Learn how custom truck beds cut non-billable hours making you a more profitable lawn care company.
If you’re not using custom trucks and custom truck beds, it’s worth considering it, especially over the winter season. Optimizing your fleet to give your team in the field the opportunity to be as efficient as possible is smart business.
Labor is your number one expense. The more you can drive that down, the more money you make. It’s way cheaper to invest in better equipment, better trucks, better truck beds, than it is to invest in more and more people.
Here are several pictures from GIE of custom truck beds. I think you want to get trailers out of your business as much as you can. Like I said, you want to drive that non-billable time out of your business. The way you do it is by giving your guys a perfect set-up to work with by minimizing load and unload time and by making sure they can find all their tools.
This last picture here is from Tony Bass’s company where they sell custom trucks. I don’t know what they cost and I’m not endorsing them. I’ve never actually even met Tony but I’ve heard great things about him. He is completely on to something with the custom truck beds in all different forms. They could be open truck beds. They can be on the back of Ford Rangers. They could be on the back of F-150s. I have several different types of them.
Custom truck beds work. You should look at it in your business, whether you work with somebody like him or you figure out how to do it yourself. There’s a lot of wisdom in this approach. There’s efficiency in getting trailers out of your business as much as you can.
This video lists and describes the three best lawn care trucks Jonathan runs in his company.
Many lawn care and landscape business owners want to know what kind of trucks we run in our company and why. I’m going to answer this question and then it would be awesome if you would post below in the Comments section why you run the trucks you run and what those trucks are?
If you have something that you’re really proud of and you’ve been super happy with it, comment below so others can share in the feedback and see what’s working for you. I’m going to tell you right now what’s working for me. By the way, if you’ve never subscribed to my channel, please click Subscribe now.
Let me tell you why or better said, let me tell you what I run. What we do is, and keep in mind in our business we have every kind of property in our market. We have big commercial and small commercial. We have small residential. I think of small residential as under 16,000 gross lot square feet. We’ve got multi-acre properties, half-acre properties; I’m talking about residential in this case. We’ve got everything.
Everything’s available to us but know that in our business, as we’ve become smarter about our business, we focused more on certain types of properties. My set-up will probably differ from yours because I’ve chosen to focus on what we believe are the best properties for us.
What we run for the big stuff, for commercial, we run Isuzu NPRs. You can look up the Isuzu NPR box truck. We run that truck with a dovetail-type back-end for commercial. We run Isuzu NPRs for our fertilization and weed control. We can put a lot of fertilizer in that truck with a 1,600 gallon tank and quite a number of pumps. We have to make some modifications to customize the interior that we build out, but we run that as our fertilization and weed control truck.
Back in the day, we started with an F150 and a little eight-foot trailer that we mounted a Lesko 300-gallon tank and a pump on. Then we upgraded to a F350 with a custom aluminum bed on the back that let us place two of those big Lesko, I believe they were 300-gallon tanks. It could have been 200-gallon tanks. I can’t remember now. We went to that F, oh excuse me, F-350 with a flat aluminum bed and the tanks mounted on the exterior of the bed, meaning that it wasn’t covered and hidden. Then we progressed from that into a Isuzu NPR box. That’s what we do for fertilization and weed control.
We run pest control out of F150s. At times we’ve used Ford Rangers. We run irrigation out of F150s, sometimes the long bed. The F-150 with the shell on the bed and the interior of that shell is customized to store T’s and elbows and parts and everything we need. Then we’ve historically run Ford Rangers. We have lots of Ford Rangers with custom beds on the back. Now keep in mind these Ford Rangers were only used for one purpose and that was to run small residential, and so we’d run 3 21s, a couple weed-eaters, stick-edger, a number of blowers, pretty much everything we needed off the back of that custom bed.
In our market, we predominantly mulch and so we don’t deal with a ton of debris, and if we have to deal with debris, we’ve got a system for that because it’s not really possible to carry around a lot of debris on a Ford Ranger with a custom bed on the back of it since it’s not enclosed. If you do a little Googling, you can find an example of those trucks.
Now, the Ford Rangers have been discontinued so we’ve already made the switch and at this point we’re now building out just F150s with the custom beds on the back. Since the Ranger’s going to eventually end and we always bought used Rangers, we figured we might as well go ahead and make the switch, and so we’re running F150s for our small residential as well, with again, the custom beds on the back.
We do pull trailers but only for bush trimming. You might call it some enhancement work, so if we’re doing flowers or sod, or we’re doing bush trimming, flower bed clean-ups which we will often do with the bush trimming, all of that’s still running out of a F150 pulling a 16-foot trailer. That’s our set-up. We try to keep it as simple as possible.
So, that’s all the trucks we have. We have a lot of trucks and they are predominantly Ford Rangers, Ford F150s and Isuzu NPRs. There’s a miscellaneous bigger truck built-in that we have here and there, but that’s our predominant set-up and we’re slowly moving towards, again, predominantly just F150s and Isuzu NPRs.
We’ve been pleased. We’ve had good results. We like the gas-powered Isuzu NPR better than the diesel because we don’t drive a ridiculous number of miles because we have pretty tight density, and so that set-up’s worked out nicely. We’re pleased with it and anytime we can run a truck without a trailer, that’s a big plus.
Again, post below if you’re having great success with another set-up and tell us why so that everybody can learn from you. Thanks a lot.
This video I recorded demonstrates how careful you must be when selecting trailer locks for your lawn care business. This $50 trailer lock can easily be opened with the back of a 50 cent ball point pen. Trailer and lawn care equipment theft is common, be careful to pick the best trailer lock, a trailer lock that is hard to pick. The locks we use are about $130 each.