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View Full Version : Skid Steer Vs. Tractor with Box Blade for grading


SouthernYankee
08-29-2006, 07:41 PM
In my part of town, most landscapers are using tractors with box blades to grade home sites with. The result is decent grading, with out the real ability to move material around the job site if thats needed. Most of these rigs have a laborer with a wheel barrow moving material around the job site.


Back up North we never even saw a tractor with a box blade, it was skid steer/bobcat only which was a nice because we could move/ add/ remove materal very easily. I havent had time to get my bobcat side of the biz going and I am trying to get in with some builders, selling the fact that my bobcat is a bit more versitile than a tractor with a box blade.

What do you think is better and why?

olderthandirt
08-29-2006, 08:05 PM
Why don't the tractors have loaders on them?
I think they both have about the same degree of effectiveness in what you described if there set up the same. AND the operaters know what there doing

SouthernYankee
08-29-2006, 08:09 PM
OD

No front buckets at all, no idea why. Maybe because these lots are not that big, infact 1/2 is extremely rare even in estate $600k plus home sites.

AWJ Services
08-29-2006, 08:45 PM
I can do things with my Tractor that no Skid Steer can do.
I can also do things with my Skid Steer that no Tractor can do.
Thats why I own Both.
Remeber that Tractors were the only thing available for Landscaping for years.

The good thing about a Tractor is they do not mess up the freshly prepped ground like a Skid Steer.

LindblomRJ
08-29-2006, 09:41 PM
I can do things with my Tractor that no Skid Steer can do.
I can also do things with my Skid Steer that no Tractor can do.
Thats why I own Both.
Remeber that Tractors were the only thing available for Landscaping for years.

The good thing about a Tractor is they do not mess up the freshly prepped ground like a Skid Steer.
I agree.

A tractor with loader and box blade or what ever else you want on the 3 point is real effective.

Dirty Water
08-29-2006, 09:54 PM
Tractors don't usually have the traction or break out power to dig with the loader at all. A skidsteer is a much more versatile soil mover. Add a 4-in-1 bucket and you've got a finish grading machine.

olderthandirt
08-29-2006, 10:05 PM
Tractors don't usually have the traction or break out power to dig with the loader at all. A skidsteer is a much more versatile soil mover. Add a 4-in-1 bucket and you've got a finish grading machine.

I have a 4-n 1 bucket on a tractor and its the same as if its on the skid. matter of fact there quick coupler fronts so I can change them from one to the other in a couple min. Most skids do have more break out force but the guy wants to use it for grading not digging so a tractor with a drag box and down pressure will grade faster than a skid in this situation. And unless the skid has tracks on it a 4wd trac actually has more traction

ksss
08-29-2006, 10:33 PM
I am trying to be too biased, but a tractor of any type with a loader and box blade is no match for a skid steer. With a skid steer, a scarifier attachment and a FFC Preparator (rock hound type landscape rake) we are faster and I would argue able to do a much better job. Perhaps with an experienced operator and much more time a tractor can match the results with a Harley type rake. Its not uncommon out here to moved several hundred yards of topsoil on a yard. A tractor is just way too slow. Our skid steers have two speed and ride control we can move full buckets (up to 83") and fly around the yard laying topsoil. Tractors for our type of yards are not competetive. Out of dozens of landscapers, only one uses a tractor, its a big one and he's an idiot. If your trying to convince home builders on why to use you with a skid steer over the tractor guys its simple. Your more productive. If they are paying by the hour, you get more done. If they pay by the job you get more jobs done with a skid steer.

olderthandirt
08-29-2006, 10:53 PM
I'll argue the point that you can run a skid steer faster than a tractor using just the scarifier blade/attachment against a tractor pulling a box blade with teeth. Thats what the original post was about. Now if you want to start and do a full prep with a hound or preperator a skid is faster. As far as moving soil from a pile a hydro trac with hi/lo is about as fast as a skid. It not just a matter of running in grabbing a bucket full and backing up dumping it. you have to run in grab a bucket and back out and spread it as your moving, so how is a skid so much faster? Both have the Hi/low both are hydro driven and you can't spread much soil doing a 0 turn. Convincing a builder that your more productive means nothing to the builder only how much it will cost him does. since a skid cost more to begin with and all attachments cost more you need to do more jobs to make the same net profit as a tractor. But to the poster if the lco there don't have a loader on then its really no contest. Do one job at an agreed upon price and if your not more productive than a guy with a wheel barrow then its time to get another biz started :laugh: :laugh:

ksss
08-30-2006, 12:31 AM
A skid steer cycles faster and dump on the run ya we do that. There really is no contest. I'll tell you what. Make the prize big enough to justify me flying out to Ohio and I'll rent a skid steer (CASE 95XT/465 with RC and two speed and 83" bucket) set up whatever kind of dirt moving exercise you would like. You run yours, I'll run mine. When the dust settles, we'll see who is right. Actually cover my plane fare and hotel and the beer as the prize and I'd be happy. I'll call it a vacation. If I lose (blow a tire, fall asleep from jet lag) I'll put up again the cost of the flight and hotel. Let me know when your ready.:drinkup:

Scag48
08-30-2006, 12:40 AM
To me, there really is no comparison between tractors and skids. There are some days where I think having a Deere 110 or a Kubota L35 would be nice, being able to take just 1 machine to a job and handle it all with 1 operator. Most jobs anymore our 216 and 303 end up on site at some point, we try to steamline our hauling operations with fuel prices, but it would be nice to have just 1 machine to handle most tasks. The really harsh reality is that an excavator will do 3X more work than the backhoe mounted on the back of a tractor, but it came at a cost. If you can afford both a skid steer and a mini excavator, there is no reason to own a tractor.

Aside from that, there is no way a comparable size tractor would ever be more productive than a skid. They might be more versatile, enabling you to run across lawns easy and since you can get the same attachments as a skid steer you can argue that they are basically a swiss army knife, they can handle it all. But when it really comes down to getting a lot of dirt moved, tractors just don't keep up. We have a Kubota L3410 tha we use in the orcard and at our supply yard to load mulch, topsoil, etc.. We've had it 2 years, we could easily load it up and take it to a job and yet it never leaves the yard.

olderthandirt
08-30-2006, 12:40 AM
A skid steer cycles faster and dump on the run ya we do that. There really is no contest. I'll tell you what. Make the prize big enough to justify me flying out to Ohio and I'll rent a skid steer (CASE 95XT/465 with RC and two speed and 83" bucket) set up whatever kind of dirt moving exercise you would like. You run yours, I'll run mine. When the dust settles, we'll see who is right. Actually cover my plane fare and hotel and the beer as the prize and I'd be happy. I'll call it a vacation. If I lose (blow a tire, fall asleep from jet lag) I'll put up again the cost of the flight and hotel. Let me know when your ready.:drinkup:

OK it will be simple contest and you will get your $$$$ as soon as you arrive, call from the airport and I'll even send someone to pick you up :laugh: :waving:

AWJ Services
08-30-2006, 07:21 AM
I invested close to 60K in a skid steer .
Since Purchase my Tractor has out paced it income wise.

Granted my Business encompasses alot of different operations.

In The Atlanta area most of are lots are small and with a skid you end up going straight all the time to be able too prep the lot without leaving tracks.

So for Finish work a Tractor is awesome.

Roughing the lot in a Skid is hard too beat.

I see 80% of the new construction companies use nothing but skids too landscape.

KSSS speaks of production but for me being in the Landscaping end more so than the dirt moving end it always seems to be about the finished product rather than production.
Not saying you can't have both.
We lay mostly sod that ends up being cut too less than 2 inches and has to be smooth.


In my part of town, most landscapers are using tractors with box blades to grade home sites with. The result is decent grading, with out the real ability to move material around the job site if thats needed. Most of these rigs have a laborer with a wheel barrow moving material around the job site.

The original question as I took it was finish grading the lot.
I may however be wrong.

He is in Texas so I am sure he is dealing mostly with the same type of lawns as I am.As I said before I have found I need both.

On my Tractor I actually took a long I beam and have attachment points on it and use it for large areas that need too be flat.
Use it with hyd side and top link and the results are amazing.

ksss
08-30-2006, 10:03 AM
Olderthandirt,
It was a 980 I could still take ya, but the 992 thats just too much:weightlifter:.

Its not to say quality is important. Its just for what the price has been beat down to at least here, you can't afford to spend 2 days grading an acre lot. The only way to make money is do a quality job and get it done quickly. If I thought a tractor would give me an edge I would own one. All BS aside if it works for you than use it. Different parts of the country work differently.

Dirty Water
08-30-2006, 10:20 AM
I'll take you on Mac. You bring your 992, I'll bring a skid steer.

The lot will be 2000 sq ft with a 1800 sq ft house on it.

Gravel Rat
08-30-2006, 03:21 PM
You guys wouldn't want to be a landscaper here pretty well 90% of the material moving has to be done by hand. To level area's out a good old rake and shovel does the job.

One of my neighbours bought a New Holland tractor forget the size it must weigh around 2500-3000lbs. Anyhow going down his driveway with a bucket of topsoil the rear wheels broke traction so him and the tractor went for a wild ride down the driveway. He had the tractor in 2wd because he is running on concrete so soon as the rear wheels lifted no traction no brakes either :eek:

He had a skid steer never had any problem with the steep driveway but he sold the skid steer. He bought the tractor afterwards its smaller and doesn't leave marks on the concrete also he missed having something to move stuff around with. But he did have to add weight to the tractor to keep it on all 4 wheels way more tippy than the skid steer.

You don't see many tractors in the area they are way too limited to where they can go. A skid steer will go places a tractor can't a skid steer with tracks can go where a tractor wouldn't even tempt. Tractors are pretty much left on a farm its the only places you see a tractor where is flat and easy terrian.

If you have to go into a real tough place or grade a tough place a mini or fullsize excavator is your only choice. It does take a long time to move material with a clean up bucket that only holds a wheelbarrow full of topsoil but it sure beats pushing a wheelbarrow. The blade on a mini does most of the grading and leveling it does take alot of time to get the humps and bumps out.

For grading driveways etc its hard to beat a fullsize backhoe you put the front bucket on float and back blade you can get a good even finish.

To get a perfect grade you need a grader or mini grader the longer the wheelbase of the machine more even the ground will be.

Like I said earlier sometimes you just have to do it with a hand rake and have a few people helping you if you want it perfect break out the laser level.

qps
08-30-2006, 05:10 PM
You guys wouldn't want to be a landscaper here pretty well 90% of the material moving has to be done by hand. To level area's out a good old rake and shovel does the job.

One of my neighbours bought a New Holland tractor forget the size it must weigh around 2500-3000lbs. Anyhow going down his driveway with a bucket of topsoil the rear wheels broke traction so him and the tractor went for a wild ride down the driveway. He had the tractor in 2wd because he is running on concrete so soon as the rear wheels lifted no traction no brakes either :eek:

He had a skid steer never had any problem with the steep driveway but he sold the skid steer. He bought the tractor afterwards its smaller and doesn't leave marks on the concrete also he missed having something to move stuff around with. But he did have to add weight to the tractor to keep it on all 4 wheels way more tippy than the skid steer.

You don't see many tractors in the area they are way too limited to where they can go. A skid steer will go places a tractor can't a skid steer with tracks can go where a tractor wouldn't even tempt. Tractors are pretty much left on a farm its the only places you see a tractor where is flat and easy terrian.

If you have to go into a real tough place or grade a tough place a mini or fullsize excavator is your only choice. It does take a long time to move material with a clean up bucket that only holds a wheelbarrow full of topsoil but it sure beats pushing a wheelbarrow. The blade on a mini does most of the grading and leveling it does take alot of time to get the humps and bumps out.

For grading driveways etc its hard to beat a fullsize backhoe you put the front bucket on float and back blade you can get a good even finish.

To get a perfect grade you need a grader or mini grader the longer the wheelbase of the machine more even the ground will be.

Like I said earlier sometimes you just have to do it with a hand rake and have a few people helping you if you want it perfect break out the laser level.


Yeah but GR..you live on the moon..or least its a rocky as the moon:drinkup:

qps
08-30-2006, 05:12 PM
A skid steer cycles faster and dump on the run ya we do that. There really is no contest. I'll tell you what. Make the prize big enough to justify me flying out to Ohio and I'll rent a skid steer (CASE 95XT/465 with RC and two speed and 83" bucket) set up whatever kind of dirt moving exercise you would like. You run yours, I'll run mine. When the dust settles, we'll see who is right. Actually cover my plane fare and hotel and the beer as the prize and I'd be happy. I'll call it a vacation. If I lose (blow a tire, fall asleep from jet lag) I'll put up again the cost of the flight and hotel. Let me know when your ready.:drinkup:

Just think how much faster you could go in a CAT:cool2:

Gravel Rat
08-30-2006, 05:22 PM
If you want a nice flat lawn you most likely have to build some kind of retaining wall and fill the area so its flat. Alot of hard work if you have to do most of it by hand.

There are jobs where you have to carry material in empty 5 gallon oil buckets that makes my back sore just thinking about it :laugh:

Bob Horrell
08-31-2006, 12:08 AM
I find this a very interesting topic. I have both a John Deere skiploader and a S250 bobcat. My John Deere has an 80 inch hiback commercial box scraper with hydraulic top and both tilts. The S250 uses an 80 inch commercial bucket and a 78 inch 4in1. The John Deere also has a 4in1 bucket.
I do work for building contractors, landscapers, and homeowners. Although I do a lot of different kinds of jobs, I specialize in and am known for my finish grading. I think I am proficient with both pieces of equipment. I have several contractors that don't even ask me to bid jobs, they just give me an address and when I am done I send them a bill. If I wasn't somewhat proficient, I don't think this would happen too often.
I find that some jobs are better suited to the skiploader and some to the skidsteer. Some are a toss up and either one would do a good job. The bottom line is that I use the skiploader twice as much as the bobcat. I can do a nice finish grade most of the time faster with the skiploader, especially if there is contouring involved. With the skiploader I can work both forward and backward with the gannon and contour a slope while moving by adjusting the top and tilt hydraulics. I can accomplish the same task with the skidsteer but it takes more passes and therefor takes longer. Also, there is always more time spent cleaning up after yourself with the skidsteer because of the damage done when turning, even when you carefully execute the job to minimize such damage.
A year and a half ago I purchased the Loegering VTS track system for my S250 in hope that I would be able to use it on a lot more on my jobs. It did increase my usage of the S250, but I still find the John Deere skiploader more suited for the majority of the jobs.
One of the things I do is build motocross tracks and I have found that nothing beats the S250 with the 4in1 bucket and the VTS tracks for this job.

ksss
08-31-2006, 01:16 AM
Just think how much faster you could go in a CAT

Well qps, then I would have to experience that most excellent CAT service all the time. Its much easier to run CASE, this way I just get my work done. No waiting on service trucks or waiting for my new excavator which is lost on the same island as Gilligan and Ms. Airhart. Granted my company isn't worth as much as it would be if I ran CAT, but I have managed fine for the last 12 years I reckon I'll do fine for the next 12. You may want to suggest to CAT that from now on they put a Lojack system on the machine when it leaves the factory, maybe then we would find Elvis and the Easter bunny:clapping: .

Scag48
08-31-2006, 03:56 AM
KSSS, you are brutal!

Mike33
09-04-2006, 12:24 AM
Hey guys thats some serious posts.:usflag: Im a skid steer guy and i only know of 1 guy with a tractor in my area. I wont make a challenge ( getting to old ) But what we do with skid steer and rock hound i cant see a tractor keeping up with us either. On new yard installs we try to have our soil dumped in different areas when possible. But the way we can go in to a pile and move around spreding the dirt with the bucket, then putting down our final grade i dont think many could beat us either. im a 2 man company we have prepped 15-1700 sq. in a day then hydro seeded late afternoon or evening to me thats hustling. I ran a tractor this year on a job that was the homeowners along with my guy on the bobcat and i thought it was slow. I will admit im not a great tractor operater though. Just changing gears and throttle control i cant see 1 keeping up with a skid. This tractor even had a hoe attm. on it i used to dig a footer of a wall and i thought it had a lot to be desired even though it worked out. Good luck to you guys in your wager.
Mike

Planet Landscaping
09-04-2006, 07:32 AM
I dont know fella's, I like having a Harley rake on back AND a bucket up front. Most of the time bulldozers layout the topsoil before me. I feel my 3pt tractor does a better job.Quicker,Better visability,lighter, Ect. Maybee i'm just old school. For moving dirt, The Skidsteer wins.

tylermckee
09-04-2006, 01:02 PM
Its hard to beat a tractor with a box blade when it comes to grading yards/driveways. It may not always be the fastest, but it will come out perfect with the least amount of hand work, if you know how to use it.

qps
09-04-2006, 04:22 PM
Just think how much faster you could go in a CAT

Well qps, then I would have to experience that most excellent CAT service all the time. Its much easier to run CASE, this way I just get my work done. No waiting on service trucks or waiting for my new excavator which is lost on the same island as Gilligan and Ms. Airhart. Granted my company isn't worth as much as it would be if I ran CAT, but I have managed fine for the last 12 years I reckon I'll do fine for the next 12. You may want to suggest to CAT that from now on they put a Lojack system on the machine when it leaves the factory, maybe then we would find Elvis and the Easter bunny:clapping: .

Just poking at ya...:drinkup:

Sunscaper
09-04-2006, 10:02 PM
Here in florida they are in love with box blades also. I also never saw one used as much until i moved here. I run an s205 bobcat and I can work just as quick doing a final as any tractor. I have the advantage on the rough grading. A tractor with no front loader is helpless on most rough grades. I charge hourly for rough and flat for finals if I did the rough. You can make money but you must plan your work out to remain competitive. I see more and move CTL showing up here replacing the box blades. I thing that the only advantage a bo blade has over a SSL STL is price to purchase.

RockSet N' Grade
09-06-2006, 10:02 PM
Ok, I'm here to stir the pot up a bit.....

When grading yards, I take both a track skid and grading tractor with box blade/roller combo. I do the production work with the skid and then put the icing on the cake with the box/roller combo....nothing beats the production of a skid and then again, the finish of a box/roller combo for final clean up and dressing sells the finished product....

bugger12345
08-17-2009, 06:28 PM
I may be asking this in the wrong place but...

I'm wondering how much better a grader box is than a grader blade? I have a tractor with a 3 pt hitch and need to grade a gravel driveway (1500 ft long). I can buy a used 6 ft blade for $125 and a 6 foot box for $350. Any thoughts?

Cville Apartment (http://www.cvillerentals.com/rental-homes.php) & Landscaping

thebobcatguy
08-17-2009, 07:08 PM
In my part of town, most landscapers are using tractors with box blades to grade home sites with. The result is decent grading, with out the real ability to move material around the job site if thats needed. Most of these rigs have a laborer with a wheel barrow moving material around the job site.


Back up North we never even saw a tractor with a box blade, it was skid steer/bobcat only which was a nice because we could move/ add/ remove materal very easily. I havent had time to get my bobcat side of the biz going and I am trying to get in with some builders, selling the fact that my bobcat is a bit more versitile than a tractor with a box blade.

What do you think is better and why?


It all boils down to the experience of the operator. A good operator on a tractor/boxblade will out perform an unexperienced skid steer operator. But an experienced skid steer operator will run circles around a tractor with box blade any day.

93turbo
08-17-2009, 09:58 PM
I may be asking this in the wrong place but...

I'm wondering how much better a grader box is than a grader blade? I have a tractor with a 3 pt hitch and need to grade a gravel driveway (1500 ft long). I can buy a used 6 ft blade for $125 and a 6 foot box for $350. Any thoughts?

Cville Apartment (http://www.cvillerentals.com/rental-homes.php) & Landscaping

a box scraper all the way its much easier to control your material. If you have enough tractor to pull it full when you are grading your drive way you can pull it full of gravel and it will fill in the low spots and where the driveway is good it will kinda float over the stone there instead of a reguler blade that just scrapes the stone away. Plus if you add wheels a couple feet behind the box you can use it like a land leveler and leave it as smooth and level as you want

ccstrebe
08-17-2009, 09:59 PM
I started out with a Case 480LL with a Gannon box with scariffier teeth. What a piece of crap for my needs. If you want to a level a lot FAST......use a box blade on a CTL.

I have tried the skip loader route, (too big, bulky, and inprecise) a box blade on a skid steer, (not enough traction when the box was full of dirt) a grader blade on a CTL (too slow and no dirt moving capabilities) and a box blade on a CTL. I have tried them all and the most productive was the box blade on a CTL.

There is a local commercial concrete contractor that does big jobs like Walmarts and the like all over the western region and he has two SS with laser box blades for prepping his slabs.

swanny
08-18-2009, 06:01 PM
[QUOTE=ccstrebe;3146773]I started out with a Case 480LL with a Gannon box with scariffier teeth. What a piece of crap for my needs. If you want to a level a lot FAST......use a box blade on a CTL.

Any wheels out in front of the box blade?

ccstrebe
08-18-2009, 06:24 PM
Any wheels out in front of the box blade?

Yes, There are pics on their web site. http://www.level-best.com/

RockSet N' Grade
08-18-2009, 08:00 PM
standard box blades are inefficient and do not produce a quality product in a timely manner. a box blade with a fixed screen roller on the back produces noticably better results. if you are doing or dressing a road, the roadrunner box is a good unit (www.roadrunnerblade.com) and even a novice can get excellent results in a very short time. the debate over tractor or skid will continue forever. if you have a tractor that has hydraulic controls set up that will give you tilt left to right, and raise or lower the cut aggressiveness of the implement you can do quite well. a tractor with just hand adjustments is non productive. each carrier has it's points, but the implement that you choose to work with is the difference between success and failure/frustration.

bugger12345
08-20-2009, 02:53 PM
It sounds like the box is the way to go. I don't have an easy way to tilt left or right as I go (I think I'd need a wrench). I think 93Turbo told me what I needed to know. I hadn't considered filling in low spots like that.

a box scraper all the way its much easier to control your material. If you have enough tractor to pull it full when you are grading your drive way you can pull it full of gravel and it will fill in the low spots and where the driveway is good it will kinda float over the stone there instead of a reguler blade that just scrapes the stone away. Plus if you add wheels a couple feet behind the box you can use it like a land leveler and leave it as smooth and level as you want

hotrod396
01-05-2011, 11:41 AM
What is the cost of a 6' road runner?

shooterm
01-05-2011, 04:58 PM
Skidloader replaced the landscape tractors in my area when I still did punchlists for a road company. Skiploader though is a completely different machine pretty much made for building driveways/shoulders. It wouldnt surprise me though that you start seeing a trending back towards tractors though for the simple fact more and more of the skidloaders are starting to have less of a lifespan. I'd much rather run a skidloader day to day for effiency but looking back at Old man Ronnies skiploader he had it for ten years nothing but oil changes in that Case. The cunts that bought us out already have it covered in blacktop I'm betting turded out.

shooterm
01-05-2011, 05:05 PM
We did alot of sod prep and helped the sod companies with sod prep. Nobody used a box is was all rough bucket level'd and land planed. This was all front yards and boulevards as fast as you can go for deadlines.