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Some Purchasing advice...CONSTRUCTIVE only please!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Molly's Dad 138, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. Molly's Dad 138

    Molly's Dad 138 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    Hello Everyone. Need some advice on truck purchase from the pros here…

    Some back-story- My brother-in-law runs a successful lawn/property maintenance company. His volume of business has been increasing more each year, due to a combination of word-of-mouth and advertising. A consistent growth area in his business is foreclosed residential properties, where he often gets the entire maintenance contract from initial changing of the locks, to cleanout/winterizing, to regular lawn cutting and snow removal. He has gotten to the point where he has to routinely turn down jobs because he’s got his hands full.

    Now, he has been trying for almost a year to get me to take jobs from him, because as he put it “I need someone I trust to make sure it’s done correctly” (he’s had problems with several people he’s hired either showing up late or not showing up at all or even jacking customers for extra $$$ over what was quoted). I have a full-time salaried job that I HATE WITH A PASSION, so I am open to a career change. I did lawn care and home remodeling in college to pay the bills. I have no objection to long days and hard work. I am seriously considering starting to work smaller jobs with/for him on weekends or days off (I work four 10 hour days), and seeing where it goes. I have run my own business before and also was the General Manager for another medium-sized small business. I know what I am getting into on that side of things.

    I am looking to make a small investment in a truck that I can use to haul gear for jobs and for house chores (all I have is a small 4 door sedan). I have a budget set and funds available. I have decided that my purchase should be a 4x4 pickup in order to maximize utility and/or any future expansion. While something like a cargo van/Sprinter would work wonderfully for most things, I do not want to miss out on the snow service portions of the jobs. I also feel that buying something with an open bed and 4wd isn’t limiting what I can do with it.

    This is where I need the advice from the seasoned pros (you guys/gals)—What truck to buy? I have searched this and the Plowsite forums, and generally the attitude seems to be “buy the most truck you can in the best mechanical shape you can for the price you can afford to pay”. I get that. I would just like some CONSTRUCTIVE advice/feedback on what I am considering-

    1) 1995 Ford F150 4x4 Standard Cab, 5.0 V8, long bed, dual tanks, 108,000 miles—Like this one because it is the cheapest by far, yet has the lowest miles. In pretty good shape, but it is the oldest.

    2) 1998 Ford F150 4x4 XLT SuperCab, 4.6 V8, standard bed, 160,000 miles- overall clean truck and it’s already State Inspected. Would need nothing to put on the road. Smallest engine though.

    3) 2000 GMC Sierra 3500 4x4 SLE Crew Cab, Dually, V8, Reading utility body with ladder rack, 170,00 miles— I like this one because it’s the beast of the bunch. I doubt I will encounter something this can’t handle. Also, I like the endless possibilities of the utility body with all the lockable storage for equipment. But is it too much of a dedicated work-only truck?

    4) 1999 Ford F250 4x4 XLT SuperCab, 6.8 V10, short bed with cap, 151,000 miles- good shape, love the v10 power but hate the v10 gas mileage.

    5) 2001 Toyota Tundra Limited Access Cab 4x4, V8, standard bed with cap, 246,000 miles- yes, high miles but Toyota reliability.

    As I said, CONSTRUCTIVE thoughts and suggestions are welcome. It’s not that I need someone else to make the decision for me. I’m just hoping to take advantage of the years of experience present here to maybe point out something I hadn’t thought of with this vehicle purchase, or to steer me away from one that has historically been a problem for others. Sorry for the long post, just wanted to leave as few unanswered questions as possible.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,335

    Of those listed I would get the GMC. However I would keep looking until I found a 4x4 regular cab long bed 3/4 ton (F250/2500) pickup. You can add toolboxes as you need as well as having plenty of bed space. An extended cab would also be handy to be able to store small tools and paperwork, maybe even a printer and laptop. But only if it also has an 8' bed.
  3. Molly's Dad 138

    Molly's Dad 138 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    Great! Thanks for the insight. Can you elaborate on your thoughts for holding out to find a 3/4 ton with 8ft bed? Pros vs what I'm looking at?
  4. Blade Runners

    Blade Runners LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,021

    What Grasscutter said, 3/4 ton longbed preferably crew cab. Snowy area, get 4x4.
    I started with a Nissan Titan and thought it was too much and too nice to pull my 7x18 open trailer so I bought a nice used 95 F150 5.0 108,000 miles standard cab tow package work truck. The first season we almost killed that poor truck just hauling a 52 V-Ride, 42" residential JD, and a 36" walk behind. I have since added a 52 TT and wouldn't even think of pulling it with the F150.

    It kind of depends on how u look at things. If you plan to grow, get the right truck the first time. 3/4 ton as listed above. If you want to start out smaller then upgrade, go with a 1/2 ton but I would venture a guess that by season 2 you will be getting a 3/4 ton with at least a 350 in it.

    Don't make the mistake of being concerned with gas mileage like I did. Your gas mileage is not going to be good pulling a trailer no matter what u get so u might as well get something that can handle the workload.
  5. Molly's Dad 138

    Molly's Dad 138 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    The advice and insight is appreciated. Thanks guys!
  6. Mow-Daddy.com

    Mow-Daddy.com LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,550

    I would go with ether one of the F150 4x4s unless your pulling ASVs or BobCats that wiegh 4000 to 5000 lbs, I use 2- 1999 rangers pulling 5x8 trailer and a 6 x10 trailer, I have a gravely 48ZTHD at 850lbs with a 33in walkbehind, couple trimers leafblower and 2 gas cans. Little short on power but Im ether in town or back country roads. Just take it slow and steady no problem. And Just an FYI My daughters name is MOLLY also so I am MollysDad also. @Bladerunner I see you are an Og Mandino fan too !! He is inspiring isnt he. Greats salesman in the world !!

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