Advanced Search

The Green Industry's Resource Center

Thread Tools   Display Modes
Old 01-04-2007, 03:58 PM
newbomb's Avatar
newbomb newbomb is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Baltimore Md.
Posts: 391
The fancy new truck is a reward for hard work and sucess, and sometimes its not worth it anyway. Buy what you need not what you want. I learned this the hard way too.
Be brave, be strong and most of all be proud you are a lawn mower.
1988 Ford F250
6 x 12 open trailer
Toro 48" w/b
Exmark 36" w/b
Snapper 36" w/b
Toro 21" SP mower.
Echo blowers and trimmers
Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2007, 07:02 PM
Willofalltrades's Avatar
Willofalltrades Willofalltrades is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 1,000
Originally Posted by freddyc View Post
I think you're heading in the absolute wrong direction.

You need to determine a couple things before you do what you're doing on the financial analysis side.

The first thing you need to do, is figure what kind of business you're doing---that alone will dictate your equipment, and thus your cost. Are you only mowing or when the next shiny truck pulls by are you gonna decide you want to start mulch, snow removal, whatever. Without this understanding (at least a starting point--called a business plan) just go to Burger King and ask for the paper hat job. You WILL buy the wrong equipment unless you do the best you can to determine your needs.

The second problem is that the mentality of I need a huge truck, and all new stuff will put you in the poorhouse quicker than a cat can climb a tree. Without business (read customers) you're gonna need marketing and lots of it. Word of mouth is best but you need to get your name out're not going to get any business by just riding around with your new truck hoping someone flags you down.
These guys are all right---buy what you need, learn to budget your earnings and the true cost of your business will fall out. Remember one thing if nothing else..... you can't plan for everything and its you're fallback that will eventually save your azz.


Buy an older decent used truck....but first, figure out how far you're driving. You don't get paid to ride around. Forget the F350 and forget the diesel. You don't need a big block to tow a 6 x 12' trailer, and its a waste of money. Just get something w/decent paint so you don't look like sanford and son.

Get the best commercial equipment you can--new or used. Dont go buying a 60" mower if the only customers you have are on 2000 ft lots. Good used commercial equipment will save you a ton and work well for a long time w/ decent maintenance. Look in the want ads for some stuff---theres a million guys who thought they knew last year and realize they didnt this year. There are REALLY good deals this time of year in the used market...most stuff barely used. You just have to beat the rest of the lawnsite members to it! Good luck, they're fast!

Because you're new, reserve some mentality and financial support for growth into other areas (if you plan on more than mowing). THIS IS DIRECTLY RELATED TO YOUR BUSINESS PLAN! In short, you aren't loading a lot of soil or pavers on a 6 x 12 open might want a small dump someday or maybe a trenching machine if you get into irrigation. Keep an open mind here----and remember, you can't do it all right away.

And last, sorry, but your numbers are whacked. You're way too high in a lot of areas--being conservative is good, but try to hit it within 20% of actual if you can.... example... $1500 annual for a trailer....are you buying a new trailer every year????

Try to get a tight route, buy a used F150 or equiv., a decent trailer--used is OK too. Get the best mower, blower, and trimmer you can, and then figure out a good marketing campaign. And remember, some guys made out OK using only aRanger and a 21" mower. You're not Donald Trump...........yet!
My business is lawn and landscape Maintenance. Snow plowing is in the future. If not next winter then the winter after (I may do what i am doing now, driving a skid steer with a 9' blade). My business plan is only 3 pages and could use an update although I am now prepairing a advertising plan which will probably be longer lol. I know I need to get my name out and thats been my focus for the last month (since it hasn't snowed a flake). I plan to do serveral inserts in the paper as well as flyers in the paper box in the developments I specifically want customers in.
All my equipment has been bought used. The 52" deck or Wright Stander would have been my first new piece of equipment. As far as used trucks go, even though I said I was open to buying one I have been scared by the last lemon I bought. That was a 1988 ford ranger by the way.
My point, and I appreciate your advice, is that I am on the path that you have suggested in your post. I am just figuring my costs so that, unlike this previous year, I have no suprise costs or exceding costs.
I will admit it was dumb of me to buy my Walker last april. Then again I would have never made it this year if it hadn't gotten me so many customers.
I'll Be back later tonight.
Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2007, 09:08 PM
LawnTamer's Avatar
LawnTamer LawnTamer is offline
LawnSite Gold Member
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 3,988
Don't be too put off by your last experience- I have bought 1 Lemon in my life too. '90 ford ranger what a piece of junk- had the 2.9 liter V-6. Both heads cracked, I tried to find ones I could rebuild, searched by phone and internet over the entire west and found hundreds of heads ALL CRACKED. If you have your heart set on Ford, get a full sized with a 5.0 or a 5.8 ltr. If you're gonna plow you'll need at least an F250, I still prefer the 5.8 as the big 460 sucks fuel like there's a hole in the gas tank. It is hard to go wrong with a Chev, the 5.7ltr was made for decades and is very reliable, many 2500 series trucks have the 5.7 ltr and the 700R4 tranny, that's a good combo, or better yet get a manual tranny.
Check out my channel
Turftech channel

"Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of arms." - Aristotle
Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2007, 09:30 PM
Willofalltrades's Avatar
Willofalltrades Willofalltrades is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 1,000
Monthly expenses... Revised

Truck: (2007 Ford F250, xlt,, 4x4, 5.4L, auto)
fuel:$300 (30 gal. a week, $2.50 a gal., 4 weeks)
Maintenance: $50
Wear and Tear: $190 (brakes, frontend parts, tires added together then divided by 24 months)

Payment: $400
Fuel: $150
blades: $50
Maintenance: $150 (thats everything the walker may need over the next two years divided by 24 months)

Trailer: $38 (tires, paint, lights)

Fuel: $30 (2 gal a week, $3.50 a gal, 4 weeks)
plugs and air filter: $55
Trimmer string and edger blades: $10

Loan for a 52" deck and the 2-strokes: $205 (over 24 months)
advertising loan: $460 ($5400 divided by 12 months)
Insurance: $350
Total: $3038 a month.
Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2007, 09:42 PM
Envy Lawn Service's Avatar
Envy Lawn Service Envy Lawn Service is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 11,055

Really good thread because when it comes right down to it....
The reality of TRUE numbers hurts just a little.

It's good to feel this sting and see the reality in advance.

"If you place a low value upon yourself, rest assured..... the world will not raise your price."

"The bitterness of poor quality lingers on long after the sweetness of cheap price is forgotten"
Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2007, 09:50 PM
wowmowwow's Avatar
wowmowwow wowmowwow is offline
LawnSite Member
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Tobaccoville NC
Posts: 209
i agree with gary...been mowing fer 5 yrs your way up or plung in head first? ive worked my way up a little at time...well besides in 2006, but ive earned it. and my v6 longbed pulls my stuff great..i get there... a truck that big would be nice but if i could afford it... but then if i could afford it why would i be first setup was a dodge d50, 1984, and a used 36", no trailor. i loved to park close to the nice rigs like the f350s
2006 F-150 V6 longbed
2006 16' trailor, spring assist gate
2006 exmark 56"
2002 exmark 48" walkbehind with velkiex2 -belt drive
2000 exmark 36" walkbehind with velkiex2 -belt drive
classen split drive ta-25 plugger
echo srm230 trimmer
echo srm260 trimmer
echo pb403 blower
stihl ms-250 saw
im on my third scotts spreader
1 big earthway spreader
Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2007, 10:28 PM
Fantasy Lawns's Avatar
Fantasy Lawns Fantasy Lawns is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Space Coast
Posts: 1,914
I'm with everyone in buying a used truck ....

BY God please purchase your own blade grinder n save that $$ .... oh n the Walker runs a double set up that's 4 blades under that deck

" Think I'll Come Back Here ....... From
Time to Time ...... Every Now n' Then

Fantasy Lawns. Com
Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2007, 11:18 PM
Jpocket's Avatar
Jpocket Jpocket is offline
LawnSite Silver Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: DEL-MAR-VA
Posts: 2,277
Originally Posted by topsites View Post
Yes, I agree, a new truck looks nice...
But sitting down in those nice cloth seats all covered in dirt and sweat, and putting your grass covered shoes on that nice clean carpet...
And when the fancy stuff breaks, it costs a lot or you do without, which on an older (or more basic) truck you don't have that crap.
I mean, do you know how to recharge 134A refrigerant?
I do, but it still costs money, I just spent $100 on 134A (just the freon, you still need gauges and hoses)...

Now my '86 D-250 didn't have carpet, see?
And you could clean the interior with a hose and soap and water, then let it air out for a day in the heat.
Well it didn't matter, it didn't have all those fancy electronics, nothing could or would fry.
That was my 2nd truck, lasted me 4 years, I paid $1,400 cash for it, and other than the usual maintenance, cost me around $500 / year in sudden expenses (like broken fuel pump type of crap). Cauz when a truck breaks down, you usually got the trailer hooked (think about the implications here).

And I only had the bare minimum liability insurance on it.

All that saved me money, which not to break anyone's bubble, but I can't afford anything newer than a '95 myself.
Which i just bought one (yes yes, pics later), paid $2500 for it, paid for it cash.
Had to save for it, and I looked for about a year, just kept looking and looking, must've passed up 100's of other trucks.
It's not that special, it's in fair shape, but the price and the truck was right.
And once again, minimum liability insurance and no payments.
The ONLY thing that has payments is the Z because I got 0% Apr, but I had the money at the time, could've paid for it.
At least for me, that's the way to do it.
Topsites has the best advise here, I mayself run this way, but on a larger scale. It's called runnning "LEAN & MEAN" you maximize your profits this way, and youcan sleep at night. Personally I operate this way b/c I choose to, not b/c I have to. I bought a brand new truck last year, as my daily driver. It does not tow mowers. I pull mowers with a fleet of old Chevys all in the 80's.

Those trucks don't cost me a dime most months, except for fuel & Insurance. ONE of the payments on that F-350 is less than what I spend on maintenance for the WHOLE YEAR.

By no means am I saying go buy a Rusty 76' chevy (you gotta be a good, just buy a relilable capable truck that you can realistically afford. If you have to buy a new mower only buy ONE. In my experience the only thing that is necessary to buy new is mowers and Two cycle equipment.

Chevy trucks, Exmark Lazers, enclosed trailers.
Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2007, 11:22 PM
jajwrigh jajwrigh is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 1,404
Your best bet is to pay for as much as possible in would kill yourself trying to make all of those payments and also trying to turn a profit..
Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2007, 11:24 PM
Willofalltrades's Avatar
Willofalltrades Willofalltrades is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 1,000
Originally Posted by Fantasy Lawns View Post
I'm with everyone in buying a used truck ....

BY God please purchase your own blade grinder n save that $$ .... oh n the Walker runs a double set up that's 4 blades under that deck
Not a bad Idea to get a blade grinder. Is there a set-up you would recommend? My angle grinder got me by this year... not pleased at all. Thats why I thought of just taking them some where, they do a better job. The 52" MULCH deck runs doubles. I would get the side discharge version which is a simple 3. I demoed the mulch deck this summer and was not pleased. Took the mulch kit off and I was.

Now understand that I have my business already. I'm looking to grow not start. I used a Ford Escape and a 6x12 trailer this spring and before that a 1988 Ford Ranger (the one that fell apart) and the 6x12. I have to get my own vehicle now because I'm 18 and its time to break away from the family loaner. Time to grow up. If I have to so does my business to support me. I will advertise to my target market and I will get my required customers to pay the bills and get some spending/saving cash. If not, well no there is no if not, I'm determined. Oh no equipment will be bought untill I am positive it will be paid for every month (meaning I'm not going to buy the truck with my 10 signed contracts).
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Layout Style:

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©1998 - 2012, LawnSite.comô - Grand View Media
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:51 PM.

Page generated in 0.11830 seconds with 9 queries