Does anyone else use a small truck for route work?

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by minilawn, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. minilawn

    minilawn LawnSite Member
    from CO
    Messages: 65

    Nice rigs! I like your set up. Hot roddin' without the trailer:cool2:

    19mpg in a 5cyl colorado? How's the maintenance?
  2. minilawn

    minilawn LawnSite Member
    from CO
    Messages: 65

    Anyone else want to share pics of their rigs? Pros/Cons?
  3. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,570

    19 to 20 in the summer with my 05 F150. 16 to 17 in the winter. My 05 has a 4.2 V6. I like the S10's, Frontiers, Tacoma's and the Ranger. If you're careful and you don't overload it, yes it can be economical and trouble free.
  4. minilawn

    minilawn LawnSite Member
    from CO
    Messages: 65

    lindblom -

    Are you getting that mpg towing in town?
  5. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Messages: 866

    If you had a mechanic do that, the price would have doubled (at least), so you didn't account for your labor in that equation. Once you do, you're finding that you're putting about half or more of what you bought the truck for into maintenance. That's expensive to own as a percentage.

    I ran under a Ford fleet account, so ended up with a lot of Fords. F250-F-350, most 4wd that did snow duty during the winter, so they are not comparable to your setup.

    However, I did have trucks that were 2wd half ton setups meant for pulling tandem axle 16 foot trailers with a pair of riders. A standard cab, small block v-8 (the smallest, whatever that is/was is how I would buy all my 2wds, regardless of brand), automatic with vinyl floors and AC, newer generation silverados (I bought a few of these..they actually were much better performers for this duty than the Fords) would pull that load like nothing was there. Fuel mileage, 20-22, depending on the driver and the amount of hills in their particular route. Maintenance on a new truck, oil change, air filter, tires and maybe brake pads, once again, depending on the driver. Would run trucks to 150k, then swap them out.

    Shop a block from the freeway, so many miles into routes were freeway miles. In this particular market, elevation changes can be 3000 feet during a route. Being pushed by a trailer is a definite reality.

    I like small trucks for the other reasons I stated and still own my original Toy, which sits in my home garage, driven a few times per year.

    Account not only for your current duties when you select a vehicle, but also what you plan to do with it as you grow. I'd hate to think that someone would turn down opportunities because they couldn't pull out a bigger trailer.
  6. minilawn

    minilawn LawnSite Member
    from CO
    Messages: 65

    Thanks for the input, I understand that's the industry model for many reasons. I'm just curious to see if others are finding success in a different way.

    I sold my diesel to find that this little truck performs quite well for my humble business.
  7. kawakx125

    kawakx125 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,130

    i'd be scared to death pulling 2000 lbs with a truck that only weighs 3000. i drove a 2.2 s10 back in high school and can't imagine towing with the thing, it was SLOW.
  8. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,570

    Both. I live outside of town, so I am on the highway before getting anywhere.
    the capacity of an S10 with a 2.2 and manual transmission was 3500 pounds. Trailer brakes would be a wise investment.

    There is no reason to us a 3/4 ton or 1 ton to pull a 12 foot trailer with two walk-behind mowers.
  9. Here is what we use, we started with the Nissan and now have the F350.
    Trucks: 1999 F350, 7.3 ltr,cc,drw,lb,350k miles running on B-100 fuel for crew
    1993 Nissan, single cab, shortbed, 4cyl., 266k miles, for parts and repair work.

    Trailers: 2004 Featherlite 102"x 288" Enclosed tandem, fully loaded.
    2003 Suncoast 102"x 216" open,tandem axle, our pallet/mulch hauler.
    2009 All Pro 33yd tri axle 22.5k dump trailer.
    1988 Fruehauf 72"x96" enclosed single axle.

    The F350 is for the tandems and tri axle trailers.
    The Nissan is for the little Fruehauf single axle.

    All maintenance performed in our shop by me, just because its easier to do it right the first time.
    All maintenance is based on hours and recorded.

    Before you go out and spend alot of money on big trucks and trailers remember that if you can't be more efficient by doing so, don't spend the money.
    I would rather drive our Nissan and tow my little Fruehauf any day.
    Run that S-10 as your primary until it becomes inefficient due to your work load, not for the desire to keep up with the companies with the nice big shiny stuff.
    Take care of your rig and keep it nice and clean.

    Set money aside and try to buy whatever you need in cash, stay out of debt and run lean.
    As you grow your business it will pay off.

    An older landscaper said to me once that "The truck and trailer don't cut grass."
    I thought it was funny at the time, but I understand it now.
    Just my opinion, others may differ.
    Good luck and work smart!
  10. Chris_NC06

    Chris_NC06 LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Sanford, NC
    Messages: 6,825

    I agree with this to a point, but at the same time if you don't have a safe reliable truck to pull your equipment around you ain't going to be cutting any grass either.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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