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Need opinions ASAP on a business question

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by pghlandscape, May 17, 2008.

  1. pghlandscape

    pghlandscape LawnSite Member
    from pgh,pa.
    Posts: 61

    Ok this is the deal i am tired of driving full size trucks to bid on work and im considering a 2007 2wd ford ranger 4cyl. (26-28 mpg)i would only be using this truck to bid work and run to local suppliers for small items.I have a car now 06 volvo s60 do you think it would be ok to bid work in a car or do you think the customer would rather see a pick-up the truck would be same color and lettered to the max like all my other trucks "it sells the construction image thing" i hope you understand what im trying to say here. do you think the customers would judge you by the vehicle. My company only does hardscape work walls, pavers, concrete.
  2. bullethead

    bullethead LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 273

    If you are going to put your company name/logo etc on the small truck. Then do that and drive it. You are doing nothing but creating more name recognition - which is always a good thing.

    If you have better things to spend your money on right now, then drive the Volvo - it's a nice reasonable car - I don't think your customer is going to say "Damn I wish he was driving truck - cuz dudes that drive trucks are real contractors and real macho"
  3. jkason

    jkason LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 548

    Why not get something thats really good on gas and just put a "graphic wrap" on it?
  4. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    I was explaining why a crew coming to a clients home once would be in their car . This was years ago, she said "I don't care if they are naked and on bycycles as long as it gets done". I think we are way more concerned about what we drive than the clients are.
  5. johnnie5

    johnnie5 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 29


    they dont care about anything but

    how much will it cost
    how good will the job be
    will you clean up after
  6. P.Services

    P.Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,322

    i dont agree, i would never drive a unmarked car to a bid. i think its a great fifst impression. i to am looking to get a little 5 banger canyon to be a run around truck. i also am thinking a smart car with a full body wrap would generate a little buzz.
  7. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 829

    If you have the money and want to get a small truck, it is great for your image and will look professional. It really depends on you and how big your business is. I have no problem driving my personal car. Most of the time I will just drive my entire rig to price jobs if I am out working. However, if I am not working or have finished work for the day, I will drive my personal car. I do not think customers will care either. If they do care about things that crazy, then I would probably be better off not working for them. They will probably be trouble.
  8. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    Super small hybrid or electric car wrapped completely. That would sell the green image that we all will be going towards in the next couple years. Otherwise you could show up with a tandem dump pulling a skid and mini ex just to prove you have the tools. Really though I dont think it matters as much as what you are wearing and how you speak.
  9. Mrs. H

    Mrs. H LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 708

    David usually takes our Van. Sure, its our personal vehicle, but we've got the company name and phone # on the side. We keep it clean and I've made sure no there are no bumper stickers and personal messages on it, except our front licence plate is from our church. I figure if we started stamping our political stands or weird jokes on the vehicle it would look unprofessional.
  10. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,669

    Do you need a new truck (i.e. are all the others going to be used for production) or do you think buying a new truck will save you gas?
    Compare the payments to monthly gas savings.
    If pickup gets 12 mpg and little ranger gets 28 mpg, and for sales/general purposes (non production) you drive say 1,000 miles a month, you save $250.00 on gas but pay $320 for new truck payments. It doesn't pan out.
    You would have to drive quite a bit for non production purposes to really "save money".
    Now think about how often you would be in that car or little truck and get a call from a crew asking you to pick up an extra pallet of stone. Oh heck can't do that in a volvo/ranger.
    I've seen alot of companies try the f150/ranger route and what happens? they end up beating them to death because some how they alwasy get "pressed into service".

    As far as image goes for clients, especially if you are like me and specialize in hardsacpes, water feaures and outdoor kitchens, I'd say show up like your are ready to do the work RIGHT NOW, IMMEDIATELY.

    Now if the "old truck" you are driving is going straight into production, and you are either going to buy anew 3/4 ton or larger, OR buy something for sales and run around ONLY? That's a different story.

    It all comes down to math, BUT realize once you buy that puddle jumper, you're commited and you can't run supplies or materials or tow etc.

    Larger pickup gives flexibility.

    Possibly consider chipping your existing rig, you can select different setting for fuel economy or power. You could possibly sneak 16-18 out of that 3/4 ton on the right setting

    On another note, when I used to work in southern utah, fully 50% of professional landscape companies ran toyotas, nissans or mitsubishi pickups.
    The reason being is because local supplies bring everything to your site.
    Irrigation pipe, rock, soil, plants, equipment etc. Trucks are used for men, tools and wheel barrows.
    The other 50% of the guys used 1 ton flat beds but they also seemed to be one truck only companies.
    The vendor support was so terrific all you needed was that little truck (or 5 or 10). I loved the freedom of not hauling a fully loaded Izusu NPR with a trailered machine everywhere I went. Especially since I was working on new construction, and there was hardly anywhere to park with all the other contractors.
    IF you live/work somewhere you can get that kind of unilateral vendor support? Go itty-bitty truckie.

    Personally, I plan on going with a used nissan pickup here soon (1994 or there abouts) slap on the company paint job (why pay for a new truck that never has the right paint shceme anyway) give it some tool boxes and a ladder rack and do the majority of sales and maintenance with that.
    But then again I travel up to 250 miles just for construction job sites, so Irrigation/water feature and patio crews could put on 100s of miles per day.

    My advice is look at new truck payments vs. fuel savings, in most cases I think you will find a loss of flexibility coupled with little or no actual monetary savings, just your money will go elsewhere instead of gas.

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