Time to TradeOct 7th, 2011 | By Editorial Staff | Category: Jack Schrock's Blog
For some, it is difficult to decide just when to trade up for a new wrecker or carrier. Many larger fleets have a replacement schedule based on depreciated value plus the cost of maintenance. Don’t have one of those? Okay, let’s look at it from another angle.
If you are an owner-driver, you alone are in the best possible position to know the condition of your wrecker, and that includes the truck chassis, engine, etc. With just a little TLC, older equipment can be just as productive and reliable as a newer model. Just look at the old Holmes 750, which was the wheelhorse of 50 years ago. At most any beauty contest today, there will often be at least one 750 wrecker on display, standing tall and looking good.
However, there does come a time with any piece of equipment when unexpected failures combined with costly repairs dictate a change. Of course you can always re-power and recondition a smaller truck somewhat like they do with larger Class 8 chassis/cabs. But that is expensive both in direct cost and downtime while the upgrade is in process. And if you opt for that solution, don’t forget to rework the wrecker/carrier equipment as well since hydraulics require more maintenance than the old mechanicals.
Before the conversion to hydraulics, replacing the chassis/cab was commonplace, especially for towers racking up high mileages. But unless you’re also in the garage business, these change-outs can be a distraction to your core business. I’ve seen several that took a year or more, with a corresponding loss of revenue from the idled rig, and that doesn’t include the direct cost of the change-out.
Leasing has somewhat addressed the problem because when your lease is up, it’s time to look for a replacement. So whether the decision is based on taxes, cost of repairs, loss of reliability, fulfilled lease term or just an itch to have a shiny new model, replacing equipment should be a seamless process that results in little, if any downtime.
Sometimes it makes sense to keep ol’ blue around for both sentimental reasons and backup for those extra busy rainy days. After all, those 750s are great mudders.