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Old 04-10-2013, 02:49 PM
minilawn minilawn is offline
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Does anyone else use a small truck for route work?

I've been reading bigger is better, always talking about "growing" into your business. Does anyone else like the idea of keeping money in their pockets and growing the business?

I've been using this rig for 3 years 40k miles in that time. 19mpg towing. It's a 4cyl 5spd work model 2001 s10. Maintenance has been regular, amsoil once a year, fuel filters etc.


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Old 04-10-2013, 02:50 PM
minilawn minilawn is offline
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:28 PM
newguy123 newguy123 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minilawn View Post
Nice set up...Yes I've done that in the past. Ford Ranger, 4cylinder, about 14mpg in town. That's more than double the mpg with my Ram.

If you can put more money into your pocket I'd say stay with your set up, I'm sure you're thinking this regardless what anyone else says and I'd agree with you.
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:03 PM
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GreenUtah GreenUtah is offline
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my first truck was a mini toyota, pulled a tandem (with it's own brakes..lol) even pallets of sod when I first started. But that was in a very flat area. Those with hills won't appreciate being pushed by their trailers into intersections, etc. Small trucks are great for irrigation, gardening, small area mowing (with mowers in the truck) like urban downtown things where parking is a great big issue. Even pest control with small sprayers.

For trailer work, like what you're doing here, the low cost entry point may end up with higher costs in brakes, accelerated wear of the engine and transmission (particularly) and perhaps even fuel economy suffering by needing to pull at a higher rpm than say a full sized, 2wd small block v-8 (my personal lawn truck preference) would get doing the same routes. Most will find that the small truck won't be that much lower priced than a standard 1/2 ton 2wd work truck, even without fleet pricing, and the larger truck will likely last far longer, giving you a lower cost to own for this situation.
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:09 PM
Isenberg Lawn Care Isenberg Lawn Care is offline
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That's how I first started, a 99 Chevy s10 4 banger 5 speed. I'm thinking about buying it back from my buddy, great for this biz for small and medium jobs.
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:15 PM
Jaybrown Jaybrown is offline
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Does anyone else use a small truck for route work?

I use a cargo van. It's awesome
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:15 PM
minilawn minilawn is offline
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Thanks for the replies. I just wanted to see if the tone has changed with some folks.

Here's to anyone thinking about going with the smaller set-up:

$3500 purchase price w 63k miles.

This is getting 19mpg with the trailer every week. High twenties empty on highway. Great for running errands.

Wearing out really fast??

Brake pads were replaced as soon as I bought, new shocks, new alternator, fuel filter, clutch, and timing chain. In the last 40k miles. At 100k I did the timing chain ($75) and throwout bearing (decided to just to the whole clutch kit while I was in there) What I found when I took the old clutch off was about 50%. It was wearing normally for a 12 year old, 100k mile vehicle. Timing chain was purely preventative maintenance, I just know that's a weak point on this engine, (2.2 vortech).

So in 3 years, and 40k miles.
Shocks - $90
Rotors & Pads - $150
Alternator - $120
Clutch kit - $500
Fuel Filter - $50
Timing Chain -$75

Total $985

And it runs like new!

I would love to see and hear more about your guy's rigs that work for your business and why!
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:36 PM
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GreenUtah GreenUtah is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minilawn View Post
Thanks for the replies. I just wanted to see if the tone has changed with some folks.

Here's to anyone thinking about going with the smaller set-up:

$3500 purchase price w 63k miles.

This is getting 19mpg with the trailer every week. High twenties empty on highway. Great for running errands.

Wearing out really fast??

Brake pads were replaced as soon as I bought, new shocks, new alternator, fuel filter, clutch, and timing chain. In the last 40k miles. At 100k I did the timing chain ($75) and throwout bearing (decided to just to the whole clutch kit while I was in there) What I found when I took the old clutch off was about 50%. It was wearing normally for a 12 year old, 100k mile vehicle. Timing chain was purely preventative maintenance, I just know that's a weak point on this engine, (2.2 vortech).

So in 3 years, and 40k miles.
Shocks - $90
Rotors & Pads - $150
Alternator - $120
Clutch kit - $500
Fuel Filter - $50
Timing Chain -$75

Total $985

And it runs like new!

I would love to see and hear more about your guy's rigs that work for your business and why!
If you had a mechanic do that, the price would have doubled (at least), so you didn't account for your labor in that equation. Once you do, you're finding that you're putting about half or more of what you bought the truck for into maintenance. That's expensive to own as a percentage.

I ran under a Ford fleet account, so ended up with a lot of Fords. F250-F-350, most 4wd that did snow duty during the winter, so they are not comparable to your setup.

However, I did have trucks that were 2wd half ton setups meant for pulling tandem axle 16 foot trailers with a pair of riders. A standard cab, small block v-8 (the smallest, whatever that is/was is how I would buy all my 2wds, regardless of brand), automatic with vinyl floors and AC, newer generation silverados (I bought a few of these..they actually were much better performers for this duty than the Fords) would pull that load like nothing was there. Fuel mileage, 20-22, depending on the driver and the amount of hills in their particular route. Maintenance on a new truck, oil change, air filter, tires and maybe brake pads, once again, depending on the driver. Would run trucks to 150k, then swap them out.

Shop a block from the freeway, so many miles into routes were freeway miles. In this particular market, elevation changes can be 3000 feet during a route. Being pushed by a trailer is a definite reality.

I like small trucks for the other reasons I stated and still own my original Toy, which sits in my home garage, driven a few times per year.

Account not only for your current duties when you select a vehicle, but also what you plan to do with it as you grow. I'd hate to think that someone would turn down opportunities because they couldn't pull out a bigger trailer.
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:47 PM
minilawn minilawn is offline
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Location: CO
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Thanks for the input, I understand that's the industry model for many reasons. I'm just curious to see if others are finding success in a different way.

I sold my diesel to find that this little truck performs quite well for my humble business.
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Old 04-11-2013, 11:07 PM
accurate accurate is offline
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Location: South Florida, from Melbourne to Miami mostly coastal.
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Here is what we use, we started with the Nissan and now have the F350.
Trucks: 1999 F350, 7.3 ltr,cc,drw,lb,350k miles running on B-100 fuel for crew
1993 Nissan, single cab, shortbed, 4cyl., 266k miles, for parts and repair work.

Trailers: 2004 Featherlite 102"x 288" Enclosed tandem, fully loaded.
2003 Suncoast 102"x 216" open,tandem axle, our pallet/mulch hauler.
2009 All Pro 33yd tri axle 22.5k dump trailer.
1988 Fruehauf 72"x96" enclosed single axle.

The F350 is for the tandems and tri axle trailers.
The Nissan is for the little Fruehauf single axle.

All maintenance performed in our shop by me, just because its easier to do it right the first time.
All maintenance is based on hours and recorded.

Before you go out and spend alot of money on big trucks and trailers remember that if you can't be more efficient by doing so, don't spend the money.
I would rather drive our Nissan and tow my little Fruehauf any day.
Run that S-10 as your primary until it becomes inefficient due to your work load, not for the desire to keep up with the companies with the nice big shiny stuff.
Take care of your rig and keep it nice and clean.

Set money aside and try to buy whatever you need in cash, stay out of debt and run lean.
As you grow your business it will pay off.

An older landscaper said to me once that "The truck and trailer don't cut grass."
I thought it was funny at the time, but I understand it now.
Just my opinion, others may differ.
Good luck and work smart!
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