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Equipment tools of the trade

It is very difficult when starting out, to find and figure out what to get. Another major factor is what you can afford. This will have a strong impact on how you get started.

Don't save money buying something that is cheaper, in most cases there is a reason for it. I would rather have one nice hand tool that is built to last than have two cheaper ones that won't last. In the long run it will save you money for other equipment, it will be a investment that you will never regret making for the company. If your looking for quality & you can't buy it new, consider buying it used.  

Trucks

Sooner or later, you will need a truck. If you are lucky, you already have one. This is a must have. I have seen people operating out of the back of cars but this looks very unprofessional.

It will serve as a very important tool. This is your company image. The very first thing that people notice when you go on a job. You will be spending a lot of time in this vehicle, your mobile office, personnel carrier and most important - equipment hauler.

Before we get to far into trucks, I do not have the resources & I will not try to tell you which truck to buy because I've seen all different kinds of trucks used successfully in the business. It varies on how you plan on using the truck. You need to ask yourself these questions first. What will be my primary use of the truck.

1. Hauling just light loads?
2. Pulling very heavy equipment?
3. Hauling employees from job to job?
4. Do I need it to be enclosed for extra security?
5. Will I be hauling sod, stones, dirt & so forth daily?
6. Do I want a truck that can perform most of the duties above? 

I think you get the picture now, just try to figure what you will be doing on a daily basis. This has always worked for me, find other people using them similar to the way you want to use yours and ask them questions?

Then after you decide on what you will mainly be using your truck for, then you will have the information needed to make a decision on the kind of truck you need.

I think it would be very difficult for anyone to say "If you are going to be using this truck to perform these duties, then this is what you need". Nor can anyone say "You need this make, model, year and make sure that you get it in a 1 ton, not a 3/4 ton. If they could it would make life a lot easier.

I have seen time and time again where people would purchase a smaller truck and later wished they had a full size. Generally full size trucks have larger engines giving you more power for hauling trailers and equipment.

 Trailers

Which came first, the truck or trailer. If you can not have both and a truck is more than you can handle, a trailer should be your first choice. You should have at least one or the other to be in this business.

Just like a truck, bigger is better. Don't make the mistake of purchasing a trailer that is to small, if that's all your budget can afford at the time fine (consider purchasing a nice used one). In the near future you will be using large commercial mowers & other equipment that are to wide and bulky to fit in the small trailer. 

The great thing about a trailer is they work the same, new or used. A few cans of spray paint, new wiring kit and/or lights if needed, make sure tires are in good shape, don't forget to check the wheel bearings for grease. Check over complete trailer for broken welds where the metal connects. After doing all of this the trailer will look & operate like new.

Go ahead spend those few extra dollars and put on some hubcaps on it, who said equipment trailers had to look ugly, mine didn't because I wanted that professional image so I could get that extra money per job.

Make sure it has safety chains that hook to the bumper or frame and a lock to go on the tongue of the trailer. You would not want someone to leave with all your equipment or you just hooked up at a job and you are going down the road then the trailer comes loose. 

Most of the tongues or couplers that hook on to the ball have a way to put a lock on them. The tongues or couplers has a nut on the bottom on them that can be adjusted so it stays tight on the ball. Use your own judgment on the adjustment about a 1/8" play up & down on the ball when locked into place should work fine. It's messy but it serves a purpose put grease on the ball or you will wear out the coupler.

Trailers with low sides (2 foot sides or less) makes it a lot easier to load and unload . Equipment and supplies can get very heavy to the user, the low sides makes it easier to get the equipment  in and out, the quicker the job gets done, the more money you make. Low sides on the trailer will make the job safer & easier, but the low sides do not offer very good equipment security. You will have to decide what is best.

The fully enclosed trailers are of course the most secure. You don't have to worry about equipment falling out of the trailer & theft of equipment is vastly reduced. You can really work wonders with advertising your business & signage on these trailers. Some are real works of art & they can show a very professional image if you put a little bit of thought of what you have painted on the sides of them. 

I started out with a 5 by 10 used trailer. It needed everything done to it but I got it at a good price because I couldn't afford one of the nicer ones. In less than 30 days, I knew it was to small. A year later, I purchased a 6 by 16 dual axle trailer with electric brakes. It made the trailer easier to handle and much safer. The bigger the trailer, the easier to handle just takes a little more room.

Please take the time to get a trailer with electric brakes if it is very big and take the time to get them working properly. I can easily say that in 5+ years of business working 6 people not including me and running up to 3 trucks daily we never had a wreck.

You would be surprised how many times my drivers told me that they were glad the trailers had brakes. Other drivers that had never pulled trailers that weighed 3 tons will pull out in front of you & sometimes stop in front of you. Thinking you can stop too. Hey if they only knew. I think every body should have to pull them for a while. Then they would be more courteous.

In five years, I had one 5 by 10 and three 6 x 16 dual axle trailers. The bigger the trailers and trucks are, the less trips and time it takes to get the job done.


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