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View Full Version : How much would you spend in repairs before buying new?


K.Carothers
02-09-2006, 12:29 AM
I'm taking the Leco 48" hydro in tomorrow for repairs. I can buy a brand newbie for 3899. At what price do you decide that a new purchase is better than an overhaul?

kc

MJLsLawnCareNmoreLLC
02-09-2006, 12:43 AM
When it costs you more to keep them consistantly running than to just buy new.

K.Carothers
02-09-2006, 12:54 AM
When it costs you more to keep them consistantly running than to just buy new.

So are you saying 3899 in yearly repairs is the breaking point?

kc

LB1234
02-09-2006, 01:00 AM
Can't speak for the poster but I would say no.

New equipment you have a warranty usually one to two years. Mower probablly goes about 3-4 (perhaps more, its a crapshoot with a lot of variables) without need for major repairs. Take 4k, divide by 4 years thats 1k per year...if you are paying around 700-1k in repairs each year its probablly worth the purchase of new equipment.

Don't forget when looking at repairs to factor in your downtime which costs you money, YOUR time (or employees) to drop off/pickup equipment, gets the parts, etc.

hole in one lco
02-09-2006, 01:04 AM
when the repair cost half the price of new.

QualityLawnCare4u
02-09-2006, 02:14 AM
I go with the 30% of a new one rule my old employ used. The only thing I have ran into more than once is when you get hit with a major repair it usually means there is more big buck items to go out. Ill use the 30% one time then its gone.

Richard Martin
02-09-2006, 04:56 AM
I'll usually hang onto mine until I see a trend of problems developing with them regardless of how much I've spent on them. Like my 36" Exmark I got rid of last May. I had bought it in 2000 and it had around 800 or 900 hours on it. It had been reliable for the most part with the exception of the spindle bearings. A close inspection last winter revealed the hand linkages were getting sloppy, the deck had a crack, the pullies were wearing down, it still had the original gear drive tranny, some of the idler pullies were getting real loose, tires would have needed to be replaced soon and the Kawi 14 was getting tired. It was certainly in good enough shape to continue cutting grass for a little while longer without repairs so I got rid of it at that point and bought new.

sparcolawn
02-09-2006, 07:20 AM
of course 3899.00 is way to much money to keep it running, think about gas and grease, and the blades, your up to atleast 5000, thats enough to buy a real nice machine... i would def. buy new, save yourself some headaches

Jpocket
02-09-2006, 09:01 AM
So are you saying 3899 in yearly repairs is the breaking point?

kc

If your spending $3899 to keep a 48" Belt drive running, I'd hate to see what a ZTR is costing you. Honestly though if your spending that much to someone work on it your better off bying a new on before it gets to that point. Personally I could COMPLETLEY REBUILD 2 BELT DRIVES for that kind of $$$ and have money left over.

Smalltimer1
02-09-2006, 09:55 AM
My rule is that you take the present value of the machine and then multiply that x.50 and if the estimated repairs exceed that number, I either advise the customer that they are going to put more into the machine than they will ever get out of it and that it should be retired, or I tell them that they should sell it with the problems as is for parts as they would come out better than paying me to fix it then trying to sell it only breaking even on it at best.

nobagger
02-09-2006, 10:43 AM
I would think that if it isn't breaking down every other week for something then I personally would spend the money to have it repaired. If it's been a good reliable machine for you then why get rid of it. But there are a lot of variables here, is it in good to decent shape overall and worth repairing. Then if so I would much rather spend $800.00 (for a major repair) and get possibly a year or two out of it then spend $3500.00 on a new one. When I first got into this business I bought an older Exmark 48" Viking from a big lawn care co. that was buying $90,000.00 of new equipment, Iv'e been running that machine for three years now and I have only put about $200.00 into it (including maint.) And the best thing is I bought it for 1k and that included a Velkie, 3 sets of new blades, 3 sets of belts, bagger, oil filters. It came with a motor that was 2 years old and new spindles so I think I did ok.:p IMO- if it were me, the only way I wouldn't repair it is if it were a pyle of rusted junk and halfway through the season it was costing me half the price of a new one then I would look into a new unit.

DFW Area Landscaper
02-09-2006, 01:38 PM
Interesting thread.

Get this story:

I bout a used 2000 F-150 last winter with 99,000 miles on it for $4,850. TT&L was another $400 or so. Got it home and within a week it woudln't move when I put it in drive. Drove it to a garage, had the wife follow me and dropped it off for a new Jasper transmission, which was $2,500. Then the wife had to drive me back over there and drop me off so I could drive it back home. Then we find out a seal was leaking so I had to drive it back over to the garage and wait in their waiting room for another hour and half while they fixed it.

Then, last summer my worker calls and he has a dead battery. He had no booster cables (they will have them this year!) so I drive over there, we jump start the battery then he follows me to Autozone where I buy a battery for $70. Then he calls again a week later and the truck won't start. I drive over there and by the time I arrive he's got it started. My worker later figured out the solenoid was bad and he bought one and replaced it himself. I reimbursed him $40 for the part.

Then, this winter, I decide to crawl underneath and take a look while I was changing the oil. The transmission fluid had to be changed again (at 5,000 miles on a new Jasper), it needed a new idler arm, a new pittman arm, new control arm assemblies and bushings, inner & outer tie rod ends and upper and lower ball joints. I also decided to have the rear differential fluid replaced. And then I bought a new set of Michelins for it. The air filter was filthy. It didn't even have a working spare tire winch or even a spare tire or wheel. It didn't have a lug wrench or a jack. I had to buy new ones or risk getting that phone call again this year. So there was a lot of errand running and the wife dropping me off and picking me up and stuff like that this winter.

All told, I've got about $11,000 invested in an F-150 that can't be sold for much more than $5,000, plus all kinds of errand running time. And there are still plenty of other parts that can fail on that truck.

This year, I decided to buy a brand new F-150 long bed. It was $16,200 after TT&L and it's got a 3/36 warranty.

Which truck would you rather own?

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Jpocket
02-09-2006, 02:20 PM
Interesting thread.

Get this story:

I bout a used 2000 F-150 last winter with 99,000 miles on it for $4,850. TT&L was another $400 or so. Got it home and within a week it woudln't move when I put it in drive. Drove it to a garage, had the wife follow me and dropped it off for a new Jasper transmission, which was $2,500. Then the wife had to drive me back over there and drop me off so I could drive it back home. Then we find out a seal was leaking so I had to drive it back over to the garage and wait in their waiting room for another hour and half while they fixed it.

Then, last summer my worker calls and he has a dead battery. He had no booster cables (they will have them this year!) so I drive over there, we jump start the battery then he follows me to Autozone where I buy a battery for $70. Then he calls again a week later and the truck won't start. I drive over there and by the time I arrive he's got it started. My worker later figured out the solenoid was bad and he bought one and replaced it himself. I reimbursed him $40 for the part.

Then, this winter, I decide to crawl underneath and take a look while I was changing the oil. The transmission fluid had to be changed again (at 5,000 miles on a new Jasper), it needed a new idler arm, a new pittman arm, new control arm assemblies and bushings, inner & outer tie rod ends and upper and lower ball joints. I also decided to have the rear differential fluid replaced. And then I bought a new set of Michelins for it. The air filter was filthy. It didn't even have a working spare tire winch or even a spare tire or wheel. It didn't have a lug wrench or a jack. I had to buy new ones or risk getting that phone call again this year. So there was a lot of errand running and the wife dropping me off and picking me up and stuff like that this winter.

All told, I've got about $11,000 invested in an F-150 that can't be sold for much more than $5,000, plus all kinds of errand running time. And there are still plenty of other parts that can fail on that truck.

This year, I decided to buy a brand new F-150 long bed. It was $16,200 after TT&L and it's got a 3/36 warranty.

Which truck would you rather own?

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

DFW, you proved my point exaclty in this thread and alot of others: there are two types of business owners, ones that can do there own repairs and ones that can't.

If one of my trucks blows a tranny on monday, we'll order a tranny and by saturday be on the ground bolting the new one up. The trans will cost at most $900. Except for my 05' chevy I don't own a truck newer than 87' an they all work every day during the season. Now if I couldn't work on the stuff, then yea I would have 1 new truck and new mowers.
My point If you can do your own work than you can buy a 20year old $1500 truck and have it do the same job as an 05' with little cost to you.
But if you have to pay some one to put in a clutch, replace a trans, or whatever you SHOULD buy a new truck or mower to cut your losses.
If you can do your own work you can keep a 76' $800 f-150 fairley reliable.

Edgewater
02-09-2006, 03:13 PM
Jpocket,

I agree with you to and extent. I have an 88 F-250 diesel, an 83 GMC dump and a 2004 chev 3500 SRW crew cab.

Last year, the water pump on the frod went out at 3:00 one afternoon (bad leak) it was no to hoot out and the guys were doing big places, only 2 stops left for the day. I had them just fill it with water as it leaked and they came home at the end of the day. By that point i had a new one from the auto parts. We got all the gear put away. After dinner, I wen t out and spent about 3.5 hrs on that water pump. 7.3 diesel with AC. You have to pull just about everything off the front of the motor, and there is a special wrench for the fan clutch that to my knowledge only Snap On has readily available. Then you have to make sure you don't wack the $500 radiator.

All that to say, the truck was back in service at 7:00am the following day.

I am only willing to work so many late nights like that. Keeping two trucks running is not bad, 5 would be tops. There is a big gap there between 5 trucks and 15 or so where you could afford to have a mechanic on staff to maintain all the trucks and mowers.

A guy that you pay $20.00/H as a mech, will not go out and dig, lay pavers etc just because nothing crapped out the day before.

My point is, there come a time where a fixed monthly payment, and then letting someone else buy your problems 5-7 years down the road, is the way to go.

Jpocket
02-09-2006, 03:19 PM
Your right, im thinking more on the terms of a guy having two old truck out at a time (two crews). I didn't think of 5 or 10 of them, than yet a new one would be much better.

Precision
02-09-2006, 04:49 PM
warranty period then another year at max regardless of condition or hours.

I just don't have the time or patience to deal with down time.

DFW Area Landscaper
02-09-2006, 07:45 PM
If you only have a truck or two to keep running, doing the repairs and maintenance might be an option. I used to do all of my own car repairs myself back when it was just my wife's car and mine. Saved a ton of money.

When you have five business trucks and the wife's car, just getting the tires rotated, balanced and pressure checked is an all day chore. Inspections eat another full day and that assumes you pass on all of them. Oil changes on six vehicles can eat a lot of time too, especially if you are set up like me, where your trucks aren't parked at your house but that's where all your tools are. For me to change the oil on all six vehicles is an all day chore. I have to dump the dirty oil at the parts store in the middle of it because I go through 42 quarts of oil and my two drain pans only hold 30 quarts!

Unexpected break downs in the middle of the work day...not only do you have to pay someone else $95 per flag hour to fix what's wrong, you also have to pay your crew while they wait for the repair to be made. That is, assuming of course, that the garage can get the needed parts immediately.

Lastly, this is worth mentioning too: When the garages do a repair, they usually charge twice the price you'd pay for parts at Napa or O'Reilly's. So a $150 steering gear box, for example, would cost you $300 unless you drive over to the parts store, stand in line and then drive the part back to the mechanic. Meanwhile, your missing calls at the office from new prospects and those advertising dollars are being flushed down the drain.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

LB1234
02-09-2006, 11:10 PM
of course 3899.00 is way to much money to keep it running, think about gas and grease, and the blades, your up to atleast 5000, thats enough to buy a real nice machine... i would def. buy new, save yourself some headaches


ahhhh.....okay.

Last time I checked the new mower wouldn't be maintenance free and you would need to grease things, sharpen the blades, and SUPPLY IT WITH GAS!!!

crzymow
02-10-2006, 12:56 AM
It is definitly a big help if you can do the repair work yourself, not to say that I enjoy doin it, but i have a hard time paying someone to do something i can do myself.

Pecker
02-10-2006, 10:28 AM
New equipment you have a warranty usually one to two years. Mower probablly goes about 3-4 (perhaps more, its a crapshoot with a lot of variables) without need for major repairs. Take 4k, divide by 4 years thats 1k per year...if you are paying around 700-1k in repairs each year its probablly worth the purchase of new equipment.

I second this line of thought. . .

K.Carothers
03-27-2006, 01:28 AM
UPDATE*****************


I got my Lesco back and paid $409 to have it completely ready for spring. I ran it on one lawn already and it works great.

This walk behind is on the soon to be back up list but it still starts and cuts great.


kc