JM Trailer also known as J&M Trailer

In the current "Coke vs. Pepsi" between Boydstun and Cottrell, it's easy to miss what some of the smaller, less flashy manufacturers are doing to improve the auto transport industry-- companies like Wally Mo, Sun Valley and JM Trailer.

What got me thinking about this is a JM stinger I saw with 10 cars on it! The ability to haul one extra car per load could really make a difference in a guy's bank account, long term.

To find out more about these trailers, I talked to Joe Marquez, owner of JM Trailers.

Here's some of what I learned.

Joe has been involved with building car haulers since about 1969.

JM Trailers makes a lot of the trailers used by The Waggoners Trucking-- largest privately owned car hauler fleet in the US. I believe they are going to all strap tie downs-- so that's some weight savings you can get, also, if you want to go the strap route.

One of the really cool things about a JM Trailer is that they don't plumb the hydraulic lines under a bunch of steel. You look at one of these trailers, and you can see that maintenance is going to be less expensive. Also, they brace the wheel wells. With the weight of some of these SUV's and pickup truck's going up, the torsion and resulting metal fatigue have been going up on this part of many car haulers. A lot of car haulers will crack right beside the welds on this part of the trailer.

I was really impressed with the intelligent design of these trailers. They put the right type and thickness of steel where it counts the most. (You won't see one of these trailers bowed out and scraping on the middle side rails!) They know where to "beef things up" and where to "lighten the load".

Another thing about JM Trailers are the employees. Joe told me everybody he hires starts sweeping the shop, then moves up to welding, etc. Every employee gets trained on every part of the job, eventually: fabrication, assembly, hydraulics, wiring, painting. Joe said that a lot of the guys working in his shop have been working for him for ten or more years. I don't care what your job is-- when you've done it for ten years, you get pretty good at it! Plus, by cross-training everybody in the shop-- when someone calls in sick, somebody else can take over his work.

Joe said his first job in the US (he is originally from Argentina) was as a welder for a trailer manufacturer in Texas. His rate of pay was 1.10 per hour, and they often worked 10 to 14 hours a day in the summer. Think about that the next time you're in your air-conditioned cab-- welding for twelve hours in Texas in the summer!

Since he's had to do the work, he knows how to treat his employees-- with respect, which he says is probably one of the main reasons they stick around. Every morning Joe comes to work, he walks around the shop and greets each employee and they talk a little bit about how things are going, personally and professionally. It's easy to see he cares about people-- not just profits. I think there are probably lots of businesses like this, but they tend not to draw attention to themselves-- probably because they don't need to advertise because of all the repeat business.

So if you're thinking about getting a new trailer, don't just think "Coke-Pepsi", "Boydstun-Cottrell". There are other manufacturers out there also, and the innovation and thought they bring to the production of auto transport equipment just might surprise you.