Taking a risk buying equipment to test the market

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Gravel Rat, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    I have been tossing and turning the idea in my head about the viability of buying a tandem axle truck. I would like to have one but I'am not so sure if its a good idea to go out and buy one and try test the waters with it.

    I was driving my 95 F-450 today and its getting to the point I have to get rid of it. I know the transmission has seen some tough times and I have a coolant leak somewhere and I can't find it. And I have a nagging steering problem that I can't figure out what the problem is. Some days I driving down the road and the steering wants to stick especially when your making a turn then try pull the wheel straight it sticks.

    So sum it up I think I need to get rid of the truck I have now before it turns into a money pit so I have been thinking about a F-550 and stick with my landscaping. I started building a dumping flatdeck for the truck I have now its 1/2 done. I have 3000 bucks invested so far with the hoist and steel I do plan on using it.

    My question for you guys would it be better to stick with something I know I can get work with. Everybody has junk to get removed from their yards and there is aways landscaping work.

    Would a F-550 would good in combination with a mini ex ?

    I know I'am flipping back and forth but I don't think I can nurse my F-450 along a reman transmission is 4000 bucks to fix my steering will probably be another 2000 bucks.

    What has been going through my mind about the tandem is I can't drive it for a daily driver so if it turns out to be a flop there is 30 grand sitting there. Its not easy to get rid of a dump truck.
  2. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    At this point, sounds like if you know you WANT to spend some money and get things rolling, make sure you can make money before you spend a dime. There's nothing worse than a gamble. Well, let me restate that, every business venture is a gamble no matter how easy or "piece of cake" it may seem at first. I would say you should get started with what you know you can make money doing, then branch out into areas that you might be intrested in. Maybe if you did the landscaping deal for a year, did reasonably well, sell your F550 and buy a tandem axle dump and give 'em hell in the excavating biz. Sometimes starting small is the only way to go, just get in, get your message out, then if the need arises, capitalize like hell and run 'n gun with the big boys.
  3. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    Well I was talking with a friend of mine this-morning he used to work for the same excavation contractor I did. He started with the contractor when he was 18 years old and worked for the contractor 20 years or so.

    He quit a year after I got on with the contractor but I worked with him on jobs he worked on but I worked for the homeowners as a general contractor. He wanted a career change he is a awesome operator can do anything with a excavator.

    Anyhow I told him today I was thinking about buying a tandem axle dump he said you will be busy as a h*ll with it. He wouldn't joke about it we used to play jokes on each other when we worked together but when it comes to excavation work no leg pulling.

    So I have been thinking about it today what is the wiser choice :D

    Here is the thing I still work part time for the public transportation company I only get maybe 60 hours a month with them. I want something I can add to my income I can't live off of 60 hours a month this is a exceptional year I'am getting the most work ever. Next year isn't so good looking and this fall and winter it won't be as good either.

    I'am not totally relying on the truck to make my full income I would be a little more nervous if I did. If the truck sits I still have money coming in to pay for the truck payment.

    If the truck works out I may quit the public transportation (I don't want to say the name) working with the public frigging frustrating. I don't enjoy the job especially in tourist season I pretty much consider it a pay check. I really got a taste of the job in the last 2 years out of the 4 years as I got more work.

    I worked for the excavation contractor last year to help suppliment my income I liked working running equipment but my mechanical skills were more important to the contractor so I spent alot of 10-11 hour days pulling wrenches and welding on equipment.

    The straw the broke the camels back was a dozer that I spent alot of time rebuilding was distroyed from a stupid mistake. I won't say what happened but it pizzed me off it was like I was banging my head against the wall :dizzy:

    After I seen what happened to the machine it was "Why Me" I damn near :cry: the next day I gave my notice I couldn't take it anymore it was 1 step forward 10 steps backwards.

    I would like to get back into excavation but on my own I will start with a truck and see what goes from there.

    My question for you guys what is a wiser choice spend 40 grand for a new F-550 or that much or less for a tandem axle dump.

    The F-550 soon as you take the cab and chassis off the dealers lot its depreciating.

    Say I take a loan out for a F-550 pay over the 4 years the truck payments alone will be 1000 dollars a month. Is a small truck really going to make 1000 dollars a month ?

    A tandem axle will gross 1280 dollars in two 8 hour days I would be hard pressed to get one 8 hour day a week with a F-550 at 50 dollars per hour.
  4. NateV

    NateV LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 340

    Why not just buy something like a F-750?
  5. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    There is no work for a 5 ton medium duty you can't haul enough with a tandem you haul 12 yard loads all day a single axle only 6 yards. It takes double the trips to get enough material to a site.

    Around here its 1 ton dumps or tandem dumps no inbettween the F-550 would be a good dump as you can haul 4 ton. Most people usually want either 3 yards or 12 yards.

    With a tandem you can work with any of the excavation contractors the F-550 you work with the landscaper business.
  6. tylermckee

    tylermckee LawnSite Member
    from wa
    Messages: 248

    Youre about is indecisive as a guy with DID. Just buy the tandem and get it over with, you know you want to.
  7. qps

    qps LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indy
    Messages: 1,484

    :laugh: yeah...and remember when your equipment breaks.....no problem....just get the parts and fix it yourself...what...takes two or three days and the equipment isn't working (paying for itself)....what's the big deal...its not the end of the world...your customers will understand and wait for you to fix your truck, mini....whatever....starting to live alittle in OUR world now GR???...Welcome :)
  8. tnmtn

    tnmtn LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NE Tn.
    Messages: 1,022

    for me if iwas looking to buy a truck for hauling i would at least go with a 650 series. they can do all the work the 550's can and a little more. price wise they run about the same. sometimes a little less. also i would feel better about buying a used truck in the 650 range over a used 550. they are just built heavier. from your posts that wouldn't hurt much up there. the turning radius is as good as with the smaller trucks. best of all is the heavier tranny options. particularly in the steep mountains. the fuel usage shouldn't be that much diffrent as well. i don't know what the regs are regarding taxes for a commercial truck in B.C. and maybe the legal side would make everything i said go out the window.
    ggod luck,
  9. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,168

    I think you need to seperate what you want from what needs to be done. There is no value in a 550. If your looking at income generating potential running around picking up stuff with a mini ex. and a 550 seems weak at best. A dump truck by itself is a tough way to make a living, but it would be better than the 550. Sounds to me like you need to evaluate more closely what you want to do. We have discussed it many times. You need to find a market niche that would allow you to make a living. Picking up garbage with a mini ex sounds like your stretching it. A truck with transfers would be a niche or running side dumps or bellys would be an option. I actually have no idea what your options are up there, but I certainly would not spend one dollar on the game plan you have put together so far.
  10. TXTom

    TXTom LawnSite Member
    Messages: 74

    I think you should fix your F450 and buy a tandem. Then you will have the best of both worlds. Use your mechanical skills to fix the steering. I can't see that costing $2k. Buy the tandem and start working. If the tranny goes out on the F450, then you should be making enough to pay for the rebuild and you won't be out of work while you are waiting for repairs. Buying the F550 is a bad idea. You should be able to do almost everything with your 450 that you could do with the 550. So for the $6k you say the 450 need in repairs you are ready to go to work. The 550 is going to be at least $40k. That should be an easy business decision considering you are just starting out. I bet the 450 can get by for a while before it costs you $6k. Finish the bed you built and install it. Start working and buy the tandem. The decision is yours to make, but I don't see why you can't start working tomorrow with the F450....


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