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cddva
10-02-2006, 11:24 PM
I'm interested to hear from KX-71 owners and even renters to see what your thoughts are on the machine. What type of work do you use it for, what size buckets and type of attachments do you use, what are the good points and not so good points and do you stay busy with it, i.e. is it a good investment and would you do it (purchase) again? Thanks for any feedback.

turfquip
10-03-2006, 07:49 PM
Well I'm a Kubota mini owner but not that size.

Mine has been reliable and extremely productive but there are limits to these micro units which you will quickly discover.

All in all, its almost impossible to calculate the number of saved 'labor units' that machine is responsible for so far.

cddva
10-03-2006, 08:39 PM
Turfquip - What size machine do you have and what type of work do you do with it? I'm trying to size up if having a smaller mini would open up some new business for a one-man operation. Since I'm part-time I basically provide general services where the equipment does most/all the work (little to no manual labor). Usually just weekend jobs. I know I can't get the payback from investing in a larger mini just due to lack of available hours to put it to work. Wondering if a smaller mini-ex could offer more job opportunities and provide positive cash flow (beyond just owning a tracked skid steer)? Also, do folks stay busy(busier) in the winter months with a mini-ex than a skid steer (excluding the winter wonderland folks who get lots of snow removal work)? Thanks for any more input you can provide.

ksss
10-03-2006, 11:14 PM
These are my thoughts. I had a 7500 pound IHI 35J and about three years ago traded for 12500 pound machine. Going any smaller than 7500 pounds unless you have a specific need or niche is not a great idea. Reason is the machines smaller than 7500 have less than a 10 foot dig depth. The reality of that is only about 8 feet of that is useable. The dig depth and reach get continually shorter as they get smaller. With a 7500 pound machine you can install/ repair water lines and some sewer lines depending on depth. They are big enough to set rocks (thumb equipped) with, dig footings and additions full depth additions are a bit of a challenge but I did them for years with the IHI. They are also powerful enough for concrete removal and finally you can still load a dump truck with one. A machine smaller than that and your limiting the types of jobs you can do. Jobs that require a smaller machine tend to be short in duration (read short paycheck) and in my experience to far between. When I went to the 12K machine I was able to keep busy most all winter, which is something I could not do with the 7.5K machine due to frost. Your weather conditions of course may not be a tough as ours are. Winter work includes water line repairs and for us new home utility installation. Not much else to do in the middle of winter up here involving a mini ex. Your mileage may vary. I would consider going bigger not smaller. Again your conditions may be different than mine, but I really don't see how a "for hire" guy can make much with a smaller mini ex unless it is tied to some other gig. One last thing size may not be as critical as you might think. I was concerned that going from 5' wide to 6.6 wide would limit me. It hasn't, last year I had to rent a Bobcat 328 for a window well job. That reeinforced what I said above. This year we didn't rent a smaller mini at all.

turfquip
10-04-2006, 08:40 PM
Well, my situation is a little different. I've always been a residential oriented landscaper/lawn guy. Therefore, equipment that is ultra compact suits my needs best. I started a thread a while back asking about the KX41, describing the type of jobs I do. I recommend you check that thread out :)

A major LS contributor whom I respect greatly affirmed that machines ability to perform the tasks I described. Since buying it, I've performed all those tasks and on the vast majority of those jobs, a larger machine would not have worked. I've had to shrink the tracks several times and once I had to work directly out of the back of my roll off dumpster, being able to pluck shrub root clusters out of the ground, rotate completely within the box, and deposit the material into the front. That was a unique job I should have gotten pictures of.

Purchasing the mini was by far, the best equipment purchase I've made. Now, how busy I can keep it in the Winter does remain to be seen, but my 670/monthly payment is manageable either way. It is a niche machine though. As the previous poster mentioned, you'll find short duration jobs to do with it.

cddva
10-05-2006, 01:19 AM
KSSS/Turfquip - thanks for all the good input. I did find the KX-41 discussion from last winter and it was helpful to read more specifics about the machine and the uses you and the other poster used your smaller mini's for. I'm doing residential work right now with the ASV RC50 that are short duration jobs. Basically helping homeowners by providing the machine work for their own DIY landscape projects. But, I would like to expand to bigger paying jobs in the future without having to get into a full service landscaper role (since I can't afford any laborers'). I see where going to a larger mini would expand the variety of jobs, but I get the drift that work would need to come more from contractors than homeowners. This would put me more in contention (competing) with the full time guys. I'm not sure I'd fair too well in that position as a part-timer.
Could the KX71 be considered the ultimate middle of the road mini-ex?! Of course middle of the road may mean I get no traffic (business) at all? Obviously I need to give this more thought. My long term goal is to try and expand this part time business to a full time business that would allow me an early retirement from my current full time job. So, I'm trying to push the envelope a little without falling off the edge.:) Is anyone else here pursuing a similar path or made this transition?:walking:

ksss
10-05-2006, 01:57 AM
I think most businesses are by nature are in a constant state of evolution. The trick as you stated is to push then edge but not go over board. I started in 1995 with plans to do lawn installations and sub contract to other builders/excavators. We still do those things but the business has evolved. One thing to consider at your stage is the types of jobs you compete for (or the name of your business) now may pigeon hole you later. Ask me how I know. The name of my business has been one of the issues have had to overcome. I spent the first 6 or so years doing skid steer work. I got the IHI which expanded my capability. However most knew me as the skid steer guy. Hindsight I would have been Acme excavation or something. I now am a skid steer guy with a 160 sized excavator. The point I am desperately trying to make is when you buy equipment try and plan for growth. I think your sellling yourself short by not competing for work with contractors. The key (IMHO) to making a "go" at this expecially if you plan to retire to it, is to be diversified. Having a diverse clientel and diversity in what kind of services you offer are both very important. I would offer services that allow for as long of a working year as possible. Landscaping is good money but is very seasonal. Getting into the excavation side of things will lengthen the year considerably. This can be done without working for contractors but it certainly helps to cultivate releationships with contractors. You can pick the types of jobs you want and those that will fit your schedule. What you want to avoid is being known as the guy that only does small jobs for homeowners. Once the community paints you in a corner it can be tough to breakout from that. If your area will provide you with enough work to retire to doing small jobs than it may not be as important. However by making sound purchase decisions now you can allow for growth in venture, and allow a larger variety of jobs to come your way.

cddva
10-05-2006, 09:04 PM
KSSS - I appreciate you sharing your own business experience. That's probably more of what I really needed to hear. Your insight on establishing and growing a business in this field really struck home with me. The whole reason I'm looking at a mini is to open up new doors for business, in addition to extending the work year. I'd need to get enough work with the equipment so at a minimum it at least pays its own way for the first year or two while I get some experience with it and get my name out. I guess I'm concerned with going into too big of a monthly payment on a larger machine and coming up short on work. The bane of every businessman....weighing the risks versus the potential rewards. I really like your idea (mission statement?!:laugh: ) of being diversified in the type of work you offer...makes good sense for the long haul....and not getting labeled for just doing one thing.
I talked with my older dump truck driver buddy today and mentioned the mini idea to him and asked his opinion on the available work. He said that the concrete contractor he does alot of work for could use those services on a part time basis and in general he thought it would be a good thing to have. I also called a dealer here today inquiring about used mini's. They deal with Case, Kubota and Takeuchi. He's going to call back tomorrow to let me know the full run down on what they have in used machines. I'll now try to follow your advice and look towards the 7K# machines and see what I could work out there. Of course my other limit on machine size is my truck and trailer (2500hd duramax, 18' 10K trailer). Can only afford to push the envelope so far for now!

Patton
11-27-2006, 09:54 AM
Just found this post... I have a Kubota U-25. It is the perfect machine for a mid sized mini. Dig depth around ten feet, zero tail swing, and cost did not break me. I have used it for six months now with no regrets. Truly a great mini...and I've tried alot of them.