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  • The Big Fuel Squeeze

    My main truck is a 96 ford E-350 460 cu. In.[ 7.5 liter] . second an 8 Cyl. 91 Chevy Z 4x4 pickup,Only 60,000 miles [pretty little thing]. 7-8 MPG van [ tool soup].
    thinking,used Isuzo Diesel ,or like,with a utility body. Any thoughts out there?????.
    Trying to watch the $$$$ with this economy.Should I consider a box truck? Also Diesel is $4.99 a gal.Are You charging any more for this Fuel situation?? Any, and All thoughts appreciated. Tool
    I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

  • #2
    Re: The Big Fuel Squeeze

    Originally posted by toolaholic View Post
    My main truck is a 96 ford E-350 460 cu. In.[ 7.5 liter] . second an 8 Cyl. 91 Chevy Z 4x4 pickup,Only 60,000 miles [pretty little thing]. 7-8 MPG van [ tool soup].
    thinking,used Isuzo Diesel ,or like,with a utility body. Any thoughts out there?????.
    Trying to watch the $$$$ with this economy.Should I consider a box truck? Also Diesel is $4.99 a gal.Are You charging any more for this Fuel situation?? Any, and All thoughts appreciated. Tool
    You should think about something more hybrid for sure as gas will not be getting cheaper.

    I actually just read about a plumbing company that switched over to PT cruisers instead of work vans to save on gas,

    Hell, Let the supply houses deliver the big stuff

    Just my thoughts
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    • #3
      Re: The Big Fuel Squeeze

      Its as plain as this. If this is your work truck, you have to charge the customers more, for the fuel. Then its not you, paying for the gas, but your clients. And there is nothing wrong with charging a percentage for the fuel. Tool, I try to keep my tools in my work trailers and put them on the job site, no tools in the truck. Then, if theres a day that I really don't need my truck, I'll use my car.

      The advice about materials should be delivered, is right on. Once again, even if theres a delivery fee, the client is the one who pays for it, this stuff should never come out of your pocket. I will charge what is appropriate for fuel, I don't need to get greedy and charge a lot more.
      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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      • #4
        Re: The Big Fuel Squeeze

        We are already seeing feul charges from delivery companies for other trades.

        This is big folks.It's a whole new ball game.If you don't need it don't haul it.The old days of driving 12,000 pounds in a 50 mile loop for an ongoing project are over.Deliveries,job boxes and Daihatsu

        Check to see who's insurance is going to pay for your box getting broken into.Theft is quickly on the rise.

        I know.....You never are going to know what you're going to need.
        We are going to see guys starting to become a hellova lot more organized.

        The service guys should be able to jack their prices quickly.
        It's going to take connies a lot longer to get our money out of the project.Especially in this recession(yes,it is),because guys are taking jobs at a loss just so they don't lose EVERYTHING.

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        • #5
          Re: The Big Fuel Squeeze

          The cost of fuel is something you have to factor into your cost of sales. My primary vehicles for work are my work van (12 mpg), my Blackwood (14 mpg but premium fuel) and a 4X4 crewcab with a V-10 (12 mpg). Depending on where I am working I drive between 1,000 and 3,000 miles per week. As the fuel costs go up I find I pay more attention to the vehicle I chose to drive. On a 3,000 mile week it could make a $150 difference.

          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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          • #6
            Re: The Big Fuel Squeeze

            I've seen station wagons and mini suvs with plumbing logo's on them...surprisingly they look pretty cool.
            I drive a chevy 1500, 4.3 liter with an 8' bed & a cap and the MOST frustrating aspect is storage space/organization...trying to make room in the back for a water heater or toilet is like a chess game...moving one toolbox to make room to move the other so I can have space to slide the box of fittings to make room for the heater...then later moaning and groaning as I try to remember what the heck I hid the snap cutter under.
            While fuel is up there, the cost of hybrids ain't cheap either...Both Marks have it right....the added cost must be added to the cost of doing business, no way around it.

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            • #7
              Re: The Big Fuel Squeeze

              Our shop is tossing around the idea of 10 hr. days four days a week to help save on fuel. I like the idea actually.

              I am thankful that I have a take home van but I dread the day that benefit stops. Hopefully never.
              Anyone can tear a man down, few can build one up.

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              • #8
                Re: The Big Fuel Squeeze

                sure it hurts the bottom line. fuel is more than double it was when i purchased my w-4500 in 2000.

                even then the dealer said it doesn't pay to buy a diesel unless you drive 25k or more per years.

                so 8 years later i have 45k miles on it.

                but at 6mpg, it gets expensive and trying to put in more than $75 at the pump means a trip to the window, as the pump will stop at 75.

                i have not raised my service call fee in over 5 years.
                for $20.00 you get me and 14,000# of truck at your door. time doesn't start till i'm there.

                i should raise it $5.00 to cover the 8 mile round trip

                the rest of the transportation co's do.

                rick.
                phoebe it is

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                • #9
                  Re: The Big Fuel Squeeze

                  I charge a fuel surcharge now that is whatever it takes to get there and back in even numbers of course, $10,$20 whatever I it takes.
                  Seattle Drain Service

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                  • #10
                    Re: The Big Fuel Squeeze

                    Originally posted by Tyman View Post
                    Our shop is tossing around the idea of 10 hr. days four days a week to help save on fuel. I like the idea actually.

                    I am thankful that I have a take home van but I dread the day that benefit stops. Hopefully never.
                    we have bin doing this for over 15yrs and when we get busy we go to 8 or 10 hr on fri
                    our service dept works 5 days and will go to 9 or 10 hr days when it is needed .they were thinking about having 1/2 of the crew work mon - thurs and the other work tues - fri but did not do it yet .
                    the supply houses still dont charge to deliver to the job yet . and i will not have them deliver a small box either i make it worth there time

                    we have a gas card through 1 station chain and get a discount if we use it at there pumps but we can still use it at any station
                    Charlie

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


                    http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/conditions.php

                    new work pictures 12/09
                    http://public.fotki.com/hvachawk/

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                    • #11
                      Re: The Big Fuel Squeeze

                      We talked about doing a 4 10 hour days also but I was against it. We weren't doing 3 days off in a row. Besides, the last time we did it turned into 5 10 hour days.

                      We discussed raising our rates to cover the extra fuel expenses but found it easier to just lay a few guys off. They were dead wood anyways.

                      When my Chevy 3500 van is loaded I get 11 mpg. I'm lucky to live within 200 yards of a Ferguson so stopping in every morning to restock isn't a big deal.

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                      • #12
                        Re: The Big Fuel Squeeze

                        Don't expect any huge changes but anymore every little bit helps.

                        Taking very good care of your trucks can help you save fuel. Check air pressure in your tires every week when they are cold and adjust as needed. Use energy saving oil (look at bottle-jug) based on owner's manual specs. When was the air filter on your engine last changed? This is something you need to do yourself and do use a vacuum cleaner with crevice tool to get any dirt that may fall into the intake otherwise. Too many service places just pull out the old one and drop in a new without cleaning up things which is a real must do. Start up easy from a stop. Drive at slightly slower highway speeds.

                        As for adding on a fuel charge to each service call, sure go for it. Almost all companies that deliver have added fuel charges. DHL, FedEx, UPS and the USPS raised their rates. You may as well too, but keep it reasonable so as not to *&^%$ customers.

                        In addition to the engine, what about the differential(s) and transmission? They need good care too.

                        To replace a service truck may cost more than what the new one will save you. Please think hard before getting rid of Old Trusty.

                        One final hint that works very well for me: If your engine just can't run on Regular 87 gasoline, before filling up with Plus 89 which in my area costs 20 cents if not more per gallon, or filling up with Super 93 which is even more, try spiking Regular with some Super. Adding say 5 gallons to 15 of Regular can make a difference. For bigger tanks try 2 parts Regular and 1 Super. Plus grade is a huge ripoff at best. Sunoco only has two grades and the pump mixes them. You may as well do it yourself and save some $$$. Yes it's a pain but with card reader pumps it's not that bad. Many engines which normally need Super can be run fine on anything over 91 octane. In this case you could try 2 parts Super 93 and 1 part Regular 87. I've tried it with good results.
                        Last edited by Woussko; 05-18-2008, 11:33 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Re: The Big Fuel Squeeze

                          Originally posted by DuckButter View Post
                          While fuel is up there, the cost of hybrids ain't cheap either...Both Marks have it right....the added cost must be added to the cost of doing business, no way around it.
                          I'm compelled to correct myself, got curious and did a search for Hybrid prices..'07 Chevy Silverado hybrid for a lil' over 31K...as opposed to a regular Silverado at about 26K.
                          At 30mpg, I could shave at least $50 a week off the fuel bill, saving me at least 2,500 a year.
                          One probable downfall...the batteries, they're nickel based..I DO know the shelf life of nickel batteries for cordless tools is 2 years out of the factory...I'm guessing the same is true for any battery...and these batteries can't be cheap.

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                          • #14
                            Re: The Big Fuel Squeeze

                            I drive a 2003 toyota tundra as a work truck and it gets 17 mpg. Before I got the cab on the back, I was getting 20 mpg. Buying a dedicated work van wasn't justified as my truck has been paid off for awhile now. The latest plumbing and mechanical magazine had an article about a plumbing company in VA that uses a mini cooper to deliver parts and for estimates.

                            I totally agree with Adam about shaving down your inventory on the truck. I only carry what I need now. The flipside is that I've also found that you burn gas having to run to the supply house to get that one part you just ran out of. So a big truck getting 6mpg might actually be more economical then the small truck.

                            The 4 day work week; I heard some states were petitioning the government on this. Makes alot of sense to me.
                            Buy cheap, buy twice.

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                            • #15
                              Re: The Big Fuel Squeeze

                              we look at the 4 day week as 1 day 8 vans not using gas ,1/2 hr x 10 men = 5hr co does not pay for break time ,and if we start at 6am and end at 2;30 who wants to go back to work for 2hr after lunch so we get more work done in a 10 hr day
                              and we have a 3 day week end or a 4 if you take off mon and work fri instead
                              Charlie

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


                              http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/conditions.php

                              new work pictures 12/09
                              http://public.fotki.com/hvachawk/

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