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Howard Roark
05-30-2005, 03:43 PM
Well I don't post very much, but I finally got my tailgate ramp so I thought I'd post a picture of my mowing only truck for all to see as I usually enjoy seeing what everyone else uses. I'm getting the lettering done next week If I have time, which isn't likely. After some fine tuning I'll most likely duplicate this truck, as this is what works great for me in my area. Fits in the garage every night, no insurance or registration on a trailer, and in and out of properties quickly.

Tharrell
05-30-2005, 04:10 PM
SWEET! Where can I find out more info on that ramp? How much was it?
Is that a Blower Mate on the left? What kind of trimmer rack is that?

smitdavi
05-30-2005, 04:17 PM
Love the ramp, I can remember using 2 boards and it was hell. Nice looking truck!

Tharrell
05-30-2005, 04:21 PM
Yeah, the 2 board thing with the splinters! I know! Treated lumber splinters hurt for days.

Toy2
05-30-2005, 05:31 PM
Nice set up, I like it....how much for the ramp, how long to set it up.....thanks

PLM-1
05-30-2005, 05:34 PM
I don't mean this in a bad way, but why do you need a huge ramp for a 21" mower? I could see it for a 32 or 36, but not a 21".

Howard Roark
05-30-2005, 05:46 PM
Truck is a 2002 ranger I bought with 16,000 miles on it for $7600. The ramp is called a Tailgater Ramp custom made by Sherrer Contracting in Idaho. They retail for about $850, wholesale about $550. The rack is a trimminator by Jungle Jim's, and yes that is a blower mate on the left side of the bed. Once I'll tinker with the ideal of gettin a bed rack that goes across the back windshield to hang the blower and outfit the fuel cans. For now it's working great though. We usually run two 21" Toro prolines but I'm currently testing out the 26" metro with a 21". Once the bugs are worked out with the 26 I'm guessing this will be the winning combo. 2 Shindaiwa trimmers (switching to Stihl soon) and RedMax blower rounds it out. Also in the process of fitting the water cooler, which will hopefully be this week.

I built this route up to almost 90 accounts now just part time, and it will most likely max out at 160-190 depending on the ratio of weekly to bi-weekly accounts. As soon as it maxes I'll duplicate. :waving:

Howard Roark
05-30-2005, 05:52 PM
I don't mean this in a bad way, but why do you need a huge ramp for a 21" mower? I could see it for a 32 or 36, but not a 21".


Because we have multiple yards close together we never know which piece of equipment we'll need during our time in different areas. If one person gets done trimming he can go grab another mower without having to pull someone off another yard to help him lift the proline off the truck. This was a great design that allowed us to use full use of the ranger's truck space and not fill it up with ramps, and is extremely safe and easy for even one person to use. Currently testing out the 26 metro as well, which even with 2 people is a chore to lift out of the truck, especially 25 times a day in the Texas heat. :dizzy:

Howard Roark
05-30-2005, 05:53 PM
Nice set up, I like it....how much for the ramp, how long to set it up.....thanks

I installed the ramp in 30 minutes myself.

kc2006
05-30-2005, 06:20 PM
Sounds like you have a nice little set up with 90 accounts.

Have you considerd flat bedding the truck when you expand the business more? Gain alittle bit of room from that and you could probably toss some air bags under it to have a better payload.

I like that set up though, very professional looking in my opinion.

A+ Lawncare
05-30-2005, 07:05 PM
wow great looking rig, i'm pondering whether i want to get a ramp like that for my ranger to work out of w/my 2 torros 21''... i want to have pretty much the same setup as u do..... btw i'm envious of your rig....

have you seen these on ebay used @ all?

P.S. i have an 2004 ranger super cab and it seems to me w/the standard tailgate the 2 21'' mowers (back to back) barely fit resting against the tailgate & i also don't have a bedliner so the tailgate isn't protected... with your custom tailgate is the fit easier?

Howard Roark
05-30-2005, 07:35 PM
wow great looking rig, i'm pondering whether i want to get a ramp like that for my ranger to work out of w/my 2 torros 21''... i want to have pretty much the same setup as u do..... btw i'm envious of your rig....

have you seen these on ebay used @ all?

P.S. i have an 2004 ranger super cab and it seems to me w/the standard tailgate the 2 21'' mowers (back to back) barely fit resting against the tailgate & i also don't have a bedliner so the tailgate isn't protected... with your custom tailgate is the fit easier?

Thanks to all for the great compliments. We turn the 21s slightly on the bed, and they fit perfectly with the trimmer rack on the passenger side and the blower rack up front on the driver side. The tailgater is about 5 inches higher than the standard tailgate, so you may actually have to turn your mowers as well. I too do not have a bedliner. It looks like you're running two regular toro recyclers, which I've never tried together, only 1 commercial with a residential recycler backup. Nevertheless, I don't think they'll fit but again slightly turned and you've more than enough room. Works great for me, I highly suggest it!
Blower rack was 49.99 and the trimminator was I believe 129.00. Lower overhead = higher profits.

Howard Roark
05-30-2005, 07:37 PM
have you seen these on ebay used @ all?


I came up with the rig idea myself, wanting to have everything self contained and being able to fit the truck in my garage at night. I haven't looked on Ebay for any of it, but you can find a jungle Jim's dealer near you to get the parts.

Howard Roark
05-30-2005, 07:41 PM
Sounds like you have a nice little set up with 90 accounts.

Have you considerd flat bedding the truck when you expand the business more? Gain alittle bit of room from that and you could probably toss some air bags under it to have a better payload.

I like that set up though, very professional looking in my opinion.


Thanks for the words. I have thought of upgrading to a bed such as justmowit's down the road, but he runs 3 man crews and I run two as of this season, so for now this is working great. I do like your idea of a flat bed style bed however, the downside of what I'm running now is I can't lay the 26 and 21 side by side in case I want one or the other for a particular lawn. But it only takes all of 10 seconds to pull them off.

RedWingsDet
05-30-2005, 08:30 PM
where do you put the grass? or do you mulch all of your accounts.

and how the heck do you plan to cut like 160-190 accounts a week being part time???

Howard Roark
05-30-2005, 08:46 PM
where do you put the grass? or do you mulch all of your accounts.

and how the heck do you plan to cut like 160-190 accounts a week being part time???

Hi Mark,

We mulch all of our accounts except for when we use the 26, in which case the grass usually isn't nice enough to tell a difference. We do not bag anything, therefore no grass. If for some reason we need to pick up some though there is always room for at least two buckets.

As for the accounts, well for one I am no longer Part time as I went full time offically Saturday! :cool2:

And even full time keep in mind we have roughly a 25% to 75% weekly to bi-weekly ratio respectively. I reached 90 on Saturday and the timing went well.
My plan is to to increase this to the 160-190 range by the end of June.

RedWingsDet
05-30-2005, 08:56 PM
well thats cool. I'd get fired if I even thought about taking my bagger off. LOL. More power to ya. and getting 70 additional accounts in june... thats though man! atleast I think it is. I WISH I could do that. I WISH I could have 400 accounts. Execpt I only have like 30. :(

gogetter
05-30-2005, 09:24 PM
Is the ramp heavy, or is there any kind of "lift assist" on it somewhere?

Also, are you just demoing the 26" Exmark, or do you own it?

Howard Roark
05-30-2005, 09:50 PM
Is the ramp heavy, or is there any kind of "lift assist" on it somewhere?

Also, are you just demoing the 26" Exmark, or do you own it?


Hello Gogetter,

Great question, I asked the same before I bought it. You can see in one of the pictures a large spring attached to the first tier of the ramp and extending to the truck rail. That assists the whole operation. You actually never lift more than 35 lbs. of weight or so during the 4 tier load or unload. I was quite surprised at how easy it was, as each tier folds underneath the other with magnets and latches.

As for the 26, I had some credit at the dealer so I went ahead and got one as I had my eye on it for our operation since it's inception. For the most part I'm pleased, but once the mulching kit comes out and these few little quirks get worked out we'll be set. If the quirks keep up my dealer will be refunding though. payup

progolferjoe72
05-30-2005, 09:53 PM
90 accounts? wouldnt it seem easier to get a small trailer and and bigger wb or rider, get done alot quicker.

Howard Roark
05-30-2005, 09:56 PM
well thats cool. I'd get fired if I even thought about taking my bagger off. LOL. More power to ya. and getting 70 additional accounts in june... thats though man! atleast I think it is. I WISH I could do that. I WISH I could have 400 accounts. Execpt I only have like 30. :(

I guess the grass is different up there because down here if you mulch st augustine or bermuda you can't even tell, and it feeds the lawn and shades the roots a bit. That is if you're only taking 1/3 the blade off.

As for accounts, as someone once said on here it's not the amount of accounts but the amount going into your bank account. Thankfully I have a low overhead moderately high volume approach which works great for my area. All my accounts are very tightly routed within 8 miles of each other, with each neighborhood getting hit once or twice a week.
It's really only basic statistics. I haven't even tagged but 1/30th the areas I want to.

kc2006
05-30-2005, 10:01 PM
sent you a pm howard.

gogetter
05-30-2005, 10:25 PM
Another question about the ramp, what's the reason for the second half of the ramp being narrower, and offset from the first half of the ramp?

In regards to doing all those lawn with 21"s and a 26", what size are your properties?

Also, how tall is the grass on those biweekly lawns when you get there?!?! It's got to be tall, no?
I can't and won't take on any bi-weekly lawns. It's one of the first things out of my mouth when people ask me for a price on lawn cutting. It just grows way too fast, has to be cut weekly around here. Cutting mostly Kentucky Blue here, what type of grass are you cutting?

Howard Roark
05-30-2005, 10:33 PM
Another question about the ramp, what's the reason for the second half of the ramp being narrower, and offset from the first half of the ramp?

In regards to doing all those lawn with 21"s and a 26", what size are your properties?

Also, how tall is the grass on those biweekly lawns when you get there?!?! It's got to be tall, no?
I can't and won't take on any bi-weekly lawns. It's one of the first things out of my mouth when people ask me for a price on lawn cutting. It just grows way too fast, has to be cut weekly around here. Cutting mostly Kentucky Blue here, what type of grass are you cutting?

The ramp is designed as such due to the way it folds to create a tailgate. It actually folds underneath itself and locks into place.
Our properties range from 5000-9000, with most being on the low side.

I happen to thrive on bi-weekly, particularly when I had my full time job. It allowed me to fill my schedule with more accounts and split the weeks up. Of course I would prefer weekly, but that isn't the case in my area so much. The lawns really aren't that much worse here bi-weekly, we cut bermuda and St. Augustine. A good trimmer makes short work of any bi-weekly!
I have never seen Kentucky blue, but would love to someday.

Howard Roark
05-30-2005, 10:52 PM
90 accounts? wouldnt it seem easier to get a small trailer and and bigger wb or rider, get done alot quicker.


A trailer = more $ for registration and insurance, more learning curve for drivers, and overall more hassle. With each property averaging about 6500 sq. feet a bigger wb or rider would not be more efficient for what we do. My helper works part time with me 3 days a week and we do 15 lawns by 1:30 before he goes to his afternoon job.

A+ Lawncare
05-31-2005, 10:34 AM
what length size is this ramp? i'm thinkin about ordering this ramp this week but i need to know what size will my fit my ranger...

A+ Lawncare
06-02-2005, 11:53 AM
do you have any close up pics of the trimmer/blower racks?

do you think w/a full size p/u some1 could load their ztr up onto their truck with this ramp?

Howard Roark
06-02-2005, 10:10 PM
do you have any close up pics of the trimmer/blower racks?

do you think w/a full size p/u some1 could load their ztr up onto their truck with this ramp?

Not sure how much ZTRs weigh, but the ramp at a standard angle holds 1350 pounds. I'll see what I can do about getting more pics this weekend of the racks. :waving:

Howard Roark
06-02-2005, 10:12 PM
I will say that I did 14 lawns solo today and the ramp is absolutely awesome...smooth, light, easy and most importantly FAST!

Tharrell
06-03-2005, 06:09 AM
The website is tailgateramps.com. There's a video and a lot of pics.

A+ Lawncare
06-03-2005, 11:43 AM
Howard, a smaller ztr weighs at least 900 IBs.

Howard Roark
06-03-2005, 06:15 PM
do you have any close up pics of the trimmer/blower racks?

do you think w/a full size p/u some1 could load their ztr up onto their truck with this ramp?

Here are the pics. The blower rack in it's current position is temporary. In fact I may be selling it on Ebay soon as I'm going to have a custom made rack that goes behind the back window. It will hold the blower as well as the cooler and gas cans. We're currently having to lift the blower over and around the rack if the mowers are in and although it's not that bad, there is just a better way.

The C Man
06-03-2005, 08:31 PM
Looks like you have a great setup, congrats. It's a heck of a lot more quick and compact than having to deal with a trailer. In fact, this setup on a truck with a long bed could even haul two 36" mowers. If customers don't mind you could even pull into their driveways for added security.

A+ Lawncare
06-03-2005, 09:20 PM
Howard....

Drop me a line for more details on sellin the blower rack, how much are you askin for it?

do you have any plans of selling the complete package, minus the mowers & truck?

Howard Roark
06-03-2005, 10:41 PM
Howard....

Drop me a line for more details on sellin the blower rack, how much are you askin for it?

do you have any plans of selling the complete package, minus the mowers & truck?

The blower rack isn't for sale yet as I'm still drawing up plans for the bed rack I have in mind.
No the rest of the package is not for sale as I'm quite happy with it and plan on 2-4 more trucks by the end of next season. I will say the ramp is my best investment yet. If you try to muscle this thing it will beat you down, but as Earl says if you just unfold and fold it up the way it was designed, it's an absolute breeze. My helper was struggling for a few lawns until I stopped him and showed him the "secret". Now he folds it in less than 5 seconds.

A+ Lawncare
06-03-2005, 10:45 PM
is it easy to unistall the rig to the orginal state, how long does it take?

Howard Roark
06-03-2005, 11:11 PM
is it easy to unistall the rig to the orginal state, how long does it take?


Great question, you should be thinking this way! I could have this truck looking stock (minus a few drilled holes) in about an hour, and that's if I'm drinkin' beer and takin' it slow. Throw a bedliner on it and you'd never know the difference. So the Ranger I bought with 16k miles on it now has about 19k, and in 5 years due to my close routes it MAY have 50k.

A+ Lawncare
06-03-2005, 11:18 PM
are you keepin the truck w/o a bed liner for the fact of when you go to sell you won't be able to see drilled holes?

your rite on w/50k miles in 5 yrs, this will make some1 a great truck when you go to sell it, it sure is servin you great.... do u intende to sell it in 5 yrs or are you just sayin w/low milage it will hold up?
in 5yrs,w/being said by then the ranger will be 8 yrs old and if its like it is now in good condition you could easily see at least $4k for it... you won't take much of a hit since it would have served you for 5 yrs or more faithfully.

Howard Roark
06-04-2005, 10:09 AM
Actually I got this truck in Late Feb this year and had to get to work right away, so I just blew off the bedliner. Because I like my vehicles with high miles and paid off, I'll most likely keep this truck going for work until it dies. Not to mention I'm getting the lettering done as soon as I finish up my logo.

Lux Lawn
06-04-2005, 07:27 PM
Howard---Nice looking set up...seems perfect for what you are doing with it.I wish you all the best with your business.

Howard Roark
06-04-2005, 10:15 PM
Howard---Nice looking set up...seems perfect for what you are doing with it.I wish you all the best with your business.


Thanks much for the kind words...I wish you the best as well! :)

speedyvision917
06-06-2005, 10:16 PM
Never thought about doing it this way. You said you were planning on getting a few more trucks, the same kind or you gonna go with a fullsize? if not, why not if ya dont mind my asking

Howard Roark
06-07-2005, 09:32 AM
Never thought about doing it this way. You said you were planning on getting a few more trucks, the same kind or you gonna go with a fullsize? if not, why not if ya dont mind my asking

Actually doing this with a full size V6 has crossed my mind, as it still has the fundamentals i.e. - self contained, better on fuel, still fits in the garage.

It would also be far easier to run a 3 man crew out of a full size. It could be done out of the Ranger, but I'd hate to be that guy in the middle, especially since my truck is a standard! Not to mention in this Texas heat? Phew :dizzy:

BTW Speedy, what part of Ct? I'm from Fairfield. :waving:

ashs inc
06-07-2005, 04:19 PM
how much is that ramp?

speedyvision917
06-07-2005, 05:33 PM
Granby its about 20min north of hartford. ya i actually just got home about 10 minutes ago from buying myself a truck. 1995 chevy 2500 4x4 auto reg cab 117,000miles pick it up sunday hopefully

speedyvision917
06-07-2005, 08:21 PM
was looking at ramps online and came across the site and found the ramp you were talking about, for anyone interested heres the site http://www.tailgateramps.com/ and also looks like howard is famous now...at least his truck is :cool2: haha

Howard Roark
06-07-2005, 09:57 PM
Yes it appears my truck made the website! I guess there wasn't much market for the lawncare biz for them until me but now they're swamped!

The ramp sells for $850. Two out of the 5 days a week I'm solo (by choice for now, soon to be too busy) and this ramp saves my butt, and back.

Howard Roark
06-07-2005, 10:00 PM
Granby its about 20min north of hartford. ya i actually just got home about 10 minutes ago from buying myself a truck. 1995 chevy 2500 4x4 auto reg cab 117,000miles pick it up sunday hopefully


I've been through there before. Miss those Whalers big time!! Every Sat. night up in section 319 at the civic center drinking jumbo's. :dizzy: ...Ahhh, the memories!!

Congrats on the truck too!! I know 4x4 is pretty important up there. Thankfully it's a waste of money here in TX. Keep it running strong and low cost, and make those bucks! payup

N.H.BOY
06-08-2005, 07:04 AM
Dude, nice truck set-up. Looking at it I will be for sure buying a "small" pick-up and do the same set up for my part time guy to go out and mow the "small" lawns. Great idea for those that have a lot of tiny lawns to pull up and unload. My crew cab Ford and 20 foot trailer really sticks out in some driveways. Cant even park in two spots at the store :p
Looks great and good luck and rock on :waving:

Howard Roark
06-08-2005, 08:48 AM
Dude, nice truck set-up. Looking at it I will be for sure buying a "small" pick-up and do the same set up for my part time guy to go out and mow the "small" lawns. Great idea for those that have a lot of tiny lawns to pull up and unload. My crew cab Ford and 20 foot trailer really sticks out in some driveways. Cant even park in two spots at the store :p
Looks great and good luck and rock on :waving:


Thanks!! Easy to drive as well for your part timer. I know what you mean about the trailer. Some of our houses are so tight that even the ramp sticks out a bit across their driveways when parked in front. Forget the trailer!

Lawn Sharks
06-08-2005, 11:03 AM
Truly a great setup. Makes so much sense I could just die.

Best of luck to you and your business. You have it all under control.

speedyvision917
06-08-2005, 04:37 PM
Yes it appears my truck made the website! I guess there wasn't much market for the lawncare biz for them until me but now they're swamped!

The ramp sells for $850. Two out of the 5 days a week I'm solo (by choice for now, soon to be too busy) and this ramp saves my butt, and back.

I found it for $700 on my other computer, ill look for it when i get back from work

Howard Roark
06-08-2005, 09:02 PM
Truly a great setup. Makes so much sense I could just die.

Best of luck to you and your business. You have it all under control.


LOL!! Glad you like it! I hope it gives you some inspiration in some way.
Gained another 5 accounts this week, with what I consider only minimal door hanging (about 700 postcards). Going heavy Friday and into next week to load up for June.

Best wishes to you and your business as well....make it happen! :cool2:

ashs inc
06-10-2005, 06:15 AM
hey can you post a pic of these yards you are servicing?

speedyvision917
06-10-2005, 03:58 PM
hey can you post a pic of these yards you are servicing?

Id like to see them too if thats alright, maybe some of your bigger and smaller lawns that you service.

Howard Roark
06-12-2005, 07:32 PM
I'll try to get some of our average size yards this week.

Howard Roark
06-13-2005, 07:56 AM
The ramp also doubles nicely as a sturdy workbench.

Aussie Topcat
06-13-2005, 08:51 AM
Now thats a practical idea - and it's always someone elses idea!

Smarty, Congratulation's!!!

Step up to the plate, and collect your prize---ya better pantent it(spelling detail)

speedyvision917
06-13-2005, 01:09 PM
unfortunately it wasnt his idea, well the ramp that is, he bought it. But the workbench idea is pretty genious :drinkup:

Howard Roark
06-13-2005, 03:56 PM
Yes, it's not my idea. Earl (the creator) holds the patent on it which is great for him.

I did come up with the workbench part on my own, but I doubt I can patent it. Great place to put your beer while tunin' up the mower. :drinkup:

speedyvision917
06-13-2005, 11:15 PM
:drinkup: cheers to that haha

Howard Roark
06-14-2005, 08:10 PM
Well here's one pic of the average size yards we do. This lot is 6000 sq. ft. incl. house. One guy trims, one mows with the proline. First one to finish blows.

In and out 20-22 min., weekly account. This is one on the Friday route which is my tightest route. 18 lawns in 5 hrs. last week. The goal is to make that happen with me NOT in the truck!

speedyvision917
06-14-2005, 10:16 PM
you must be pulling in some good $$$, small lawns close together and no huge mower to pay off. i like that setup ya got there, not a good one for around here though

Howard Roark
06-15-2005, 07:40 PM
you must be pulling in some good $$$, small lawns close together and no huge mower to pay off. i like that setup ya got there, not a good one for around here though


I'm fortunate to have what I do, and plan on expanding even more!

No, I've thought about it and I can't think of any area up in Ct. that I know of where this kind of biz plan would work. Especially with the cost of living up there these days!

Howard Roark
06-15-2005, 07:41 PM
I also did get the lettering on the truck done today, but they screwed it up so after they fix it tomorrow I'll post it.

ronniez71
12-27-2005, 11:46 PM
Get a trailer!!!!!