Casper Start-Up Challenge finalist: Symmetry Trailers

Adam Pauli, owner of Symmetry Trailers, poses next to one of his finished overland trailers in a workshop in Mills. Pauli’s concept of rugged and affordable custom overland trailers made him a finalist in this year’s Start-Up Challenge competition. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Adam Pauli has built several tough vehicle trailers at an affordable price, and feedback from customers thus far has been very positive. Now, Adam hopes the next step will be scaling up to become a significant manufacturing presence in the Casper economy.

Adam’s company, called Symmetry Trailers, is one of five finalists in this year’s Casper Start-Up Challenge. Three finalists eventually will each receive $5,000 and will be eligible to receive a share of $50,000 in start-up seed money. They also will receive free office space for a year and professional mentoring. The event is hosted by the Wyoming Technology Business Center.

Manufacturing accounts for a relatively small number of jobs in Casper, according to state statistics. On average in 2018, only about 1,600 nonagricultural wage and salary jobs were tied to manufacturing out of 38,900 jobs in total. Since manufacturing jobs tend to be higher paid, economic developers are always keen to expand this particular sector.

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Adam has focused his early efforts on “overland” trailers. Such units are designed for use in remote locations.

“Overlanding at its core is basically being able to live out of a vehicle,” Adam said. “It’s kind of jumped from living in a van down by the river, now there are so many accessories and parts that are catching on mainstream.”

Adam Pauli, owner of Symmetry Trailers, poses next to one of his finished overland trailers in a workshop in Mills. Pauli’s concept of rugged and affordable custom overland trailers made him a finalist in this year’s Start-Up Challenge competition. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Adam’s trailers are custom-built, measure about 12 feet in length, and have approximately 50” by 80” of cargo space. Features might include capabilities for hauling quick set-up tents, cooking gear and onboard kitchens, and enough room to haul dirt bikes or mountain bikes. Symmetry Trailers normally weigh around 1,000 pounds – light enough to be pulled by smaller SUVs like a Jeep. They are also rugged enough for backcountry adventures.

Adam’s trailers usually cost about $7,000. Comparable units on the market often are priced from $15,000 to $20,000. Adam said he wanted to build something “a little more affordable for the regular guy,” without sacrificing quality or toughness.

Steve Noll of Santa Clara, Calif., searched high and low for a trailer that would meet his family’s needs but found nothing — until he came across Symmetry Trailers on the Internet.

“I found that even manufacturers that were well-known that said they do customer trailers, didn’t really do custom trailers,” Steve said. “You had to fit inside what they were willing to do for you.”

Not so with Symmetry Trailers. “Adam was easy to work with, and he did four or five things I asked him to do, and it happened very quickly,” Steve said. “I got exactly what I asked for.”

In terms of price, Steve bought his Symmetry Trailers unit, including all the features he wanted, for thousands of dollars less than other trailers he considered.

(Courtesy Symmetry Trailers)

If Symmetry Trailers is among this year’s Start-Up Challenge winners, Adam said he would use the prize money to buy additional equipment he wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford.

“It would be a huge jump-start for the business,” he said. “Right now, it’s just kind of a side business for me. But I would like to see it grow and expand, especially since there are not many trailer manufacturers in Wyoming.”

Finalists in this year’s Start-Up Challenge are working with WTBC staff to develop their business ideas and will benefit from staff expertise throughout the competition process. 

One such activity was an entrepreneurial “Boot Camp,” during which time business experts explored with finalists such important topics as legal and financial issues, marketing, product design, competitive analysis, intellectual property, and team development.

Based on the information he received at the Boot Camp, Adam said he changed the direction of his business a little and started thinking about hiring employees over the next two or three years. He also obtained valuable financial information and ideas about marketing.

The Start-Up Challenge “Pitch Day” will be held on Nov. 7 at the Lyric in downtown Casper. This year’s finalists will be allotted 20 minutes each to sell their business ideas to a panel of judges. Judges will have 10 minutes after each presentation to ask questions. A reception will follow the announcement of this year’s winners. Pitch Day is free and open to the public.

The Casper Start-Up Challenge is sponsored by CAEDA/Forward Casper, First Interstate Bank, the Wyoming Business Council, Oil City News, WIDC Frontier CDC, Hilltop Bank and University of Wyoming.