Viper Trailer World Sinks their Fangs into the Future
Around 26 years ago, Dennis Riggs, an avid kart-racer, started a business designed to keep him around the sport that he loved. From building engines to selling parts, the kart-racing industry seemed to be the perfect place for him. However, he couldn’t help but notice something odd. Seemingly everyone he dealt with in the industry, for some reason or another, needed a trailer. So, in 2001, he decided to stock a few.
“We started out, basically, with four enclosed trailers,” Riggs says.
Over time, the kart-racing side of his business began to pale in comparison to the trailers he was able to sell. Not only that but working inside of a dealership meant he wasn’t forced to travel around the country for various karting circuits.
“The trailer business got so busy, we just had to get away from go-karts and concentrate on the trailers.”
Clearly, Riggs made the right decision. He may have started out with only four enclosed trailers, but Riggs says his lot now consists of somewhere close to 160 trailers with expansion capabilities of 50-60 more. It’s something his old facility, a ¾ acre, 30x32’ building, simply wasn’t equipped to handle. Riggs felt they were simply trying to cram everything into one building. He doesn’t anticipate too much of a problem in 2019, though, since he just moved into a brand-new building right off the interstate.
“The new building,” Riggs explains, “we’re on five acres with a 5,100 square foot building and a 1,500 square foot office. Our service bays are 60x40 with 20’ ceilings and 14’ roll-up doors. We’ve got a stock room that’s 20x40’. This allows us a lot more service and parts storage capabilities.”
A larger facility is, undoubtedly, a bigger investment, but Riggs foresees the added space contributing to a host of new opportunities for his dealership and the community at large. Right up until the move, the trailer sales produced the largest profit margin for Viper Trailer World. The new facility, with its impressive service bays, means Riggs can hire a new mechanic or service technician.
“We’ve got a facility where we can do the service and handle more parts,” Riggs says. “We’re in a better location right off the interstate in a high-visibility area. Our service and parts center could move over and, very easily, be our big income.”
As a dealership that already sells about 75-80 trailers, on average, a month, there’s a firm base to build on. With the new bays, Riggs will be adding in more custom work to appease customers that aren’t necessarily looking for long wait times to get the exact trailers they need.
“We’re going to do more custom options like adding windows, doors, finishes and options. Before, I just didn’t have a good facility to work with and we did pretty much everything outside. So, if somebody comes in and needs a trailer with a couple windows in it and they don’t want to wait 5-6 weeks, they can, in two days, come pick up one that we install ourselves.”
That’s not all Riggs has planned, though. He says he’ll be venturing into used and rental trailers at some point in the year to serve a demographic that currently results in missed profit opportunities.
Admittedly, Riggs has a lot on his plate, and 2018 was surely a nerve-racking time to transition to a new facility. With the industry’s changes last year, it would’ve been understandable for Riggs to reconsider the idea of relocating. However, he says the changes have had a minimal effect on his overall business.
Riggs has focused a good portion of his expenses on marketing tactics. To him, there’s no better time to do that than when you’re opening a new facility. Locating himself right off the highway has given Riggs the opportunity to reach quite a few new people, so he placed an order for three different billboards in his area – all of which were facing different directions. Between the billboards, an increased digital presence, good, old-fashioned word of mouth customers and a beautiful new sign, Riggs believes business can only grow from this point forward.
As a dealership that prides itself in delivering top-quality trailers from top-quality manufacturers, Viper Trailer World’s new location seems to be having a major impact on the dealership’s direction.