Handyman Truck Ideas?

I need a truck for my new handyman business. Right now I’m driving a Ford Taurus, so that’s not really going to work.

I’m thinking about getting rid of the Taurus and getting a pickup. I want something that I can fill up with garbage or mulch or whatever. A utility body would be nice, but I can’t see myself using that as my daily driver. Maybe I will get an extended cab so I can keep tools safe inside? I’d like a ladder rack too - but nothing too dorky.

I found this thing called a “Loadhandler” that makes it real easy to dump stuff out of a pickup by just turning a crank. That looks like a really good idea for me if it works.

Maybe I could wire in a big power inverter so I could just plug power tools right into the truck without a separate generator. I don’t know if that would work, but it would sure be handy.

If I’m going to buy something special, I want to do it right. I’m thinking maybe a used F-150. What do you think? How can I maximize utility in a truck that I’m not embarrassed to pick up my girlfriend in?

My first thought is if your going to hook up an inverter is that you should think about a diesel as they are better suited for long idle period.

A diesel would have other advantages as well. Much of the rental equipment on the market such as small excavators, small front end loaders, etc, use diesel engines. At some point as your business grows you may want to add a fuel tank in the bed to refuel those rentals, and running both the truck and the rentals off of the same fuel is more convenient.

Any truck used in a handyman business will probably be hauling sheetrock, lumber, tools, power equipment, joint compound, concrete mix, etc. etc. on a fairly routine basis. It’ll probably be towing concrete mixers, trailers, etc. as well. It’ll get beat up no matter what you buy. And, of course, you’ll want a good professional sign on the doors. Your girlfriend may have to adapt.

Extended cab would be good. I would go for a middle to lower trim line since rubber mats with carpet remnant scraps are easier to keep clean than the higher carpet trim lines (like Ford XLT). Consider getting a topper with ladder rack w/ access on the sides rather than just the rear, receiver hitch for trailers. All of these are easy to add on later. Aluminum topper if you will need to remove it with any frequency. You can get a 6x10 trailer or so to haul larger items easily later if needed.

A power inverter won’t provide enough current to operate power equipment. Lights, yes. Drills and saws no.

Interesting thought. Finding a used diesel would probably be a lot tougher, though. I’ll take it under advisement.

I’m just a handyman. Mabye I’ll mix up one bag of concrete in a bucket to install a mailbox. It may be a while before I’m using excavators on a regular basis. If anything, regular gas would be way more useful for chain saws and demolition saws and blowers.

The sign on the door. Yeah. No way around that, huh? She’ll just have to adapt.

Excellent suggestions. I’m googling it now. There are all kinds of different toppers you can stick on there!

Ive seen power inverters to 10,000 watts

You have an unworkable parameter in your list (at least in my opinion). You need to seperate the "I use this truck for my dating lifestyle’ and the “I want want a truck that makes (and does not take) me money”. OK with that being said I would not think about dumping the seperate generator for even a second. For one you don’t want your truck down due to issues with the inverter,stay seperate and even plan on getting a backup generator.

Make a plan and list features that are most helpful in helping your business, only.

I would still recommend a separate generator. All of the tradesmen I know who need generators get a small portable. The truck may not be able to get in to where you need your power, but the separate generator could. I think a 3.5KW to 5. KW runs under $500.

If you’re going to run around with tools and carry a ladder and want a easy loader as a handy man, I really like a used GMC Savanna Cargo or Chevy Express Vans used. There are a gazillion of them for a reason, and yours sounds as good as any. Much better access than any PU and the choice of almost all the contractors who carry and use the stuff you mention. http://www.gmc.com/savana/cargo/index.jsp

Nah. It’s not unworkable. Heck, for the short term, I could just do the handyman thing out of my Taurus. I might have to turn down some jobs or rent a truck once in awhile. Conversely, I could pick up my girlfriend in a purple dump truck. Obviously, if I am driving a Taurus, she isn’t dating me for my car. :slight_smile:

I think a basic pickup would actually be an improvement in both categories. And having a sexy truck would probably even be good for business. It’s just a matter of balancing the two priorities and finding the best combination.

You make a good point about the generator, though. I definitely don’t want to have my truck tied up in the shop for something stupid!

The sign is more important than a lot of new small businesspeople realize. When you drive up to a house, you need to look like a long-established professional business, not some fella trying to get by.

If you need aome work done and you see a truck in front of your neighbor’s house with paste-on letters from Home Depot saying “handyman - call xxx-xxxx” you’re less likely to hire him for your job than if the truck presents the image of an established business. The signs, the quotation documentation, the contract, all of these things need to be professional in appearance.

#1 rule in business: always look bigger than you are.

I thought about that and it does have a ton of advantages. I could keep all my tools nice and secure and organized in there. But I don’t think it really works for me. If I cut a few branches or tear down an old shed or replace a section of roof or lay some mulch, I’m going to want the pickup.

Not to mention the fact that vans have no sex appeal.

"I’m going to want the pickup"
No you aren’t, your going to want a utility trailer which is a very cheap way of adding tons of versatility. That’s what contractors do. You can delay the unloading and still use your vehicle etc. My little 9 by 5 is rated at 2000 lb capacity. Bigger than most any PU bed and loading it and unloading it with the material you mentioned or anything else if it includes a ramp is far easier than any PU.
Vans may not have lots of “sex” appeal but you can use it for…
(sorry, couldn’t resist)
The sex appeal is in your domain, not the car’s.
Go for it ! Look at the stuff you could paint on the side.

Hahaha! That settles it. I’m getting a van. j/k

No, I’m not really feeling it. I’d have to buy a separate trailer. I’d have to register it. I’d have to find a place to keep it. I’d have to take time to hook it up. Driving with a trailer is a pain in the butt. Maybe I’ll look into that a little later on, but for now I think the PU is hard to beat.

Yeah. I sure agree with that 1000%

Don’t get a diesel. It will add several thousand bucks to the cost of the truck. Find the best F-150, Silverado 1500, Ram 1500, Sierra 1500, Titan, or Tundra you can. It’s mostly about condition. All 6 will do the job for you. Expect about 3/4 the mileage you get in your Taurus.

I hear you…I like all the PUs I’ve had too. If they still made the Chevy Astro van, a little smaller than the “full size”.