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Big, bad and expensive tow vehicles...why?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DennisF, May 23, 2005.

  1. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,381

    Every new mowing season I see more LCO's tugging a trailer half full of mowing equipment with bigger and more powerful tow vehicles. Now...I've been doing this for longer than I want to admit, but for the life of me I can't figure out why anyone needs more tow vehicle than is necessary.

    The LCO's that have been around for a while know what I'm talking about.

    I've been driving the same truck (only for my lawn care business) for the last 27 years and it has done the job flawlessly during that time. However, I'm seeing more of these new guys towing a 12-18 foot trailer containing nothing more than basic mowing equipment with a a $40,000+ truck. Big F-350 Super Duty trucks that are intended for towing with GVW's in the 15,000 pound and above range.

    Now for the record most of these guys are mowing lawns and nothing more. No landscaping or heavy hauling. Just mowing gear.

    What are they thinking? Why would you spend that much money on a tow vehicle to move 3-5 thousand pounds of lawn mowing equipment. Is this an ego thing, or just poor business management skills?

    The mowing equipment is not getting any heavier and the trailers are getting lighter. The prices for mowing services haven't increased and in fact have actually fallen in real dollar terms...so it can't be that they have more capital to invest.

    So my question is...why spend so much money on a vehicle to support a business that requires lighter and more efficient equipment?
  2. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    Have you seen the choices you can pick from? If you don't wamt an SUV then you need a truck and a base truck will cost 25k since a lot of guys use there work truck as a peronal vehical to tow there boats and campers etc. you move up in size and money. Also a newer vehical needs less repairs so you don't have that cash out put to worry about. And then theres the dependability factor, at 27 yrs old your truck will be eligable for historical plates in 3 yrs. And there is no way its as dependable as a new truck, Unless you spend a lot of time and money to keep it that way.
  3. MTR

    MTR LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,280

    I hear you Dennis, in fact I see every single day for what you said, spanking new F 350, 4 x 4 dually or 3500 HD 4 x4, and lately Dodge 4x4 Hemi pulling 6 x 12 trailer with a 42" Z and a 36" WB with the rest of 2 cycle stuff. The best part, they lowball a lot too, I have these guys with 30-40k truck trying to undercut some of my accounts, like I charge $90 a month, they want to do it for $75 or $ 80 like that.
    Well, big rig, huge gas bill, someone "has" to foot that bill, they must have to do something to compensate for operating costs. I don't get it driving that expensive truck and sit it all day out in the sun to depreciate ...
    I am happy with my 94 F 150 anyway, towing my eXmark and my boat..no worry...all paid for.
  4. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Nothing wrong with a 3/4 ton for the heavy duty parts, as well as extra pulling and stopping power.... especially if you live in an area like I do.

    Nothing wrong with a good dump if you haul a lot or pull tractors, skid steers, ect.

    But not for a small trailer load of mowing equipment....

    And certainly not a NEW truck.
    I just can't see that kind of money either.
    Not for a work truck.
  5. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,810

    Maybe.... Because it's their choice. Maybe they have great expectations?

    How do you know what they're doing 24/7?

    Why ask why? Are you really that concerned? Jealous?

    Who cares? :p
  6. Itsgottobegreen

    Itsgottobegreen LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,177

    My F-150 2wd is great for mowing. But my new 16 foot enclosed makes the gas gauge drop. But it pulls it just fine.

    I do need a F-350 diesel to haul my 1971 bobcat m600 (grandfather gave me a new toy, but I got to fix it first) or my soon to come Kubota B2910. Its more of weight tow issue to keep DOT happy.

    I love these guys with a $45,000 F-350 dually to two 2 lazers on a 18' trailer. My one buddy used a $16,000 F-150 V6 5 speed with two Lazers and a 14' trailer. Cost him a clutch so far.

    Another thing is every body thinks you have to have a F-350 diesel to put a plow on a truck so you don't tear up the truck. You really end up tearing up the plow. Only a blizzard 810 really needs a F-350. The rest can get by with a F-150 or F-250. Heck a cj5 jeep with a 6.5' plow is the best plow vehicle. Its only got a 4 banger.

    You really need 2 trucks. A work truck and then a personal truck. A white XL and a metallic paint lariat. So you don't trash a nice truck.
  7. Dashunde

    Dashunde LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 638

    My Big Ol' Quad Cab 4x4 HEMI came before my mower/trailer/lco. Bought new in 04.
    I'd maybe argue that several of us have had our trucks longer than our current crop of equipment.

    I have a friend out in Kansas City that is an lco... he has a Quad Cab 3500 Dually with the Cummins 5.9. To watch him pull his lawn trailer around with it you would think the same about him - over kill.
    If you saw him pulling his 30+' gooseneck with one enormous competition mud run truck AND an almost as big 900HP buggy you would think very differently about his vehicle choice.

    My point is that its foolish to think that these large trucks are ONLY used for lco work.

    And another thought...
    I'd bet almost anything that the 5.9 Cummins in that 3500 burns a helluva lot less fuel than any reasonably powerful 83 Chevy.
    I've personally seen it do 23mpg pulling the goose with the buggy on. (6-Speed)
  8. Todd's lawncare

    Todd's lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    from P.A
    Messages: 548

    Couldn't say it any better !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
  9. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Well, I figured this would go about as well as hitting a hornet's nest with a ball bat.
    But oh well...

    I still think DennisF was trying to make a good point though. I say to each his own. But I gotta laugh at the guy towing a belt drive Toro 44" with a 3/4 ton truck. His truck costs more than he clears a year no doubt.... I also gotta laugh at the yuppie who has the big truck that has never hauled or towed anything....

    Likewise, I sure some guy sees me on his way to the post office to mail his truck payment and laughs his azz off because my trailer and cargo is worth more than the tow vehicle.

    But I think this takes us back to the point DennisF was trying to make. My truck looks acceptable and does it's job without costing me $40K for something uneeded. The truck gets you from point A to point B.... It don't earn you squat! So why carry the extra overhead?
  10. ajmctree

    ajmctree LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    I know for myself i would want no other vehicle than a big truck except maybe a 67 to 69 camaro to drive around in . There is nothing you cant do with it and with the cost of fuel the diesel is also attractive .I use my 2005 f-350 cc dually diesel for our buisness .we have a 16 ft 16000lb hydraulic lift trailer that we use daily and i go shopping and take the kids to school and sports in it .
    For the amount of driving we do and the amount of large wild animals around my neck of the woods it also provides a large safty net in that not so rare instance that some hits one of these animals.
    Case in point, this is the may long weekend and some one in one of those small neons hit a very large moose just outside of town .Well that car had its roof crushed in and we pulled the doors and cut the rest of the roof off to get these people out . With the truck it would of just really banged up the front end.
    But as in everything in life you have your own reasons for doing what you do .

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