Meagan Daugherty

Have you ever wanted to use a body or piece of equipment with your roll-off truck, but you couldn’t because it didn’t have the right understructure or hook up? Did you find a way to make it work or pass on the opportunity because you didn’t know how to make it possible? What do you do If you want to expand your fleet, maybe offer some new services, or take advantage of a great deal on some used containers? If you’re in the roll-off business long enough, you will find yourself in this situation or something similar and you may need some subframes. 

 Let’s talk about subframes–what exactly are they? How you can use them? And where you can buy them?


A roll-off subframe is an engineered frame design that is used to make non-roll-off bodies or equipment compatible with roll-off trucks. Sometimes called skids, rail frames and long rails, these structures are the base for whatever you want to haul with your roll-off truck. There are different subframe styles available, allowing you to choose the solution that fits your needs.

A Standard Subframe, compatible with both cable and hooklift style roll-off trucks, is manufactured with 2” x 6” tubing long rails and comes in lengths ranging from 8-22’ long. At the time of order, you can select which type of hook up style you require as well as the length needed for your truck.

An ISO Subframe, designed specifically for using ISO shipping containers on roll-off trucks, is manufactured with 2” x 8” tubing long rails and comes in 20’ lengths. Equipped with ISO twist lock assemblies on each corner, these ready-to-install subframes secure shipping containers to the frame with just a counter-clockwise rotation of the handles. Once all four of the twist lock assemblies have been rotated, the subframe and attached container are ready for operation. Similar to the standard subframe, an ISO subframe can be built with either a cable or hooklift style hook up.


A Standard Subframe can be used to mount specialized equipment or convert an existing container to a roll-off. This allows a company that utilizes a roll-off truck for their operations along with the use of additional equipment such as salt spreaders or water tanks. Many businesses will choose to purchase used roll-off trucks and/or roll-off containers. The price is right, but occasionally won’t be the same set up as the other. They can also be used to convert a permanent mount body for use on a roll-off truck. It is recommended that when attaching equipment to the subframe, the equipment is welded on for a solid support, however, an exception can be made when securing certain equipment such as a stainless-steel V-Box spreader or Poly tanks. When materials cannot be welded, they should follow all guidelines required per state law to be bolted on or strapped down.

An ISO Subframe is used to transform an ISO Land Sea container into a roll-off. It just takes one minute to place the shipping container onto the frame and then lock the container into place. Shipping containers are becoming common replacement for standard roll-off containers to act as transportable office, storage containers, and more.


A roll-off container/parts manufacturer is the most common place to purchase your subframe. They are the most experienced with roll-offs and will know what questions to ask and information they’ll need to get you the solution you are looking for. You can also use a truck equipment dealer, but you may run into an issue with finding a dealer that offers them. You can try a local fab shop, but they may not know enough or really understand how roll-offs work to be able to get what you need done quickly and correctly.


We bring this question up again – what is a roll-off subframe? A roll-off subframe is a simple frame design to transform your equipment to work on a roll-off truck. With two different designs – Standard and ISO, you can attach specialized equipment to a subframe or convert a permanent mount or shipping container into a cable and/or hooklift roll-off truck.