Reliance Trailer Co. LLC, a Spokane manufacturer of dump-truck boxes and trailers, has more than tripled its work force since 2003, when its owners consolidated here affiliated manufacturing operations from Lynnwood, Wash., and Cotati, Calif.
Today, Reliance employs about 230 workers here, about 90 percent of whom work in manufacturing, with the rest in the companys parts and service department.
A lot of companies havent bought equipment over the last few years, and thats generated a built-up demand for trailers that are being purchased now, says Steve Retherford, general manager.
In 1998, Reliances owners, California businessmen Brian Ling and Duke Yolo, bought the assets of Alloy Trailers Inc., of Spokane, out of bankruptcy and began making over-the-road trailers at the 23-acre site at 3025 S. Geiger Blvd. where Alloy had been making such trailers for years.
They formed Reliance Trailer Co. LLC, and eventually cut Alloys production level and began making a profit.
Ling and Yolo also owned Reliance Trailer Manufacturing Inc., a Cotati trailer maker, and, in 2001, their Spokane company bought the assets of Sturdy Weld Equipment & Design Inc., a Lynnwood trailer maker. They moved the California and Lynnwood manufacturing operations to the Geiger complex in 2003.
Spokane was chosen, among other reasons, because it has a good work force and an agreeable cost of living, says Joe Mayo, chief financial officer for the Spokane company.
Now, Reliance Trailer Co. LLC primarily manufactures dump-truck boxes and trailers, although it still makes a small number of wood-chip trailers and refuse trailers. It also makes super dumps, which are extra-big boxes for dump trucks.
Retherford says that company employed about 70 workers before Ling and Yolo decided to consolidate their other manufacturing operations in Spokane. He says about 100 employees were added to the Spokane plants work force once manufacturing was consolidated here, with the remaining 60 workers added through steady growth since that time.
The facility here has nine buildings with a total of about 121,000 square feet of space under roof, Retherford says.
He declines to disclose revenue figures for the privately held company. He says Reliance Trailer will build about 1,500 pieces of equipment this year, up from 1,350 last year. Its products range in price from $25,000 for dump boxes to $150,000 for trailer-transfer sets, which allow a hauler of aggregate rock to transport a second load of material to a work site and unload both loads.
About 60 percent of the equipment produced here is sold to Ling and Yolos California company, which specializes in selling Peterbilt trucks and Reliance trailers, often as a package, says Mayo. The other 40 percent of the equipment built here is sold to other truck dealers and directly to contractors, he says.
Mayo says the sale of dump-truck boxes and trailers is a cyclical business thats largely dependent on the sale of trucks. It has rebounded well since sales started to slide shortly before the terrorist attacks of 2001 and dipped further after those events.
Because the purchase price of a new truck and trailer can easily exceed $200,000, buyers factor in variables such as interest-rate levels and how well the economy is doing before they make such a big purchase, Mayo says.
He says the market has been very strong for the last two years. He predicts that both truck and trailer sales will continue to boom until Jan. 1, when stricter emission standards will boost the price of a new truck by about $10,000 and new catalytic converters required by the legislation will cut into fuel economy.
I think there is an accelerated demand to get trucks and trailers bought early, he says. Yet, no one knows what impact the new engines will have. If they work well, sales of trucks and trailers could continue to rise.
Because of Reliances concentration on dump-truck boxes and trailers, Mayo says, Our business is based on the aggregate industry. We primarily deal with people who haul dirt, gravel, or asphalt.
Common dump boxes are permanently attached to a truck. A transfer trailer includes a second dump box.
After reaching the job site, the driver disconnects the transfer trailer while emptying the dump box thats mounted on the truck. The driver then reconnects the transfer trailer and slides its box forward until its locked into the box on the back of the truck, then dumps the transfer-trailer box.
Super dumps, on the other hand, are dump trucks that have extra axles that enable the truck to carry a bigger box than a standard dump truck.
Although Reliance makes many variations of transfer trailers and super dumps, a common transfer trailer, including its truck-mounted box and trailer box, can carry a combined payload of up to 33.5 tons. A single super dump can carry only up to 25.5 tons, but can be loaded and unloaded faster, says Retherford.
If you are more than 25 miles from the job site, then a transfer trailer might be more economical, Mayo says. At about that distance the cost of hauling more payload in one trip with a transfer trailer falls below the cost of hauling the same amount in multiple trips with super dumps, even with the super dumps shorter loading and unloading times, he says.
Retherford anticipates Reliance Trailer will continue to grow over the next five years if it continues to manufacture the same products it does now and expands into additional markets on the West Coast. The company currently sells trailers primarily in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona, but has targeted additional areas in the Western states for expansion, he says.
Contact Rocky Wilson at (509) 344-1264 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe today to our free E-Newsletters!SUBSCRIBE