Pittsburgh-Based Firm Thrives With Diverse Trailer Lineup

Tri-State Trailer Sales Inc.’s sales and administration team, at the company’s headquarters location in Pittsburgh, Pa., is ready to serve the construction equipment marketplace.

Thu June 17, 2021

Start at the ground floor and work your way up. It's a process that builds character, instills an incredible depth of knowledge and earns a seat at the table at each new level.

This was the path to success for Frank Mancino, who began as an office clerk for a Fruehauf Trailer dealership and went on to build what has become one of the largest full-service trailer dealerships on the East Coast.

TSTL Leasing Manager Drew Hulme has an extensive inventory of construction trailers ready for rent or lease.

Established in 1985, Tri-State Trailer Sales Inc. represents 12 manufacturers and, along with its headquarters location in Pittsburgh, Pa., the company has branch locations in Lancaster, Pa., and two locations in Ohio, one outside of Youngstown in Hubbard, and another in Cincinnati.

In many ways, Frank's son and current CEO, Joe Mancino, followed in his father's footsteps by getting his start in the business, helping to stock parts inventory on weekends while still in grade school.

As a company, Tri-State Trailer Sales has employed the lessons learned from this approach and has applied them toward building its business. In the more than 35 years Tri-State Trailer Sales has been in operation, the company has developed many strong and lasting relationships with some of the area's largest construction companies.

The trailer lines the company represents, manufactured by Dorsey, Eager Beaver, Landoll, Manac, Transcraft, and specialized trailers from Fontaine and XL Specialized are geared toward meeting the needs of construction operations with fleets of large equipment and unique hauling requirements.

To sustain growth, the company sought to attract new clients while continuing to provide service to its existing customer base. Prospecting new construction companies where the Tri-State Trailer Sales' existing trailer lines would be a fit presented a challenge, however, because many of the larger operations already had standing relationships with other suppliers. Tri-State Trailer Sales had two options: it could wait for an opportunity to prove itself when these companies had a need that a competitor couldn't meet, or it could explore ways to expand its market.

The answer came when Tri-State Trailer Sales added trailers manufactured by Eager Beaver to its product lines. As Mike Milanovich, sales executive at Tri-State Trailer Sales explained it, Eager Beaver produces trailers well-suited to contractors and startup companies with a need to haul smaller machines.

"Adding this brand of trailers opened up opportunities with smaller companies, allowing us to partner with them and grow along with them," Milanovich said. "Another key to the company's ongoing success is listening to the customer, understanding their needs and tailoring our stock and business strategies to address them."

While Tri-State Trailer Sales provides trailers for general freight hauling, liquid and dry bulk commodity flat beds and tank trailers, the construction industry currently accounts for 30 percent of its business and the segment continues to grow.

In its construction related business segment, the company sets itself apart from competitors in a number of ways; first and foremost is the depth and variety of trailers the company offers.

Tri-State Trailer Sales has developed an extensive inventory of used trailers acquired through trade-ins and direct purchases at auctions and sourced from end users. The company's leasing and rental branch, TSTL, also is unique in that while it offers long-term leases like other leasing companies, it also offers the option for short-term rentals.

Trailer Sales Executive Mike Milanovich (L) and Territory Representative Randy Infield head up the construction trailer segment for Tri-State Trailer Sales.

"For contractors, hiring a hauling company to move equipment from one job site to another can be expensive and scheduling to avoid downtime can be difficult," said TSTL Leasing Manager Drew Hulme. "Instead, the contractor can count on TSTL for a daily trailer rental and move equipment themselves to save both time and money. TSTL also offers a depth of rental inventory that sets us apart from competitors and positions our company to meet a wide range of trailering needs."

Milanovich, along with Territory Representative Randy Infield, are Tri-State Trailer Sales' lead representatives for construction-related trailers. Milanovich separates the business into two categories: general construction and specialized trailers.

"On the general construction side, the company offers Dorsey, Eager Beaver, Fontaine, Landoll, Manac, Transcraft and XL Specialized," he said.

According to Milanovich, Tri-State Trailer Sales' specialized trailers consist of the 55LCC, a 55-ton trailer with an 18-in. loaded deck height and a 55-ton drop side rail trailer manufactured by Fontaine and a 55-ton low boy trailer with a 15-in. loaded deck height manufactured by XL Specialized.

Additional specialized trailers include a 60-ton flat level deck trailer and beam trailer options manufactured by Fontaine along with a mini deck trailer with 12-in. deck height for height sensitive loads and numerous extendable trailers for over dimensional loads manufactured by Fontaine and XL Specialized. The company also has Landoll 35- and 40-ton traveling axles and traveling tail trailers available and 35- and 50-ton paving detaches manufactured by Eager Beaver as well as its 20- and 25-ton tag trailers.

Milanovich added that galvanizing is available on many of is trailers and the company also stocks accessories such as flip axles, flip boxes and spreader bars. CEG