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Solo's and smaller guys, your vehicle???

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Ex-golf guy, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. Ex-golf guy

    Ex-golf guy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    How many of you use your primary fert & squirt vehicle as your daily driver as well? I've been starting to search for a truck to get rolling with next season, and man are the 3/4 ton's expensive... $10-15 thousand gets you a F250, F350, or Chevy 2500HD that's usually 00-02, with sometimes 150,000 miles. I also need an extended or crew cab, as I have 2 little ones in car/booster seats.

    I've just recently considered going the van route... a beefed up cargo van of similar age to the trucks goes for close to half the $$ of the truck. I would then have to have another vehicle for personal use, but that could be a cheap car.

    Things are going to be tight for the first year or two, I can't afford to go out and drop $20-30k+ on a newer truck until the revenue is there to support it. Just looking for opinions and experience.
  2. teejet

    teejet LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 232

    I've got a 3\4 ton van that I use. The tank (220 gallon leg tank) is mounted perfectly centered behind the seats. Hose faces out the side doors of course, and still plenty of room in the back for a spreader, fert, and handcans. I never use a spreader,so I utilize the back for hauling stuff when doing landscape mainteince or plant materials. My sprayer cost 3 times the amount of the van. It has worked out very well for me for my first year. I have only been bothered by odors when I spilled liquid fert down the side of the tank when filling,smelled like a litter box for a week. I hope to replace the van in a few years and get an extended 1 ton, van.
  3. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969

    Ex-golf guy

    Why not a used Enclosed Trailer in the 12 Ft single axle size?? You really don't need a drop gate unless you are using a ride on spreader, which you might not be ready for at this time. The trailer can be a rolling Shop and chemical storage on wheels. You keep the weather out and materials in away from thief. As a bonus you have a Big Bill board to advertise on.
  4. Hanau

    Hanau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,568

    Buy an older truck. I just picked up a 1990 F-250 4x4 Lariat for a grand. Dropped it off at a reputable shop and had the engine in-frame overhauled, clutch, transmission, t-case, both axles, brakes on all 4 corners, master cylinder, power windows, and some minor fix it type stuff done for $3,400.

    For $4,400 I've got a truck that will last another 20 years and 200,000 miles with proper maintenance. Mechanically it's a brand new truck.

    Spent an afternoon and $40 on supplies to wash and wax it. She shines up nice.

    Next I'll spend $400 on some chrome steel wheels and $300 on Treadwrights and have good rubber all the way around.

    In the spring I'll drop another $150 and replace the windshield.

    Key is to find a truck with a good body. Body work is expensive.
  5. Hanau

    Hanau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,568

    Just thought I'd come back and explain the difference between an in-frame and out-of-frame overhaul. It was new to me and might be new to you.

    On the F-250 the 460V8 was good internally, it just needed a refreshing. So instead of pulling the engine out of the truck and sending it to a machine shop they rebuilt it while it was mounted in the truck. Basically stripped it to a bare block, pressure washed it, and put it back together. New bearings, gaskets, piston rings, seals, and oil pump.

    An out-of-frame is used when the engine is shot. The engine is pulled out of the truck and sent to a machine shop. Typically the engine needs oversized bearings or the cylinders need to be bored out.

    The advantage of an in-frame is that you save the machine shop costs. So if the engine is worn, but not shot, you can save a few hundred having it in-frame overhauled.

    Personally I kind of like the older style trucks. My favorite is my 82 F-150. It's a great truck. Someday soon I'll have the body and interior done on it. I'd also like to put a 5 speed behind the 351W and have an overdrive gear. No more screaming along at 65mph.

    Shopping for old trucks is fun too. The best value right now is the 89 to 91 Ford trucks. They are possibly the ugliest pick up trucks Ford ever made, so the prices are low. However they have overdrive manual transmissions, fuel injected engines, and are built very heavy. Strong axles, good brakes.

    The 92 to 96 Fords are essentially the same truck under the surface. However these are some of the best looking and most popular trucks ever made. So prices are higher.

    Chevy/GM the current popular truck to have is the 88 to 98. Premium trim levels and Z71 trucks command premium prices. The base model trucks are more reasonable. 2 wheel drive pricing (except for regular cab, short bed models) are in line with Fords of the same year. Perhaps slightly lower for a nicer truck.

    If you're looking at Dodge, good luck. The first generation Cummins trucks (89 to 93) in excellent condition command the highest prices of that year truck on the used market. They are very highly sought after.

    If you're looking for something unique that will make your company stand out I'd suggest the 1969 to 1976 Ford F-250 4x4. Commonly called the Highboy. They're not cheap, but you get a lot of truck and it's a real attention grabber. Clean trucks go for $10K. However you can find a fixer that needs some attention for half that and get a good truck.

    Pick up trucks are a kind of hobby of mine. Any questions feel free to ask.
  6. Laner

    Laner LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 346

    I'm with Ric.....get a trailer. Then the truck is more useable since the skid won't be in there ALL summer. I have taken the skid in/out of the truck several times in a year, but that gets to be a pain, so I use a small trailer often times to do things that I could have jsut used the truck (w/o the skid). I am getting a trailer for apps next year.
  7. indyturf

    indyturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indy
    Messages: 1,901

    I have purchased brand new $35,000 trucks to work out of and $1500 used pick-ups with 150k miles. Used is the way to go! I just recently found a used box truck for $2500 and I love working out of it!! I also have a 95 chevy 2500 for sale $2000! runs and looks great for a work tuck.
  8. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,220

    Good thread - food for thought on buying PU's.
    I used my Ford Escape for two seasons now w/ trailer but its time to step up, for next season....
  9. Hanau

    Hanau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,568

    The main advantage to newer trucks is... cupholders. That's the thing I notice most when I drive my 82. No damn cupholders!

    That and the seats. Men must have been tougher in 1982. Worst seats ever. When I get the interior redone I'm putting in 92 to 96 bucket seats with a console. And cupholders.

    Then it will be perfect.
  10. Hanau

    Hanau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,568

    I've attached the cover of the latest LMC Truck catalog.

    That truck is somewhere around 1982.

    Personally I don't see a problem with meeting clients in a truck like that. Especially if it's nicely lettered and sporting DOT #'s. In my mind that is a perfectly acceptable vehicle. It's clean, obviously well cared for, and in good shape.

    That truck is my inspiration for what I want my 82 to look like. Clean, tight, and well cared for. Right now my truck is a rust bucket. Doesn't make a great first impression. Even though I love driving it, I usually leave it at home.

    Can anybody offer a well reasoned argument against my point of view?


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