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Lawn Trucks - Is it really for the image?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Tn Lawn Man, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. Tn Lawn Man

    Tn Lawn Man LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 479

    I posted this in the general forum, but received no responses. I don't think as many people read that forum.

    Here is my question:

    I currently run crews that have trucks and trailers.

    So far all are full size 1500 model trucks with 14' to 16' trailers. The rigs are nice and appealing to the eye. They are professionally lettered/signed etc... The trucks are on average 3 to 4 years old.

    I have looked into buying landscape trucks. They look nice and professional. They give the image that you are a top notch company.


    However, here is the problem:

    The landscape rigs run about $25k to $35k fully outfitted. Whereas, the truck and open trailer rigs run about 1/2 the price or less.

    I have looked at the functionality of both rigs and cannot see a significant difference other than not having to maneuver a trailer and the ability to tow more stuff by putting your equipment on the bed of the landscape truck and towing a trailer of mulch. Yet, I rarely see that ever done.

    It seems to me that the true appeal of a landscape truck is image.

    Please tell me if I am wrong or what I may be missing.

    And, FYI, I am excluding from this discussion enclosed trailer rigs and box truck style rigs. They are a totally different issue to be discussed after this one.

    What do you all think?
  2. J Hisch

    J Hisch LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 952

    Several factor come into play.

    1. The NPR Isuzu last much longer than a pick up truck. 250,000-300,000 range and still has resale.

    2. Fuel economy is slightly better.

    3. Easier to maneuver, but you mentioned that.

    4. Yes, it has marketing ability. Meaning the appearance is more appealing to the eye.

    However it main advantage, is it much easier to park, maneuver in highly populated areas. and it longevity on the job.
  3. MTR

    MTR LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,280

    Down here, most of guys that have high-end, high-paying accounts are those who dress casual clothes and cheap working trucks, BUT their equipment are deadly high-end machine. It is not uncommon to see guy in a 94 4-banger ranger pulling 5x10 trailer with 52" Hustler Super mini, Toro/eXmark, or 52 Stander doing lawns in million dollar homes. It is about QUALITY that sells, you cut grass and pull weed, trim bushes not modelling or auto show...
    Rain, sun, heat, humidity all year, go ahead get 40k truck and you don't do good job on your lawn service, you ain't go be any different.
  4. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,278

    I think it's all about what is best for you. Me personally I couldn't have a truck that is only good for mowing. The NPR is almost useless for anything other than mowing. When the worrk week is done you can take a pick up or even a Dump/stake body anywhere and do anything. With a truck & trailer you can Plow snow, Cruise, take the family to the shore, haul mulch, and just have another vehicle you can take anywhere.
  5. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,544

    I have 2 straight trucks.

    Mitsubishi-Fuso landscape truck. It has a ramp, and the side folds down so I can accept pallets, etc. It holds 2 ztrs + push mower easy, or any number of other things.

    Parks in space of a car, esp if you back in and allow rear overhang to hang over grass.

    SO manueverable. No more trailer brakes/lights hassle. Easy on fuel. NOTHING HAS GONE WRONG WITH IT! Can tow, too,

    Also have 2004 C5500 encloesed crew cab. BIG truck, holds 2 ZTR + walk behind + push mower; seats 6, has "attic" over cab for bales of straw, spare tires, etc. Chevrolet junk so lots of little problems, but gets the job done. Not too convenient, but holds a lot of stuff. Can tow, too.

    I call it the "warehouse on wheels"
  6. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,913

    I believe in Image as a message to customers & public presence ... Yes

    I also think that one should be careful .... with cash or reserves ... until at-least year 5 before upgrading to new trucks

    I personally purchase used trucks ... in general good shape ... I don't think I will ever purchase a new truck fore work .... unless I'm in high 6 figures gross
  7. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,619

    If you got a fancy outfit then you will answer it is image, the customer thinks you are more professional,bla bla bla.

    If you got a pickup and trailer you say customer doesn't care as long as the yard looks nice, bla bla.

    So pick the bla bla bla that fits your current situation. :D :D
  8. premierlawncare

    premierlawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 91

    I was thinking and almost bought a fusu and new trailer for $45K. Then I made a list of the reasons to buy and list of the reasons not to buy. The list not to buy was huge.

    The top reason for me to buy was that maybe I could make more money cutting trees etc. by being more efficient with time.

    Currently when I cut small tree limbs, palms, and bushes, I bag or tie and leave on the curb.

    The top reason for not buying was the fact that $45 for a new dumptruck and trailer are going to add a huge debt load to my back. Currently I have ZERO debts and I like it very much.

    The goal is to make profit. Then save money and pay off debts if you have them. Pay off your house etc. And invest your money safely.

    I just bought clip and I think it was an awesome investment.

    The debtor is the slave to the lender.

    I agree with the guy above, old truck old trailer, new equipment.

  9. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,278

    Chevorlet doesn't make junk buddy...theres a few bad eggs in every batch
  10. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    In my opinion, the smart ways to go with landscape trucks are:

    *Enclosed landscape truck
    *Switch-body setup

    To me, while there is a lot of reasoning for using a landscape truck, I just don't see a lot of reasoning behind running an open one... and certainly not a lot of reasoning behind a single use open landscape truck.

    The other options just make more sense.

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