View Full Version : How important is an image when it lifts the bottom line?

06-26-2009, 01:27 PM
Ok so here is my situation. My personal appearance is very professional. I have 2 vehicles I can use for business. I have my SUV and my Toyota. The SUV looks nice but is very very expensive to use getting all of about 6MPG. The Toyota gets great millage but its old and 3 different colors and in my hay day I put a very loud obnoxious exhaust on it. A good example is it cost me $10 in gas to drive to a job yesterday as a posed to the Toyota which would have cost me about $2 in gas. Even though the Toyota is ugly should I use it instead of the SUV because it would give me a higher per job return or should I use the SUV because it looks nicer and just deal with the high expense of using it? My personal opinion is it should not matter. My work is good. I know it and the customers see it so better for me to keep the bottom line as low as possible. Also all gas and MPG aside. The SUV is just more expensive to use. It cost more to maintain and more frequently, Tires are more expensive. Air filters and plugs are more expensive so on and so forth. It is fairly important top me to have a vehicle for dedicated business use to I can take advantage of the tax right off. I know the SUV would give me a bigger tax write off but it will hurt more than help the pocket book now and that's what I am looking at "now" not next year. My eventual goal as soon as the business gets big enough to sustain it is to buy a new truck for business use. I just want to know what everyone thinks I should do for now.

06-26-2009, 01:45 PM
I forgot to mention. My equipment is an very good shape. I know it sounds crazy but I use Mothers car polish as well as Armerall cleansing and protectent wipes on it all. My mower is 5 years old but looks like it just came off the shelf. All the equipment gets washed down ever day of use. The mower looks better than both cars lol.

06-26-2009, 03:15 PM
Get the exhaust fixed and use the Toyota...

06-26-2009, 03:36 PM
Thats what I was thinking. Its an ugly car but the bottom line is it costs me about $20 per month to drive it to my 9-5 and the SUV is about 90 per week, its really horable. Also the Toyota is a wagon and can hold more with the seats down than the SUV can and its a 5 speed and pulls my lawn trailer better also. Thanks for the impute.

06-26-2009, 05:01 PM
I want to say it is very important to keep expenses low when a company is new so it can quickly find profitability. However I also think it is ALWAYS very important to keep expenses low no matter where a company is in it's life cycle.

So I'd go with the Toyota too :)

Thats what I was thinking. Its an ugly car

If you want to experiment, you could get some latex house paint and paint the car one solid color with a house roller. It would be a flat paint job but it would be uniform and cheap.

06-26-2009, 05:08 PM
Thanks. I just got done loading all the stuff into the other car. I have my trailer but don't see any reason to use it unless I have to. Everything I need for the basic service I offer fits right in the car with the seats down. I hate shifting gears so I didn't like the idea of using the Toyota for personal use. Its nice to just put it in drive and go lol.

06-26-2009, 05:22 PM
Great! Keep us posted on how all this works out. Are you going to get any signs on the Toyota?

06-26-2009, 05:28 PM
Use your SUV to drive to estimates.

Most customers won't care what your work vehicle looks like as long as your equipment is professional and their lawns look great.

06-26-2009, 05:44 PM
I currently just have lettering on the SUV. The Toyota has nothing. I thought about getting something on the doors but worry it will look that much worse lol.

06-26-2009, 05:51 PM
On 2nd thought maybe the best idea is to have the driver door, fender and hood painted and the exhaust fixed as soon as the business will pay for it. hmmmm then it would not be so bad.

06-26-2009, 06:33 PM
I'd say fix the toyota's exhaust, tape it off & give it aquick paint job with spray paint. It will be uniform one color & look good out on the road from your customers front windows. They won't really ever come close enough to notice the runs you left in the paint job! Even if they do, wo cares? it's an older work vehicle, just make it look presentable.

06-26-2009, 07:10 PM
And show us some pictures of what you do!

06-27-2009, 06:26 AM
I mentioned in another thread that I too am new to this, so take it for what it is worth. After 30 years in the professional field I discovered I could tell a lot about someone by how they cared for their equipment and their appearance.

Often this is mistaken for "image" ie sharp looking clothes, new(er) model car, etc. But instead it was how they took care of what they had. Anyone (with money) can buy a new car, a new suit, new shoes, etc. But it takes effort to keep it clean, inside and out. It takes efforts to keep your appearance neat, not just clean. I would often walk a person to their car and look in. If they take the effort to clean the inside clean and organized, regardless of the age of the vehicle, they would generally take the same care/pride in their work.

When I use service industries, I was not looking for the company with the newest trucks, and the "latest and greatest" in equipment. I know that the newer the equipment meant (generally) the higher the overhead. But it was the same "neat and organized" theme I was looking for.

Now, does this care over to lawn care. I can't be certain right now, but I am using this approach in carrying out my business. My trailer, while small, is always clean and neatly organized every time I move it. I don't just throw the equipment in and go. It takes a few minutes (seconds) but it demonstrates I care about my equipment, and if I care about mine, I will also care about yours.

06-27-2009, 11:18 AM
Now that is an excellent post, thank you very much. It makes all to much sence. I always say you can tell a lot about a house and a homeowner by looking at the front yard. If it is tore up messy and unmaintained then the house is more than likely tore up, messy and unmaintained. This is by no means the rule but I have found it true more often than not. Our home had no landscaping perse when we purchased it but the whole property was bare dirt, The dirt however was clean "no pun intended" everything was neat and in its place and lucky us the house was clean, in good shape and maintained well.

09-14-2009, 06:19 PM
EDIT: sorry for bring back an old post. this was on the short list of search results and forgot to look at last post for a date

as stated before a nice spray paint job can be all that you need. (a guy in our off road club can do amazing things with a rattle can) Especially since its a perfect time to match your logo colors/lawn equip or whatever. Other thing is if you decide to wait till the company can pay for a paint job, why not look into a vehicle wrap? That could really be an eye catcher.

As far as tax write offs... my accountant has always told me the best thing to write off is mileage not your car payment. so whether you drive the SUV or Yota, the tax savings should be the same!

09-14-2009, 09:48 PM
You can always bring up older posts :) That's why they are there!

Have you ever experimented with coming up with a color scheme for your business where everything is the same color and painted it like that?

Or would you like to in the future?

09-14-2009, 10:24 PM
I thought of paint to match the colors of my equipment. It was all red until my mower broke and the new one is green, darn it back to the drawing board.

09-15-2009, 02:14 PM
Couldn't you repaint your new mower?

09-15-2009, 02:17 PM
Couldn't you repaint your new mower?

I guess I could but I really don't care if they match that much lol.