When purchasing your Lawn Care Truck there are many things that should be taken into consideration first. By giving some thought to the following questions you will be able to narrow down the type of Lawn Care Truck that’ll be right for you and your business needs.
Each of us will have a different answer to these questions as no two Lawn Care Businesses are exactly alike in needs or owner personality.
O.K., first thing do you even need a truck for your business? Yes, in almost every situation a truck of some type is essential to the greater success of your Lawn Care Business. Sure you maybe able to get by if you are only doing a couple of push lawns on the side, any car and a light rrailer might do.
If that is all you ever want to do then you are probably the exception, not the rule. To make any real big money you are going to need a truck. The versatility of services you can offer by having a truck as your business vehicle far outweighs the limitations of most other vehicle types.
So what makes a Lawn Care Truck such a necessity? Well let’s start with trucks ability to haul. A Lawn Care Truck can pull a Lawn Care Trailer with all your equipment safely to and from your Lawn Care jobs day in day out.
My 1998 G.M.C. Lawn Care Truck and Lawn Care Trailer
This same truck can haul a load of topsoil, mulch or other landscape material in the box (back of the truck) as well as tow a load in a properly equipped trailer (twice as much in one trip). Can the same be said of a car and a light trailer?
No, because your truck will have a much stronger suspension which is composed of heavy duty shock absorbers and leaf springs. The suspension system varies in payload capacity (a standard set out by the truck manufacturer) that gives the suggested maximum amount of weight the truck can carry and still operate in a safe manner on the road (such as braking, steering, even the ability of the proper tires to safely carry loads).
Depending on what size of truck you get the maximum weight will be lower for a small truck and higher for a full size truck. Are you are going to start with a small or full size truck.
Which means if you were looking at purchasing a Dodge product (click here) the small truck would be a Dakota the full size would be the Ram.
If you were considering a G.M.C. Truck (click here) the small size is a Canyon and the full size is the Sierra.
Along with the payload capacity there is also towing capacity which performs in the same manner as the load capacity. There is an established maximum amount of weight that a certain truck size can tow safely on the roadway.
This information can be found in the owner’s manual of the truck (or the above websites) that you are thinking about purchasing. Remember if you are going to get a smaller truck then you may be limiting the amount of equipment/material you can transport/deliver to a job.
The size of the motor may also have a bearing on which type of truck you buy, if you are transporting the maximum load and towing capacity most of the time you should get a motor that is not always working too hard (always above its’ ideal operating range).
If the truck has an R.P.M. (revolutions per minute) indicator on it and it shows that the engine is always at the very top end of its’ normal range approaching the red warning area then the motor is going to wear out prematurely and replacing motors are expensive not just in cost but in down time for your business (remember time is money).
The small trucks have smaller motors usually 6 cylinders with the full size trucks having a small or large size 8 cylinder motor.
The main difference in these motors is their ability to provide the pulling power to move the truck as well as the load it is carrying in various conditions such as up steep hills or in heavy stop and go traffic.
Another concern should be fuel economy. If the motor that is working too hard all the time it will consume more fuel (and we all know how costly that is). If your Lawn Care Business is almost exclusively a mowing business and you intend on staying that way then you might consider the smaller size motor as long as you are hauling within your trucks approved limits.
For along time the type of fuel that the truck used could save a lot of money. Previously diesel fuel was a very viable option, mileage was generally greater then that of unleaded fuel and was much cheaper.
But lately the cost of diesel has become almost the same as unleaded fuel diesel, finding diesel fuel at the gas pumps can in some areas be harder as not all gas stations carry diesel fuel. Diesel Motors don’t burn as cleanly as unleaded fuel which contributes to greater greenhouse gasses and global warming which should concern all of us. (being in a green industry)
Along with the actual size (small or full size) and the motor size (6 or 8 cylinder) of a truck in determining the capacities of a truck we get into the weight class of a truck.
This may range from a 1/2 ton to a 3/4 ton to a one ton truck. Full size trucks all start from a 1/2 ton class with a certain suspension, motor and transmission (takes the power from the motor and transfer that power to turning the axles/wheels). As the class size increases so does the strength of the suspension, motor and transmission components.
When it comes to choosing the type of transmission to get in your Lawn Care Truck in almost all circumstances get an automatic transmission.
An automatic transmission means there is no clutch or gears such as 1st through 5th that need to be shifted through in order to achieve a certain speed or engine R.P.M. (whether you are accelerating or stopping). You only need to select D for “drive” then press down on the accelerator and drive, when you have to stop you just press on the brake.
You will spend a lot less money on replacing worn out clutches especially if your Lawn Care Business is operating in a large city with a lot of traffic adding to the many frequent daily stops and starts to your clutch/transmission.
As with anything else the larger the class of the truck the more costly to buy, fuel and insure. If you have done your homework before you buy your Lawn Care Truck and have purchased the proper class of truck for your needs then you will be able to cut down on the amount of fuel, costly repairs and down time vs. buying an under powered Lawn Care Truck that is constantly being over worked.
For most of us a full size 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton truck will be the truck of choice with 4 wheel drive if you live in an area that gets snow on a regular basis.
We have covered what to take into account mechanically when considering your Lawn Care Truck let’s now discuss the actual purchasing part of acquiring this truck. Should you buy or lease, new or used? These are all things that need to be looked at.
As I had mentioned earlier on this page team, each of us will have different answers to these questions as we all are Starting a Lawn Care Business at various stages in our lives. This is also true of our finances as well.
Some of you maybe early retirees with your house paid off and you are debt free. Others maybe in your early 20’s with little or no credit rating. These factors may limit what you can afford and what amounts the bank will lend to you.
Let’s start with leasing your new Lawn Care Truck; what are the pros of leasing? Well for me they mean little or no money down up front and currently interest rates are very low. Another pro of leasing occurs when it comes to accounting strategies, you can write off 100% of your monthly payment until the end of the term of the lease.
This will help keep the amount of tax you will owe the government at the year end lower by using the cost of your payment to lower your income.
Now for some of the cons of leasing, at the end of your lease you will have the choice of buying out the lease. This may be a huge amount of money as you may have not put down a lot of money and the monthly payments were low so very little of the total value of the truck has been paid for.
You will have to make the choice of getting a bank loan to pay for the rest of the truck or you can walk away from this truck and start leasing another truck all over again.
If you decide to walk away from this Lawn Care Truck you will not get any of the money you have invested back, other than in the form of the write-offs that you claimed and the use that you got out of it during the term of the lease.
You will also not be able to go over a certain number of miles before the end of the lease or you will have to pay a penalty of so many cents a mile over and above the set out amount at the beginning of the lease agreement. This may become very costly if your service area is a large one.
Another problem is the fact that you will have to return this truck in good condition. This maybe tough to do as your Lawn Care Truck is a work truck, there is a very good chance that over the term of the lease that there are gong to be few scratches on this truck. There will be a penalty fee to have the truck cleaned up.
So should you lease that all depends, you may qualify for lease financing and not a bank loan so leasing may be your only option. You maybe only mowing grass and all equipment/ material will be kept only in on your Lawn Care Trailer. This may solve the problem of damaging the truck. There are many variables and each of us is unique.
Next, there are the pros of outright buying your new Lawn Care Truck. You have a few thousand dollars available to give the dealer as a down payment and the bank will loan you the rest to pay for the truck. You’re all set.
You know what your monthly payments are going to be and at the end of the loan the truck will be yours with no strings attached. You can scratch it, drive as many miles as you want its’ your truck.
Now the cons, you have to have the thousands of dollars available, many of us don’t. When it comes to accounting strategies the way that you write-off the truck now is through the depreciation (reduction) of the total value of the truck.
Instead of knowing you will have exactly this amount to write-off from your truck each year it will vary depending on a depreciation schedule that your accountant will set up. This amount usually becomes a lesser amount each year as the actual value of the truck (resale price) drops.
As with most things if already have the money then things become much easier such as when it comes to a substantial down payment. Buying does look much better but not everyone may qualify. So what other way is there to go?
The better option still maybe to buy or lease a used Lawn Care Truck. When buying or leasing a used vehicle then amounts for everything drop.
Purchasing a used truck will be anywhere from a third to half the original new asking price for the vehicle, thereby dropping the asking price as well as any monthly payment options.
For leasing you maybe limited to leasing a used truck that is 2 to 3 years old. As for buying a used truck through a bank they may not be willing to look at a truck over 5 years old. This all sounds good, and for most of us it is how we get our Lawn Care Trucks.
If you are just starting out and can’t afford to buy a reasonably new truck as discussed above be careful what you are buying. A lot of times these trucks (5-10 years old) may have a great sticker price, but at what cost to you? Unless you know the owner or you really trust the dealer you are buying it from then you are buying someone else’s problems.
These problems may not always be visible such as surface rust. They can be quirky engine sounds, small leaks or non original parts (such as rebuilt engines).
It pays to have your mechanic check any used truck you are seriously thinking about buying. The hour of labor spent on looking it over could save you thousands of dollars later.
Remember don’t go out there and buy the first truck you see shop around.
“Keep It Simple to Succeed” lets get out there and make our lawns healthy and green!