Thursday, December 24, 2015

Pickup Trucks and Business Success

I have come to believe that success and failure in farming may be tied to the pickup truck the farmer drives.

You mean if you choose Ford over Chevy you may fail? No I'm thinking more about buying an expensive truck versus a good used truck no matter what the brand. Especially in the early years of building your farming business.

Not saying I'm perfect, but here is what we have done over 35 years of farming. I offer this for your consideration.

I have owned 4 pickups in my farming career here is their cost. (The first one I bought in high school.)

1973 Ford F150 (Purchase 1979 with 25,000 miles) for $2,500.

1986 Nissan (purchased in 1990 with 40,000 miles) for $4,000.

1992 Ford F150 (purchased 2000 with 60,000 miles) for $8,000.

1973 F150 sold.                                                          for ($1,500)

1993 Ford F150 (purchased 2005 with 80,000 miles) for $4,800

Total $17,800  (for 35 years of farm trucks)

i use my farm truck pretty hard so there is very little residual value when I am done with them. It is not unusual for me to haul 300,000 pounds of compost a year. They are a work truck and I don't much care what the appearance is like.

But what about repairs for an older truck surely the repair bills were higher? I though about this and I estimate I have spend about $3000 on repairs total in 35 years. I have never had a major engine or transmission repair. But wait, I did have an accident several years ago that totaled my current truck of course. I did not choose to fix the truck I took the insurance payment and bought back the truck for $800 dollars, put a used $300 bumper on the truck and put the $2800 left from the insurance buy out in my truck replacement fund.

I have a friend that buys a new truck every 1 to 2 years. He puts a lot of miles on them but mostly they are driven empty and underutilized. He has spent roughly 20X ($350,000) what I have spent in 35 years to keep the appearance of prosperity. Unfortunately, he could not afford this and eventually had to stop farming and declare bankruptcy.

It is very important that you not over spend on unneeded farm accessories especially during the early years. This same principle can apply to tractors and combines.

The main principle here is contentment. If my friend had been able to be content with a good used truck he would probably still be farming.

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