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View Full Version : Tip Of The Day - 11/15/05 - Vehicle Maintenance


Sean Adams
11-15-2005, 12:35 PM
How does everyone maintain their vehicles? Have you looked at the cost of doing things yourself versus taking it to a mechanic? This is assuming you are capable of doing the work properly and safely....more of a question to incite conversation versus a tip.

Critical Care
11-15-2005, 01:06 PM
Remember when vehicles were relatively easy to work on? Now it seems as if just to remove the oil filter on many rigs you need a schematic diagram telling you where it is, and how to do it.

It takes me a good portion of one day out of the week to service my landscape maintenance equipment, that’s bad enough. Do you have any idea how many grease fittings there are on a Walker? Do you have any idea how much I do not want to dive headfirst into my truck’s Cummins engine?

Grassmechanic
11-16-2005, 09:03 AM
I service all my own equipment, including vehicles. Personally, I can't see paying a shop $65 - $75 per hour (in my area, that's the going rate) to do what I can do myself.

J & B Lawncare
11-16-2005, 01:43 PM
Hello

I do it all. That is as long as I am able. I even keep many pruchases limited to older model (big stuff). My trucks are both 1989 Dodges. I will search for the right older truck, I want tnothing to do with new ones.

Thanks

J & B

cbelawn
11-17-2005, 08:24 PM
i do all maintance work on equipment and vehicals. my background in automotive helps. and having all the correct tools. the only thing i don't do is change tires. i had a tire machine but it was not worth the floor space. also do all manufacturing ie. trailer and things like racks and such. my winter project is going to be a dump trailer, i hope.

YardPro
12-06-2005, 04:34 AM
we do alot of ours, except oil changes....

we get it done at an authorized shop so there is a record in case there are any vehicle warranty issues.

also they only charge us $19.95. I cannot do it for that. Oil and filter is $10.00. and at least 1/2 hr labor ( $20.00).

1MajorTom
12-06-2005, 06:17 PM
Matt does all of our maintenance on our vehicles, even the oil changes. He would rather spend the time knowing it is done right, than taking it somewhere where a disgruntled employee is having a bad day work on our trucks.

Doug Z.
12-22-2005, 01:27 PM
On all the smaller equipment, myself and once in a while my employee do it as long as we are not swamped. Sometimes I will do some of the trucks and equipment. A good friend of mine is a GM mechanic and will come over and do the trucks and tractors when Im to busy.

SproulsLawnCare
12-30-2005, 10:35 PM
I changed the ball joints on my truck earlier this year for something like $120 plus a $20 tool rental. The same job was going to cost me around $670 at the shop.

LorentzLawnSnow
01-05-2006, 08:13 PM
i do all my own maintenance as well. the cost of repairs would kill you in this business as often as maintenance is required, especially for larger companies with large fleets. my dad and grandpa were both mechanics, i learned a lot by being forced to hang out in the shop when i was little against my will. as a teenager, my dad had moved an hour or so away and i wished i could have that shop time back. he's always a phone call away if i get into a real pickle. but i've learned a lot by just tearing into something knowing it has to be operational by tomorrow and getting it done whether i knew what i was doing to begin with or not.

Triple R
01-18-2006, 09:43 PM
I do just about all maintenance and repairs on my equipment and vehicles myself. I save lots of money but I also have a trust issue with mechanics, seems like things tend to break more often when taken to a repair shop.

Tadams
01-18-2006, 10:14 PM
I do all the work on my vehicles and equipment. I can see from a business stand point that if it takes me longer to do the work than it would a shop and if I am so busy that I would be losing more money from downtime versus the amount of the shop bill then I would let the shop do it and use a back-up truck to keep working. I enjoy doing thr work myself and I like knowing that the work is done properly but when the time comes that I am too busy I will take it to a shop.

LawnScapers of Dayton
01-19-2006, 06:43 AM
Well I do my own maintenance on the equipment. But as for my vehicles I change the oil......but any repairs or major maintenance are done by a mechanic friend that I trust and charges minimal amounts. I hate working on trucks/cars.
I am not good at it.

Derek

PR Fect
01-25-2006, 07:15 AM
Wonder what would come up if you posted the question " do you do your own lawn care" on a mechanics web forum? PR

PMLAWN
03-22-2006, 03:34 AM
I know this is old but I had to jump in. PR brings up a good point. From the answers so far is seems that the general feeling is "why pay a pro to do what we can do " Seems a little funny.
I am a trained mechanic going to school for 3 years and working in the field for 2. (bad education investment as I than jumped into construction) and I enjoy working on my fun cars, (Mustang, old pick-up)
I do not work on any of my trucks or even the family work cars.
2 reasons- my training is 25 years old and money.
I do cut a NAPA car care shop so I get maintenance done there. I know that shops charge $65-$70 per hour. And a dealer will be around $90- $100.
But what is your time worth. If we are truly charging $60.00 per hour for our work, which we are set up to do and are very efficient at it, Why would we stop doing that to go home, Set up a shop, Find the right tools, and do a job that will take us longer to do than a pro that does it every day. Does this really make sense financially.
And than how can we sit in front of a prospect and explain how we save them money by saving them time by taking the yard work away from their job list. Should we practice what we sell.
Not saying any way is right or wrong but just food for thought.

Sean Adams
03-22-2006, 09:27 AM
I know this is old but I had to jump in. PR brings up a good point. From the answers so far is seems that the general feeling is "why pay a pro to do what we can do " Seems a little funny.
I am a trained mechanic going to school for 3 years and working in the field for 2. (bad education investment as I than jumped into construction) and I enjoy working on my fun cars, (Mustang, old pick-up)
I do not work on any of my trucks or even the family work cars.
2 reasons- my training is 25 years old and money.
I do cut a NAPA car care shop so I get maintenance done there. I know that shops charge $65-$70 per hour. And a dealer will be around $90- $100.
But what is your time worth. If we are truly charging $60.00 per hour for our work, which we are set up to do and are very efficient at it, Why would we stop doing that to go home, Set up a shop, Find the right tools, and do a job that will take us longer to do than a pro that does it every day. Does this really make sense financially.
And than how can we sit in front of a prospect and explain how we save them money by saving them time by taking the yard work away from their job list. Should we practice what we sell.
Not saying any way is right or wrong but just food for thought.

A good point....

Critical Care
03-22-2006, 01:32 PM
Do mechanics perform their own lawn care? I bet most do, simply because they can easily go down and purchase a lawn mower, and since they’re mechanics already, it probably wouldn’t be too hard for them to learn how to make the thing work. Perhaps that's all that they care about.

On the other hand, most people aren’t going to go out and purchase a computerized engine diagnostic analyzer so that they can do repairs on their Ford Explorers. Lets face it, lawns haven’t gotten more complicated over the years, but cars have. On a number of cars it seems as if you almost have to pull the engine just to get to the oil filter.

But, give a mechanic a problem with his irrigation system and he’ll be more likely to call us out for help. His irrigation knowledge is probably limited to being able to pull a hose and sprinkler around… Lets say that his irrigation training is 25 years old.

topsites
03-26-2006, 10:31 AM
I do all the work on my vehicles and equipment. I can see from a business stand point that if it takes me longer to do the work than it would a shop and if I am so busy that I would be losing more money from downtime versus the amount of the shop bill then I would let the shop do it and use a back-up truck to keep working. I enjoy doing thr work myself and I like knowing that the work is done properly but when the time comes that I am too busy I will take it to a shop.

I'm the same way, but it's not just the time / labor / cost factor, it's the fact that I get tired of bringing my vehicle to someone and then it's not fixed right so then I find myself fixing their errors later (because to take it back to them would involve more wait and hassle). I know of two or three mechanics in this whole town where my car is always fixed right (at least most of the time) but in some cases it can involve a wait of 2-4 weeks (maybe because they are good, I do not know).

That's my main reason, it's not just the money, it's that I want it fixed right the first time and if it isn't fixed right then please don't put it back together and hope the owner won't notice. Plus, no tow (like if the car will not or shouldn't be run).

Labor-wise, I don't know where those figures in another post came from, but my dealership charges at least 150 / hour, that's a starter rate for silly jobs. Anything else can cost anywhere up to 500 / hour and the cheapest mechanics still charge more than what I get / hour... Even if it takes me twice as long, I still pocket 25-30 / hour while I don't have to go anywhere in the process so there's less overhead as well. Now taking it someplace consumes time, too, and unless you have a ride (which involves two people and two cars <- more overhead), you also get to wait while it's being worked on (more 'free' time which really isn't).

So, is it really 'worth it' to take it someplace so you don't have to fool with it? I find that although my hands may not get as dirty, at least half the time there's still a fair amount of fooling around involved. Take it there and wait several hours (that or bother your friend or s.o. to give you a ride (make that two rides - you have to get it back too)), then hope it's fixed right.

SpudsM15
03-26-2006, 02:14 PM
I goto the auto parts store a few times over the year, stock up on oil, filters, fluids.... I can bang out a oil and lube job faster than if I were to drive it to a nearby shop.... I know the job is done properly and I use the highest quality parts and oils possible.
I go as far as oil, tranny fluid, brakes, filters, plugs. I take the truck to the shop to get alignment and coolent(to much to fluid to dispose of) done yearly.
As for the mowers same thing with the fluids... pretty easy and not very time consuming to do maintenance. couple wrenches and greese gun.... Impact gun for the blades... Having the right tools does make the job so much faster....

cbelawn
03-26-2006, 07:13 PM
your quote

And than how can we sit in front of a prospect and explain how we save them money by saving them time by taking the yard work away from their job list. Should we practice what we sell.
Not saying any way is right or wrong but just food for thought.
__________________
We give you leisure time.

thats the most important selling point, we give the people that could do there own lawn work, more leasure time!.
But the best reason for doing my own repairs is down time. Down time is the most costly item in any production business. If i can replace my ball joints myself, i can do it when i want, not at the mechanics scedule. maybe its different for me becuse i am one of the best mechanics i know. Also if a repair is needed on a piece of equipment, i would not want to be waiting at some shop hoping it will get done before the rain.

M RASCOE&SONS
03-26-2006, 08:27 PM
I Try To Do All The Maintenance Myself And If I Cant Do Something I Take It Too My Friens Shop