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View Full Version : Do any of you run a lawn care business just out of a pick up truck?


keeman
12-03-2009, 09:50 AM
I started this year and only had 8 weekly customers, I ran my business strictly out of the back of my truck(although legally before you ask) using ramps to load my Gravely 21" mower. I am looking to grow this up coming season to hopefully at least 20-25 customers. Right now I am planning on using only my 21"(no large lawns right now) And find a trailer may be a waste of money for me. I have different lawn care guys telling me a trailer makes you look a lot more professional and will get me more customers. To me it is the quality of work you do and not what you use to do it, all of my customers this year loved my work and have already committed to next season and have been giving me good word of mouth. I guess my question to you all is: DO I need a trailer just to look more professional and get more customers?

93Chevy
12-03-2009, 09:57 AM
I guess I'm in the same boat. I worked out of my trucks for the past two seasons. I've done more landscape work than grass cutting and I only have about 7 accounts. I also work a full time job and go to school full time.

Anyway, I bought a trailer in August because I have enough work next year to justify a Z. Having a trailer is so nice, even though I can't fill it with mowers yet. I've helped people out hauling stuff, I've been able to haul boulders for a landscape job without beating my truck up, etc. Now that I have a trailer, I couldn't imagine not having one.

But to answer your question, I think a nice trailer does give you a better image. Which may or may not be "right," but that's how most people think. But there is a point where homeowners don't notice "how nice of a trailer." If they see one company in a clean truck in their neighborhood every week, they won't have any idea if that company is just a two man operation or a giant company with multiple crews.

In short, I think it's possible to run a company without a trailer, but a trailer has many more uses than hauling lawn equipment.

Kennedy Landscaping
12-03-2009, 10:43 AM
I used to do it that way. But I love having a trailer. So many more options are opened up when you do it that way.

anders.ogren
12-03-2009, 12:05 PM
Ill sell or trade my 4' by 6' trailer to upgrade to a 5 by 8 if anyones interested

unkownfl
12-03-2009, 12:14 PM
I have a 6x12 enclosed trailer and a 5x10 open I have been trying to get away without them. This is my second week operating without using the trailers. I use my F-150 with ramps and load my wright 36 stander in the bed. I have trimmer racks mounted on the passenger side of the bed, and I ordered a blower rack; however, its not in yet. I love it so far. Its so easy to park and my mileage is closer to 17-18 vs 9-10. Also it saves me time, and gas from having to pick it up and drop it off. Its so worth it not having to hook and unhook every thing every day because I can't keep it at home its at my parents. This way everything is just loaded in my bed and I can park it in the garage. I actually sold my bigger 48 z400 toro and my 36 hydro w/b to buy the stander and have some extra cash. I know I could easily service 40-50 accounts solo by my self in 4 days with this setup. I plan on having a rack to go into my hitch to ride the mower onto that way I will have the whole bed free, or put the same rack on the back of a van.

mowerbrad
12-03-2009, 12:18 PM
You do not need a trailer to look more professional. While projecting a good image is important, it does not come from having a trailer. There are many companies who strictly use pickup trucks and no trailers, and they are doing very well. Having a trailer really depends on what equipment you will be using. If you are using a ztr and wb, a trailer will be needed, but if you are just using a 21" wb, there is no need for a trailer. It is true that it allows you to take on more jobs, but if all your doing or planning on doing is mowing, then you should be all set will just your truck. Don't let people tell you that you need a trailer to be professional, because you don't. Just keep your equipment/truck looking nice and do good work, and you will project the professional image you want.

topsites
12-03-2009, 12:23 PM
I would agree, that to answer the question, having a trailer will not make you look more professional in and of itself.

However, trying to load and unload say a 48" mower from the back of a pickup what with a couple of
wooden boards being used as ramps, that could make you look rather UN professional, I think.
But it's really more than that because I could care less what you look like, you're out there working and
it really doesn't matter but my whole thing is you have to consider your own safety at some point,
also all of the implications...
Like, just how much trouble are you willing to put yourself through in order to escape having to buy yourself a trailer?

So my advice is, before you go expanding too much further, at least in terms of equipment,
start considering what I just said, not saying you have to buy a trailer per se...
Like if you don't plan on having bigger than a 21" mower, you probably hardly need a trailer.
And some guys use these dovetail beds (but they're rather expensive, like very).

A decent 6x12 landscaping trailer new run you about $1,500-$2,000 or so,
it's really not a bad investment to consider some time down the road.

turf and snow
12-03-2009, 12:25 PM
I run a trailer 1 day a week and out of my pickup 3 days a week. Parking without trailer is so much easier and I can fit everything I need in the truck.

joel29m
12-03-2009, 12:32 PM
my opinion, get a trailer if you have a nice truck and dont wanna tear it up. at first, i was putting things in the back of my nissan titan but my neighbor gave me a 6.5 by 12 trailer and it was a relief with all that picking up and down off the bed, plus i bought a 91 gmc single cab pickup to pull the trailer for the fact the titan was supposed to be my project truck and hopping in and out with sweaty clothes and grass everywhere didnt help either. gas will be a difference, but that trailer will pay off in the long run. and it is nice to have two trucks, i still use the titan when i want to drive it.

keeman
12-03-2009, 12:58 PM
Unknown, I love your setup, I may consider doing something like that also. Mowerbrad I agree completely with you about the quality of work being more important than the equipment you are using, that is kin of why I asked. Thanks to all of your replies, I definitely appreciate the advice and ideas

CheapScapesNC
12-03-2009, 01:04 PM
If you want to establish yourself as a truly legitimate LCO in the public's eye, branding is crucial - and pulling up to a client in a pick up sends them a message you may not want. This is particularly crucial for first contacts, like when going to give bids. If you show up in a pickup and give them a $5k landscaping bid, that might go with someone else just because of that. Besides, a well branded truck/trailer can get you business - people call me all the time and say "I saw you driving that big white truck with the green trailer and got your number off the side of it".

unkownfl
12-03-2009, 01:08 PM
If you want to establish yourself as a truly legitimate LCO in the public's eye, branding is crucial - and pulling up to a client in a pick up sends them a message you may not want. This is particularly crucial for first contacts, like when going to give bids. If you show up in a pickup and give them a $5k landscaping bid, that might go with someone else just because of that. Besides, a well branded truck/trailer can get you business - people call me all the time and say "I saw you driving that big white truck with the green trailer and got your number off the side of it".

So all these company's like valley crest throwing out multi million dollar estimates aren't legit because they don't pull trailers?

Richard Martin
12-03-2009, 03:09 PM
So all these company's like valley crest throwing out multi million dollar estimates aren't legit because they don't pull trailers?

Yeah, I kinda agree. As long as you don't show up in a 1985 Buick Skylark with 2 different colors of paint on it I don't see where whether you're pulling a trailer or not make a difference when bidding. I guess I should fire all of those customers that I picked up when giving a bid out of my '92 Mustang.

Yater
12-03-2009, 03:27 PM
I would have to turn down cleanup jobs if I didn't have a trailer. I make thousands of dollars every year on cleanup. I don't see any reason not to spend the money on a trailer. It'll last you 20 years or more if you take care of it. You will lose accounts if you can't do cleanup...a lot of accounts.

keeman
12-03-2009, 04:23 PM
I did quite a few clean-ups this season with just the pickup, it was a bit of a pain some times but for the most part it was fine, still made good money with the clean-ups

brucec32
12-03-2009, 04:39 PM
Windemere has been in the news lately. I guess they have some nice lawns to mow there!

What kind of racks did you go with and how did you mount them on the truck?

I have a 6x12 enclosed trailer and a 5x10 open I have been trying to get away without them. This is my second week operating without using the trailers. I use my F-150 with ramps and load my wright 36 stander in the bed. I have trimmer racks mounted on the passenger side of the bed, and I ordered a blower rack; however, its not in yet. I love it so far. Its so easy to park and my mileage is closer to 17-18 vs 9-10. Also it saves me time, and gas from having to pick it up and drop it off. Its so worth it not having to hook and unhook every thing every day because I can't keep it at home its at my parents. This way everything is just loaded in my bed and I can park it in the garage. I actually sold my bigger 48 z400 toro and my 36 hydro w/b to buy the stander and have some extra cash. I know I could easily service 40-50 accounts solo by my self in 4 days with this setup. I plan on having a rack to go into my hitch to ride the mower onto that way I will have the whole bed free, or put the same rack on the back of a van.

integrityman
12-03-2009, 04:55 PM
Yes, I too have worked only out of my truck. This is device I use to facilitate quick, slick in and out access. Looks far more "professional" than 2" x8" ramps.

Attached is the website for this product:

http://www.pickupspecialties.com/Loading_Ramps/tailgate_ramps.htm

keeman
12-03-2009, 05:12 PM
Wow, I love it!

Yater
12-03-2009, 05:13 PM
I did quite a few clean-ups this season with just the pickup, it was a bit of a pain some times but for the most part it was fine, still made good money with the clean-ups

Where do you load the leaves? Also, what about the odd branch that needs to be removed before you can mow? During a route of 15 properties, surely you end up with some serious junk? You'd need a 12' high box on the truck. My leaf cleanups usually pay ~$75hr after fuel and dumping. My trailers pay for themselves in a few days.

unkownfl
12-03-2009, 05:33 PM
To be honest they are the cheap aluminum ramps from sears. The only ones I could find that were 8 ft. I just wanted to try it before I pay for a fabricated equipment carrier I guess you would call it. I really want to have the bed free.

I have jungle jim racks off my open trailer mounted into the holes of the bed. That I screwed into behind the bed liner. Unfortunitly I don't mow Tigers, Shaq, Grant Hill, or Dwights lawns but I do however have to put up with the traffic around there now. I cut the bottom of the racks and the top of the mounting adapters so it is low enough to reach. I plan on putting the jungle jim blower holder on the other side. I have a 8 ft bed with a tool box and put the hedge trimmers and chain saws in the box. I have a pole saw on one side of the bed and all the rakes shovels and stuff under the tool box. It beats driving my power stroke around getting 8 mpg or my f150 getting 10mpg

CheapScapesNC
12-03-2009, 06:15 PM
So all these company's like valley crest throwing out multi million dollar estimates aren't legit because they don't pull trailers?

Not saying you are not legit, said it is a matter of perception in the public's eye. Some do not mind, some will.....especially the high end jobs. Unless you get 100% acceptance of every bid you put in, you really do not know why you lost the job.

topsites
12-03-2009, 06:41 PM
Yes, I too have worked only out of my truck. This is device I use to facilitate quick, slick in and out access. Looks far more "professional" than 2" x8" ramps.

That's tolerably good looking there, I might actually consider doing that to get better fuel mileage
(not to mention it makes driving the truck a whole lot easier too).

Later edit...
Ouch...
I just saw the price :cry:

keeman
12-03-2009, 06:52 PM
Yes that price is steep for that huh?

integrityman
12-03-2009, 07:13 PM
I bought mine through the Sportsmans guide for a bit less than the price on the web page I listed.... I have had mine for 3 years now and its NICE. Especially for all sorts of walk behind stuff like aerators, overseeders etc..... One reason I have this is because my day job entails working where I have to use a basement parking garage. Pulling a 16' trailer into a garage is NOT an option.....

unkownfl
12-03-2009, 08:47 PM
That's tolerably good looking there, I might actually consider doing that to get better fuel mileage
(not to mention it makes driving the truck a whole lot easier too).

Later edit...
Ouch...
I just saw the price :cry:

you can get it from usa ramps for like 550 its a little bit cheaper.
http://www.usaramp.com/orderform.shtml