View Full Version : Looking for pictures of Mini-Van setups

03-14-2009, 08:10 PM
I have seen a few truck with their equipment all piled in - after all it is exposed for anyone to see.

Since I have a mini van (Mazda MPV) I need lots of ideas on how to put my 21" lawnmower, trimmer, hand or BP blower, edger and everything else that is needed. Yesterday I saw an elderly mans van, same make, but his equipment was just thrown on the floor where ever it. I wasn't impressed with how it look, except that everything fit and he can lock the equipment inside.

So if anyone can help out with pictures, I'd appreciate it especially if it include how to include a roof rack to carry stuff.

03-14-2009, 08:39 PM
I really don't think too many people use mini vans. There is a company around here that uses ford cargo vans, like the E-250's. I personally don't think that a mini van would be as professional as a truck. And if your worried about things getting stolen, just get lockable racks on your trailer.

03-14-2009, 09:05 PM
This is a joke, right??!! I hope so! Ive never seen anyone using a minivan to cram mowing equipment into, however I have seen someone driving an old delta 88 (big hoopty of a car) with a 21" pusher stuffed into the trunk along with the homelite curved shaft trimmer and ryobi handheld blower hanging out of the trunk!! This is the same guy who advertises "Every yard cut for $10 I will admit,I didnt start out with a huge trailer filled with $10K mowers, but I at least had a truck and made wise purchases in the beginning to get me where I am at today. At least we can take comfort in knowing 98% of people who operate like this dont make it longer than a season or two. Sorry for being so blunt, but the truth is low-ballers hurt this industry and causes our revenues to get smaller and smaller, as well as our industry being number 2 in industries that the public doesnt trust or have much respect for.

03-14-2009, 09:57 PM

03-15-2009, 10:14 PM
... a company around here that uses ford cargo vans, like the E-250's ...

I have seen this also ... it looks like it actually works !! They got a 36" WB into the van along with all the supplementary equipment and supplies that they need ... it looked like it works very well for them.

03-15-2009, 11:17 PM
The guy uses a 21" mower, just how big of a truck and trailer do you think he needs? I would suggest a F350 or 450 dually pulling a 28' gooseneck trailer. Maybe a cube van with 12' folding ramp on the back so he doesn't have to lift the 21" mower in? I would also sell the gaser 21" and get a diesel 21" so that you would only have to stop for fuel once or twice a season.
California mow, blow and go likely could use a minivan no problems. Here you would have a tough time finding enough small lawns to make a cent with a 21" mower. That being said our best paying account is mowed with a 21" mower, but it's only one lawn and no more like it. (steep hillside account that only a 21" will cut, $2 a minute but only 10 minutes to cut)

03-16-2009, 09:46 AM
I have a guy in my area that uses a van and does only push mowing jobs...he also bags! Yep, he throws all the clippings into the van and loads up his push mowers. Personally, we chuckle at the idea. I do not think it looks professional, but it must work for him. There is always grass in the back of his van. There was also a guy with a Chevy Citation...mowers hanging out the hatch part and weed wackers hanging out the door windows...these guys don't last long in the business!

Trade the van in and get a truck and a smaller trailer.

03-16-2009, 10:16 AM
Solution = ditch the van.

Most potential customers once seeing your "rig" will politely blow you off.

03-16-2009, 10:38 AM
What ever you do, make sure you get a license to pass gas. :D

03-16-2009, 10:47 AM
Most potential customers once seeing your "rig" will politely blow you off.

Not true. There are a LOT of people who would perceive that as a sure sign of a bargain.

If this is a legitimate post, don't get a truck unless you have the cash to pay for one. I would assume you're the "weekend warrior" lawn guy, so you want to put as little into the business as possible until you're bringing in enough $$$ to justify upgrades and pay for them in cash. No doubt, there will be others, in debt up to their gills, who'll disagree with me... but they're the guys who think that image (i.e. a $40k truck) is what gets them business :hammerhead::hammerhead::hammerhead:.)

Stay humble, sell YOU (not your car). As for how to pack your stuff in there... I haven't the foggiest.

03-16-2009, 10:56 AM
There's a guy in my area that uses one. It's a very old mini van with an old trailer that is carrying a ztr. All of that weight pushes the front of the trailer and the rear of the van down just missing scraping the road. Looks very unprofessional.

03-16-2009, 11:29 AM
NO, I'm not a weekend warrior this IS going to be what I'm going to do to help support my family.

I have money to decent equipment, however, not any for a truck right now. No, this isn't a joke about using a van, it is what I have now so this is what is available to use. I know that really I should be using a truck, but this is an option I don't have now.

03-16-2009, 11:41 AM
the fumes from the fuel in the equipment is gunna get ya!! also makes a nice bomb if ya leave the windows rolled up in the heat!

03-16-2009, 11:49 AM
NO, I'm not a weekend warrior this IS going to be what I'm going to do to help support my family.

I have money to decent equipment, however, not any for a truck right now. No, this isn't a joke about using a van, it is what I have now so this is what is available to use. I know that really I should be using a truck, but this is an option I don't have now.

Then buy a small trailer like a 5X10 and operate out of that. Your van should pull it fine.

03-16-2009, 12:00 PM
Hey guys, you gotta use what you can afford at first. Yes I will say that it would look best and be easier to use a truck, but everyone has to start somewhere. Save up, because you will want a truck, and it will present a good image for your business. But you will be fine for now.

03-16-2009, 12:13 PM
Hey man when I started I didnt even have a vehicle. I pushed the mower and equipment around my neighborhood. If youre just getting started do what youve gotta do for now.....but look into a truck soon......get a used 4cyl S10 or something small for now......Seeing as youre in CALI I dont see the need for a big V8 4X4 due to the lack of snow.......let your equipment grow AS you grow....and more importantly AS YOU can afford it.

03-16-2009, 02:43 PM
get you a 5x8 trailer or somethin of those sorts and pull with the van. The fumes from the mower and gas cans will get to you. haha. I started with a 21 and a shindaiwa that my dad gave me and a echo handheld. I set it up so i could sit the weedeater and the blower on the mower and push it to jobs in the neighborhood. Do what you need to do to get started. but i personally would try and get a 5x8 or somethin small. you can find a cheap trailer in bargain mart and modify it to your needs if your handy with tools at all. a 21,weedeater, and a handheld wont squat the van so it wont look to unprofessional. but grow as you can afford it, not just for image. get you a 4cyl ford ranger 5 speed once you can afford it. most reliable truck on the market.

03-16-2009, 02:56 PM
I started out with a 78 Dodge tradesman 100 van.... I used wood ramps and loaded a Jdeere lx 172 38" in the back... high wheel push mower rolled in the side doors... 21" fit neatly behind the high wheel, with the handle facing rearward beside the rider.. I made my own trimmer rack on the wall behind the driver... ladder rack on top held two wheel barrows and rakes and hand tools. I hooked up a small 4x6 trailer with high sides to put bagger for mower and clippings... it worked great.. just a pain in the butt taking the trailer on and off all day...

03-16-2009, 03:03 PM
A van is perfect for So California, most LOCOS use 21" mowers as most of the yards are small.

03-16-2009, 04:01 PM
I don't think that there is anything wrong with starting out with the mini van if that is all you have. But I do think you should get a small trailer to pull behind. I'm sure if you look around you can find a small one for 300-400 dollars. You will probably spend 200-300 on some racks for the back of the van to organize things.
Having the trailer will help if you need to do other small landscape jobs as well. Dumping grass, hauling some mulch/bags of stone...

i think you will find the money spent on the trailer will make it back into your pocket very quickly in just the time saved alone.

03-16-2009, 04:18 PM
Here's an idea.. What about a good used bread delivery truck... they have big wide bodies with a tall ceiling... I've even seen one with a ramp installed on the back... You still would have issues with hauling materials and debris. A simple cargo rack on the side would solve the fuel fumes problem. I don't know.. just an idea

03-16-2009, 04:38 PM
as bad as it sounds i started out with a 88 buick ha ha but you know what never lowballed to get where i am now:drinkup:

03-17-2009, 12:16 AM
I like the idea of using a used bread truck ,(step vans I think they are called), I actually looked into going that route but the wheel well humps do not allow a big mower unless you build a false floor above them, you can find them for under $2000.!! I would strongly suggest you look into another line of work while you are trying to build a lawn care company, because just starting out you WILL NOT have enough business to pay all your bills. I worked a full time job along with mowing for the first 3 years, until I had enough business to do it exclusively. When I started I had a 1997 Mazda B series truck, it didnt even have a hitch, so I saved my money and put a Reese on it and then shopped around for a used 5X10 single axle that I found for $300. It was in rough shape but I worked on it and eventually traded that trailer for a 6.5X16( even trade)! I first bought a Swisher finish cut mower ( NO JOKES, I know it sucks bad!!) It lasted about a week, I was lucky they decided to refund my money, And I applied for a loan for an Exmark metro 48"($3000.), I still use this same mower for some properties, it still works great! Like someone said, at least buy a cheap trailer and pull it with the van, but you will not be viewed as a professional, especially in California, thus you will not pick up many quality accounts. I know a few people that live out there( southern CA. They say it is VERY HARD to get into lawn care out there because of all the competetion. How do you feel you are going to stand out from the other LCOs ? Hopefully you are not going to try to get all your business by offering to do it MUCH cheaper than anyone else(low-balling)??? I am just curious, Did you recently get laid off or loose your job some other way due to this economy? To everybody else reading this post, this is the direction our industry is going to go for awhile because of this economy,Everyone needing a quick job will try to get into mowing lawns using whatever equipment they can find (cheap or not) and to get thier client base built up they will offer to do it MUCH, MUCH cheaper than anyone else!! I am in no way trying to discourage anyone from starting a business, but do it the right way without hurting the whole industry.

03-24-2009, 02:27 AM
this is only my third year with my business, and my first year I used my mom's chrystler town and country to hall a 36'' walk behind, a steel grass catcher, blower, two trimmers, and 7'' ramps. It was cramped, but was all I had at the time to work with.

with all the seats out, the floor measured 4x8 and 3' at the wheel wells, it's actually pretty big

just cover the floor with tarps, leave the windows down when your driving, and the smell of gas and cleanup won't too big a of a deal

03-24-2009, 02:49 AM
Don't forget to advertise on craigslist also.......

03-24-2009, 01:38 PM
The layoffs around here in Cal are all over the place from the grad student with his profession to even the local Starbucks guru behind the counter and I'm one of those who was caught in this ******ed economy that takes anyone out of a job.

I've always looked to be my own boss and gardening has always been what I've done, so I'm taking the steps to make this my living now. This equipment will be of the higher end quality so that I can I get through the jobs easier while I save up for a truck. I've inquired about getting a hitch put on the van (about $275) and now my research goes to looking for a good trailer.

03-24-2009, 02:34 PM
Put the hitch on yourself and save yourself about $150. They bolt right on with no special tools. For another $15 they even sell the adapter to hook up the lights.