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True cost to own my LCO...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Willofalltrades, Jan 4, 2007.

  1. newbomb

    newbomb LawnSite Senior Member
    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.
  2. Willofalltrades

    Willofalltrades LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,000

    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.
  3. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    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.
  4. Willofalltrades

    Willofalltrades LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,000

    Truck: (2007 Ford F250, xlt, reg.cab, 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.
  5. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062


    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.
  6. wowmowwow

    wowmowwow LawnSite Member
    Posts: 209

    i agree with gary...been mowing fer 5 yrs parttime..work 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 mowing....my 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
  7. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,913

    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 ...so that's 4 blades under that deck
  8. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,278

    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 Mechanic..lol), 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.
  9. jajwrigh

    jajwrigh LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Martinsville, IN
    Posts: 1,405

    Your best bet is to pay for as much as possible in cash...you would kill yourself trying to make all of those payments and also trying to turn a profit..
  10. Willofalltrades

    Willofalltrades LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,000

    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).

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