View Full Version : Skid steer or kubota
Starting a LCO looking for suggestions whether to buy a skid steer or a kubota will use for hardscaping and landscaping.Thanks for any responses
11-21-2006, 08:54 PM
If your just starting, I'd recommend not spending $30k+ on either.
That said, I prefer a skid steer, but if you do a lot of work on NICE turf, than a tractor will do less damage.
11-21-2006, 10:39 PM
11-22-2006, 12:21 AM
Rent for a couple years to figure out what works best for you, then buy the one you rent the most.
11-22-2006, 10:40 AM
I have a Kubota Tractor and I can't lift a full pallet of materials when doing hardscaping. I am able to lift about 2800lbs of materials off of my truck by using the weight of the pallet to help curl the bucket as I lower the pallet. This helps to push the weight closer to the tractor. Once placed on the ground I can only push and drag the pallet until I move about half of the materials off of the pallet. I try to put the pallets where I will use them first and when I lay pavers I pull from all the pallets and hopefully by the time that I need to move them they are about half empty. Now a Pallet on the ground I can lift between 1800 and 2000, I have a wood pellet stove at my house and I get the 1 ton pallets for that and I can pick them up off of the ground just enough so that I don't do any damage.
The one thing that I like about the tractor is that I have the backhoe on it and if I need to dig I just have to turn around. On some jobs with lots of digging it is much better with an excavator, I can do it, but it becomes too time consuming compared to a mini-ex. I am at the stage now where I need to upgrade to a ss just because I am trying to do more and more with the tractor but it is too much. I have already looked at the possibility next year with the purchase of a CAT 262 Skid and maybe down the road a mini-ex. I also have my eyes on the McLaren NuAir tires and thier track system also, I still have to price it out but they seem like a good setup. A SS and mini-ex combo are probably the two things anyone doing hardscapes would love to have.
Bottom line is that a tractor is good for alot of landscaping but I believe that a good sized SS is really nice to have on a hardscape projects. SS will also out-work the tractor side by side. Some of the advice already given is good advice. Rent different equipment and see what works best for you, and when you find the right equipment rent different brands so when it comes time to purchase you will know what you want.
Hardscape installation would be much better suited for a skid steer. If you could only have one machine it would be a skid steer IMHO. Once you get on your feet a small tractor may have some advantages in landscaping. If your just starting out, it maybe hard to say where your new business will take you. You may find yourself doing more or less of one or the other. I don't know that I would advise renting as much as some are suggesting. Again these are my suggestions and should be taken for what they may be worth. If you are going into business than a certain amount of risk is to be taken. Assuming you will need a line of credit or you have cash on hand. I would buy a used skid steer. If you budget under 15K you can get yourself a fine machine for that kind of money in any color you chose. I think it is too difficult/expensive to rent something as critical as a skid steer. If you buy it right you wouldn't lose anything if the business went under. If you needed to rent at all it would be just long enough to get some jobs lined up and to help decide what machine you wanted to purchase. It is difficult to make money doing day to day jobs renting equipment. Certain jobs that are specialized may be anther story, they may have more money in them that allow for machines to be rented. However for the majority of work the margins are too tight to be spending 150-200 a day renting a skid steer. That would be the equivilent of a mechanic renting his handtools.
I have found myself in somewhat of a renting quandery as well. I have a skid steer and excavator on top of a ski hill 160 miles away and a ton of excavator work to do here in the valley. It pains me to think of having to rent an excavator for a month or two (road conditions prevent pulling machines back and forth). I may go to a Ritchie bros sale in Olympia and pickup a used excavator (10 K size) to use during the Winter and sell it come Spring. I just cant see throwing money away on a long term rental.
11-24-2006, 09:29 PM
Well a local guy here who does small landscape jobs has both.
He has a Thomas 245,a Deere 322 and a Kubota tractor with a front loader and a few attachments,Each machine has its own place and its disadvantages.Since your starting out If I were you i'd swing toward the small tractor since they are cheaper to come by.
11-24-2006, 09:41 PM
landscape construction magazine just ran an article that might help you decide. The subscriptions are free. http://lcmmagazine.com/
i don't know if the article is available online though. I could scan it if interested
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