As a landscaper, having the right equipment for the job is critical. Trucks are the workhorses of many landscaping businesses, necessary for transporting heavy equipment and even your employees to job sites throughout the region.
As your business evolves and grows — and new technology and equipment types become available to landscapers — is it time for you to reevaluate the trucks your business relies on?
Before you head to your local new or used truck dealer, we'll cover some considerations to help you make the best choice for your business. We’ll also review two new landscaper alternatives: bulking up your fleet with a roomy box truck or making sustainable changes to your business by incorporating an electric truck into your lineup.
Before Making a Purchase
Purchasing a new fleet vehicle isn’t a decision to make lightly. Buying a new or used truck comes with a hefty price tag — even if you’re financing — and regular maintenance costs add up year over year. Before heading to your preferred dealer, ask yourself:
What job do you need it to perform? – Purchasing a truck that is too large, too small or not fit for your needs is a waste of time and money. Be sure you know exactly what you want to accomplish with your new fleet vehicle before committing to a big purchase.
What’s in store for your professional future? – You’ve identified an immediate need, but what about next year or even five years from now? Review your business records and growth plan to determine what kinds of jobs to take in the future. This way, you can ensure your vehicle has a steady supply of work that can support your purchase decision and regular maintenance.
New equipment purchases can significantly impact your business’s bottom line and your ability to take on and complete projects. It’s not a decision to make lightly, so evaluate your business needs before committing to a purchase.
Go Big with a Box Truck
While a pickup truck might be a ubiquitous part of a landscaper’s fleet, that doesn’t mean you should only rely on these kinds of vehicles. Box trucks can be a beneficial alternative for landscapers who want to keep their equipment safe and out of the elements, according to Busbee’s Trucks & Parts. The roomy cargo area of a small or mid-sized box truck can transport all the necessary tools, equipment, plants and personnel to the job site without needing a secondary vehicle or towing trailer. Additionally, box trucks are roomy enough that you could have space to add amenities for your crew, such as a water dispenser for hot days, gas canisters to refill equipment as they work and outlets for charging power tools.
With their large sides, box trucks can easily be branded with your company logo, colors and contact information, serving as free advertising as your employees travel from job to job. However, these vehicles have some downsides, as the size of box trucks can vary, and some of the larger options can be too unwieldy for landscapers who work primarily in residential areas. Look up the local regulations to ensure you’re not exposing yourself to any liabilities or fines before making your purchase. Ensure all employees responsible for driving the truck have experience operating larger vehicles, including any special licenses that may be required.
Work Sustainably with an Electric Vehicle (EV)
You’ve likely already heard about the many advantages of electric lawnmowers, leaf blowers, chainsaws and more. These environmentally friendly landscaping tools boast zero emissions, rechargeable batteries and cordless convenience.
With companies like Tesla, Ford and General Motors pushing their electric trucks to the masses, is it time to pull the plug on your current truck and plug in an environmentally sustainable one? While an electric truck has advantages, according to AARP, it also has its fair share of drawbacks.
They’re quiet, fast and powerful – Electric trucks offer most, if not all, of the same capabilities as their traditional gas-powered cousins. Many models offer the same cargo size and towing capabilities as the trucks you already know. This article from Top Speed ranks some of the best electric pickup trucks based on their towing and payload capacity, so you can pick the truck that suits your equipment needs. If you and your clients appreciate how quiet your electric lawnmowers are on the job site, electric trucks are also quieter than their conventional counterparts for use in residential neighborhoods and housing complexes.
They need regular access to charging stations – While the range of EVs is steadily increasing, you can still only go so far before you need to stop and recharge. If you’re in an area without the infrastructure to support the charging needs of your vehicle, there is a possibility you could become stranded. If you purchase one, it’s essential to understand the charging needs of your new vehicle and plan accordingly. To locate vehicle charging stations in your area, use this interactive U.S. Department of Energy map.
Before adding a new vehicle to your fleet, take the time to contact MNLA’s insurance expert, Ashley Thomas, for a free risk analysis to ensure you’re fully protected. Learn more about available coverage at gallagheraffinity.com/mnla or contact Ashley Thomas of Gallagher Affinity at 918.764.1619 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a coverage review.
The information contained herein is offered as insurance industry insight and provided as an overview of current market risks and available coverages and is intended for discussion purposes only. This publication is not intended to offer legal advice or client-specific risk management advice. Any description of insurance coverages is not meant to interpret specific coverages that you or your company may already have in place or that may be generally available. General insurance