New Mower or New Truck...

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by PicturePerfectLawns, May 7, 2014.

  1. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,101

    You know there is business without mulch.

    You don't HAVE to do mulch.

    And a diesel isn't going to do anything for you, Payload wise. Diesels weigh more.
    If you are going to do mulch enough, a decent trailer and a 3/4 ton will be sufficient.
    4.7, is that a six cylinder or a 318 magnum?
    The squat has nothing to do with the engine and everything to do with the leaf springs.
    Air Bags would also solve this problem.
    Brakes, well that's another issue, but you are clearly trying to eat soup with a fork here.

    What percentage of your income stems from Mulch/tree operations?
  2. Blade Runners

    Blade Runners LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,021

    Get some brakes on your trailer. It makes a huge difference and you will no longer be a safety hazard to yourself and everyone else on the road. It will save your truck brakes too. We towed for 1 season with no trailer brakes and the stopping distance just didn't feel safe to me. We also ate truck brakes and rotors in one season.

    Personally, I wouldn't tow what we have (16ft open trailer with anything less than a strong 5.7 gasser) We tried to use our backup truck (5.0 liter Ford) one season and it just couldn't handle it and actually shut down one time. Now we just use it as a second truck when we do larger jobs.
  3. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,649

    If you can't solve the burning oil problem, then the decision has been made. You have to run a dependable truck.

    The other factor is what kind of mower are you currently using, and what would you buy? Will there be a big productivity gain? Are you going from a 36" walk behind to a 60" ZTR? Huge difference. But a 48" ztr to a 52" ZTR won't do as much for the bottom line.
  4. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,725

    I wish you would tell that to my few hold outs that want it. I never liked it and mulch is very expensive in this part of the country. There is little profit in it and we would be better off just mowing.

    As for % thats a good question? We seem to average about $7000-8000 a year from it so % wise it sucks were talking 3-3.5% hardly worth getting excited about.
  5. 205mx

    205mx LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,393

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  6. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,101

    So ummm just say NO?

    Or price it high enough so you don't get any mulch jobs, and if you do its WELL worth it.

    If mulch is pricey, then price every yard x3 installed¬Ö how many mulch jobs would you have to do then? 0?
    Good. (since you don't want to to them)

    OR you can simply say "we don't do mulch"

    what kind of trucks and equipment do you have to keep around, that you wouldn't use ordinarily, to move/transport mulch (large quantities) when it's only 3% of your business?
    Dump trucks and dump trailers? But you are only doing maintenance?
    I can guarantee any and all mulch you are doing is costing you money to even do it.
    You don't have the volume to justify the asset.

    "IF" you have full service clients (the whole nine yards) who also need mulch, and they are decent high volume clients.
    Price the job with bulk mulch delivered to the property. This way you don't have to manage/transport it. (and keep those assets on the books)
    THE ONLY reason why you are doing THESE much jobs AT all, is because you are bending over for a good full service client, and in this case, you don't even need to make money on that one service. You're just keeping the client happy (because you make money on all the services you specialize in)
    In theory you could even source this part of the work out to someone who DOES specialize in mulch.
    I like to use install companies for this, because they are already mulching their jobs in the first place.
    Try to find one that only does installs or not much maintenance (I know hard to find in CT, every one is a full service company)
    But for your area, Look up Phil Grande, Ivy League Landscaping, on the West Haven/Orange Line. He will gladly deliver bulk mulch to you (bagged or true bulk) and I'm sure you can sub his people straight up for the mulch work too. And I know Phil won't go after or steal your customers, he's too busy for that.
  7. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,101

    To every one I say, do what you do best.

    you can mow and make money with s-10s, rangers and 1/2 ton trucks, never owning big expensive rigs.

    Expand your list/network with other companies and vendors to better service your clients.

    just look at how they do it in southern utah (it's worth a plan ticket to check it out in person)

    nissan frontier seems to be the contractor work rig of choice (yes even for install contractors)

    EVERYTHING gets delivered to the job site, with just a phone call (AND QUICK, not only same day but with in hours)
    in UTAH if I call star nursery and place an order at 10 am for top soil, plants, and rock mulch, I better have my irrigation in by 2PM because the loads are showing up!
  8. mo11in5

    mo11in5 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    have you thought of a 3/4 instead of the 1ton diesel? the gas 3/4 ton with one or two helper springs in the back will haul more than you can put in the box and still have tons of power to pull almost anything on a trailer. we've got the chev 2500's with the big vortecs at work and it hauling the mini hoe and couple yards of gravel no problem.
  9. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,563

    The only difference is $500 and a helper spring
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  10. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,101


    the one tons are quite a bit different, rear axles and differential are different.
    Frequently so are the brake specs (depending on model and year)

    They are very different (3/4 to 1 ton) on the fords.

    Chevys I haven't look too close.

    There for a while you couldn't even GET a true 1 ton dodge.

    You don't need to do a dang thing to a 3/4 ton gasser to carry a bed full of mulch, It will do fine without any modifications.
    Even if you put sides on it.

    I used to a do a cord of wood in the back of my 3/4 ton regularly long haul of of the back woods, with stake pocket sides on it.
    IT will handle mulch with no issues.

    However, that's really not a lot of mulch, all things considered.

    seriosuly¬Ö. just. have. it. delivered.

    Unless you have a REAL truck (like a dually dump) there is no sense in "upgrading" to a 3/4 ton for a month of work.

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