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How do you Manage (Truck Down Time)

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  • How do you Manage (Truck Down Time)

    To me I feel this is a very important topic and it's been affecting me recently.


    How do you all as individuals keep up with "truck down syndrome" ??

    I seriously almost impulsively bought a E-150 last night when I took my truck into the shop, but conventional wisdom has taught me that anything 150 or 1500 is a short life in the plumbing biz when it comes to wear and tear due to the weight of materials and tools.

    It's clearly evident that I need a second vehicle because here's what I've spent with budget truck rentals in the past 3 occurrences in 2 months >>> $1328.00

    One of those rentals was to pick up inventory in Louisville so that really wasn't a justified down time situation. However, my plumbing work truck has had problems twice in the past few weeks (EGR valve, now EGR cooler) and thank goodness the truck is under warranty....BUT

    it looks horrible showing up in a retard cube to do service calls. It's a E-150 10' box and looks ridiculous.

    Some of you who have a second vehicle.....I'm jealous and will soon have one, it probably will not be another truck but a van for my future plumber. I'm going to have my sign guy split that truck into two businesses, one side plumbing, the other my second business. WestCoast I might borrow your idea with the angled writing to get attention.

    Do you all work out of cars, borrow a neighbor's stationwagon, work out of a older van somebody lets you use.....or do you just deal with the down time?


    For me, personally, I absolutely cannot "not" work. The call volume and the keeping the repeat base satisfied is priority one, the very reason I'm working out of a rented van box this weekend replacing another water heater and sunday replacing a toilet, not counting the emergency calls that always come in. Have to work straight through because I backed off two large jobs because I just couldn't do them this week. So I'm literally screwed for any breathng room.

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  • #2
    Re: How do you Manage (Truck Down Time)

    I pray that my 1996 f-150 with 209000 miles on it keeps on keepin on for a few more months. The last 2 times I was without my truck for a couple of days I borrowed my brothers lifted tacoma 4x4, pain in the a** to work out of, and was afraid that some tools or material would damage it. I am right there with you about buying a second vehicle, and if it would be anything over about $1000 I would have to think twice about even making the repair.

    Greg

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    • #3
      Re: How do you Manage (Truck Down Time)

      Interesting...When I upgrade to new, bigger truck I think will keep my current truck as a 'backup'. I never thought too much about it, but truck down-time can be a serious problem. I guess its worth keeping an old truck as backup, rather than sell it used for next to nothing.
      Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

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      • #4
        Re: How do you Manage (Truck Down Time)

        I was always one to have back-up vehicles. However, I remember many times (thanks Chevy) when I would get a call a transmission or motor went out in a step van and the mechanic said he couldn't look at it for a week. I would have Brenda go pick up a rebuilt motor or trans and have it sitting at the house after my last job. I got to where I could R&R a tranny in about 3-hours but a full motor was around 8-hours. The next morning the truck would be ready for my guys but I tried to take the easy calls that day.

        Mark
        "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

        I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

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        • #5
          Re: How do you Manage (Truck Down Time)

          fortunatly i have my suv to fall back on. i can tow my jetter to the hills and even carry my sectional machine for a main.

          infact today i picked up a 1 pc. toilet at the supply house with it as this paticular city enforces the 6000# limit. i literally have to go out of the way to get to this supply house with my 14,000# truck.

          i try to do all the service on my truck. this allows me to fit it in on a sunday or slow saturday. the only service i farmed out was the alternator a couple of weeks ago. dealer did in within minutes of me getting there and was back out within the hour for $89.00 labor. this alternator also drives the vacuum pump for the brakes. has a front and rear shaft.

          the one time my current truck got hit parked in front of a customers house. i had to empty the truck, 2 days, then go on vacation for the week and spend 2 more days to restock my truck.

          of course i was hit by an uninsured, unlicensed, driver. so although my insurance covered the repair. i was out all my down time.

          rick.
          phoebe it is

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          • #6
            Re: How do you Manage (Truck Down Time)

            i have an 07 diesel e 350 and my back up a 89 e350 u haul with a 14' box when its not working its a great bill board its nice to not have to worry about making it to a call
            Mike
            Clark County Plumbing And Drain
            www.plumbinginclarkcounty.com

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            • #7
              Re: How do you Manage (Truck Down Time)

              We keep a spare empty van at the shop. If you have over 10 trucks in a fleet, one is almost always down.

              Usually our spare is the oldest and most bullet ridden so on the resale market it's pretty much worthless. Keep it registered and insured.

              It's also great for hauling the old big boilers and water heaters to the scrap yard for $$$.

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              • #8
                Re: How do you Manage (Truck Down Time)

                I also have more then one truck. Does this mean that smaller operation businesses should go and buy a new truck, no way. A used one would do just fine, even if there is some rust on it. Shoot, some days I wish there was more then one of me, wheres that cloning machine at???
                Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

                http://www.contractorspub.com

                A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!

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                • #9
                  Re: How do you Manage (Truck Down Time)

                  At last count we had 13. Most of them vans. Most of them Dodges. We just canned two old vans and picked up two new Sprinters. Have to GMC pick ups too, both 4wd with lift gates.

                  back in my early days when I was by myself. When the truck broke down I either fixed it myself or took a couple days off and played with the wife.
                  sigpic

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                  • #10
                    Re: How do you Manage (Truck Down Time)

                    the place i work we have 20 working vans and there are 4 vans to use when one has to go in for service every 4000 mi or for helpers to pick up material at the shop . they have bin getting 2 to 3 new vans a year but this year they did not get any ,we had a couple of guys quit . they are all E-350 ford vans ,he gets a fleet price an all fords we get .
                    all the service and job foreman take the trucks home and when our truck has to go in fore service i like to take the day off ,i hate not having my truck to work out of .
                    Charlie

                    My seek the peek fundraiser page
                    http://observatory.mountwashington.o...nal&fr_id=1040


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                    new work pictures 12/09
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                    • #11
                      Re: How do you Manage (Truck Down Time)

                      We have a extra van that is partially stocked with materials, no tools. It is like a security blanket I guess.
                      Anyone can tear a man down, few can build one up.

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                      • #12
                        Re: How do you Manage (Truck Down Time)

                        When I bought my new van in 2003 I kept the old one for exacly the reasons described but, after a while I couldn't justify the insurance and tags not to mention the dry rot that occurs when the truck just sits there. It may also be "down" when the time comes to use it.

                        When my truck goes into the shop I use that time to catch up on invoicing and update my prices etc.

                        But I have to admit, it bites to turn work away.

                        Ha! and Plumberscrack, when I need work on my van I call around to about 3 shops for an estimate (see post for "Same day bid".

                        I'm going to change my company name to Hypocritical Plumbing.
                        "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

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                        • #13
                          Re: How do you Manage (Truck Down Time)

                          I have an extra van and truck but the biggest problem for me is all my goodies are in my main van and I always forget some tool or product because I can't move everything over to the other van or truck.
                          Seattle Drain Service

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                          • #14
                            Re: How do you Manage (Truck Down Time)

                            I'm leaving now to do the switch from my truck that's down to rented cube van.


                            It's horrible.
                            Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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                            • #15
                              Re: How do you Manage (Truck Down Time)

                              I just installed a new motor in my sewer truck last week and I used my 1 ton dully that I pull the race cars with for that short time. It`s all about having a back up plan I was glad to get my service truck back as the dully eats gas like mad with it`s big 454....lol
                              http://www.all-clear-sewer.com/

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