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How Kaufman Trailers Got Started
Hello! My name is Robb Kaufman. I backed into trailer business in May of 1987 as a 26 year-old with a growing family, trying to make some extra money to supplement my full time job in a furniture factory at Thomasville, NC.
As a teenager, my family lived for several years next door to a brick mason who had a welding shop behind his house where he did all kinds of welding as a second job. My first real job, at 16 years of age, was mixing “mud” and carrying brick for this brick-layer. He also taught me the fundamentals of welding as I “hung-out” in his shop at night.
My first utility trailer built to sell, a 16’ tandem, was welded together with a Lincoln “buzz box” stick welder that I had purchased for $130. I had no shop for this effort. My work area was the side yard of the mobile home park where I lived. An electric power cord with a breaker on the end was run through the mobile home screen door and plugged into the power panel in place of the clothes dryer breaker. The land-lord quickly tired of this and operations were moved to my dad’s back yard for the next two years where the same power cable was run to the woodshed. Sales averaged around two trailers a month for those first two years.
I took a second shift job at another furniture factory for the next three years, which gave me mornings and early afternoons to build trailers. The place we were now living at had a 13’x16’ metal building. I added 8’ to the front, making it 13’x24’. I bought a used gasoline powered welder for $1,000 and ran the exhaust pipe through a hole in the wall of the “new shop”. Sales averaged almost two trailers a week for that three-year period.
In May of 1992, I quit the furniture factory to go full time in trailer business. I had purchased about two acres at Lexington, North Carolina on North Silver Street (one of our current locations) and begun clearing trees and building a new 22’x24’ shop a little at a time over the last year or so. My brother-in-law, Jarry Oldaker, joined me that spring. I well remember building the first Kaufman wedge car trailer with him. Only the back half of the trailer fit in the shop, with the rest of the trailer being built out the front of the building. That winter another welder joined us. By the spring of 1993, there were several of us working out of that 22’x24’ shop and a bigger one was under construction. Over the years, we have built all the buildings at our North Carolina facility ourselves, except for one of the smaller shops, with our own people and the expert assistance of our long-term employee builder, Dave Smith. In 2005, we added a new 26,000 square feet facility in Nebraska. In 2009, we built a 49,000 square feet addition.
I am blessed to live in America, the greatest country in the world. Along the way, I have also been blessed in being joined by the right people who have made Kaufman Trailers what it is today. Tim Carter, our head customer service manager, is one of those people. He joined the company in the year 2000 and has been instrumental in the development and continued success of the company. Most of the current management team and many of the people involved in the production of Kaufman products have been with the company long-term. Kaufman Trailers is proof that the American Dream is still possible with perseverance and hard work. Today, Kaufman Trailers is a professionally managed organization that employs over 300 people. It exists for one reason: to give you, our valued customer, a high-quality trailer at the lowest possible delivered cost. We never forget that without you, none of us have a job. Your business with us is never taken for granted and we thank you for it!
Kaufman Trailers believes in traditional, friendly, customer service! When you call us, you will be greeted by our friendly receptionist and then directed to one of our customer service representatives. Each customer service representative has been thoroughly trained to offer you informative answers to all your questions regardless of your knowledge level. If you are visiting in person at our North Carolina facility, your sales rep will spend all the personal time needed to show you the various model choices on our display lot and help you make the right choice. It is our job to help you determine the best type and model of trailer to meet your needs.
Although all sales reps work at our North Carolina location, you are also welcome to visit our Nebraska plant to see our trailers. Even though many customers order their trailer and have it shipped directly to them, customer pickup at either the North Carolina or Nebraska location is always welcome. We provide a comfortable waiting area at both locations and pride ourselves on attentive, informative, and efficient service for our customers.
All Kaufman trailers are sold factory direct to the end user by our own in house sales department. There is no dealer distribution network involved. This approach is unique to the industry for a company our size. This is a key factor that enables us to fulfill our mission of getting a high quality trailer to the end user at the lowest possible delivered cost. We also believe that no one else can do a better job of accurately representing our products and helping you get the model that best fits your needs than our own highly trained sales staff.
Kaufman Trailers can have your trailer delivered anywhere in the lower 48 states for a reasonable charge. We contract with Trailer Delivery Service, an insured common carrier, to have our trailers delivered. We also use several independent truckers for this service. There are two delivery methods: shared freight and expedited freight. With shared freight, your trailer will be part of a full load that is being delivered to a geographic region and your trailer is part of the “shared” cost of the load. This helps us keep delivery costs very reasonable. Your delivery date may take a little longer until a full load is put together for your area. Your sales representative can give you an approximate delivery time that is dependent on what part of the country you need delivery to and how busy the delivery schedule is. If you need your trailer immediately, we offer expedited delivery with independent drivers. These deliveries do not involve any delay from trying to get several trailers to one area. However, the cost is higher.
Kaufman Trailers ships our full product line from our Lexington, North Carolina location and most (certain models are not available) of our products from our central Nebraska location as well. We stock most standard models. If you are not ordering special options or a custom trailer, this will usually cut delivery time.
Kaufman Trailers sells a broad product line with many different axle packages, length choices, and a variety of options on individual trailer families. Production personnel are divided into small teams who are trained to understand all aspects of the models of trailers they produce. This means that everyone who helps create your new trailer is an expert on the required specifications and details. Additionally, an in-depth inspection is conducted by quality control supervisors, at each stage of production, before the trailer continues to the next process. This leads to consistency, reliability, and a trailer that meets Kaufman Trailer’s exacting final inspection certification standards.
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Kaufman Trailers Warranty
NOTICE: This agreement is between the ORIGINAL PURCHASER and KAUFMAN TRAILERS.
Kaufman Trailers of NC, Inc. and Kaufman Trailers of NE, Inc. will warrant their products to be free from defective workmanship and materials in normal use and service for a period of one (1) year from the date of delivery to the purchaser.
The warranty hereby covers any defects of workmanship and materials used in the structure of the trailer: i.e. the frame, side rails, cross members, welds, and sub frame assemblies. Wiring is only covered under warranty if the customer has purchased the “optional” sealed wiring harness or a DELUXE model, which has a wiring harness as standard.
Limitations of Kaufman Trailers Warranty
Kaufman Trailers does NOT warrant components not manufactured by Kaufman Trailers. Therefore, this warranty does NOT cover axles and axle components, tires, wheels, couplers, jacks, suspension components, springs, wiring, lights, paint (including chipping, fading, and aging), accessories, or any other component not manufactured by Kaufman Trailers. If these items are warranted by the manufacture or supplier thereof and warranty may be extended to the purchaser, Kaufman Trailers will make such warranties available.
Exclusions of Kaufman Trailers Warranty
- Normal wear on any item will not be subject to warranty. Normal wear items, include, brakes, tires, bearings, axle seals, light bulbs, and fading or cracking of flooring; but are not limited exclusively to these items.
- Any damage done due to lack of good industry maintenance such as improper bearing adjustment, incorrect air pressure, lug nut torque, etc. will also not be covered by Kaufman Trailers Warranty.
- Any damage to the frame, axles, tires, or any other component due to overloading or abuse is not covered under warranty.
- Trailers used for rental are not covered under this limited warranty.
In the event of a defect in material or workmanship covered by this warranty, Kaufman Trailers will:
- Correct the defective work or replace the defective parts on a no-charge basis at our plant location, or
- Reimburse the purchaser by paying a sum not exceeding the price charged by Kaufman Trailers for such work, or
- Provide for repair of the defect or replacement of the defective parts by an authorized shop.
All Warranty repairs must be pre-authorized by Kaufman Trailers before any reimbursements shall be made. Kaufman Trailers will likely require photographs of items that are thought to be defective in order to approve reimbursements. All freight charges to or from the factory or pre-authorized repair facility is the responsibility of the purchaser. ALL FREIGHT IS EXEMPT FROM WARRANTY. In addition, this warranty does NOT cover any economic loss including but not limited to; payment for the loss of time or pay, inconvenience, loss of trailer use, lodging bills, trailer rental expense, meals, storage charges, and other incidental or consequential loss or damage of similar nature.
This warranty will be void if the trailer is damaged due to overloading, negligence, or misuse. Without prior approval, any modifications or alterations to any product or part manufactured by Kaufman Trailers will void the warranty IN ITS ENTIRETY.
Weights, dimensions, capacities and other measures stated in connection with the new trailer are only estimates and are not covered by this warranty.
THIS WARRANTY IS EXPRESSLY IN LIEU OF ALL OTHER EXPRESS WARRANTIES AND REPRESENTATIONS, KAUFMAN TRAILERS MAKES NO OTHER REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, WITH RESPECT TO KAUFMAN TRAILERS. NO ONE BESIDES AN AUTHORIZED KAUFMAN TRAILER REPRESENTATIVE IS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE FURTHUR OR ADDITIONAL WARRANTIES ON BEHALF OF KAUFMAN TRAILERS.