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Gatewayuser
05-27-2006, 01:06 AM
How do you all save money by cutting costs. I am saving about $300 in gas per month by running 2 trucks only when truly necessary but I still am spending about $1500 in fuel a month. I am trying to learn CLIP but it takes forever to learn. I am working on making my route tighter to save on labor and fuel. In June I am going to really crack down on unnecessary costs.

Az Gardener
05-27-2006, 01:13 AM
I was reworking the schedule to get through the holiday week and realized if I add a guy and go to a 4 day work week I can save fuel costs and overtime. I am also putting a cooler in the truck and stocking it so the crew does not leave to go to lunch and finally I am gassing up the equipment and truck on the weekends so they don't have to stop in the morning. All this has also improved morale, when its 100 + they want to get done asap.

Gatewayuser
05-27-2006, 01:16 AM
I was reworking the schedule to get through the holiday week and realized if I add a guy and go to a 4 day work week I can save fuel costs and overtime. I am also putting a cooler in the truck and stocking it so the crew does not leave to go to lunch and finally I am gassing up the equipment and truck on the weekends so they don't have to stop in the morning. All this has also improved morale, when its 100 + they want to get done asap.

I need to start getting fuel after work each night that would save around $30 bucks per week in labor. I can't just fill up on the weekend we go through to much fuel sometimes 2 gal of 2 cycle a day alone.

GlennZ
05-27-2006, 12:56 PM
I was reworking the schedule to get through the holiday week and realized if I add a guy and go to a 4 day work week I can save fuel costs and overtime. I am also putting a cooler in the truck and stocking it so the crew does not leave to go to lunch and finally I am gassing up the equipment and truck on the weekends so they don't have to stop in the morning. All this has also improved morale, when its 100 + they want to get done asap.

How does adding a guy save on fuel? Don't you still have to drive to the properties? To save on the overtime it is a great idea, of course all the employees will complain because you just cut the pay, but it is the smart thing to do.

GlennZ
05-27-2006, 01:03 PM
How do you all save money by cutting costs. I am saving about $300 in gas per month by running 2 trucks only when truly necessary but I still am spending about $1500 in fuel a month. I am trying to learn CLIP but it takes forever to learn. I am working on making my route tighter to save on labor and fuel. In June I am going to really crack down on unnecessary costs.


Gatewayuser,

Look at labor first, since it is the highest expense. Overtime is a profit killer. Tightening the routes will save gas but will also save you labor.

Use CLIP's link with MapPoint and it can tell you the shortest way to get to the properties.

This is really a bigger picture issue of what your service area is. We keep an extremely tight area. I would say once they arrive at a location all the houses are within 3 minutes of each other. We will not work out of our area because the price of gas and labor does not make it profitable.

Green Grass and More
05-28-2006, 12:37 AM
I've stopped washing my work clothes, saving in soap and water at home, lol.
J/k


I've started to tighten my route and started to drink water from home instead of buying gatorade. I also have been limiting how far I travel for a job, just not worth it.


Josh

topsites
05-28-2006, 12:42 AM
Do this to your truck:

- Replace all your spark plugs with double platinums.
- Install high performance 8mm Taylor spark plug wires.
- Install a High performance cap and rotor.
- Install a Flamethrower or comparable High performance ignition coil.
- Replace your air filter.
- If it does not leak or burn any oil, consider running a synth
- Remove the tailgate and install a net instead.

Now this next part will be very hard to do because you just added a TON of power to your truck, but learn to go real light on the gas and never stop learning that part, do NOT feel the power, do NOT step on it.
Be the slowest truck on the road, learn to use only your gas pedal to control all your speed. Example: I almost never touch my brakes on a highway off-ramp, when a red light is coming, I'm off the gas 1/4 mile up the road, I'll coast down to 20mph before I even have to touch the brakes, and so on. No, it's not about going into a turn too fast, it's about letting off way early.

I have a 1986 D-250 carbureted 318ci, old stuff...
I get 14+ mpg with mine, sometimes 15+
If yours is an Efi, you should see at least 16mpg.

topsites
05-28-2006, 12:50 AM
Here's more:

EMPTY out your truck.
Yes, everything.
Once all is out, keep some basic tools in case of emergency, the most essential belts and a rope / come-along (your tow kit) and jumper cables and yes this and that (weedeater string ok) but don't load everything back up please.

Plan to do ALL the same kind of work for the whole day, so example:
Monday is grass cutting ALL day long.
Tuesday is mulch ALL day long.
Wednesday is hedge trimming, you guessed it, all day.

Now:
Sunday evening, load up ONLY the mower(s) you need (I only carry my 48", one mower is the only thing on my trailer on those days). It looks kinda funny, but not nearly as funny as those guys loading a Z, a Wb and two 21" mowers, 3 weed-eaters, 2 wheelbarrows and rakes and cans and literally at least 1 if not 2 thousand pounds of extra crap.
Then, load one trimmer and if you have a handheld, that or the backpack (handheld easier on fuel). Fill up ALL your stuff with gas, and leave the gas cans at home. I DO carry an old 'quart of oil' bottle with mixed fuel and a syphon kit just in case (the truck can refuel the Wb in a pinch, a backpack blower carries enough fuel to refuel a weedeater).
Be aware the oil bottle is not perfectly tight, they do leak so they must be kept in an upright position someplace.
I've never had to refuel my Wb, it always goes all day on a tank but if you forget, one stop by the gas station don't hurt.
The backpack lasts 3-4 days on a tank, the handheld I refill more often because it's a small tank, but all day easy.

Make that stuff last, my weedeater goes 5-6 yards on a tank easy, the Wb and the blower both usually last all day (the blower runs low or out if there's a TON of leaves or whatever).

At the end of the day:
UNLOAD the Wb, the trimmer, and the blower.
RELOAD with wheelbarrow, pitchfork, edger and rake.
Now you're ready to go do mulch.

At the end of mulch day, unload all that and load the hedgetrimmers, a leaf rake, the blower and a tarp. You might can even leave the trailer at home.

See how that works?

topsites
05-28-2006, 12:58 AM
This saves time and fuel as well:

'Fix' your bank deposits to where you make only one deposit per week.
This means stacking your checks someplace safe at home until deposit day (I make mine on Mondays and it's mostly checks anyway, so no big fear of a robbery, they might get 20 bucks cash lol).

Now you're down to 4 (sometimes 5) deposits / month, that saves you a fair ton of time (and fuel as well).

For fuel, buy at least two 5-gallon cans and fill them when you fill your truck, buy more 5-gallon cans if you need so that you have to only fill up once / week.
My truck usually goes all week but in a pinch I might drop a 10 or 20 bill in there towards end of week (I can't use mower fuel, it's mixed with leaded gas). But before I started using offroad fuels, oh you bet I'd dump a 5-gallon can in the truck sometimes. That was years ago, I can go 300+ miles on a tank now.

Leave the gas cans under the house where it is dark and cool, this keeps your fuel healthier.

Good luck !

topsites
05-28-2006, 01:09 AM
Sorry, I should've just gave you the link to this here thread:
(Most of it is a repeat but there's some more good info)

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=145753

Gatewayuser
05-28-2006, 03:24 AM
I can't do that with the mower and trimmer gas because we go through sometimes 2gal of trim fuel and 12gal or so mower fuel. Your right about the bank thats why last year everyone had to switch to monthly billing. I have to have 2 trimmers 2 mowers on my truck because of the props I do. I do need to have my plugs changed but I have the 5.4 which is know for having plugs break as you take them off. I do need to take off easier right now I will admit I floor it every time I take off. Maybe thats why I have to fill up 2 times a week.

topsites
05-28-2006, 06:45 PM
Oh yeah, I shop at salvage barns, a shopping cart full of groceries tends to run me 30-40 dollars.
Sometimes, I find stuff I can use such as 3-pound spools of .080 round for 12 dollars each.
For example, I bought synthetic blend motor oil of various grades (5w-30, 10w-30 mostly, a few 10-40) at Big Lots for under $2 each (standard retail for synthetic blend is 3.50+ at Advance Auto parts). I bought almost 100 quarts of this, so you have to have some money for when you find a great deal, and it takes time, and looking around.

Soda: Dollar General, two 2 liters for a buck. Their strawberry soda rocks!
Clothes detergent, a nice box, 2 dollars, lasts me 3-4 months.
See that's just how I do things.

Oh yeah, my whole house is powered by those new light bulbs, the kind that are fluorescent looks like a twisty spring... When the weather is nice, I hang my washed clothes outside to dry. My heating / cooling thermostat stays at 64 in the winter and 78 in the summer: Last month's electric bill: 50 dollars. Month before: 60... It hit 100 dollars for 2-3 months last winter, but not over.

topsites
05-28-2006, 06:51 PM
I rotate my own tires, if they need to be rotated.
I do anything I can do myself on my cars, and the truck.
Same with the equipment.

Oh yeah, an oil filter for the Kohler 15hp is normally like 7-10 dollars. But I use a car oil filter, the AA3614 from Advance Auto Parts costs 3 dollars. I use those same aa storebrand filters on my bmw, and what's good enough for that car is good enough for the mower.

So, keep looking.
J-Thomas is a great place to find discounts on parts but you have to order the catalog and look through the whole thing - Not everything is cheaper, a lot of stuff isn't, but some things are considerably so and if your order is $350+ you get free shipping.

smallenginewarehouse.com sells 15hp Kohlers for 500 dollars.
stuff like that, just gotta keep looking, and you got to have this attitude on you that you will NEVER spend retail again.
Found azaleas at Home Depot the other day, 2 dollars each - Bought a whole dozen. By the way, you can reproduce your own plants and grow your own azaleas and boxwoods and stuff you can resell later to customers.

topsites
05-28-2006, 06:54 PM
Some things are not as obvious...

Most folks think running synthetic oil is a waste of money because it's so expensive (it is). Meanwhile, I run synthetic blend because it's cheaper but it's 80 percent synthetic and here's the real secret:

With synth oils, I change the oil and filter on my equipment once / year.
So, which is cheaper?

Switch to synthetic oil and watch all your oil-related problems disappear.

Oh, and they say you shouldn't do this, but with synth you can drain the oil as the engine runs WOT.
Yes, it is that good.
I check the oil on my mowers about once / month, sometimes it's low, way low. Big deal.

topsites
05-28-2006, 07:00 PM
I can't do that with the mower and trimmer gas because we go through sometimes 2gal of trim fuel and 12gal or so mower fuel. Your right about the bank thats why last year everyone had to switch to monthly billing. I have to have 2 trimmers 2 mowers on my truck because of the props I do. I do need to have my plugs changed but I have the 5.4 which is know for having plugs break as you take them off. I do need to take off easier right now I will admit I floor it every time I take off. Maybe thats why I have to fill up 2 times a week.

Oh hey it will help already if you only step it down about 3/4 way, that saves fuel right there. You can still stomp it, just don't push it all the way or quite as far down, you will see you still get plenty Vroooom even 1/2 way down is niiiice and saves a few dollars. Plus you get to enjoy the power longer :) cauz you don't get up to speed so fast

And so then you do that and you're starting on that road to save money.

Az Gardener
05-28-2006, 07:28 PM
How does adding a guy save on fuel? Don't you still have to drive to the properties? To save on the overtime it is a great idea, of course all the employees will complain because you just cut the pay, but it is the smart thing to do.

Its typically 20 to 30 min to the first job every day (after that they are clustered together) so if I cut out one day of work (from 5 to 4 work days) then I have saved 20-30 min. X 4-5 guys and you can double that because its about the same back to the yard at the end of the day.

When its 110 or more and the crew is well paid overtime is not so high on their list of priorities.

Gatewayuser
05-29-2006, 01:43 AM
Thanks keep them coming. I run full syn in my trucks but I don't in the mowers should I?

topsites
05-29-2006, 01:57 AM
Thanks keep them coming. I run full syn in my trucks but I don't in the mowers should I?

I run synth blend in the mowers, now I am solo but I do have two Wb's so they rotate, each might cut 400 yards / season but likely a little bit less (just so you know) but as a rule I change the oil once / year in them.

It's great, if they run low on oil the engines don't seize. I check the oil about once / month, now if it gets pretty dark you need to change it but on my new one it hardly turns color now on the '98 proline it does get darker quicker due to blow-by getting into the oil, it might could use a mid-season change but I'm not concerned because I want a new 15hp Kohler on that machine as I can get one for 500, it is on my wish list :)

What I mean by turning color is the oil gets darker over time, if you let it go WAY too long, it turns pitch black. Anyway, I change mine when it's about half-way there, kinda... So how dark is too dark? You know the color of oil in the truck after about 3000 miles on an engine with say, 100,000 good miles on it? I've learned to recognize this color by reading the dipstick a few more times right before the oil change, so as to embed this in my mind. That color is dark enough for a change, you can still see 'through' the oil, it is not pitch black (That's too dark, way). Once it gets to about that color, change it to be safe or let it go with that confidence only synth can bring but I still wouldn't let it get pitch black.

topsites
05-29-2006, 02:07 AM
This one takes hunting and I am finding it a pita but you may have better luck.

Find a TIMED thermostat for the cooling / heating system.
The pita part is you have to know your current brand thermostat so as to cross-ref it, then you want the kind that gives you at least 5 timed settings with temps and digital and stuff. If you get the wrong kind, you won't be able to connect the wires right, it will not work, so you have to know your stuff... Some folks hire the AC guy to do it, costs maybe 50 or 75 in labor but might be worth it.

Far as installation, just make sure the AC is off and to be safe, I'd flip that fuse OFF. Oh, an hour or so before you do it, run the AC until it is really nice and cool because you're going down for about an hour lol. Voltage-wise, I believe the wires are only 12 volts but I don't take no chances, fuse OFF. If you know anything about electrical work, it's kind of like hooking up telephone wires, 3 or 4 sometimes 5 color-coded wires that hook up to screw-thingies you tighten with a phillips, it's really not bad.

How it works in summer:
1) At 7am, raise the temp on the thermostat to 80 or so, 84 might not hurt when it's going to be 98 outside. Don't worry, the house is so cool it will stay nice until at least 10am.
Let that go until at least 2pm but I'd wait until 4p if you can.
2) At 4p, set the thermostat from 84 to 82.
3) At 6p, go down to 78.
4) At 9p, bring her down to 74
5) At midnight, all the way down to 70 :)

How it works in the winter is basically the same, cooler at night, warmer during the day.
I hear say this saves considerable money, you work with the outside temperature keeping the house coolest when its coolest outside and vice-versa. You can play with the time and temp setting some and obviously a 6 or 7-setting thermostat would be even neater but you get the idea.

I do it manually by lowering it at night and before I leave for work I raise the gauge but one day I forget and it ruins about a week of saved energy.

topsites
05-29-2006, 02:20 AM
More stuff:

Yes, reducing cost at home is something I find essential when running my business because during times of drought, nothing eats savings faster than an expensive house.

Go to Lowe's and get a Water-saver shower faucet, the decent one costs about 7 dollars and it's really simple looking, smaller than most of the standard shower faucets. This thing reduces water flow from the standard 4 gpm (4 gallons per minute) to around 2.5 gpm and if you get the nice water-saver it comes with a little knob that allows you to adjust the flow even further down. This not only took my water bill from $50 to $40 but it helps with the electric because less hot water to re-heat. And if you like long hot showers (I love them in the wintertime) you would be surprised how long you can run that hot water without running out, I mean it almost lasts indefinitely.
As a bonus, if you wish to cut the water OFF mid-shower, push the little knob on the faucet and the water flow reduces to a mere trickle which now, when you turn it back ON, has the same temperature as when you turned it off, niiiice.

Oh yes, set your hot water boiler's thermostat to 140 and really, 135 is good and I've had it set to 130 before and it's still HOT but 135-140 is good, any higher is a waste.

On the A/C inlet, that big square hole where it sucks air into the A/C system inside the house, find and buy a re-usable (washable) air filter. These things are not cheap (20 or 30 dollars I think) but you wash them once / month (I use compressed air) and clean them and stick them back in and never run to the hardware store for another stupid filter again.

topsites
05-29-2006, 02:23 AM
Oh yeah, here's another article on cars, some things I already mentioned:
http://atopqualitysite.com/10steps.htm

topsites
05-29-2006, 02:27 AM
Do this:

Go through the whole house, and light bulb by light bulb:
Replace all 100-watters with 75's
All existing 75's become 60's (no don't replace the 75's you put in instead of the 100's, just ones that were not 100's before).
Then the few 60's become 40
And if you have any 40's you can try 25 but that might get a bit too dark.

Less energy burned but also, the lower wattage bulbs last longer because it's the heat that burns the elements out.
On that note, less cooling cost but not noticeably. Overall, 5-10 percent off your electric, it will take 3-4 months to pay for the cost of the new light bulbs, I already mentioned going fluorescent, here's some pics of fluoros so you get the idea:
http://www.bulbs.com/products/product.asp?page=products&class=600
Cost-wise, they do run about $5 / each but they last a LONG time and you'll notice the difference on your electric bill.
Big Lots tends to have packages of 5-6 of these bulbs of various wattages and it is a lot cheaper to buy them in a pack (like maybe 15 dollars for all 5 or thereabouts).
Watch the wattage, consumption is x3 output, so a bulb that eats 25w puts out 75w of light. These details are printed on the package.
Drawback: When you first fire one up via the light-switch, it takes 1-2 minutes for it to produce full light, it looks all dim at first and you will think I am full of myself and you done bought something stupid, but just wait a couple of minutes. It's not real dim at first, it produces around 60 or 70 percent of its full output but it does look like you got less than you bargained for a few.
Price / cost-wise, it takes another 3-4 months to pay for the bulbs in savings, but at the most 6-8 months down the road your bank account should start to show a little something.

If you have chandeliers (lamps with more than 1 light bulb), unscrew some but not totally - Just enough to unlight them but leave them partially in there and leave 1 or 2 lit and now:
Less energy burned and if one of the lit ones burns out, screw one of the unlit ones back in and voila.

We do know: Unused room? Close the cooling / heating vents and shut the door, and thank you.

topsites
05-29-2006, 02:41 AM
Oh ooops: If you burn less electricity, most of our power plants run on guess what? Yup, petrol. Less electric = less oil = eventual lower prices at the pump.

And yes, one person does make the difference.

Gatewayuser
05-29-2006, 02:46 PM
I started to drive my truck today keeping the engines RPM's under 2,500 when taking off instead of 3,500-5,500 and it was not that bad. I think I will see a big difference in the furl bill and I will post my improvements. I also got everything out of my truck that I don't need.
Thanks keep the help coming!