View Full Version : Ordering a new 312CL

04-17-2006, 04:13 PM
Well guys, it's pretty much a done deal. If you've been keeping track of my other thread, my dad and I have been kicking around some ideas. He went to talk to one of his long time friends who is in the excavation biz. His friend has 2 excavators, a small dozer, and a couple other pieces, plus 2 dump trucks and a lowboy to haul his Cat E200BL. So my dad talked to him today about me getting a job working for him this summer. I know the guy, I've jumped up on his machines a couple times while he was on the phone and he knows what I'm capable of as far as operating goes. This could be complicated to explain, but I'll try my best.

My dad does not want me getting my CDL and driving a dump truck. He just doesn't want the liability/insurance issues. So he's got his buddy with an established excavation business, he's been in business for 6 years, always has way too much work to do and not enough equipment and manpower to do it all. My dad proposed to him that we buy a 312 with the 36 month zero payment option, they would split the gross profits (into a certain percentage, I'm not really sure what it is) if Todd (my dad's friend) would haul the excavator and supply the jobs for the machine. Sounds like a decent deal. I get the experience, Todd can teach me everything I need to know about the business, and I'll have fun and make a little coin too, but at this point, I don't care what I'm making. I am running numbers for used machines, although my dad has the finances and wouldn't have any problem getting approved for the loan. My dad has looked over Todd's books to see what kind of revenue he's made and it's been consistent enough that we should have no problem paying for the machine and putting a decent amount of change in our pocket after the 3 years has gone by.

Basically, we're going to be subcontractors for Todd. I'll be working for my dad (paycheck wise), I'll be covered under dad's insurance and L&I. Todd will move the machine and supply jobs, we own the machine, and dad and Todd will split the revenue. This way, we've taken the risk out of getting into the business. We are guaranteed work, we'll be working for a reputable excavation contractor, I get the experience I want, and both my dad and Todd put some money in their pockets.

With all that said, I'm in charge of spec'ing the machine. Here's what I'm getting:

-Hydraulic thumb
-Cat dedicated hydraulic coupler, we'll get a much better deal going with Cat brand than CWS or PSM, but I will check into what it would cost to do a CWS coupler and thumb
-Medium stick
-Standard boom
-Work lights on cab
-18" trenching bucket, 48" cleanup bucket, and 36" GP bucket
-High ambient cooling system
-Swivel guard? Lower rock guards? Idler guards? What do you guys think?
-A/C is standard, radio is standard

Please guys if you don't think this is a great idea, don't bash me. This is basically a dream come true, I don't owe a dime and I'm going to learn a ton about the business. At this point I would like some helpful criticism, but not something like "You're stupid, you're going to go broke, this is the worst idea I've ever heard". Eventually, my dad will phase out of the landscape business completely and we will be a competitor in the excavation business. He has already told me, against his own will, that's what he has planned. So he figures even if we don't make a whole ton of money with this excavator, as long as we pay for it, the experience and the knowledge we gain in the long run will be worth millions.

Thanks everyone!

04-17-2006, 04:32 PM
Just got off the phone with my sales guy, 18" bucket won't work because the thumb will be in the way (duh). 24" bucket, 60" cleanup, and the 36" GP. I think we're just going to go with the Cat dedicated coupler and thumb, they have the machine ready to go with the high ambient cooling and all of the other options sitting in Seattle and can be delivered in 2 days. When NC Machinery orders new machines, they order them spec'd like they rent them incase they don't sell them they put the new machines in the rental fleet and the rental machines always have all the options.

04-17-2006, 04:45 PM
Haha...........congratulations!! Are you going to quit college now?

04-17-2006, 04:52 PM
Not at all. I'm giving my 2 weeks notice at the restaurant I work at, they shafted me around when I told them I needed to take off for my job interview last week, I had my shift covered but my manager felt like pissing me off, so I've already got a reason to quit, this just makes it alot easier. No school on Fridays so I can drive 160 miles back home on the weekends, work Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 'o dark thirty and then drive back to Seattle. This will be for about 2 months until school's out, then it's 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.

RockSet N' Grade
04-17-2006, 05:23 PM
Let me say to you right off the bat......awesome and go for it! Nice opportunity, and I want you to know, all my posts to you have been anything but bashing and I hope it has not been taken that way.....I wish you unlimited success.....
Now, for the good stuff....What kinda scope of work will you be doing? An articulated thumb would be helpful to me for what I encounter. I have an extended boom with a counterweight on my machine. I have 2 boom work lights instead of the standard one light. I have a butter blade on a 36" bucket.One of the cheapest and best things I have done is buy a seat cover for the cab seat with pockets on the front, sides and back to hold stuff since space and organization are at a premium inside the cab. I have a rear view mirror set up on my rig. I have a diverter valve with quick-couplers on the boom so I can switch real easy to a compactor....factory installed diverters are cleaner install and less expensive than aftermarket.........so there is a start. Once again, be safe and be open to all the possibilities........

RockSet N' Grade
04-17-2006, 05:39 PM
Here's another little idea, regardless of machine or type. Buy a couple extra fuel filters and carry them with you. Get a Lincoln battery operated grease gun and make sure you grease that baby every day....grease is one of the cheapest things you've got going for you....

04-17-2006, 05:46 PM
I totally understand, you guys are just trying to help, but I'm not looking for "you're just a dumb kid you'll never make it".

Now, the thumb is a link thumb, that's the only way I'd have it and that's the only way our dealer orders their new machines, EVERYONE has thumb out here, you can't do anything without one. The machine comes stock with a diverter valve on the machine so switching to a hoepac isn't a big deal if we need to. Our buddy has one for his machine(s), so I don't think we'll buy one, but I'm going to get a price on one before it's all over, might as well get a package deal. I'll definately look into a seat cover for the cab, I totally know what you're talking about with the storage. Did you buy car seat covers?

I need to get a transfer tank for my truck. I know this has been covered before, but just to make 100% sure, any of you WA guys out there know if there's any regulation on how many gallons of diesel I can carry without some special permit? I'm thinking an 80 gallon tank with a FilRite pump. I think I'm going to buy a power grease gun, my hand gets tired greasing our 303. I'll be doing all the maintenance on the machine myself, dad will be running the landscaping crew, so basically I'm in charge of 95% of the machine operations, minus the hauling, that's Todd's deal. I'm so stoked guys, I can't believe this is happening.

04-17-2006, 06:33 PM
congrats dude! yer own 312 now i'm jealous :cry: now i wanna get my own hoe :(

owner operator seems like a great idea and you get seat time its win win fer you.

04-17-2006, 06:48 PM
This situation, everyone is happy. My dad makes a little money, Todd makes a little money and keeps his customers happy, he doesn't have to tie up a machine, it'll let him get more done at the end of the day, and I'll get some experience that I need. I'll keep posted when we order the machine, all the options are included in the base price of $133K, the thumb, everything, the only thing we're adding on is the 24" trenching bucket and the 60" cleanup bucket, sounds like it's going to come in a little under $140K before tax.

04-17-2006, 07:05 PM
Who runs the machine when your at college?

I think you'll do fine with the machine!

Hell even if you quit school and bought the machine yourself instead of your dad, i'd tell you that you'd do fine!

I'm the same age as you and i'm buying a 246b with no cosinger this week, and then i'm buying a 1/2 acer lot to build a spec house on with in 1-2 months. When your young and have no commitments or obligations is the time to take risk!

I am jealous! I want a 312!!

04-17-2006, 07:23 PM
Like I said for the next 2 months, I'll be home 3 days a week working. I imagine I'll have my schedule setup the same way next fall. It can be done and I'm willing to stretch myself thin for the opportunity. Eventually, my dad might end up running the machine. Our landscape foreman is getting better at bidding and running the crew to the point where my dad might not have to be on the landscape sites as much in which case he could run the machine. Short of that, it's going to be me.

I could quit school, but I don't want to. Long term, and I mean 20 years long term, I would like to be doing developments, I don't even want to be on a machine or even on the site by the time I'm 40. I can't run a 3-4 million dollar company without a business degree. Well, it can be done, but I have the opportunity to go to college and run equipment, why not do both?

RockSet N' Grade
04-17-2006, 07:40 PM
Seat cover that fits a hoe comes from JC Whitney catalog. $35-$40 a pair I believe. Seat covers are just a cloth and they are advertised for a jeep wrangler as I recall.
Another thing we do is carry "baby wipes". Clean hands, clean face......once you try 'em, you can't live without them.
Another thing we do is buy cotton roping gloves. They are about 18 cents a pair....disposable....use them to grease and work on machines and after some use, toss them away. You can get them at a Western Supply Store.....the ones with the blue or yellow stripe around the wrist area should fit.......we buy them in bulk and have them everywhere.....

04-17-2006, 07:46 PM
Thanks for the tip. Lincoln has a new 14 volt electric greaser, apparently the battery lasts 3 times longer than their previous 12 volt model. I think it's $50 more for the 14V, think it would be worth it?

04-17-2006, 08:13 PM
Scag, you are the man! A college education is important, but working in the field will give you much more in the way of an education in my opinion. That said, get that degree and and have fun digging in the process.

I don't see any fault with your plan, buddy! Tear it up!

BTW..I am interested in a battery powered grease gun as well....let me know what way you end up going on that one!

04-17-2006, 08:19 PM
My dad just called me, it's 4:15 here right now, he's signing the papers as we speak. Machine will be here this week, I'll be home Saturday and Sunday to give it a test run.

The guys that denied me a job are going to have hell or high water to deal with now, I'm a force to be reckoned with. Hahahaha.

Dirty Water
04-17-2006, 08:26 PM
I'm jealous, but I'm still going to play devils advocate.

Is Todd going to do more than just move your rig around? As far as I can tell, a lot of excavation is a combination of a tandem axle dump and a excavator (site prep, septic, water/sewer lines etc, all require trucking material out and bringing bedding sand etc in)....So is Todd going to give you a truck guy for jobs like that? or will he only worry about his jobs?

Just a question.

04-17-2006, 08:42 PM
No, we are working together. He moves our machine, controls where our machine goes, but I operate it. He will also be teaching me every step of the way if I encounter something I'm not sure how to do. I will also have 2 dump trucks available to me. He has one other guy that drives for him I think, so he always has at least 1 truck on the road.

04-17-2006, 09:07 PM
Good Luck, and I hope to be there someday. Be sure to take some pics when you get it.


04-17-2006, 09:24 PM
Congradulations. One thing on the zero payment option. If you use that be aware that the machine will be three years old and you will have zero equity in the machine. You will forever be upside down unless you put a huge down payment on it. Something to think about. Good luck.

04-17-2006, 09:41 PM
Dont forget that there are alot of other costs involved with running equipment, even new ones. You said that you dad is financing it but you have costs like fuel (we spend about $100 a day) , oil, filters etc. Also in 3 years if you only do 40 hrs a week thats over 2000 hours a year so in 3 years you will be spending 10k on an undercarriage. I am not trying to discourage you or say "its a stupid idea" but it is a hard thing to just do for fun or a hobby as you said.

RockSet N' Grade
04-17-2006, 10:03 PM
Bobcat....you have touched the tip of the iceberg that has been causing me alot of thought lately. It is so enticing and easy to get into machinery now.....anyone and everyone is doing it thinking this business is a cakewalk. The new entries are unsure of their operating costs and driving rates all across the board. Times are pretty good right now, but I smell a hick-up around the corner. Think of that scenario.....all these new machines/operators out there and the economy turns just a little soft.....I'd probably have to sell my stuff by the pound for scrap or use it as lead weights for my fishing poles.......when everyone is "doin it" I personally start to get a little nervous feeling inside. But that's just me......

04-17-2006, 10:15 PM
Rock your right.......I think that is when the field is seperated and those who can survive survive and those who aren't strong enough don't make it...anyone can make money when the market is booming, making money in a slow market or even just trying to survive month to month, thats a different story.

04-17-2006, 10:17 PM
Rock...My dad and grandfather(who is retired) have been in the business for a while and I am just doing alot of the more complicated stuff on my own, I am 21 and have been full time since H.S. and do some landscaping on the side. Sorry I am back on track now. We rarely buy brand new equipment because it really is not worth it. We have an 03 325, 99 D3, 94 310 JD, and a 95 312. I dont know your life story but i am sure you wont need the money bad enough to scrap your stuff. Good luck to you.

04-17-2006, 11:34 PM
Operating costs have already been evaluated, we will make money with this machine without a doubt. Our market is going crazy, it picked up about 2 years ago and shows no sign of stopping for at least 5 years, if not longer. Make no mistake, I'm not doing this for enjoyment purposes, I'm doing this for the opportunity to learn what the business in like given the tools of the trade and produce some profit for my old man.

The long term plan is to run the machine for 3 years until I'm out of school. I'll buy the machine from my pops and then venture further out on my own.

04-18-2006, 12:27 AM
We ended up getting the machine with the 24" trenching, 36" GP, and 60" cleanup buckets for about $6400 for all 3, bringing our price before tax to $139,400, not too bad I don't think. Base machine price with link thumb, hydraulic coupler, work lights, the whole 9 yards was $133,000. I think we did pretty well. Even if Deere/Hitachi/Kobelco/Komatsu/Case was $10K cheaper, I still would have bought Cat for the service. I call one guy and he gets what we need, when we need it no questions asked. Love Cat service, we won't be switching dealers anytime soon.

04-18-2006, 12:43 AM
scag -- congratulations on the machine. Let us know how it goes.

I've been staying out of the career threads because of my lack of actual experience (and even more so, considering I've never had these choices willingly...), but you've got a good head on your shoulders, and I'm sure that it will work out. Best of luck to ya.

Gravel Rat
04-18-2006, 01:09 AM
Hey one step forward :laugh:

As for grease guns use the KISS principle Keep It Simple Stupid a all we ever use is mechanical grease guns they are cheap we do buy the Lincoln brand they have the long pump handle. Every excavator has 2-3 tubes of Chevron grease its red in color the best stuff you can get. A electric grease gun is okay for shop use but out in the field where it can get stolen or misplaced. Say your greased the machine then some one comes up to talk with you and you forget to put the grease gun away and its on the track you move the machine and before you can say oh shiat you run over the grease gun and its broken. Your going to be greasing the machine after the work day is done and fuel up the machine so its ready to go the next morning.

In the tool box on the machine is a 3 or 4lb hammer a decent sized cresent wrench a 3/8s grade 70 transport chain with a slip hook one one end and a grab hook on the other we also have a long flat blade screw driver for prying and scraping.

In the cab we usually have rags or industrial paper towel behind the seat, spare ear plugs incase we forget our muffs. Usually there is a extra pair of gloves in the cab use them for greasing.

In your P/U you would want a 90 imperial gallon slip tank with a long enough hose and proper fill nozzle. Filrite pumps are the best you get one of those with a racor filter with a clear bowl on the bottom. On your P/U you will want to have a headache rack for carrying pipe also protects the back of the cab. In the trucks we usually carry a tape measure and some miscellanous tools in the box we carry a shovel a 4 litre jug of engine oil a 4 litre jug of antifreeze.

Myself I would have prolly gone with the CWS buckets they are easier to get over Caterpillar as CWS buckets are pretty much universal.

I hope you get enough work a 312 is a little on the small side but it will be a good start you maybe buying a bigger machine.

Good luck with the new venture

04-18-2006, 03:31 AM
Yeah, I knew you'd say that GR, dad looked at a 315 but it was about $30,000 more. Everyone around here does 85% of the work they do with a 12 ton machine and the guy that's hauling our machine (the partner) has a 20 ton Cat excavator, so he's only putting our machine on jobs that we can logistically handle.

04-18-2006, 07:29 AM
Congratulations Scag..well done. The machine is only half the equation (and there is nothing like the smell of new metal) and, unlike a lot that "jump on the bandwagon" so to speak, I'm sure you have got the smarts for the other half. Again..well done and enjoy:drinkup:

Pics...don't forget the pics

04-18-2006, 01:00 PM
Machine will be delivered to our first job on Friday. I won't be back home until Saturday, but when I get there, it's on. We're doing some more orchard removal and we will be burning, so I'll have a brand new machine with black soot all over the stick :dizzy: Oh well.

Gravel Rat
04-18-2006, 02:06 PM
Its a foot in the door thats the main thing :)

You can do all the jobs a 16 ton machine can it just takes a little longer the only limiting factor you may find will be lifting the larger rocks etc. If you get into placing concrete septic tanks you will have to be a little carefull how far you reach.

You already have the skills from running your mini its not much difference except for size difference so you probably won't have troubles with running the 312. I think the biggest surprise will be where you can take the 312 down slopes and terrian where a mini couldn't dream of going.

It must be hard to sleep at night thinking about the new venture your mind going 100 miles a minute.

Good Luck

04-18-2006, 08:33 PM
Most of the concrete tanks are set by a boom truck, I've already looked into it, but if I do have to set one, just gotta be careful how far you boom out.

I'm not worried about running the machine at all, I have about 70 hours on rented 312's so far, so I'm pretty prepared for the feeling.

Found out today that our partner has bid to remove 200 acres of orchard so that's what I'll be doing for the next 2-3 weeks or so. The only nice thing about taking out the orchards is that they're out in the boonies and you can work 16 hour days without noise complaints. Start at 6, quit at 10.