With close to 40 years in the trailer rentals game, Semi Trailer Rentals in Queensland knows trailers and it knows them well.
Started by Ross McArthur in Rocklea in 1985, with just five trailers, the business has grown organically to offer a broad mix of over 50 high quality trailers for short or long term hire.
Still family owned and operated, it was taken over by his nephew and current managing director David Portas in 2007. Prior to that, Portas had been managing the company for five years.
Semi Trailer Rentals offers tautliners, flat tops, drop decks, skels, road train dollies, extendable flat tops and drop decks, and B-double tautliners and flat tops.
Since 2013, a second Semi Trailer Rentals business was formed to service the north side of Brisbane, with a branch opened up in the suburb of Pinkenba in Brisbane, with Matthew Carew at the helm.
“There was an opportunity to open up in the north side of Brisbane because we realised there was a gap in that area for trailer rentals. It means we can provide for businesses from Caboolture and further north, preventing them from having to come through the city of Brisbane to get to us,” said Portas.
Both Portas and Carew have strong product knowledge so they can provide the best advice on the right equipment for the tasks required.
Semi Trailer Rentals’ preferred trailer supplier is fellow Rocklea business Haulmark Trailers. “There’s a longstanding relationship with Haulmark Trailers that was started by my uncle over 20 years ago. We’ve stuck with Haulmark because they provide a premium product and I’d rather have a premium product in the fleet that can go on to service our customers for the next 20 years,” explained Portas.
“We do buy some second-hand equipment but Haulmark’s trailers are the only ones I purchase new. And when it comes to new equipment, I follow the lead of the salesperson at Haulmark.”
From one family business to another, Portas says that the majority of his customers are small to medium family owned transport businesses.
“We’re still servicing the same type of transport operator we were in the beginning, which are small to medium family businesses, who make a living out of general freight, civil engineering, steel and timber cartage. We’re also servicing the mining and agricultural sectors of the economy.
“The businesses we’re servicing have changed, but the types of family owned companies we cater to are still similar in nature. There are many current customers who’ve been with us for over 10 years.”
Portas says he’s developed a very trusting relationship with his customers too. “And it has to be that way,” he said. “We pride ourselves on our availability and contactability – I never turn the phone off. We can also offer flexibility on rates, dependent on the length of the hire term.”
Many of Semi Trailer Rentals’ customers choose to hire equipment from the business to cater to various contracts. “If the contract terms of our customers is short enough to dictate that purchases aren’t the most cost effective option, then it makes sense to hire instead of buy. When it comes to transport contracts, while a new trailer could be manufactured and purchased by our customers, the capital outlay is so significant that it makes more sense to hire what’s needed for a specified period of time.”
Semi Trailer Rentals currently has four B-double sets available for hire and says these units have been in high demand – even through the unpredictable Covid period. As a result, Portas is expanding the hire fleet with another B-double set that is due for delivery this year.