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Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by TPendagast, May 3, 2014.

  1. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,966

    Several tractor trailers.
    Thats Sunshine, not Sunrise, lol.
    Not the wrong Website.
    Consulting, not owning.

    One of those trucks got sold about 5 weeks ago, another one is on it's way as well. Not sure what the story on the third one is yet.
    Pretty much (and this has been my opinion for a while) the big trucks weren't making any money, just churning dollars over.

    So many trucking outfits in town, either big trucking companies, or construction companies.
    That's what I've been saying, can just get your equipment/materials dropped off, no real need to DIY.
    Similar situation in Utah… soo many landscapers just have nissan frontiers ( I call them wheel barrow carriers)…everything else just shows up to the job site.

    But that's kinda the point of my post.
    Hard to sell off something you honestly don't need and isn't making much money per se. Because you got this weird feeling you might need it.
    Brain says "numbers don't lie, get rid of it"
    Gut says "hold on tight, you've always had it, keep it! You might need it"
    even tho…. you;re not making money with it.

    It's hard for him to let the big rigs go.
    Years ago, you couldn't do business with out the big rigs. Because you couldn't sub, everyone was booked. So you had to get your own.
    But now things are becoming saturated and it's dang hard to find drivers to man the CDL trucks in the first place.
    Especially since the full time trucking outfits pay better and have more miles.
    In a landscaping company, you might expect the driver to also run a loader, or maybe run a F450 with a gooseneck (also reacquires a CDL A)
    But they don't WANT to do that, they just want to sit in the big cab all day.
    And with so many big trucking outfits, they can…the jobs are out there.

    The flip side of that now is, you can call anyone you want to haul your materials or equipment for you, for darn near what you could haul it yourself.
    Especially when you factor in the issue of management time.

    Old habits die hard tho…. "what if" things get stupid busy, or companies go under and I can't get trucking anymore, and I sold my trucks??

    That's the mental wrestling match.
  2. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Messages: 5,280

    I agree with you. I have a honda del sol that gets 30-33 mpg and it sits lower than my waist. I call BS on most things but it is a 3.0 v6 diesel. It is not like those who have claimed such things from engines twice as big. It puts out 220ish hp and 400 ft lbs. Thats the same ratings as my 6.5 diesel with an engine half as small. The original 5.9 cummins had that rating. If you are interested take a look at this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNnMlHfeZso
  3. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,966

    IF I wanted a single cab pickup that got killer gas mileage and had decent towing capacity…maybe that's the ticket.

    I'll certainly keep it in mind when consulting with clients about fleet matters, especially lawn maintenance fleets.

    But Im usually one of those guys that advocates buying used trucks.
    Several many reasons i don't need to list there.
    But the top two are; depreciation, and what can it REALLY do?

    My snow machines are well known for costing more than my truck.
    So are my mowers, and of course…it's not hard to get a skid steer to cost more than a truck!:laugh:

    Ive been looking at/Stalking a chevy avalanche for some time (at least two years)
    and for various reasons have held off buying one.
    one of the main reasons is the engine choices, I just couldn't get used to the "tiny" 5.3…have never really been fond of the 6.0 and the 8.1…I had those engines in 4500s before… what a gas-a-holic.
    Despite that, i came crazy close to buying a 2500 avalanche with the 8.1 in it.
    Instead chose the toyota tundra with a 5.7.
    You know why?
    Because of the fuel mileage Toyota claimed it would get.
    Thats the second time Toyota has lied badly on it's terrible gas mileage, and the second time I bit.
    You know what? I love the Tundra, so does my wife… because she stole it.
    But It averages 12 mpg.
    You know what I would have gotten out of that 8.1 with out towing?
    LOVe LOVE LoVe the truck tho. (when I can wrestle it from my wifes icy clutches)

    Recently I've had the pleasure to spend a month or a little more in a chevy 5.3 pickup.
    this pick up is essentially in every way, an avalanche 1500 from the drivers seat forward.
    When I got into it (it has 80k on the Odo) the computer said it was getting an average of 18 mpg,
    BS I said. So I hit the reset not he computer.
    In the last month, I have personally witnessed 17 mpg, and that's what the computer said.
    a lot of highway commuting, but the driver before me I think was doing long country road driving at under 60, so might actually have gotten the 18 mpg the computer said he was getting.
    Amazing for a v8 pickup.

    I was worried about the power, being that this is technically a small block V8.
    Does it have the power of the power stroke :laugh::hammerhead::dizzy:
    but very sufficient for my needs.
    I could probably hook the back of this truck to my wife's toyota and pull out the chevys spine like Bumble bee deboning a decepticon.
    But again, the truck is more than sufficient for my needs,
    You have to get crazy heavy into the pedal before you actually get a "punch it" feel to the acceleration, which is probably a good thing.
    but it will get up and go if you mash it, although as previously mentioned, nothing like the 'yota or the 'stroker.
    IF I lift like I want to ( I can't stand riding around like luke skywalker in a land speeder which seems to be chevy's default ride height) It will likely get 15 mpg… just like my jeep and my ford.
    Which is acceptable, not great, just acceptable.

    The rig I want is about 10 grand.
    lift, timbrens and tires for about 4 grand
    and a possible wrap for the truck at 3400.
    Puts the truck at 17400.

    Sell the Ford and the jeep for a combined 13k. Puts me at 4,400 out of pocket, and only 1400 out of pocket if I forget the wrap.
    (im a big fan of truck side advertising… I have my snow machine wrapped with company advertisement on it…. it's amusing how many calls I get off a snow machine someone saw out in the bush (about 3 or 4 a year)

    So for 1400 bucks I can thin out some space and cut a vehicle off the insurance (which will probably save me around $50 a month)
    but more importantly give me a rig to do almost everything I do, in one full year..all with one rig.

    The big draw backs… light duty vehicle (although not as light as a mini van) and no plow (although I coooould put one on there) and I have the potential to wrack up 60,000 miles on a single vehicle.
  4. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,281

    I think you have pretty much answered your own question. No one can really tell the next guy what suits him best. Me PERSONALLY I would not be without a 3/4ton truck for business AND personal use. If I could only have one vehical it would be a 3/4 or 1ton gas or diesel. No mini trucks for me.
  5. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,657

    The first few years we used 1500s and your right they can tow and it took about 3-4 years before we started to have transmission rebuilds and blown rear ends. But the area they really sucked in was brakes they are too small and we were doing complete brake jobs on each truck every single year. Calipers the rotors and the pads it didn't matter that the trailers have electric brakes or that we only drove them about 10,000 miles a year it just burned them out. On the other hand 3500-4500s I seem to go forever on them were talking 5 plus years between brake jobs.

    Now in a few months I will pick up a 2015 ram 1500 eco diesel but we won't be towing with it other than emergencies. We just want a truck with 28 mpg so we can do the running around stuff like estimates and bank and post office trips with out using a 4500 that seldom gets better than 14 mpg. Plus we have a highway here that doesn't allow any vehicle over 7500 gvw. And its the quickest way to our dealer so we want to have that option.
  6. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Back in the 1980's I worked as a dealer mechanic. I saw quite a few 1500 GMC's that were used by plumbers and other contractors that had to be running their trucks way over weight. Not taking about a few feet of copper tubing and brass fittings. I mean pickups with a cap with the beds filled with all kinds of iron pipe and fittings from 1.5" to 6" dia.

    The lifts struggled to get these trucks off the ground.

    40,000 miles and the rear ends would be shot.

    Problem was not that the 1/2 tons are bad trucks. The problem was the contractors went cheap using a truck for work it was not built for.
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
  7. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,966

    same here… which is why I have the problem… I know I don't NEED the heavier truck.

    But truthfully 1 tons aren't really heavy enough. If you want to really work you need more than a 350/3500 anyway.
    They are really just a half ton with a band aid.

    But I feel naked without my bandaid. Ive had a 3/4 ton or heavier truck since… 95?
  8. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,966

    well its definitely not a cheap thing… 1/2 tons really aren't that much cheaper than a 3/4 or 1 ton.

    with trucks I always found medium duty was the way to go for a work truck, simply because 85% of the time I was under loading it. They wear like iron.

    But in class 1,2,3 trucks, doesn't matter how heavy you think you are… you are always asking it to do more than it should.
    no matter how tough you think your pick up is, it's not meant for a plow.

    It's tough to think you should have a 1 ton with a plow when you have a 12 foot blade and a loader (or three) and your disposal.
    But for some reason I can't shake the feeling that I need it, even tho I know I don't.

    EVEN if the shyt hit the fan and I went back solo style to rebuild again.
    Id still only need a 1/2 ton for mowing.
    Because I'd do what Ive done for (GAWD REally) almost 10 years now.
    Design the install, sell the install, bring in a sub crew and run them.
    works so much better, because company A is better at rock walls, B better at retaining walls, C better at dirt work.
    You can kind of take your pick of who you want to work with project by project and what every company lacks is leadership, sales and estimation.

    Ive just grown so accustomed to working like an actor (from one project to another…some times with dead space in between) that I don't think I would go back to contiguous contract work.
    but even when I can't find a company to work with, I can put together a crew for a project or two…which is where the old mitsu flatbed comes in.

    In the past Ive let crews/guys run my personal ford when needed…. and I just drive my jeep.

    but it is usually over kill.
    Ive never let any one run it pulling a trailer more than 5k.
    IF it's towing I drive it.
    But I could just have them tow with the mitsu.

    But anymore it's just not hard to find a company to work with for a design/install partnership on a case by case basis.
    usually you just walk into the office with a 45-70 grand install contract signed and ask them "do you want to do this with me?"
    never a hard sell.
    Doesn't require a 1 ton.

    :cry:but what if it did? :cry:
    it's like paranoia, seriously.
  9. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,966

    Im familiar with the merit pkwy.
    I lived 4 miles from it for almost half my life.

    I thought it was passenger plates. Or does CT not give passenger plates to 1 tons anymore.

    I swear Ive had my 2003 Dodge Dually on there no problem before? Just that you can't tow trailers.

    I used to run up and down it with a 3/4 ton with mowers in the pick up bed (another excellent reason for the ramps and walk behinds in the bed)

    You know what SUCKS on brakes? Especially Rotors? MY F350!
    always has warped rotors.
    guess what got a new tranny?
    My F350.

    like I said, 1 tons are just big little trucks.

    Once you move into 4500/450 you are in class 4 which is medium duty, totally different rig.

    There is no way you can convince me the 1/2 ton is going to do any worse towing a lawn mower trailer than a 1 ton.

    FOr years I ran F-series in fleets.
    mostly 93-97 models.

    Guess what transmission the f350 and f super duty ran?

    Guess what tranny the f150 ran?

    Know what tranny the ford explorer ran?

    and no, the torque converter was not different. Fseries popped trannys all the time.

    Now towing a bobcat, or excavator, thats a different deal. I did it once with a toyota T100 because the guy insisted it could be/should be done….fine dude.
    After some seriously white knuckle pucker factor.
    The Bobcat got where it was going.
    But the T-100 never saw another day of serious work… I done broked it… or should I say the bobcat did.

    a 1500 can day in day out pull a mower trailer, thats what they are specifically designed for.

    A Kia sorento can tow that on weekends.

    The one ton will never even know it's back there, and while towing, it actually gets the same gas mileage as while not towing unladen.

    IS it better at towing?

    But towing mowers isn't going to kill a 1500.
    Most serious rigs come with a trans cooler and temp gauge these days.
    My tundra does.
    It's rated for 10000 lbs.

    A standard mower trailer doesn't come near that weight.
  10. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,657

    Yea they allow combo plates but clearly state on their signs 7500 gvw max. Iv seen heavier trucks on there too but I don't wish to be the guy with the 2500/3500 they day they decide to make an example of someone. Can you get away with it? yea probably but for how long is the question. On one of our old 1500s we used to own we had commercial plates on it for years and my partner drove it home every night. This was a short bed truck quad cab it was very small and was clearly under 7500 pounds. Still one night he gets pulled over and the cop says hes seen him doing this for years but never was in the right lane to pull him over. And all he did was drive one lousy exit each night. But eventually they will catch up with you.

    Now as far as the 1500s go we always bagged a lot of lawns so they often were maxed on grass in the back. Then had a 2000 pound trailer with 2 mowers and all the 2 cycle equipment so around 5000 pounds give or take was the standard tow. Then you add in 2-3 yards of grass and it was enough to wear out the brakes at a very fast pace.

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