Landscaping businesses have come a long way from the neighborhood kid with a lawn mower and a dream. Now they’re streamlined operations facing significant competition. A critical component of any landscaping business is the truck used for hauling equipment.
The best truck for landscaping depends on many factors. If you have minimal equipment and want to keep costs low, getting an oversized truck that can haul more than 4,000 pounds of payload or 10,000 pounds of towing is overkill.
This post covers everything you need to know about the best trucks for landscaping, with the general requirements, significant types of landscaping trucks, and a list of the best trucks for a lawn care business.
To find the best truck for a landscaping business, you must identify what you need and how the options stack up. With so many different trucks to choose from, knowing what your business needs is vital.
The most influential characteristic of a truck for landscaping is its available space. After all, a vehicle that doesn’t fit your people or equipment won’t do much good. There are two aspects to space, the truck body bed length, and the cab size.
Many truck manufacturers now offer three truck bed lengths, including short, regular, and long. The short beds are usually less than six feet long, normal is between six to seven feet, and long beds stretch up to eight feet.
While a short bed truck works well for small operations with a push lawn mower and a few other tools, it likely isn’t a good idea for those with riding mowers or more equipment. Instead, a long-bed truck would be better. But it will cost more to purchase and operate and require more driving skills.
The other size aspect to consider is the truck body and cab itself, and once again, there are usually three options, including regular, extended, and crew cab body styles. Regular cabs fit up to three people, extended cabs have a small backseat for limited cargo or passenger use, and crew cabs can fit four to six adults.
The regular cab is likely sufficient if your landscaping crews work in one or two-person landscapers teams. But a crew cab is probably a better idea if four or more people need to get to the site and you want them to go in one truck.
You can also consider how wide a landscaping truck is. The average width of pickup trucks is around 80 inches, with available options thinner and wider. This aspect is worth considering if you’re dealing with tight city roads or other compact driving situations.
Another top consideration when selecting the truck for your lawn care business is the payload and towing capacity. Trucks vary in these specifications quite dramatically, and it’s paramount to get a vehicle that can safely handle the demands of your operation.
Payload refers to the weight that can go into the truck itself, both in the cab and the truck bed. If you plan on carrying your equipment in the truck without a trailer, you’ll need to know how much your equipment weighs, including people and machinery, and purchase a truck designed for that.
Heavy Equipment Necessitates a Powerful Towing Capacity
As you can tell by the name, towing capacity is all about how much weight the truck can pull. For landscapers, you’ll need to match the weight of what you want to tow with a vehicle appropriate for towing it. This capacity comes from the available power, suspension tolerance, and braking ability.
If your landscaping business takes you off-road, ground clearance can also be an influential characteristic. Usually, four-wheel drive models in the higher trim levels offer increased ground clearance, while entry-level lawn care truck models get over most obstacles but will be closer to the ground.
A final primary concern for getting the best truck for landscaping is the cost and fuel efficiency. Both can impact your bottom line, and experienced lawn care business owners understand the importance of looking at the short and long-term consequences.
The costs include both the upfront purchase price as well as the ongoing maintenance costs. Some trucks can be priced significantly lower than others but might not last as long or could result in higher maintenance costs. High-end trucks also might have more expensive equipment. When they fail, repair bills can be higher.
It’s no secret that fuel prices are constantly on the rise. When running a business that involves driving between locations often, this can become an exponential calculation.
Larger trucks that put power ahead of fuel efficiency can get ratings of around 12 to 18 MPG, while smaller, fuel-efficient options can push that number up into the high 20s and even break over 30 mpg in rare cases.
When trying to find the best truck for landscaping, it’s good to know all the options so you can decide what fits your business needs. If you’re wondering what a landscaping truck is called, it depends on the model you select.
On the more affordable end of the spectrum, you’ll find light-duty trucks. These are often still full-size trucks that can have long beds and crew cabs but lack more serious suspension, braking, and power ratings.
For many operations, light-duty trucks hit the mark. They keep upfront costs low and usually offer some of the best fuel efficiency out of the entire truck segment.
Problems arise when your payload or towing capacities start to get higher. Light duty trucks usually have a payload of between 1,500 and 3,000 pounds, with tow capacities anywhere from 4,000 to 12,000 pounds.
If your lawn care business involves larger machinery or heavy towing, then stepping into the world of heavy-duty trucks is likely necessary. While they cost more to purchase and operate, use a vehicle with the ratings to handle the weight you put on or behind it.
Heavy-duty trucks usually have an increased payload capacity of around 6,500 pounds and can tow up to 20,000 pounds. That is a significant amount of weight. For many operations, it can be way too much.
These can also come with higher policy rates from your insurance company due to their larger size. Vehicle registration might also be more expensive. It’s important to consider these costs.
Other options for lawn care trucks that are less popular overall are box trucks. These are large commercial vehicles with an enclosed storage compartment, or box, behind the cab. Payload and towing capacities vary dramatically, but payload ratings can be incredibly high, even more than heavy-duty trucks.
Another benefit to box trucks is their security and protection from the elements. If you don’t have an indoor space to store your landscaping truck but want additional security, a box truck can be a good option.
Now it’s time to dig into the specific models for the best landscaping truck. We’ve scoured the available options to come up with a list of the ones ready to bring success to your lawn care business.
As one of the best-selling vehicles in the United States, you can’t go wrong with a Ford F-150 pickup truck. With countless options, including two-wheel and four-wheel drive, short bed and long bed options, and multiple cab body style options, there’s an appropriate Ford F-150 for nearly every situation.
The payload capacity is on the lower end of the scale, usually between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds for the more affordable options. Towing capacities depend on the specific model and range from approximately 5,000 pounds to an impressive 14,000 pounds.
The fuel economy changes dramatically based on the engine used. The more powerful options can get as little as 15 combined mpg, but the fuel-efficient engines can reach up to a combined 25 mpg or more.
Another excellent option is the Ford Super Duty truck. These range from the F-250 up to the F-450. These are mostly considered heavy-duty trucks with additional payload and towing capacity. They also come with a higher upfront cost and potentially higher maintenance costs.
The payload for the Ford Super Duty ranges from around 4,500 pounds up to over 7,000 pounds. The towing capacity is downright monstrous, with the largest turbo diesel engines offering over 45,000 pounds towing capacity. Simply put, these are ready to tackle big projects.
Another popular selection for landscaping is the Ram truck lineup. Like the Ford trucks, Ram has a wide selection of models, including both light and heavy-duty, short and long beds, and regular or crew cab body styles.
At the entry-level, you’ll find the Ram 1500 Classic with fairly minimal ratings of around 1,500 pounds payload and under 5,000 pounds towing. But take things up to the Ram 3500 to get a more impressive 5,000 pounds payload and 15,000 pounds towing capacity.
If you’d rather drive a truck with the Chevrolet bowtie, then the light-duty Silverado or heavy-duty Silverado HD can do the trick. Once again, you’ll find nearly any body style, bed size, and overall configuration to meet your needs. You’ll also discover a wide price range between the entry-level models and the top trim with many luxury features.
The light-duty models max out with around 2,200 pounds payload and 13,000 pounds towing capacities, while the heavy-duty models can reach nearly 7,500 payload and 36,000 pounds towing capacities.
The fuel efficiency of the Chevrolet Silverado lineup ranges from a somewhat impressive 22 mpg in the lighter options down to a measly 12 mpg or less in the more powerful versions. The Silverado is soon to be released in an electric vehicle platform, although it’s tough to say if these can meet the demands of a commercial landscaping operation.
Generally speaking, the Toyota pickup truck options aren’t truly designed for intense or large commercial purposes compared to other truck manufacturers. But they can still be an excellent option for smaller operations without the heavy-duty demands that other trucks can provide.
The Tacoma has approximately 1,100 pounds payload and 6,400 towing capacities, while the larger Tacoma is rated a bit higher with about 1,700 payload and 11,000 towing capabilities. The EPA miles per gallon ratings are between 18 and 20 mpg combined for most new Toyota trucks.
Some people prefer the Toyota brand due to its believed reliability, which generally leads to higher resale value. But the Ford, Chevrolet, and Ram trucks can also score high on reliability these days, so if the Toyota options are significantly more expensive, it might not be worth it.