Upscale cool-down trailers help Texas contractor stand out from the competition.
In the ultracompetitive oilfield industry, where service contractors are constantly jockeying for work, it helps to stand out from the crowd. In marketing, it’s called differentiation — and it’s a concept that DXP Enterprises embraces, as evidenced by its investment in roughly 30 cool-down emergency shower and restroom units made by Superior Comfort Trailers.
“We definitely wanted to offer our customers something better than the competition and this is it,” says Chris Spurgeon, southwest regional manager for DXP’s Safety Division. DXP rents the Comfort trailers and other equipment to oil-drilling companies from North Dakota to Texas to Pennsylvania, but is also a large manufacturer and distributor of industrial pumps.
“Especially in these days, with oil prices as low as they are, you have to differentiate from the competition. Either you step up your game or you lose business.
“The Superior trailers are like a camping trailer — they’re really nice,” he continues. “They look very crisp and clean. And once you walk inside one, you see that they’re pretty unique. Most other cool-down trailers have roll-down walls with evaporative cooling systems, and when we roll up with ours, there’s no comparison.”
USING THE TRAILERS
Most of the units owned by DXP are cool-down trailers, which offer workers relief from scorching heat during work breaks. OSHA-related guidelines recommend that companies schedule and enforce breaks in air-conditioned areas when the heat index rises to between 103 and 115 degrees. The cool-down trailers are also used to hold meetings and training sessions out in the field, which can significantly reduce travel time to less conveniently located corporate offices.
The Superior cool-down trailers, which are 8 1/2 feet wide, 18 feet long and 7 feet high (inside height), seat 10 to 15 people comfortably, Spurgeon notes.
They offer an array of features, including: an Onan diesel generator (built by Cummins Power Generation, a subsidiary of Cummins); two 13,500 Btu air conditioners; 30-gallon diesel fuel cell; Bulldog trailer hitches (a brand owned by Cequent Performance Products); 4-ton Bulldog sidewinder jacks that simplify setup and takedown; two stabilizer jacks in the rear for leveling in rough terrain; two 12-foot-long aluminum bench seats with backs and one 4-foot-long aluminum bench seat in the front for added seating; a 10-foot-long table; multiple electrical outlets; a sprayed-in floor liner that rises 2 feet up the interior walls and allows for easy pressure-washer cleaning; two floor drains; three fluorescent lights; two full-size doors, located in the front and the rear; and two windows on each side, plus one on the rear wall.
“The inside walls are like those dry-erase boards, so you can write on them during meetings,” Spurgeon adds. “And you can’t even hear the generator running. It also features an auxiliary plug that you can connect to an electrical hookup, like at RV parks, and avoid using the generator.”
Spurgeon also likes the fact that the trailer comes with an external oil tank for the generator that automatically replenishes it when fuel runs low. “Eventually, you also have to refill that auxiliary tank, but it’s usually good to go for about 24 hours,” he says.
There’s another feature that helps both DXP and its customers: a built-in Global Positioning System (GPS) device that helps thwart thefts and boosts efficiency. “That way we know if it’s moving,” Spurgeon explains. “And if they (the company renting the unit) move it to five or six different wells, it leaves a breadcrumb trail, which is a big time-saver for us when it comes time to pick up the units.
“That helps the oil and gas drilling companies, too, because each drilling site gets billed for the time a trailer is there. So we can tell them where the unit was and for how long, when it moved and when it stopped. That helps them tremendously with their recordkeeping and billing.”
EASY TO MAINTAIN
Furthermore, the trailers are easy to maintain and operate. “If you can take care of a camping trailer, you can maintain one of these,” he says. “You just have to change the oil periodically and that’s about it. We’ve barely had any problems with them. The generator starts with the push of a button. My kid could operate it.”
The trailers cost anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000, depending on the size and level of modification/customization. But DXP can also charge a higher rate, which increases the return on investment, although that dynamic has changed since oil prices dropped, Spurgeon points out. Nonetheless, he still considers them a good investment. “You get what you pay for,” as he puts it.
“The quality of these trailers makes us look professional,” he says. “Nobody else out there has trailers these nice. I’ve been working in the oilfields for 18 years and I’ve never seen trailers like them. They really reflect well on our work and our company. Customers see that our equipment, our work and our people are the best. In the end, it’s all about differentiation — making others step up their game to keep up with us.”