JTI Inc. Cleveland

Trailers, Hitches, & Maintenance


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So You Wanna…Buy a Used Trailer?

Is it better to buy a used or new trailer? The best answer we can give you: It depends.

How to Evaluate a Used Trailer

Whether you plan to use the trailer for business or a hobby, you need a trailer that’s suited to the job it’ll do. If you’re thinking about purchasing a used trailer, you’ll want to pay attention to details – there are some things that can be fixed, some that can’t, and some that don’t matter.

When looking at a used trailer, here’s what we tell our customers:  

elongated shackle bolts

This definitely needs to be replaced!

  • Check for a sagging frame. Sagging is a bad thing. Beyond a visual check, you may want to jump up and down on the floor to feel how it responds. (To be honest, we may respond by laughing, but seriously, it’s a good thing to do.)
  • Test exterior light operation. Failure isn’t a huge problem, as most problems with lights can be fixed easily. However, the lights must be operational when you’re hauling – so any problems should be fixed at or before the time of purchase.
  • Check brake operation. Same as above – most brake problems can be fixed, but as we’re sure you know, brakes aren’t optional.
  • Examine the springs and shackles. Elongated bolts in spring shackles may indicate the trailer has high mileage and hasn’t been maintained on schedule or has been significantly overloaded. It’s a serious issue that needs to be fixed, but once the springs are fixed, they’re ready to roll. (Just make sure the rest of the trailer is, too.)
  • Check coupler operation. You want to be sure the locking lever works easily, among other things. Look underneath the locking mechanism to be sure the coupler will latch. If the half-moon shoe is cracked underneath, it’s a tell-tale sign the trailer has been backed into something. Also, check for any thin spots in the ball socket.
  • Make sure you understand the tongue and jack operation, and that both are in good shape.
  • How do the axles look? Many signs of wear are normal, and not cause for concern. Some, however, need to be addressed or may even indicate you’ll need to replace the axle(s). Don’t worry – we do that here.
  • What about the equalizer and bushings? Same as above…although these can be a little pricier, and involve more labor.
  • Kick the tires. OK, maybe not literally kick, but besides general wear, you should look for uneven wear or signs of rubbing that can indicate a ride problem. Again, some can be easily remedied, others may not be worth the hassle or expense. Always check for dry rot. That’s one thing that can only be remedied by replacing the tire. Remember to check all the way around the tire, as dry rot is usually obvious in just one place on the tire, especially if the trailer has been stored in grass or sat on a stone surface for a long time.
  • Safety chain check! Easily replaced, but important.
  • Test gate and door functionality. Make sure any locking mechanisms are in good working order – or if they’re not, that you get them fixed right away. Again, these are usually very simple and fairly inexpensive fixes, but they’re important if you want to secure your stuff!

Of course, these are some of the things we do when evaluating a trailer for trade or consignment. While the vast majority of our trailer inventory is new, at any given time, we’ll have a few used trailers on our lot. And, when you’re looking at our trailers, we’ll be happy to run through the list of what to consider when buying used vs. new.

Good News About Buying a Used Trailer

The trailer pictured above is a used trailer, more than 10 years old. It was used according to the manufacturer’s specifications, well-maintained, and it shows. (Plug for the store – It’s for sale!) In this case, buying used means you’ll get a high payload capacity trailer for far less than a similar new one would cost. And, the owner made some great customizations, including extra-tall ramps and supports. That’s what can be great about buying a used trailer – if your needs are similar to those of the original owners, chances are you’ll come away with a pretty good value.

General Considerations When Purchasing a Trailer

Here’s a general rule of thumb: When it comes to retail pricing, trailers depreciate about 10% the first year, and 5% each year after that. (And trade-ins are figured on wholesale or cash value – but that’s another story, for a different post.) It’s worth noting that trailers don’t depreciate or age quite ike automobiles, for some obvious reasons.

First, they’re less complicated machines – unless you’re buying a refrigerated trailer, you don’t have to worry about the air conditioner or compressor going bad. And, they’re not quite the status symbol that sports cars are.  No one is going to say, “John’s new trailer is nice, but he really should’ve waited for the 2016 model. Have you seen the grill on that thing?!”

When you’re thinking about purchasing a used trailer, the most important consideration is what has the trailer been doing for the past few years? Follow the checklist above and you should get a good idea of the general shape the vehicle is in.

Generally speaking, trailers work hard for hardworking people, and unless they’re properly cared for, they tend to get beat up. That goes for trailers and people, of course, but we only work on trailers. They’re easier to put back together! If you have questions about new or used trailers – or anything that has to do with hitches and trailers, we’d love to hear from you.

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JTI, Cleveland trailer experts

440.232.4311

Buying your first trailer? Own a fleet? Doesn’t matter – we’re here to help. Stop in or call us, 6 days a week, at 440.232.4311.

More helpful tips & some bad jokes on Twitter and Facebook, 24/7.


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Parker Performance Trailers: Powder and Pipes

Parker Performance Trailers

Parker RP7716 Orange HitchFirst, a little introduction is in order. The company name is Performance Trailers. The company’s trailers are often referred to (especially by repeat buyers) as Parker Trailers. Parker Performance Trailers is one of the brand names the company holds. At JTI, we frequently refer to Performance Trailers as Parkers. Now that we’ve finished the introductions, we’d like to tell you some of the more interesting things about the company’s trailers!

Extras That Come Standard

Performance Trailers are built to last. For example, the top rails are typically tubing – making them sturdier, and less likely to bow when you load things the lazy way. (You never do that, though, do you? No one does…) Performance also includes some “little” things as standard features – things other manufacturers sometimes consider “extras.” For example, the company’s highsters include tie downs and pocket stakes as standard fare.

A Rainbow of Utility Trailers

Performance makes a mighty nice utility trailer, and it’s among our most popular trailer and a favorite of landscapers. The variety of sizes and number of custom features really suits virtually every need. Reinforced cleated gates, extra-high uprights, and specialized racks and ramps are popular features.PurpleParkerPerformance-high-landscape-single_axle

Now, Cleveland-area landscapers are a practical bunch, but they also like to look good, and the colors available in the Performance line give our customers a lot of choices. From bright yellow to fireball orange to pretty purple, plus several shades of blue and green – and pinstripes! – Parker Performance Trailers help our customers’ businesses stand out in a good way.

Stop in to see if one of the sharp Performance Trailers on our lot is the right shade (and has the right features) for you.

Performance Powder Coating

We often mention Performance’s finish in our inventory descriptions, sometimes even referring to it as “the legendary Performance Powder Coating.” We don’t do that to be cute, we mention it because it’s a pretty significant part of the trailer. The coating not only provides a durable, great-looking finish, it’s also applied in an environmentally-sound, efficient process.

If a finish that resists scratches, chips, wear and stains (from tree sap, salt or acid rains) is important to you, you probably want a trailer that’s been powder coated.

Why is Powder Coating Stronger, Cleaner, and Safer? Science

What is powder coating? It’s a dry finished process that uses finely-ground pigment and resin particles. The particles are electrostatically charged and then sprayed onto the parts to be painted. The parts to be coated are electrostatically grounded so the charged particles adhere to them and are held there until they are melted in the curing oven, where they fuse into a smooth coating that is uniform, durable, high-quality and – bonus! – environmentally friendly. (Most liquid coatings use solvents and volatile organic compounds or VOCs, which are very bad for the environment – and not so good for the workers applying the liquid coatings, either.) yellow landscape trailer

If you love details, watch the video on the  Performance website.

Just interested in the bottom line? Powder coating lasts, and looks good, for a long, long time.

Car Haulers, and Now Cargo Trailers

From goosenecks and racer specials to steel floor car haulers and motorcycle trailers, Performance knows what you need to haul your vehicle. (And, for what it’s worth, so do we – having experience dating back to 1935 – but that’s another story.) 

While we try to keep a couple of car haulers in stock (and we have a couple of carhaulers for rent) most customers who tow their vehicles have very specific needs. We’re happy to walk through the options and place an order that will match your needs and work perfectly behind your tow vehicle.

Another Thing You Should Know About Performance Trailers

As we mentioned above, Performance Trailers come to Ohio by way of Mt. Pleasant, Texas – so If you want a particular Performance Trailer that’s not on our lot, you can always order it…but it could take a few weeks for it to arrive in Cleveland. In other words – plan ahead. Or when you see the Performance Trailer that you want, don’t wait – buy it!

Why Buy from JTI?

People who depend on their trailers depend on JTI. Since 1935, we’ve been Cleveland’s Trailer & Hitch experts. Yes, we love to sell trailers. But our primary goal is to make sure our customers get the RIGHT trailer or trailers for their needs. If you need a lightweight, strong, all-weather, open tilt trailer, the Floe Cargo Max just might be perfect for you. If you need something else, we’ll help you get it. Come see why our customers have stuck with us for 80 years. ___________________________________________________________________________

JTI, Cleveland trailer experts

440.232.4311

Whether you need a cargo, carhauler, deckover, landscape, tilt or utility trailer, we can help you get the right equiptment.  We’re just off I-271 in Oakwood Village, at the Broadway/Forbes exit. Stop in! We love meeting our Cleveland neighbors.

www.JTIinc.com      440.232.4311


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Top 5 Ways To Use Down Time At Work

When you do have small gaps in business during the day? As a manager, those times are excellent opportunities to engage with your employees.

Here are 5 things you can do to motivate your staff:

  • Genuinely ask how they are: If they feel you care; they will care. By understanding what what is important to your employees, you can learn what motivates their work. There is a fine line between personal and TOO personal, but you as a manager CAN manage that. (Note: Ask to know enough, don’t ask to get involved.)
  • Buy them lunch: Don’t just give them lunch; sit with them, talk to them, listen to them. Lunch is supposed to be a fun time, though – so, make sure you don’t “cramp” their style in a way that makes anyone uncomfortable because you are there.  Be genuine. Even though yours is a manager/employee relationship, you’re co-workers. Remember that.
  • Give them a break: Make it a productive break from work. Say you’ll step in for 5 minutes. This gives employees on the frontline a break, so they won’t have to produce and/or interact with customers, but they’ll still be present to learn something new. It’s a perfect opportunity to role-model, and to gain insight into how you might improve operations.
  • Give them another break: A real break! Let an employee take a walk, get outside, breathe some fresh air, sit in the office and stare at the wall… whatever it is, it’s time to re-group, re-charge, and re-energize in a positive way.
  • Be ready: For those down times, you can be pro-active and have a list of small things that you NEED to review with your employees.  You may need to mention something important, train for an upcoming marketing campaign, or plant a seed of advice. Whatever it is, keep it positive.

When it comes down to it, all time should be productive, and down time spent re-charging is productive. It ultimately impacts overall productivity in a positive way. Stay positive, be a good leader of your team, and always strive to be better as a team.

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At JTI, wScreen Shot 2014-12-23 at 11.28.53 AMe try to follow this advice every day. Would you like to work here? Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to find out when we’re hiring, or check our website for openings.)


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The 5 BEST Ways To Avoid Slow Times In Your Business

jtiSafety slow business-55

The worst thing you can have in any industry is a lull in business. Or is it? You never want to leave your employees with no work to do (not only is it financially stressful, it’s also hard on employee morale). On the other hand, knowing how to productively fill downtime is great for business and for employee satisfaction.

Here are 5 SIMPLE tips to avoid slow business times.

  1. Don’t forget the fundamentals: Customer Service should ALWAYS be your greatest priority.  Think of it this way: For every bad customer experience, you will lose 7-21 customers.  People rarely discuss good experiences (see below), but ALWAYS discuss bad experiences.
  2. Give more than what is expected: With every customer, give them more than they expect: use eye contact, try to learn and remember their name, shake their hand when appropriate, and listen for those little things that will mean a lot to them… and give it to them. Customer Service studies show that it is small things that make a difference: gift wrapping, a consistent smile; a personal phone call reminder, etc. Be creative, it will set you apart from others. Got a lull in business? Call a client you haven’t seen in awhile. “I was wondering how things are going, and wonder if there’s anything we can help you with,” are truly magic words.
  3. Think ahead: if there is a sale and/or service that you provide for your customers; schedule them at the original point of sale.  Hair salons are best at this, when the client is paying, they schedule their next appointment. At JTI, we know when your trailer will need to be serviced based on your business, so we will pre-schedule your service appointment so you do not have to remember. We’ll give you a personal call to remind you, as well, the day before.
  4. Keep your customers interested: Social media engagement, blogging, and/or a newsletter; catered specifically to your brand, posted and sent on a consistent and regular basis will nurture your customer relationships. If anything it is a friendly reminder that says, “Yes, we are still here, and ready for your business whenever you may need us.”
  5. Give Back: Schedule events and personally invite your customers.  They can be fun, educational, and possibly an exhibition of new products and/or services.  Plan to have seasonal events that are all unique. The more you have events, the greater your loyal customer base will be.

BONUS TIP >>> Always say Thank You! if your customers did not exist, your business would not exist.

Thank you for reading our blog!

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At JTI, wScreen Shot 2014-12-23 at 11.28.53 AMe value our customers and employees, and try to follow this advice every day. Would you like to work here? Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to find out when we’re hiring. (Hint: we’re hiring now!)