftgate Semi Trailers

Easy access to rented or leased liftgate trailers provides multiple benefits to any business transporting goods. This includes that:

  • Fewer people are needed to load and unload a trailer.
  • You avoid the risks associated with loading and unloading using a forklift. Even the most skilled forklift drivers make mistakes. Damage can also occur if a pallet is improperly loaded and items shift as the driver raises it.
  • The truck driver knows they can unload the trailer easily, regardless of the situation at their destination. For example, if they arrive to find a loading dock is occupied or inoperable for some reason, the liftgate solves the problem.

What Does “Liftgate at Delivery” Mean?

Problems unloading a semi trailer affect everyone involved, often wasting time, effort and money. Consequently, many recipients will state “Liftgate at Delivery” to indicate that a liftgate semi trailer will be required.

It’s crucial to look for this designation, even when transporting goods to a familiar destination. It isn’t a common occurrence, but there can be situations where the loading dock a truck driver has used many times before will be unavailable when they arrive.

Familiarizing Yourself With a Liftgate Semi Trailer

Semi trailer liftgate units are designed to be easy to operate. Still, they are powerful hydraulic or electric devices, so it’s crucial to understand how to use them safely.

If you’re renting or leasing a liftgate trailer for the first time, you should familiarize yourself with its operation before you’re ready to load or unload it. The same is true if you’re using a specific type of liftgate mechanism you haven’t used before. Learning about the equipment includes reading any documentation provided and, more importantly, executing all of the liftgate’s functions—raising, lowering, retracting, etc.

It’s also critical to use common sense and liftgate semi trailer best practices when operating this type of device. For instance, you should position the trailer away from any object that could interfere with raising, lowering or retracting the deck. You should also ensure that nothing moved into the deck’s operating area after you parked the trailer just before lowering it. It’s also a good idea to alert nearby workers before moving the platform.

Semi trailer liftgate units can help teams complete loading and unloading quicker and easier. But those benefits are lost if injuries or property damage occur. Caution is essential.

Get a Liftgate Semi Trailer Quickly and Efficiently

For many businesses, a liftgate semi trailer is equipment they only need periodically or for special circumstances. As a result, they don’t own one.

But, as noted above, there are instances where a liftgate is required. That’s why it makes sense to establish a relationship with Boxwheel Trailer Leasing. Having a preferred provider of semi trailers means you know where to go when the need for a liftgate (or any type of semi trailer) arises.

You may have an immediate, short-term requirement for a liftgate-equipped trailer, in which case renting a trailer might be the right choice. Or, your business needs may evolve to where leasing a liftgate semi trailer makes the most sense. Either way, knowing that clean, well-maintained equipment is available to you can be very reassuring.

As our clients know, our three-step process is fine-tuned to be highly efficient:

  1. Contact us to discuss your needs.
  2. Complete a one-page application.
  3. Pick up your liftgate trailer.

Rent or Lease Semi Trailers From the Best Manufacturers

Businesses in Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Texas choose Boxwheel for many reasons, including our industry knowledge and reputation for providing and standing behind excellent equipment. They also know they can turn to us for semi trailers from the best names in the business, including Great Dane, Utility and Wabash.

If you need liftgate semi trailers or have questions about our company, services or other available equipment, contact us today.

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