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Pay for gas or payments on new truck

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Martee, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. Martee

    Martee LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    I am going to start my business next season I've been working for LCO for 4 years and going on my own part time next year but question is regarding the truck I now own. I have a 84 chev flat bed 11' have built side boards for it and love the truck BUT it only get 10 miles to a gallon at most. Runs real rich most of the time and thinking of putting new carb on it to see if this helps? But was wondering if I can afford it in a year or so if I should sell it and buy a newer truck that gets better mileage. So pay for the gas or pay payments on a newer truck is the question? I plan on working for other lco two days a week and for myself the rest.
    Other question is should I wait to advertise until I get my license (Feb) and until spring or should I start advertising at homes now?
    any input would be helpful thanks
  2. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    If the truck is in good mechinacal condition, meaning you don't need to replace the engine or trans. then I'd stick with old reliable. You can actually WORK ON an '84 truck! It's paid for. Even if it needs normal stuff like a total brake job, it's still going to be less $ per year than the payments on a new one. Sure a new truck has a warranty, but it's only going to be getting 15 or so mpg pulling a trailer AT BEST. It will look pretty, untill you have to climb into it covered in grass and dirt...

    What kind of license are you talking about? A pesticide license? If so, you best wait till you have it in hand before advertising your services. I'd hate to see someone get fined for not having a license and not having even started the season yet!
  3. Lawn Masters

    Lawn Masters LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 850

    I'm pretty sure he means drivers license, but not positive. myself, I'd go with the truck thats paid for. it might need a little work, but as Jason said, you can actually work on the 84 yourself, these new age trucks, you have to pretty much have a road map, a degree in electrical engineering, and a whole shop full of tools.
  4. Pro-lawns

    Pro-lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    i ran a beat up 76 ford pick up that looked real bad
    paint was faded and had few small dents
    it was the family truck and i rember my dad buying it
    from ford
    i had to crush this last june when i bought my new gmc
    and i paid cash for it got a good deal
    it has a rebuilt goodwrench 454
    i do miss theold one becuse i could rebuild with my eyes closed
    just use your best judgement
    i pay cash for every thing i dont want payments
    just keep in mind low over head means more profit
    when i got my new truck i noticed that i had more pepole asking about my lco

  5. Martee

    Martee LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    Im talking about my business License, bond and insurance.
    I have already done some small jobs of people calling me but when I send out flyers I was wondering if I should put my bond information on the flyer or send them out without stating i'm licensed and insured and then if they call tell them I will not be licensed and insured until Feb.or March.
  6. yrdandgardenhandyman

    yrdandgardenhandyman LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 953

    You see, the thing is that most people don't care if you are licensed or insured. Some even equate that to higher price and won't call you. I seem to get better results when I don't state that I am insured. At least they call.
  7. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,889

    are you plowing this year? if yes, get the insurance now, otherwise just go get the Quote, be sure it is a for real no backing out deal come March and go ahead and advertise, save the 4 mos of insurance premium.
    be sure you have all your proper paper work filed with the state and IRS, do your ads, and unless a request is made ( usually commercial props.) for the insurance, just wait till spring to get it. I would not advertise any more than something along the lines of "licensed & insured" don't give out your liability limits except to clients that agree to use your services or on a commercial bid. Anyone else could use that info to stage a "accident".
    Keep the truck you have, you will not be saving the gas money, trucks are trucks and the mileage sucks, I have a 02 diesel that has been as low as 8.5 and as high as 12 pulling a 16 foot trailer. My old 84 got 10 loaded or not.
    plus I could work on that one. this truck requires the use of a OBD II tester to access data or you could spend days and tons of money trying to find problems.
  8. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,889

    Runs real rich most of the time and thinking of putting new carb on it to see if this helps?

    check the choke pull for proper operation, probably slow opening. and if it still has it, check the hot air door in the air horn, that will cause the choke to stay partially on if its not getting warm air.
    Don't buy a carb, take it to a shop that knows what they are doing with carb engines, It will probably cost less than a carb. for that old of a engine.
    what size engine?

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    If you are getting 10 MPG than keep the truck. That is what trucks get.
    Unless you buy a small truck the best you will get is about 15.
    Work at keeping you route tight and it will pay much better.
    You should not be driving more than 1000 miles a month doing this. (and that is a lot) so at 10 MPG that is 100 gal at $3.00 per is only $300 dollars
    Now buy the new truck. (and it will be diesel because all lawnboys need one) and even a cheap truck will cost $35000. Right around $500 a month
    1000 / 15 is 66 gal. X's 3 or $198 a month.
    So to save $102 a month all you have to do is spend $500 a month.

    $398 x 12 = $4776 per year
  10. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    Im going to make it real simple, KEEP the truck if its in decent shape. For starters no truck is going to get much better than 10 pulling your lawn equipment(mine gets 13), second, those dam payments get old real fast, third, insurance!! Mine went up almost 400 bucks every six months! I have my new truck for sale and Im going back to an older, 96-97 model I can pay cash for and cheaper insurance! I wished a thousand times I had kept my 93 Nissan and spent the 2500 it needed to be fixed. If I could turn back time I would be driving that baby today with no payments and cheap insurance.

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