1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Not to worry. Check out the archived thread of the Q&A with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, and the LawnSite community in the Franchising forum .

    Dismiss Notice

Landscape Maintenance: Cube Van (Box Truck) or Enclosed trailer

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by BeautifulBlooms, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. BeautifulBlooms

    BeautifulBlooms LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 613

    I am looking for some input here. We are primarily a landscape maintenance company, and I thought it sure would be nice to have all the tools I need on a daily visit in my truck. the only way to do so without having to load and unload (WASTED TIME AND MONEY) would be to buy either a Cube Van (like a UPS truck) or an enclosed trailer.

    We do not have any dump trucks yet and that is the main reason I would shy away from the enclosed trailer. If we needed the ability to dump we lost that capability. However if we used our cube van, we could always tow around our dump trailer on occassion.

    Any ideas here guys?
  2. Lynden-Jeff

    Lynden-Jeff LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,405

    If you need to dump with an enclosed trailer just unhook it. Personally I don't see the need to dump while doing maintenance except at the end of the day, and pulling around a dump trailer with a cube van is a huge PIA.
  3. BeautifulBlooms

    BeautifulBlooms LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 613

    I dont have the ability to dump because none of our trucks have the dump box on them. We may buy one but because we are primarily maintenance we just dont do a lot of soil or stone deliveries where it is worthwhile, thats why we bought the dump trailer for specifically delivering those heavy loads.

    But I suppose our maintenance routes dont usually generate that much debris except in the fall cleanup season. For that seasonw e may have to dedicate our dump trailer to the cleanup part, where the truck and trailer could just do all of the consolidating of the piles in a location for the debris cleanup trailer.
  4. Lynden-Jeff

    Lynden-Jeff LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,405

    You just answered your own question, enclosed trailer!
  5. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    I am a firm believer in enclosed trailers. If the truck breaks down besides getting another truck to use you have to transfer equipment. Then you are less efficient because the set up is all different and sure as anything the one item you never use and decided to leave on the truck during repair will be needed. Box trucks sit up much higher and that will wear on the crew getting in and out. Trailers are cheap compared to a truck.

    I have had the same trailer for 3 years now 8.5' X 16' enclosed and have gone from a 1/2 ton ford (could barely pull the trailer), to a 3/4 ton HD Chevy, (pulled good-bad mileage) and only single cab. To a 3/4 ton Dodge diesel crew cab, (great rig). To my current truck a 14' UD cab over dump truck. This is the truck I always thought I wanted and now I can afford it. We haul a lot of debris throughout the year we also have to bag all of our lawn clippings so a truck to haul debris is a must. I think our service is very similar to yours, full service maintenance only. We will do enhancement work for our existing clients but no full on renovations or new installs any more.

    The only reason I would consider using a box truck is if it was big enough to put a 3-4 yd dumpster inside so when it was full I could leave it and pick up another and have W/M come and dump the first one. I checked into it but we haul way too much debris. I spent over 3-K in dump fees last year and that did not include the time to transfer it from my pick up to the 40 yd roll off we had at the yard.
  6. barefeetny

    barefeetny LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 533

    quite happy with my box truck and it was cheaper then trading in my DD tacoma and buying a truck and enclosed trailer.

    the height never seemed to be an issue

    my only problem is don't spill gas in the box if its connected to the cab like mine. that and building the ramps was a pita
  7. lyube

    lyube LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,598


    Check around with the rental companies to pick up a used, low mileage box truck. You can get them for anywhere from 5-15k depending on year/ condition. Repaint the outside with your lettering and you are good to go. Be sure to get one that's been maintained and doesn't show obvious signs of abuse. FWIW, we have two rental trucks, both v8 tritons, e350s. Oldest one is a 97 with 200k, original engine, no oil changes in the past 15k miles, burns 1 qt a week...of cheap dolgen SAE30...other is a 2002 e350 with the triton...runs great.
  8. barefeetny

    barefeetny LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 533

    and do dicker with u haul

    they will accept much lower then is on the windsheild

    the old 350 88-89 90 fords with the non pwerstrokes can be had for 1500-3500 $ all day long

    Check the maintenance records, the steering play, tire wear and slop in the driveline.
    Alot of the shops are finding any reason to get the old machines that need some maintenance. I almost bought one with a bad alternator that had a wire cut

  9. proenterprises

    proenterprises LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,297

    Sorry to bring up an old thread, but this is a very good idea. I have a 12' box truck and love it. I picked it up last year from a rental company, the truck was formerly owned by Rent-a-Center. I ended up paying a little higher than normal because mine is an f350, not an e350. It is the truck chasis with the box on the back, 12' box, and came with a tommy gate. Bought it as a 1999, 57k miles, paid $9,000.00. Drove it a year, only 2 minor problems-1 broken brake line, 1 bad tranny solenoid. Lettering for $400.00, painted the box myself (100.00 maybe?) Never load/unload, just park it and forget about it.

    Bottom line, it is a great investment. My advice though-get a 14' or 16' one, I wish I had a little more space at times!
  10. egre

    egre LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    Just bought 2001 gmc 12ft box (old rent a center truck) w/ Tommy gate. Question-I need to extend the gate by 2 ft. or so. Any reccomendations? How difficult to do it myself?

Share This Page