Aussies have some of the highest rates of personal debt globally. Put plainly, we owe much towards mortgaging our homes, but when it comes to the smaller things in life, like cars, holidays or luxuries, we owe relatively little compared to the rest of the developed world. Debt that generates income, like property is termed as “good”, whereas money that we pour into things that lose value over time is ”bad” debt. This brings up the debate at how we as consumers value things, as compared to what the market dictates.
To finance all those goodies, we have so many options available. From personal bank loans, overstepping credit cards, dipping into savings, various interest-free options with instalments or simply renting out what we want now. If you’re tight with your credit rating or a little overstretched, the last option seems the most reasonable. To assemble a decent camera kit and a smaller trailer that I hauled with my ageing Nissan Patrol, I chose to rent. That required monthly payments that covered the instalments and negligible costs if any damage occurred. I had the choice of returning all the stuff or could continue with the 24 monthly payments and own everything outright. And naturally, I went for the second option. Photographing far-flung landscapes was something I wasn’t going to give up on.
Rent-to-own schemes are nothing new. They came about almost a hundred years ago when the boom in radios created much of what the internet has done today. When you’re unsure about what you want, and in doubt as to how to finance it, this could save you from unwanted costs or even the usual flare-ups with the spouse.
Me and a few mates set out in two 4WDs, a new trailer that carried things for a few nights around the arid plains of Broken Hill, and a few bags of photography gear. The trailer was a small single axle off-roady thing with the optional side gates, that we crammed with almost anything we could get our hands on. It didn’t budge even though none of us had any worthy off-roading genes to write home about. Being so far removed from the comfort of suburban Sydney, it lived up to its task, though not yet in its second instalment.
Of course, you can get anything you want when it comes to trailers. Rent-to-own trailers are the way to go when your cash is tied or you’re having a hard time choosing. Check out what’s on offer from the range of Aussie manufacturers on their websites. Here’s the low down if you’re too lazy to do some searching on your own.
Let’s start with the basics. I’ll divide the trailers by their carrying capacity and the features that come in handy for different uses.
Trailer Types You Can Rent
Smaller trailers come in at 6 by 4 feet or 1800mm by 1200mm. They’ll be able to carry around 750 kilos of gear that ride on a single-axle setup. If you’re carrying bigger things, go for the optional gates, which would add a few dollars to the weekly rent. The same dimensions are available in off-road worthy trailers, the one I went with if you’re hitting the rough stuff. They’ll have a little more strength in the gravel and springier suspension. The hitches are better too.
If you need more weight, and hauling things like motorbikes or ATVs or cars, then a tandem setup is what to look out for. There are flatbed trailers that easily load any vehicles with lengths hovering around 4 metres and a load capacity of 2 tonnes, enough to safely transport that vintage car or a pair of motocross bikes. Leaf springs will dampen out any ruts you come by.
If you’re renovating at home, and need something to easily load and load building materials, then a larger tipper trailer is what to look for. You can negotiate the rental period with the supplier. Even better, if you’ve found another use for the trailer once you’re done, you can continue paying the weekly instalments and own the trailer outright. Some trailer suppliers offer a discount on rent if you rent for longer periods, usually 6 or 12 months. Other tandem axle trailers to look for in similar uses are large open trailers with reinforced rails for tying down bigger furniture. These too can be optioned with taller meshing to keep things in place.
Rent-to-own trailers can also be hired to haul all your stuff when moving or going for a longer road-trip. The benefit here is that you can return the trailer without the obligation of purchasing. With so many people leaving the state capitals and flocking to smaller towns, this seems a good solution. To move about boxes, clothing or household items, an enclosed luggage trailer will fit so much more. Smaller trailers can be towed by a car, but for the bigger stuff, you’ll need something gruntier.
Benefits of Rent-to-Own Trailers
I’ve listed some of the things that are better when renting than purchasing a trailer, then having doubts. In renting there’s always the choice of returning the trailer after a fixed period. This can end up a lot cheaper if you only need the trailer once. Reselling will also mean you lose money. Another benefit is that you can rent more trailers at once to get the job quicker. There’s no obligation to buy. Most suppliers allow you to upgrade to a larger or different model during the rental period if the current one doesn’t suit your needs. Rental rates become cheaper with each subsequent week.
If you’re in need of a trailer, but don’t know which type to go for, or a reluctant to splurge on something you might not use again, try renting. The same goes for all things, of course where there’s the option to do so. Try before you buy.