Appearence vs. Cost Efficiency

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Josh.S, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. Josh.S

    Josh.S LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,085

    I am considering getting a newer truck next year.. My deal is that I have that F150 in my picture, and it is a good truck but pulling 2 Dixie's on that trailer is just really hard on it...

    According to KBB the truck is worth $4,000. My truck has only 81k miles on it, has a transmission cooler installed, is well maintained, and has a F250 axle. Should I keep it or lug around the mowers with it for a couple more years?

    The real question is, if I buy a 3/4 ton truck, is it worth paying $14k (and going a few thousand in debt) and getting a newer model or buying a 1994-1997 Diesel 3/4 Ton and losing what would be alot of profit, but not going in debt.

    If you could get a dependable 3/4 ton diesel truck for $9,000, or buy a newer truck ( year > or = 1999 ) for $14,000 - $18,000 is it worth it?

    Is there a median for deciding the age of your equipment ? Buy used but not old? or Pick the cheapest thing out you can find cause the customer only cares about the job you do?

    I really think that I should get a bigger truck next year but I don't want to waist 1/2 year - 1 year of profits for it.

    Sorry if this post seems like a ramble...

    - Josh
  2. Lynden-Jeff

    Lynden-Jeff LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,405

    Personally looks mean a lot to me. I STRIVE to look professional. My friend runs is construction company out of a toyota tercel. That would bug the hell out of me. Personally its worth it for the newer truck. Better looks, less problems and who knows maybe it will bring you more work and you can pay off that debt quickly. Right now I have a Ram 1500 but next fall I will be leasing a 3500. I doubt Ill ever be purchasing anything less then a 2500 or 3500 again.

  3. firefightergw

    firefightergw LawnSite Gold Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 3,340

    I think looks are important too. However, I believe they are more important to me than our customers. Honestly, when I go out and buy the latest equipment it makes me feel good that I have been able to be successful enough in this business to do that. However, I truly believe that our customers could care less as long as we give them great service at a reasonable price.

    The question that I think we all need to ask ourselves before any purchase (especially purchases that are NOT ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY) is: "Am I going to be able to recoop the purchase price of this item simply by having it and putting it to use". IMHO I just don't see how buying a newer pickup will allow you to recoop that in revenue, simply for having it and putting it to use. Will you look more professional? Maybe but is the money spent on this item going to be realized in growth due to the purchase. I doubt it. You said this purchase would be about a half year of your profit. Do you think the purchase will somehow make that up? That is what you need to ask yourself.
  4. Waterscapes By Design

    Waterscapes By Design LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    Well I guess I'm pretty shallow as well when it comes to looks....But honestly, I kinda think that if that vehicle is working for you now, and you can get a couple more years out of it then maybe (if you can budget and save) open a new savings account or something and start putting a lil bit away for a year or 3 so when ya do beat that all up and are really in the market for one you wont take such a blow to the pocket....

    Plus, if your like a lot of people, when you get that lump sum built up in the bank you feel close and ya want to start putting more and more in there which is good...

    I also think that if you present yourself well to your customers, are well spoken, and can carry on a conversation, your customers are happy. I especially wouldnt worry about it if that is your work truck only and not your everyday car as well....
  5. Josh.S

    Josh.S LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,085

    Well it is my everyday car... but basically I'm at school and working all the time so I never really go anywhere on my own time.

    I think I should probably stick with the truck I have for next year and then look at buying an mid 1990's 3/4 ton diesel. I just don't like being looked down on for "cutting grass for a living" and if I had a nicer truck people would think of me as more than "the lawn boy".

    I appreciate all your advise

    - Josh
  6. bdoss123

    bdoss123 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 131

    I like your truck - beats the hell out of the Ranger, lol. I could understand being worried about appearance if and only if I thought I was loosing business due to the way the rig looks. Otherwise - who cares if someone looks down on you, as long as the checks keep rolling in?

    - BD

    PS: Wish you were in NC, I'd seriously consider the truck.
  7. Waterscapes By Design

    Waterscapes By Design LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    Well man, Im not too sure how it is up there, but down here a "lawn boy" can be making 60-90k no problem within about 2 years.....Thats more than a lot of other people make....

    Im not sure what youre taking in school, but maybe think about getting a few green industry certificates/licenses, or one in horticultre as well.
    Then when you advertise and meet these poeple and they see more credentials they will back off and take your word for most stuff, and then brag to other poeple about their "lawn boy" and how he isnt your average ordinary everyday type lawn boy...
  8. T.E.

    T.E. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 799

    This is just my Opinion, but here it none the less. I do try to look professional, that being said I don't think most of the customers care. They regard professional as the job they are paying for to be completed to their satisfaction. There are some that have great equipment, and do pathetic work, that is not professional.
    I personally have a 1991 3/4 ton dodge diesel. I paid 5500.00 for it (cash) I keep it clean, and in good shape. The end result my bottom line is bigger.
    I have a friend that has a 4 door dually he is still paying on and complains about his bottom line.
    One thing that seems to be a problem with contractors in any field. They seem to buy equipment they don't need, and try to justify their desire for more toys. JMHO
    Later, Tony

    P.S. If you can afford it, and want it, by all means buy it. Just be careful, and don't confuse wants with needs, and try to justify it. JMHO
  9. Josh.S

    Josh.S LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,085

    I guess this comes down to the fact that although I might need a bigger truck, an older (early-mid '90s) 3/4 ton diesel to pick up for $7-8k would do just as good as job as an early 2000's truck, but buying the older would bring up next years bottom line by a great % compared to buying new..

    Thanks for the compliment, the truck is a good truck, it will be look even better this winter when I take off the bed cover, line the bed, and put diamon d plate rails on it.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    For me, thou I'm all about the looks, cost efficiency usually wins.

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