How many years should you plow with your truck?

Discussion in '<a href=http://www.plowsite.com target=_blank ?>Sn' started by AB Lawn Care, Feb 2, 2000.

  1. AB Lawn Care

    AB Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 585

    I i'm going to be buying a plow truck down the road some time from now and I am wondering how many years do you suggest I plow with a truck before I sell it.The truck I will be buying will be about 1990'ish becouse it will be our first plow truck and right now we don't have the money to buy a late model or new truck.Any suggestions?<br>Thanks!<p>from:Adam<br>AB Lawn Care <p>
     
  2. DaveO

    DaveO LawnSite Member
    Posts: 238

    Adam,<p> The year of the truck is not as important as the mechanical condition. I use an old (83) Ford that I rebuilt myself. I have kept this truck because the parts are cheap and I can repair anything on it. Of course not everyone has this option.<p>Do research on the trucks you are considering buying. Find out their weak points..i.e. GMC ball joints, Dodge trannys, Ford auto hubs etc..The newer the truck hopefully the less repairs needed, but not always. Can you do any repairs youself or with friends help? The worst possibility is breakin down during a BIG storm on your NEW accounts. I'm sure everyone on this forum keeps their trucks in good mech condition...they don't make $$$$ when they are broken. <br>Even new trucks break down....the warranty will cover it but, you still have the downtime during the storm.<p>Find a truck in your price range that is in GOOD mechanical condition, the brand is not important...everyone has their favorite. Make sure the drivetrain, suspension, brakes, and charging system are Ok. Fix the other little things later.<p>Dave
     
  3. jayman

    jayman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    alright AB, I'm hanging around this site b/c I have brain fog from being up all night scouting and dispatching here in London . . . after 14 years in grounds maintenance business, I can say you can't afford a used truck! They are way more expensive than new! that's right, they're cheaper if all you count is the intial cost, but if you add up all true costs and benefits, and count the grief of an older truck, tons of lost business b/c of unhappy clients, poor performance, complete unreliability (remember, even the smallest problems like alternator and ww motor wiping out will STOP you from finishing your plow run for at least 3 hrs.!!), then used costs WAY more. Do you want to be a pseudo-mechanic or a professional grounds maintenance person? Then leave the constant mechanical tweaking and fiddling to qualified mechanics, and focus on your profession. A new truck has easy financing, and is almost as liquid as cash, so if times are tough and plowing does not work out, sell it! Want to be a pro and learn from pros, join SIMA and Landscape Ontario.
     
  4. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,412

    If you are going after larger commercial (dollar-wise) accounts Id go new, actually my truck which I bought new is now five years old and I think its time to replace it. Only 52k but starting to show the effects of plowing, mostly rust-related problems due to being out when the salt is still on the roads. Next time, Ill lease a plow truck for a 3 year lease. One break down that sidelines you for a storm and your accounts are history. Whatever you do to lower the chances will help you survive financially.<p>Bill
     
  5. GeoffDiamond

    GeoffDiamond LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 1,651

    Buy a new truck, it's even more important to buy a new one if it's your only one. Yes i just bought a used truck the first one in about 10 years. That truck has a small plow route, and is a back up truck. Other than that it doesn't leave the yard. That 93 F 250 HD is on chuck's web page. All my other trucks are 95 or newer, i keep a truck about 6 years and trade it in. Thats my advice.<p>Geoff
     
  6. Woodman

    Woodman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Unlike most participants, my livelihood is not snow removal, but I wanted to put in my &quot;2 cents&quot; since I have an older truck ('84 F250 w/ 8' Fisher). I only plow the driveway to get to work.<p>Older trucks are somewhat easier to repair and parts are a bit cheaper, if you are mechanically (& electrically) inclined. If you are able to find a truck a few years old from a reputable seller who has focused on PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE, then its worth considering, but otherwise I'd be inclined to avoid a used truck for professional purposes.<p>Definitely focus on PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE when you purchase whether the truck is new or used. If you've gone thru Chuck's site you've got a good idea of what's NECESSARY for plowing in addition to scheduled maintenance on the truck.<p>The only other point I'll make is about reliability - if you are starting in the snow plowing profession, I would strongly urge you to make arrangements with other professionals (either a &quot;buddy system&quot; or a subcontractor on call, 2nd truck in the shop, Chuck's brother?, etc). <p>Even with a new truck, stuff happens:<p> You're plowing poorly marked driveway at night, 1st heavy snow, you're off the driveway and stuck then what?<p> A two dollar hydraulic fitting cracks, yeah you can fix it, if you remembered to bring an easy-out in the truck because it cracked at the surface of hydraulic cylinder and you can't get those vise grips on it and Chuck's list didn't have easy-outs:&gt;)....<p> A fuel pump dies when you're in front of your customer's garage door (or his loading dock)? <p>The list goes on ... if you're in it for long term, the reliability is key, through good equipment (new or used), and solid relationships with other pros as needed (and plow dealership for that matter) to help you out when the unexpected happens - AND IT WILL HAPPEN.<p>Keep plowin' - you guys earn your $$$.<p>Woodman <br>
     
  7. AB Lawn Care

    AB Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 585

    We would only be using the plow truck for residential driveways.If that is the case would any of you change your statements?When using a truck for driveways only,does this reduce the wear and tear comapared to useing it for commercial use?<p>from:Adam<br>AB Lawn Care
     
  8. GeoffDiamond

    GeoffDiamond LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 1,651

    I think plowing driveways is harder on a truck then plowing lots. When you plow a driveway often times you are in tight areas, short runs. So you shift more, break more and hit piles harder to stack higher, it is harder to bring a loader to residental than commercial. At commercial you have long runs, most of the time open areas, and you can always use a loader to stack higher. I found my private road truck had the least wear and tear. It always went one direction forward and never hit many piles.<p>Geoff
     
  9. crew

    crew LawnSite Member
    Posts: 163

    IF you can afford new,do it.Ibought equipment and accounts.This my first year plowwing.I thought i was dilligent in my inspection of both trucks (f-250's)before i purchased.i have been spending 1000.00 a month on repairs and would be doing alot better if the @$#@ing trucks were not killing me.trans rebuild,2 new alts,power steering pumps,brakes ,etc.These trucks take a beating and from my rookie point of view,its somewhat amazing they hold up as well as they do. But MAN what i would do for some warranties.
     
  10. DaveO

    DaveO LawnSite Member
    Posts: 238

    Adam,<p>I would have to agree with Woodman and others on buying a NEW truck. If my main income over the winter months was from snow removal I would be using primarily new trucks. Maybe a used backup like Geoff said.<p>Since this is not my case I get by with a used vehicle which requires more maintenance. I have had brake/alt problems this season...but luckily before the snow came down. And fixed them quick...<p>Of course this all depends on YOUR budget. How much $$$ can you take in on a normal storm....enough to warrant a new truck? Myself the answere is no....although I still plan on buying a new one down the road. <p>If you have the accounts/or budget to buy a new truck I think you are better off. If you are starting out building up the biz and can't afford the new vehicle buy the best you can with your $$$$. I would probably stay AWAY from a used plow truck unless you know it's history....Just my 10 cents <p><br>Dave<br>
     

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