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V-box vs. Tailgate??

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by EGLC, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. EGLC

    EGLC PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,733

    I would like some suggestions and advice here. I currently service one small condo and 25 drives. I salt the condo obviously and about 15 of the drives. I plan on growing and will be purchasing a second 2500HD this spring.

    My choices are a used insert or a new snow-ex 575.
     
  2. SnowMatt13

    SnowMatt13 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,533

    First thing I can think of is over-loading and who's driving.
    We had a tailgate on a Dodge 3500 at work. Well, with 1 bobcat bucket of salt in it it was at it's legal max weight. But that didn't stop some from loading it to the top....and somehow it was probably related to the transmission we replaced on a yearly basis.
    My new 1-ton I put a snow-ex 8500. Looks awkward in a dump box and I've gotten some comments on why I didn't go tailgate but with that loaded the truck squats and is almost at it's max.....
     
  3. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,045

    V Boxes really limit visibility. If your spreading 1 ton or less/storm I'd go with a tailgate. JMO
     
  4. EGLC

    EGLC PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,733

    I'm just going to go with the 575 for now and add a used v-box next year if needed
     
  5. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    you've got the right idea......BUT, you may have better performance going with a 2 stage tailgate, you can find used airflo units reasonably cheap or a western pro flo maybe. If you're only using bagged material you'd probably be OK with a single stage unit.
     
  6. hlntoiz

    hlntoiz Senior Member
    from NW, CT
    Messages: 588

    My 6' Insert with spreader would work great for you. You can hold about 2 yds and you can use the insert in the summer time for landscaping materials.

    I need to get a larger unit. I picked up a ton of salting this year and I have to fill up twice per run.
     
  7. EGLC

    EGLC PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,733

    I will keep a look out for one! thanx for the info

    except that my current chevy won't ever get an insert. I'm buying a 8' bed 2500hd in the spring and will throw a insert in it and a tailgate spreader then.
     
  8. hlntoiz

    hlntoiz Senior Member
    from NW, CT
    Messages: 588

    I have an 8' bed too. I wanted a 6' so I can get my tool box in the truck also. When you load the 6' with salt or topsoil or what ever that is the max a 1 ton truck can carry for the GVWR. Works out good. Look in the For sale section I have it posted there.
     
  9. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    Sounds like you already made up your mind. All I will say is there are a lot of vbox guys around here. I would bet that most dont ever make a penny on their machines. Sort of like every yahoo that starts a LCO has to buy a 60" rider. A nice tailgate spreader will pay for itself much faster. Size wise stay over 400lbs capacity. Sure you can save money on bulk salt, but if you spend an hour or 2 getting it, then have to chop out the leftovers it starts to make the tailgate model look a little better.
     
  10. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    Racer, I think you're WAY WAY off base with that V-Box comment. Our V Boxes will make us at an estimated $300,000 this winter, up from last seasons actual of $200,000. Thats about 70 grand per unit, not bad earnings for a machine that costs about 7 grand and lasts for 3-4 years(longer actually but we replace them before they become big problems). Loading can be troublesome if you aren't using alot of salt but that's why each tool has it's place, but that comment was just silly. There are plenty of guys making even more on them than us. If you are doing primarily residential/small business work a tailgate is probably the right fit. But a 2 stage can be more flexible than a single stage.
     
  11. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    I'm very happy for you that you actually use your vbox's. Just like you there are many that do make it profitable. I'm a skeptical of your numbers though. Sure it's possible running dedicated machines, but most are not doing that. Most guys around here are running 1 load or less per event, they make nothing. As for your 70K. I'm pretty sure your accountant can tell you that 1/10th of that is more than likely your take in the end.
     
  12. hlntoiz

    hlntoiz Senior Member
    from NW, CT
    Messages: 588

    So according to this site how much do you make per inch? 10k 20k 30k???? Just curious:rolleyes:
     
  13. CARDOCTOR

    CARDOCTOR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,310

    if you run a vbox youll save $$$$$$$$$ on salt plus getting out and filling the hopper with bagged is a pita.
     
  14. hlntoiz

    hlntoiz Senior Member
    from NW, CT
    Messages: 588


    Not necessarely, I think there is one important variable to consider. It all depends on how much salting you do. If you only have one commerical lot property (a gas station for example) then is it cost effective to use bulk salt? You have to, make a bin, store the salt, pay rent/mortgage on the area you are storing the salt, and then you have to have another machine to load it (plus all the overhead of the machine).

    Bulk salt is only cost effective when you have enough work for it. JMO Only the contractor can make that assessment.
     
  15. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    Racer- I don't need the accountant to know that our margins for salt are a whole bunch higher than 10%, if thats all they were we'd stay home. You are correct though that many do not run dedicated pieces, we don't. Our route captains have plows and the salters, and as soon as operations/storm dictate they stop plowing and start salting. Here in NJ and I suspect across the industry the highest margins are in salt. We are very proactive on ice patrols as well, never servicing without a good reason, but we are generally out for 2 days after a storm making sure things are clear, no refreeze or blown snow issues. NJ is possibly the litigation capital of the world(exageration) but it's pretty bad, most of our customers demand high levels of service, and they all expect it.
     
  16. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    HLNTOIZ,

    I never looked at it that way.......But to justify a little, that salt number includes calcium apps to walkways on seasonals, others are per bag or per app and then considered a seperate number. I don't know why it's that way, but has been much longer than I've been there...........
     
  17. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    I'll agree with you on that.
     
  18. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

    I don't have to do any of this. :rolleyes:
     
  19. hlntoiz

    hlntoiz Senior Member
    from NW, CT
    Messages: 588

    Not all of us live on a farm in the middle of a corn field:laughing::laughing: U probably use beet juice for deicing anyway :laughing:
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2010
  20. BSDeality

    BSDeality Senior Member
    Messages: 736

    I thought about a tailgate unit when I was just starting to get into salting. Sure it would be nice to have a pallet of salt sitting in the garage to load unload at my leisure, but not having to stand in the bed of the truck @ 3am to throw 100lbs of salt in for a driveway is priceless when I just hit the electric start and engage the clutch and drive out... 30 seconds to salt an average driveway. The ROI on my salter is HUGE.

    I would salt all day long if I could. So much easier on the truck (other than rust) and its quick easy money if you're set up properly.