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light trucks vs full size...need to decide

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by plowman777, Mar 27, 2003.

  1. plowman777

    plowman777 Senior Member
    Messages: 227

    i have been using a 1988 dodge dakota for plowing 25-30 residential drives since 1995, i have a 6.5' meyers plow that i welded 3 times and i have over time replaced the trucks entire drivetrain(except diffs). the truck now has 180k miles. i had no down time this year and it's been very reliable in all conditions. i am considering buying 2 more trucks to dedicate to plowing only and bring my route up to 90 drives.the vehicles will sit otherwise in the summer. i notice that jeep cherokees are very cheap now as well as dakotas (thats why i got mine in the first place)so my question is, is it worth the extra cost of a full size truck for less repair bills/reliability or do they break just as much?as i figure it, i can totally rebuild a cheaper truck for the added cost of a full size truck. the prices for various 1995 cheapest models without plow are; wrangler: $4,450, jeep cherokee:$3,000, Dakota $3,900...this compares to an f250 at $6500 or bronco $6,100....source edmunds.com

    what you guys think?i have often thought my truck was too light and i spent alot in repairs but maybe everyone does??...also should i be thinking a fleet of the same model vehicles?

    thanks
    dave
     
  2. ToyotaPower

    ToyotaPower Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Give toyota's a Look

    Look into the 1985-1994 toyoya pick-up trucks there very reliable. The one thing I recomend is V6 over the 4 cylinder. We love them and having been using them for 4 years now. We hang only 6 1/2 meyer plow on them. Our 1988 even sports a 3/4 yard downeaster electric spreader on it only filling it to half capacity. Also go with a stick and when plowing driveways use low gear and start in 2nd gear. :waving:
     
  3. ToyotaPower

    ToyotaPower Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    Toyota's are Great PLow Trucks

    We have three toyota's here is a description of each, 1986 short cab 4 cylinder turbo fuel injection manual 6 1/2 meyer plow set-up, electric spreader in rear. 1986 long bed 4 cylinder carb manual, 6 1/2 meyer plow set-up. The newest additions is a totally rebuilt from the ground up 1988 ext cab 6 cylinder fuel injection manual, 6 1/2 meyer plow set-up, electric spreader in rear. We only do residential driveways.
    :waving:
     
  4. plowman777

    plowman777 Senior Member
    Messages: 227

    thank you TP. i will think on that. i always use low now for plowing too after burning my clutch in a blizzard, the slower time and speeds is worth the less strain
     
  5. myo

    myo Senior Member
    Messages: 193

    I would prefer the smaller truck for drives... I had a sonoma with a 6'9" blade on it and it was manueverable and good for drives. I had a fullsize truck and it worked well too but in some drives too big and long. Good luck with your decision.
     
  6. Plow Babe

    Plow Babe Senior Member
    Messages: 218

    We have a Dodge Durango with a 7.5 SnoWay for driveways, with good studded snow tires. It does fine unless the snow is over about 18 inches deep. We decided against a Cherokee because they are a unibody frame which Steve did not like for putting a plow on. The full-size Blazers or Broncos are great for plowing, too. It is nice to have a shorter and more maneuverable vehicle for driveways. Our '95 F250 takes about 1/4 mile to turn a circle in. But with a smaller lighter duty truck, make sure you have something in your fleet that can handle the bigger storms.
     
  7. plowman777

    plowman777 Senior Member
    Messages: 227

    thats good info, i had no idea about the unibody frame on the cherokee
     
  8. wxmn6

    wxmn6 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,037

    If I were you, I would like to have some full size trucks with at least one small size truck like Toyota. With full size trucks, it should be more reliable, more profitable on large driveways and commercial lots because they can carry bigger plows than small size trucks. But there are some small and tight driveways that will give full size trucks a tough time. This is when the small size truck will comes in handy.

    I do plow with Toyota and it is a great tough plow rig. Very manuever in tight driveways. But due to NY insurance policy, each truck insured will have to be insured separately. So that mean double premium. Not worth keeping both trucks if I am going to use one of them at once. I would like to keep it but it is not cost wise. That is why I am selling my Toyota. It is a good rig.

    Hope this will help you.
     
  9. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    Plowman777, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is unibody, the Cherokee Sport (now replaced by the Liberty) has a solid frame, and you can mount a plow on them.

    Stephen, look into a set of "In Transit" plates. You can slap them on the Toy, and use it during storms. Your CGL Ins. or equipment Ins. will cover it if I am not mistaken. Talk to your Ins. co, and ask about it. Don't mention it's a Toyota, ask about a backhoe for instance, or a Kubota tractor, and see what they say.

    You see all sorts of equipment with "In Transit" plates on them here in NJ during storms.....

    ~Chuck
     
  10. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    I could be wrong Chuck (My wife tells me so EVERY day), but I believe the cherokee is also a unibody. (Old style of of course the Grand)
     
  11. plowman777

    plowman777 Senior Member
    Messages: 227

    wxmn6.....i am doing strictly driveways, so i dont need a big truck for parking lots.

    Chuck Smith....do you have any leads for insurance?...i am only plowing, no landscaping, but im wondering if i need to call myself a landscaper just to get insured and have plowing as an incidental activity?....i need total coverage; liability, workmans comp and whatever else is a good idea.
     
  12. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    The regular Cherokee's are uni-body just like the Grand Cherokee,but they are built a little stronger.Plows will hold up OK on them.

    Excellent idea for the "In Transit" plates.We use them on most of our equipment as 90% of our fleet is only used for snow,so we have no need for regular plates or insurance.Our CGL covers the truck when plowing ON a property,and our garage auto policy covers anything the plates are attached too while driven on the road.
     
  13. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    Plowman, unfortunately, in NJ it would be much easier to get insurance as a General Contractor, or Landscaper, and tell them you do limited snow plowing, which you do, considering that you only plan to do a couple of dozen driveways. If you told them you just plow snow, they will rape you, or not want to cover you at all. It is not too bad doing only driveways, it's the commercial that increases your (their) liability. Make sure you offer salting to your residential customers. When they decline, they take a lot of the burden off you for any slip and falls, since you are not responsible for removing ice (per your contract with them). A simple "Check this box if you want us to apply de-icers at our descrection" on the contract will do. Along with a "Check this box if you DO NOT want us to apply de-icers at our descretion".

    Then they are the ones "maintaining a hazard" (as the law suits say) on their property, not you.

    Howard, our own SnowplowJay here has a Western on his Cherokee. :) Our local Western dealer has several on their Cherokee Sports too.

    ~Chuck
     
  14. plowman777

    plowman777 Senior Member
    Messages: 227

    chuck, that is sucha great idea about the salting clause!....right now i do about 25-30 drives and want to buy 2 more trucks and do 90...thats why i want the insurance...yes i have already found resistance to getting insurance so i may have to use the landscaper angle.
     
  15. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    what about a couple of jeep wranglers. great little maneuverable vehicles. just make sure you get the 6 cylinder.
     
  16. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    Chuck, I wasn't disagreeing with the plow on the cherokee thing (They are one of the MOST manuverable sport utes out there) I just think I recall my father's and the one I had as Assistant Chief Of Harrison NY EMS as Unibody.

    Howard *Proved wrong many times before*
     
  17. plowman777

    plowman777 Senior Member
    Messages: 227

    mdb...i am considering wranglers...its just that cherokees are quite a bit cheaper now...they are an out of fashion SUV..and i like it that they have a bit more mass
     
  18. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    Howard, I believe you and wyldman. Last Cherokee Sport I was under was my father's back in 86, and I don't even remember what it had. :)

    Plowman, just remember, if you plan on doing any tight circular drives, you can't beat a Wrangler. Hmmm, maybe 2 Cherokees and a Wrangler? (You want fries with that?) LOL

    Also, don't overlook what Plow Babe mentioned about at least one full size HD pick up in case of deep snows.

    ~Chuck
     
  19. plowman777

    plowman777 Senior Member
    Messages: 227

    ok, assuming i get 2 more trucks that sit all summer....now i am thinking of the cheapest way to insure this; i become a corporation and don't get CGL.that way my personal property is protected and all i can lose are a few rusty trucks, or even those i can put in a different corporation and protect them...i get bac and workmans comp at the end of november, make an initial down payment, just enuf to get me from dec-mar. tell them im a contractor who does some plowing....


    :waving:
     
  20. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Regarding insurance. If it works there like it does here (and it probably does), you can't get insured for part of a year by just making a small down payment. It's not like regular car insurance where people do that to show they have insurance. GCL is a yearly policy paid quarterly and based on the nature of your business. WC is based on wages paid. Initially, it is paid on an estimate of potential wages. Here, the lowest range covers wages up to $20,000. Then each year you would have a policy review. Even if you did try not making the payments, they simply would not renew next Fall. And you don't "shop around" for another company to write another WC policy.

    Being any kind of business (Corp, Single Prop etc) without the proper insurance is not a good idea - to say the least. In the case of a Corp, each officer could be held responsible for the actions of the Corp.

    Usually, I advise discussing things with an insurance agent. In this case, since you're trying to beat the insurance, I'd advise discussing it with a lawyer. Believe me, these insurance companies have been at this longer than any of us and have closed those loop holes.