For those of you that run older trucks

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Edgewater, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. Edgewater

    Edgewater LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 457

    Similar to my equipment costing thread, how do you figure the cost of oparating say a mid 80's truck?

    I know that on late models, there are the payments, plus maintenance and that is about it.

    How are you guys factoring the cost of fleets of older units.

    Say on my 88 ford. I have very low capital cost, but the maintenance and repairs are all over the place.

    Also, what time span do you consider tham usefull? is it five years and anything else is a bonus?

    I am considering just setting a budget of X/per month for each truck, but am not quite sure what a fair number would be. One month it may be a wiper motor, the next it may puke the tranny guts all over the road.

    Anyone come up with a method that works well?

  2. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    Since it is fully depreciated at that age, the only concern is what you are spending in gas, maintenance, and repair as being variable expenses. Now insurance IMO is a fixed expense since it is the same each month regardless of how many miles it is driven.
  3. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    If your asking how much you should budget each month for fleet repair and maintenenace, I dont think you are going to get a magic number. Some things you can predict.. oil changes, tires, filter, belts, etc... Other things like you say are random, engine repairs, alternators, tranny, etc... There is no hard and fast rule that I know of to predict random expenses. The best you can do is budget for a worst case scenario. Say a bad year results in $1500 worth of repairs. And say maybe $500 worth of normal maintenance. (Hopefully I am estimating on the high side, that is my intentions.) That would put you at about $166 per month of repair and maint. expense (not including gas, insurance, lic, etc.) If you spend less than this, great. If you spend more, maybe its time for a little newer truck.

  4. Edgewater

    Edgewater LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 457

    I just want to clarify.

    On a machine that I buy new, like my tractors, I knw my daily cost. once the are paid for, I just keep factoring in the daily cost and the machine is making extra money for the balance of it's life.

    With my trucks, I usally by them well used. I like to find ones that have a good maintenance history and buy them when they have just been through a roung of repairs by the previous owner. Rather than by a 3K truck that needs tires, barkes and front end, I will buy a 5K truck that has newer tiers, brakes and a front end. This way I get the better value.

    My question is when buying them say 10 years old, I will factor the capital cost over maybe five years. Does anyone have a good number (from experience) for what the rapair and maintenance cost will be over say 8 years.

    I know what they have cost me in that last two years, but that cost may go up or down as time goes on. I was homing someone like Jim Lewis or Metro would be able to tell me what that age of truck is costing them in the long run.

  5. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,213

    I spend between $1000.00 and $2000.00 per truck each year.
  6. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 4,714

    I also run older trucks. I run 8 - 9 year old Powerstroke Fords. I get them from a fleet with 225,000 miles+ on them, and all maint. records. Price is low, and I pay cash. My annual cost, other than fuel , insurance, and registration, is about $1500.00/truck. I would much rather do this, than be faced with 12, high as heck truck payments for the year. I just budget the repairs, fuel, license, and insurance each year and divide by 12 to get my estimated, average monthly cost. I also set aside some funds to allow for replacement after 4 years.
  7. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    Well, thats three of us that say the $1500 ballpark is about a reasonable expectation. But why dont you just use the same method you use on your other equipment. Figure your cost based on a new piece of equipment, anything extra you squeeze out of your old trucks is gravy. Then your costs will already be in place when you need to replace it? Why punish yourself for being thrifty? If you cant operate a used truck for less than a new truck, something is wrong.


  8. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    you should still be getting $10.00/hr or more for these old trucks.... if you are not how are they ever going to help you pay for the newer one..
  9. Edgewater

    Edgewater LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 457

    I keep costing my mowers as new beacause when they are dead, I buy new.

    I would like to do the same with trucks, nut lets just assume the following

    175 working days in my season x 10 hours = 1750 working hours (working, not productive)

    Old truck $5000
    Paint, logo 3000
    Maint 2000 x4 8000

    $16,000/ 4 years 4K per year or $2.29 per or that the crew is out.

    New truck

    $45,000 (minimum for a 2500hd, Dmax/allison)Canadian

    Maint $600 per year, breaks oil etc. = 2400

    47,400/ 4 years = 11,850 per year and $6.77 per hour.

    The cost is a lot higher for the new truck without even factoring insurance wich in my case jumps like 4x.

    In our market, it is hard to compete with a fleet of new truck for maint.
    Hardscaping is another story.

    By the way, Those annual cost numbers were what I was looking for. I would like to hear from a few more people
  10. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of the operating costs of new vs used. All I was suggesting is why not use the new #'s for your cost's, and bank the profits, or move into newer vehicles as the old ones retire?


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