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View Full Version : thinking abouth heavy equipment


racer56
06-23-2007, 09:25 AM
Been thinking about getting into the bigger equipment. Anyone here own a good size hoe and dump truck? Thinking it may serperate me from the guys in an old beat up truck and a trailer. What doe a guy charge per hour for a hoe and operator these days? Everyone has a ztr so we all look the same in the eyes of the customer, at least mostof them. Been asked a hundred times about who is Exmark? I thought you would have used a JD as they are the best... Anyway I can buy a good used hoe for what I paid for our new ztr and thinking about doing that again.

Lawnworks
06-23-2007, 04:30 PM
In my opinion, your quality of work and service seperates you from the competition... not a backhoe, not a shiny truck, etc. If you don't have a demand for backhoe... and aren't renting one every week why would you buy one? I would think you would have to spend at least 20k to get a decent backhoe.

Mike33
06-23-2007, 06:03 PM
When someone wants a yard installed, ditch dug, or mostly any service they dont care what you do it with. They are calling you for a reason, weather they heard you was good or just pulled you out of the yellow pages. I do get calls for seeding because i have a hydro-seeder and there are only a few with them but they had to see my seeding work also. If i needed a tree cut out of my yard and you came to give me an estimate if your price was in line i could care less if you had a husky chain saw or used a cross cut saw.
Mike

racer56
06-24-2007, 04:34 PM
I thought this might help me get into the bigger landscape jobs and such. I get passed over for guys with bigger equipement all the time. The other day a customer that loves my work and refers to us to friends all the time passed us over for a job at her husbands bussiness as she thought it was have been too much for us :cry: . This lady pays us 60/ hour / man and is glad to have us. Would have been nice to have a big job with her even at a small reduction in hourly pay. I was just thinking a good used hoe around here is around 15k-25k depending on size and options of course and the guys I see get 125/ hour for the bigger equipment. We have been starting to think about the mini exc. and and small skid that could all fit on a 16' trailer. Something that could get into back yards easy and be fast to load and unload so a guy could do the 1-3 hour jobs and make good money. I've not had any experience running the small stuff other than a few small jobs that I just rented the euipment on. I've always had big equipemtn to run so don't know if I would like the limited capability. Thought if I could get in and out fast and go places the big ones can't I might have little competition that way. I never see used small rigs for sale so they must like them.

Lawnworks
06-24-2007, 06:54 PM
I just don't see how the bigger equipment will qualify you for the bigger jobs in the customers eyes. It seems like most companies near me don't own backhoes... if it needs to be done it gets subbed out. It seems like your advertising, referrals, and company branding would be where you would need to concentrate to get bigger jobs.... then I sure as hell would rent the equipment till the workload built up before making such a big purchase.

GraZZmaZter
06-25-2007, 10:59 AM
I agree ... buying equipment does not induce you into any set area of this market. How YOU run your business does. How YOU train your guys does. How YOU decide on the appearence of YOUR equipment does.

Not just having a new toy, that it already sounds like you have no idea on how to run....

Superior L & L
06-27-2007, 10:30 PM
I dont thing size of equipment matters(except to the ladys !!!) This year we have done 2 one hundred thousand dollar jobs and 3 fifty thousand dollar jobs. These are big jobs too me and the largest machines we have are Bobcat loaders and are biggest trucks are chevy 4500's. I think a bigger truck may help but back hoe loaders are to big to move around and maneuver around the site.

EMJ
06-27-2007, 10:50 PM
If I am not renting a machine every week I am not going to buy one. when you show up at the job no one care if a rental company's name is on the side of a piece of equipment or not. They only care about the finished project and the professionalism of the crew. Price is in there somewhere also.

Mike Fronczak
06-28-2007, 10:28 AM
There is a book out by Dwight Hughes (spelling?), Systems for Sucess, has a green cover. He runs a nursery/install business, does most of it with machines, has a crew of 4 guys & averages 100K each (these are early 90's numbers). Do a search it'll show up, he was/(is?) actively involved in our industry, do a search he'll show up.

drmiller100
06-28-2007, 09:14 PM
A customer wants a berm, sprinkler system, sod, and a firepit.

They call 5 companies for bids. You show up for the appointment on time, with a smile, a direct look in the eyes, and a business card driving a clean pickup.

You just blew away 3 of your competitors.

You listen, and repeat what the customer said in your own words. This indicates to them you are understanding.

You give a hard bid, no excuses, that is 25 percetn lower then your competitor. How can you do it so cheap??????

Your competitors use unskilled labor, and charge by the hour. You used skilled commissioned employees and provide them with the equipment to do their job right.

Here is an example. My 2 guys came to me and wanted a grunt. "Why" said I? To rake rocks, fill in holes, pick up clumps of grass.

So, I bought a rock hound for 7,000 bucks. At the end of hte summer, I will have 15 tons of rocks raked up, and a rock rake that is worth 6,000 bucks, and my employees saved a bunch of sweat, and more importantly, TIME.

drmiller100
06-28-2007, 09:21 PM
one more story.
we get a landscape job in a subdivision. 5 idiots are landscaping next door, and have been for a few days.

we show up, unload the excavator, spend 8 minutes with one guy runnign equipment, the other leaning on the shovel with a few seconds of frantic digging, and find the water line 6 feet down.

The shovel guy grabs the prebuilt tap and throws it in, while the excavator guy digs sprinkler trenches and rough grades the yard.
spend 2 hours of laying pipe and hooking up sprinklers. an hour of manifolds and clocks.
an hour of backfilling with skidsteer, and 20 minutes with the rock hound to finish rake all rocks and clumps.

The worst part of the whole job by far is laying sod, which takes 5 hours for 2 guys for 2500 feet.

One day, we are done. 2 fat rednecks with equipment that don't work very fast.

that is what equipment does for you.

Mike33
06-28-2007, 09:36 PM
one more story.
we get a landscape job in a subdivision. 5 idiots are landscaping next door, and have been for a few days.

we show up, unload the excavator, spend 8 minutes with one guy runnign equipment, the other leaning on the shovel with a few seconds of frantic digging, and find the water line 6 feet down.

The shovel guy grabs the prebuilt tap and throws it in, while the excavator guy digs sprinkler trenches and rough grades the yard.
spend 2 hours of laying pipe and hooking up sprinklers. an hour of manifolds and clocks.
an hour of backfilling with skidsteer, and 20 minutes with the rock hound to finish rake all rocks and clumps.

The worst part of the whole job by far is laying sod, which takes 5 hours for 2 guys for 2500 feet.

One day, we are done. 2 fat rednecks with equipment that don't work very fast.

that is what equipment does for you.

Thats some excellant points i have both rockhound and mini. I think his thing was just go out and buy something to be bigger, i disagree with that. Yes you need equiptment but it takes time and choose carefully what you need. It has taken me 12 years to have 2 bobcats, mini, hydroseeder, hoe attm., rockhound, and few more. But every piece was well thought out. And i still dont own a dump truck, i have a friend with a new single axle who trucks in and away for me 55.00/ hr. on a 2 hour notice. So there i cant justify spending 50k + for something that might get little use. Im glad to hear im not the only fat redneck in the bisiness.

Mike

Lawnworks
06-28-2007, 10:44 PM
Well I am not a fat redneck... I can't help but sweat the weight off... but I think both of you guys are talking about landscape specific equipment.... I can't think of one local landscaping company that has a backhoe... it seems like backhoes are more for rough grading, site prep, foundations, etc... not really landscaping.

Littletruck
07-06-2007, 12:23 AM
Demolition really. I look at a backhoe as an implement of destruction more than a dedicated landscape machine. If you do walls or need to dig then great, but I think renting is the smart money. I keep a small terramite, love it. I can do quite a bit with it, but still want a skid steer for lawn finish grade.

thetaye
07-06-2007, 10:44 AM
Big equipment might make YOU feel more confident in your ability to do the work. 3 years ago I made $120,000.00 out of my little 4-cylinder truck and open bed landscape trailer. I also kept more profits because the lack of overhead. Most of my customers don't care what my equipment looks like because I:
1. Establish strong personal relations with them where they enjoy my "service".
2. I am continually educating myself and passing on the information to my customers along the way.
3. I make sure that my workers are ALWAYS presentable and able to be friendly.
Based on that and 7 other secrets I keep a healthy list of work flowing in. Why is it that as soon as we suffer rejection as men we have to check our EQUIPMENT when it is ALWAYS the PERFORMANCE that is lacking? :nono: It is not that your equipment is too small, but she views your operations as too "small." Remember that your operations are bigger than just the quality of work. I mean come on, there is a point where we all do pretty much look alike, there is very little "new" or "outstanding" in our field; grass, trees, flowers, hardscape if you're in to that kinda thing. You must come off somehow as insecure to her as far as being a business owner and such.
Probe the market and see how much you will actually need that piece of equipment. For us here, if we feel tempted to spend big money on an item ($500+) we first run a small campaign to see how much work actually comes in for that kind of machine. My experience is that apart from the basic machines which you will use on the top 90% of YOUR jobs which of course covers your overhead & payroll, specialty equipment can be a pain in the neck because:
1. They can deplete cashflow and working capital
2. They can be costly to repair and maintain vs actual money made by them
3. Why buy when you can rent?

Lawnworks
07-06-2007, 06:55 PM
Big equipment might make YOU feel more confident in your ability to do the work. 3 years ago I made $120,000.00 out of my little 4-cylinder truck and open bed landscape trailer. I also kept more profits because the lack of overhead. Most of my customers don't care what my equipment looks like because I:
1. Establish strong personal relations with them where they enjoy my "service".
2. I am continually educating myself and passing on the information to my customers along the way.
3. I make sure that my workers are ALWAYS presentable and able to be friendly.
Based on that and 7 other secrets I keep a healthy list of work flowing in. Why is it that as soon as we suffer rejection as men we have to check our EQUIPMENT when it is ALWAYS the PERFORMANCE that is lacking? :nono: It is not that your equipment is too small, but she views your operations as too "small." Remember that your operations are bigger than just the quality of work. I mean come on, there is a point where we all do pretty much look alike, there is very little "new" or "outstanding" in our field; grass, trees, flowers, hardscape if you're in to that kinda thing. You must come off somehow as insecure to her as far as being a business owner and such.
Probe the market and see how much you will actually need that piece of equipment. For us here, if we feel tempted to spend big money on an item ($500+) we first run a small campaign to see how much work actually comes in for that kind of machine. My experience is that apart from the basic machines which you will use on the top 90% of YOUR jobs which of course covers your overhead & payroll, specialty equipment can be a pain in the neck because:
1. They can deplete cashflow and working capital
2. They can be costly to repair and maintain vs actual money made by them
3. Why buy when you can rent?

Another voice of reason... I can respect an operation like yours. It is all about the bottom line.

Lawnworks
07-06-2007, 07:23 PM
Big equipment might make YOU feel more confident in your ability to do the work. 3 years ago I made $120,000.00 out of my little 4-cylinder truck and open bed landscape trailer. I also kept more profits because the lack of overhead. Most of my customers don't care what my equipment looks like because I:
1. Establish strong personal relations with them where they enjoy my "service".
2. I am continually educating myself and passing on the information to my customers along the way.
3. I make sure that my workers are ALWAYS presentable and able to be friendly.
Based on that and 7 other secrets I keep a healthy list of work flowing in. Why is it that as soon as we suffer rejection as men we have to check our EQUIPMENT when it is ALWAYS the PERFORMANCE that is lacking? :nono: It is not that your equipment is too small, but she views your operations as too "small." Remember that your operations are bigger than just the quality of work. I mean come on, there is a point where we all do pretty much look alike, there is very little "new" or "outstanding" in our field; grass, trees, flowers, hardscape if you're in to that kinda thing. You must come off somehow as insecure to her as far as being a business owner and such.
Probe the market and see how much you will actually need that piece of equipment. For us here, if we feel tempted to spend big money on an item ($500+) we first run a small campaign to see how much work actually comes in for that kind of machine. My experience is that apart from the basic machines which you will use on the top 90% of YOUR jobs which of course covers your overhead & payroll, specialty equipment can be a pain in the neck because:
1. They can deplete cashflow and working capital
2. They can be costly to repair and maintain vs actual money made by them
3. Why buy when you can rent?


double post

racer56
07-07-2007, 01:41 AM
Guess I didn't do a very good job getting my point across. I need the bigger equipment to play in the bigger jobs. As far as sales ability I was ranked 1 in the nation for 2 years straight in my former profession so selling the job isn't much of a problem considering the ability of most other lco's. I don't like renting, house, car or anything else.

packer101
07-07-2007, 07:57 PM
what makes you want a fullsize backhoe? for what you discribed as its use you would be better off with a large skidsteer or mini excavator.... or better yet one of those smaller sized backhoes such as the one john deere puts out. What you seemed to discribe as your targeted jobs such as landscape installs, new lawns, drainage, walls... landscape type jobs, what ever it be something that big might be too big.