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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone; hate to mention this when I read that others are experiencing slow times but....

I am in need of a van or trailer for the business. I am leaning for a van but need some pros and cons for both. I have talked with the locals in the northeast and it seems weather will play a major factor in my decision. If its the van; which brand (GMC/Ford/Chev) would you all recommend?

After readings some posts on the ladder racks that swing down, I definitely want to go that way too! Thanks for input.
 

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I've had both... hard to say... love my trucks for the simple-ness, loved my vans for the rain-proof...-ness. I suppose it depends on if your in an area that has alot of snow. I can remember doing some work in Delmarva area when it snowed, took more time to clean out my stupid truck than it took to shovel it out, and of course everything was f'ed up. Here, rain hurts nothing really. Brand? I've always said DODGE vans, FORD trucks, CHEVY throwaway vechicles that cost alot to repair... but thats me. :)
 

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It depends on if you are the boss, or if you are a working man. If you are running crews and lining up jobs, and picking up paint, then a truck is for you. If you are working the jobs everyday then imo you need a van. Painters require a lot of stuff, i drive a bright yellow gmc van.
Working out of a truck is a drag, tool boxes are not all that great campershells work good when they are clean, but after a few days on the job you will have a hard time getting to your stuff.
I often keep at least one sprayer in my van a couple of fans, stack of drops, ect..ect. When winter hits i swap the fans for heaters.
A van with good ladder racks and good shelves in the back is great, keep your brushes hanging on peg hooks.
 

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ContractorTalk Crossover
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With only one exception, I have always had vans. The one truck I did have was nice, but as Brushslinger said, cleaning the snow and ice out and off of everything is a PITA, and hauling materials when it's raining/snowing is a PITA also. Then there is security. Even a camper shell only slows down a thief.

For the vans, I have had all three major brands. I didn't like the way the Fords drove, seems sloppy. The Dodge was a good van, but they don't make them any more, and the Chevy was "mediocre" at best, the only reason I liked the Chevy was it wall tall enough to slide plywood or drywall in standing on edge, you didn't have to empty it out to get sheet goods in. The Fords and Dodges were slightly to short to stand up a 4 foot sheet, at least at the time.

Right now I am looking at the Sprinters that Chrysler is selling. The guys and girls I know that have them love them, lots of room, drive nice, and get 20 - 22 MPG average. I understand that the engine and drive train are Mercedes, so they ought to be dependable. I haven't had time to do a lot of research yet, but they are 1st on the list to replace my Isuzu NQR.

I guess it's Like Workaholic said, it's gonna depend on what the main use is going to be - to work out of, or just a support truck. Seeing as how you from the northeast, the rain/sleet/ice/snow (same as we have here in Michigan) would lean me more towards something enclosed.

I tried the trailer thing for a while, but it always seemed like if I went to do a small job, the homowner would in want something else done, but I wouldn't have the tools/materials with me, they would be in the trailer. If I did larger jobs where I could park the trailer there for days or weeks, than that's a different story, but doing jobs lasting only a couple days or so was more of a hassle.

Then fnding a place to park it while you work is another PITA in some areas. Seems like you get to the job, back it in, and an hour later some other trade need it moved for one reason or another, and now you can't find a place within 500 feet to park the truck and trailer.

I work out of a 16 foot box truck right now, but the lease is up soon, and I am going to repalce it. I love it, 95% of the time I have everything I need for a job right on the truck, a big timesaver around here where a trip to the local hardware can take 45 minutes during rush hour traffic. When I bought it 4 years ago, diesel was $1.39 to $1.49 a gallon, no big deal, now it hovering around $3.00 a gallon here and no relief in sight, and a 9 - 10 MPG, it's getting rediculous to spend $125 to fill up a truck.
 

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Epoxy Dude
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Mike,

Have you considered making your own bio fuel? My neighbor is an electrician. He came over and spent time in our lab and we figured out how to make it. He makes a couple hundred gallons at a time. It takes about 4 man hours. His current cost is $0.52 per gallon. So, if you do the math, you could afford to pay yourself $124/hour to make it and still break even. Of course, he's only making 200 gallons per shot...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
thanks everyone, I must agree that the van idea is the best! I also like the sprinter model but that is a tad bit expensive. I also need the ability to haul 4x8s when needed.
eric
 
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