Pickup truck for main lawn care vehicle?

Hi all,

I am considering getting a double cab pickup (Ranger or Navarra) with a hard top cover for a lawn care business startup (one man operation). I would be grateful for anyone using a similar vehicle for lawn care if you can advise pro's cons from your experience?

The double cab pickup is a vehicle that would meet dual family/business needs, hence why I am not immediately going for a panel van, like a Transporter or Transit Custom (still a consideration but does not have enough seats!).

My business would mostly be providing the typical regular fertiliser/weedkiller spraying to domestic customers so I am sure the pickup would have enough space for the knapsack sprayers, chemicals, water, blower, few tools, spade/rake etc. I won't be taking away any waste. My current dilemma is when I need to add in a scarifier and areator for the few times a year, I may be challenged on space! I would rather not have a trailer too (yes I am high maintenance!). The high top hard covers would be ok on height but they can't add width or length!

Any constructive advice, especially if you are running a lawn care operation, would be great. Many thanks in advance.

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  • PRO

    Thought about buying one as my first vehicle, I thought it would be a way to run a vehicle that could accommodate family and work, so as not to run a family car, much like yourself.

    Had a look at a Ranger, really nice vehicle, but changed my mind when seeing it in the flesh. Just not enough room, put a mower, strimmer, sprayer and bits in and thats it. I was looking at open tops, but even with a cover, I don't think there is enough space.

    Would you be able to load a scarifier easily? Mine has folding handles but I wouldn't like to be loading it that way  - it is heavy!

    Ended up buying a MWB Movano, and that is full at least half of my working week. Granted I do a greater diversity of work than you, and I think that is the key. If you think you will be adding to your range of services in the future, or maybe carrying other gear,  for ex a lawnmower or two, get a van.

  • PRO

    A crew cab panel van would be a better option. As when scarifying/aerating you've got that bit more space and a much lower load height.

  • PRO

    Are you looking at starting a business for lawn care or is this an add on to an existing service?

    I used to run a berlingo van and it's ok as a starter vehicle, but it's just not big enough. Much like a pickup.  Pick ups seem great in theory, however I think they would be to limiting, you're going to need to take away waste.

    I now run a transporter and when it comes to renovation time it's great - I can get the aerator, scarifier, fertiliser / spreader and knacksack in the back and still find some room for waste!    

  • PRO

    Hi Rusty,

    I run a lawn care business - started out with a mid size panel van, Hyundai Iload, too small and quickyl added a LWB transit. Currently I have a double cab ranger pickup with rear canopy - great vehicle for quoting and spraying only. Not so good for fert spreading or anything else as not enough space in rear or too high loading. We use LWB vivaros, transits and relays as the work vans.

    The pick-up will be no good for getting a scarifier or aerator into - not enough space and too high. You'll do yourself an injury especially with a decent aerator weighing over 100Kg. Plus it'll be a constant pain trying to get stuff from the back of the pickup bed, even with windows in the canopy.

    How about a crewcab lwb vivaro or transit custom if you can only have 1 vehicle to start with. I still think these will be too small in the rear, being around 2m load length, so like a berlingo / connect in size.

    If you're doing proper lawn care as the main business focus, scarifiers and aerators will be a core part of the service, not just a few times a year. Typically half our new customers need a scarification in the first year, and over half our customers have an aeration each year as its best practice for a healthy lawn.

    So, in reality, I think you need a 3m+ load length van or small + trailer to provide a lawn care service. It may be better to split the budget and get 2 cheaper vehicles, 1 for the family and 1 for the business.

  • Van options are occupying my time at present also!

    To me the pickups look trendy but I can't see them having anything like enough space for any sort of a gardening business.

    I run a High Top LWB Connect, but I have now outgrown it. I also think it's cursed as both sides of the van have been hit whilst parked on site in the last six weeks!

    As with my previous post on this subject I intend to go for a SWB Transit next. However a lack of seats is an issue for me also, in terms of capacity for occasional family stuff. As such I intend to get a crew cab option, however the best solution is a crew cab with no bulk head and which the three rear seats remove (as you can then still have a large storage area). There are older Transits and Transit Customs around which are configured in this way. The only negative is security as there is obviously glass in the side panels.

    I also had sight of a Mercedes Vito recently and they are configured in the same way as above and the seats could be removed unbelievably easily/quickly, so that's an option also. The VW Transporters look cool but seem to command a high price as they are liked by the surfers/mountain bikers/day trippers

    Lots to think about!

  • PRO

    For lawn care, I would not be looking to put family in the back after using with all the chemical stains and smells - it's pretty bad and probably not too safe either as some would be undiluted spillage. Not matter how careful you are, it happens! Would recommend having a bulkhead.

    • I appreciate what you are saying Andrew, but in my case family use would be occasional and usually with some notice.

      I have a cage rather than a solid bulkhead in the Connect currently as it folds forward and the passenger seat folds down, which gives a longer capacity for step ladders and my tower on occasions (invaluable). I find that consequently it does smell of petrol on occasions but 30mins with the side door open resolves this.

      In terms of spills etc my intention would be to put a temp plywood sheet on top of the existing floor in the new van, which would also protect the locators in the floor for the seats and be quickly removable.
      • PRO
        I run a van with a steel bulk head, all my Chemicals are kept in the back in a steel lock box, even with these precautions every time I have my Headland intake container on the van it absolutely stinks it out, front and back, the fumes it gives off is like rotting bananas, takes days to get rid of the smell, if you want a pickup then go for it, but just keep it for family use mate...
        • This reply was deleted.
          • PRO
            Thanks for all the great advice, really helpful. Went and saw a few vehicles today. Loved the Ford Ranger but face to face it's clear the double cab has less than half the space of a Transit Custom and for me starting up I need to have flexibility of more space. No Ranger for me unfortunately for now!

            Thinking now to try the LWB Transit Custom or VW Transporter with the solid bulkhead. Will sort another solution for the family needs as it's better to sort the right van for work needs.

            Great forum and really appreciate the help on this! Thanks guys.
  • PRO

    Good move, both of those will do the job. Also consider the new shape vivaro lwb - it's good value compared to the transporter and a very good drive in bi-turbo form. Takes weight (~1T bags of top dress) at bulk head really well compared to others we've used.

    If you're going new / leasing or have a choice, consider getting a high roof option so you can walk into the rear space as that's helpful also. We don't have that on our vivaro, and miss it compared to our transit and relay vans. Just makes access easier on the back.

This reply was deleted.

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