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GradeMan
09-27-2007, 06:27 PM
ANyone offer this service or is it a dying option now? I want to add this service but have fears that nobody wants backhoe service anymore? Thanks

RockSet N' Grade
09-27-2007, 06:38 PM
I am not from your neck of the woods.....so I am not familiar with your economic or geograpic environment. There are guys here making a go of it. When I lived in California some time ago, my friend Dave Wasden, had 6 of them going and acted as a broker for work on top of that........but then again, Dave is dynamic - has an incredible "feel" and is legendary on a machine. He got a two year contract working at the movie studios with the cavaet that he was there and ramroding the job. My point is, if you have got the will and desire, develop the talents and contacts.......you could make a living off any single piece of equipment on the face of this planet. On a more practical side, I think the environment here is getting used to the idea of "normal" as a skid steer and ho combination. Take it with a grain of salt.

Scag48
09-27-2007, 07:34 PM
Depends on where you are. Around here, a backhoe wouldn't be so bad in an urban area where pavement, bringing only one machine to the site, and smaller quantities of material to be excavated are prevelant. I'd estimate that on the average building site here, on flat ground and in an urban area, you could get away with doing probably all the sitework with a backhoe. No roads have to be built to provide access, no steep slopes to conquer, a backhoe itself would really save some headaches in the right market. But, where I come from, if you don't have at least a 12 ton excavator in addition to a backhoe you're missing out, the backhoe itself will sit. Steep ground and large quantities of excavation to be done on just about every site makes a backhoe the last option. You can't dig a daylight basment on a hillside with a backhoe. Well, you probably could, but it would take you 3-4 times longer than it would with an excavator and would be much more difficult.

As mentioned, a skid steer and mini excavator combo seem to be the way to go. A 12K pound mini excavator will dig footings and/or a basement for a house and a skid steer can assist in transporting materials around the site or finish grading the lot. Both of these machines can be had, brand new, for less than the cost of a new backhoe for sure. However, there are still plenty of folks that stay busy with just a backhoe. It's all about marketing a niche.

RockSet N' Grade
09-27-2007, 07:56 PM
I was just sitting watching my favorite movie, Forrest Gump, and thought of this.....we used to use a guy with an off-set back-ho and he was busy all the time. Not alot of folks have them, and this chap was buried with work. I think if I was to get just a backho, I would consider that as an option.....it gives you an edge over all sorts of other types of machines and you could fill a real need with one of those. Just another thought.......now, back to the movies........

tnmtn
09-27-2007, 08:10 PM
Scag,
you are softening your biew on backhoes. :laugh: it wasn't a long time ago your answer may have been a bit more one sided. good of you to keep an open mind.
grademan,
i have a backhoe service and work by myself. for my needs it is working very well. i also have a dingo for clean up work. i am really liking the combination. that being said every market is diffrent and i can't say how it will do in your area. if you work by yourself i would suggest more research and maybe renting a backhoe for a bit and seeing how it works for you. at the same time if you already have employees especially one other than that can drive and tow a trailer then look into the skid steer mini ex combo as well. also consider space for parking on your jobsites. 1 truck and trailer or 2. you can carry both on one but again your getting into larger tow vehicles. more info is needed to go further. are you looking full size tlb? already own a suitable towing vehicle? what market are you going for? what work are you doing already?
for me i mostly do homeowner work. i have a compact tlb that does very little if any damage to yards. most of my work is the jobs no one else wants. i like it this way. quick in, quick out, cash a check. i am able to use skid steer attachments. tlb's are more and more adapting to the tool carrier mentality from skid steers and it makes quite a diffrence in what you can offer. they're not just for digging and loading anymore.
good luck,

Gravel Rat
09-27-2007, 09:49 PM
To make a backhoe service work is you gotta be a good operator and able to do mircles with one. Backhoes are a dying breed on the West Coast of B.C. they are not as common as they used to be. In my area the property being developed is too steep for a backhoe. Where a 12,000lb mini or a CTL will go a backhoe will not. Some places you take a mini the slope around a house is steep enough that even wearing a seat belt isn't enough to keep you from sliding forward in your seat.

Last thing you need a 4x4 backhoe a 2wd backhoe is useless you spend most of the day trying to get unstuck :laugh:

GradeMan
09-27-2007, 10:10 PM
I have a 7 ton hoe on steel tracks and a 50hp 4x4 tractor but i seem to always have the wrong piece of gear. Example small edition job, i move the dirt three times, sometimes i wonder if there is a better way, I like the idea of a loader{ snow and screening} and the hoe for the water sewer lines and the small jobs for home owners. I want least amount of gear with the most pay back. Any ideas? :rolleyes:

ksss
09-27-2007, 10:25 PM
I don't own a backhoe and by my showing at the CASE backhoe rodeo that is a good thing. I subscribe to the 12K mini and skid steer model to get most things done. That does not mean that is right for everyone, and I actually find myself wishing I had a hoe at times. However for the majority of what I do my set up works fine for me. I think backhoes will always have a place. Mini Excavators and skid steers have stolen some sales from the backhoe market but they will never total displace it. Whether one is right for you that is more difficult. A market study of your area would be in order. That would include the amount of competetion in your area, the current status of your local economy and the projected economy. Your operating skill as it pertains to a backhoe is also important. Your initial reputation will stand for a lot especially in a smaller market. It has to be a positive one. You can always buy a good used hoe and test the market. If it does not work out, sell it.

GradeMan
09-27-2007, 10:32 PM
I would say that there is 4 owner operator and god knows how many backyard fly at night guys with junk, I wonder if it is better to fly at night or be 100% legal. Cash sounds better but no contractor work. People still call and ask for a backhoe and need 3000 yds of dirt moved, but i want to improve my bottom line.:walking:

Gravel Rat
09-27-2007, 10:58 PM
Your not busy with your mini excavator yes we class a 7 ton machine as a mini excavator.

RockSet N' Grade
09-27-2007, 10:59 PM
Who knows what the right combo is........it always seems to be a juggling match. We just got done about 20 truck loads out of a back yard and sculpted the yard, built rock walls and rough graded it for 4-6" of top soil after the sprinklers are installed. Our combo of mini hoe and skid worked pretty well, but I kept thinking a loader would have been better.........don't have one, probably won't in the near future, so we did what we could with what we had. A backhoe would have been good to have to load the material (vs. a skid) but would not have worked for the digging and rock setting........then again, if I had a back hoe, I would have made it work.

SiteSolutions
09-27-2007, 11:05 PM
Bachoes can do a lot, but they weigh a lot and cost a lot, and they are a compromise just to get lots of different abilities onto one frame.

Some of them have truly massive loader buckets on the front, but if you can't steer while the bucket is on the ground, and you can't see anything at all down there at or near the cutting edge, how good a loader is it? Plus it is twice as long as a ctl or skid steer and takes a lot more room to turn around. So as a loader it is only so-so.

Again, on the back side, I have seen long reaches and big buckets. But, try digging without the outriggers down. Try digging out a trench one foot from a fence, without having to have the whole long thing cocked to one side. Again, it is long, large, and only semi-manueverable. As a hoe, well, better than nothing.

Manuevering: as previously mentioned, it is long and won't turn sharp. Plus, it sits up high and all the weight is up high. Scary on side slopes and slippery hillsides.

But, if you're a utility company just digging trenches in the middle of the street, and you want to be able to dig and backfill and cleanup with the same machine, they're pretty handy. They're the epitome of the phrase "jack of all trades, master of none."

Not to say that some people can't do miracles with them, it's just that there are better, quicker, easier, safer ways to do it, especially if you have more than one truck and trailer.

RockSet N' Grade
09-27-2007, 11:06 PM
Everyone here I would think wants to improve their bottom line. How we each get there is a journey in itself. Create more perceived value, work more billable hours, learn to bid better, do the work more efficiently.......the variables are always changing and intermixing. I wish I knew how to work smarter instead of harder......I just keep pushing and hope to learn a little bit more on each adventure to help my bottom line grow. I know one thing, my fuel bill keeps growing.......so my bottom line should be growing too if I stick to the formula that seems to be working for me.

GradeMan
09-27-2007, 11:07 PM
That's what i mean, get the job done as quick as possible ( with keeping quality work) so you can move to the next one. I have been running into moving more and more earth around peoples yards, but i hear that 4x4 hoes aren't always the solution. It is also hard to find good help, most younger guys now all smoke left handed smokes aka the green stuff. I scared that it going to be trouble down the near futur. Now i am by myself hiring other contractor to help out with the work load. I think I'm going to sell hoe and try the back hoe but i know i'll miss the tracks for the mud wading in the spring. If i had all kinds of money i just buy a backhoe and keep going

GradeMan
09-27-2007, 11:10 PM
THe fuel bills are getting crazy:cry: @#R%% 1.10 a liter. at the pumps.I seem to be competing with a lot of night flyers in the past couple of weeks, I really dont think they know how to use a calculator:hammerhead:

How much are mini, skids and backhoe going for a hour?

Fieldman12
09-27-2007, 11:28 PM
I use a backhoe from time to time. Some of the things I like about them is you can drive it to your job site if it's not far away. They have a good bit of pushing power. I have cleared trees and so on out of fields with them. They are good for loading and digging. Other than that they are not good for trying to level a pad or anything like that. They cost allot new which I think is a negative. I think where they shine is in digging situations that is in a some what open area that is fairly level that needs to be then filled in quickly once done. They do good loading but in a way they are kind of a pain because you always have to work about the stick out back hitting something and they get easily stuck on a dime. The newer machines stick in the back can be folder in and to the side. A better loading machine in my opinion is the wheel loader. I have run several backhoes, dozers, skid steers, track loaders, and wheel loaders. They all have certain jobs they shine at. I would say a guy could still make a living with one provided he gets the right kind of work the machine is capable of doing.

GradeMan
09-27-2007, 11:36 PM
And what kind of work do u think a backhoe would really shine at?

dozerman21
09-28-2007, 05:57 AM
And what kind of work do u think a backhoe would really shine at?

Water/sewer install, and guys that do all kinds of misc. work... hauling dirt/trash, digging trenches, running on/off road, etc. They are very popular with utility companies. It's a great machine for a guy with no employees who owns a dump truck to pull it with. That way, you have two pieces of equipment making money with only 1 operator.

Backhoes are very dominant here. They are almost as popular as skids. We do have mostly flat land, and Scag48 made some good points in his post about working on hills or slopes... it's not the machine that you want. They are very valuable here though. Ours sits most of the time, but it's something that we'll always have. I wouldn't buy a new one unless I had work for it everyday, buy you can find some decent used machines for a descent price. Just make sure it's been greased and maintained regularly, and the bushings aren't shot.

GradeMan
09-28-2007, 06:10 AM
Hey dozerman how did you make out with the brakes on the old 550?

tnmtn
09-28-2007, 10:29 AM
all good points so far. i wanted to be able to carry one machine for most of my jobs. it is easier for me that way. there are obviously times when diffrent machines are better for diffrent jobs. when i get a job that i will be much better off with a mini ex or skid i will rent one. so far this year i rented 1 mini ex and it wasn't able to work on the side of that mountain either. i keep reading on this and other forums that i would be more efficient with the combination but haven't been able to convince myself to make the jump. don't want to fix whats not broken. i would go with a used backhoe if i was going to get one.
good luck

AWJ Services
09-28-2007, 12:05 PM
You guys are just using the wrong Backhoe.


http://youtube.com/watch?v=7w9WDhT_TYg

murray83
09-28-2007, 04:01 PM
I'm from the east coast and I hear you on the fuel bills.I do most of my work on the side water/sewer service repairs and installs,septic systems,digging for additions,small demo jobs of trailers and garages,concrete tree stump and asphalt tear outs,small trenches for electricial services I've even dug a couple pools since the access was perfect not to mention its perfect for snow removal as it won't sit around like a mini would all winter.

As said earlier rent a machine at first as I do now keeping your costs low and carry basic contractor insurance 1 million is standard now in most cases to start out.

Dirt Digger2
09-28-2007, 04:27 PM
we are a full service excavation company...anything from trenches to foundations and road cuts and I will tell you that our 2 backhoes are busy almost EVERY day. I much prefer using the backhoe over our 15ton trackhoe in certaint situations, the only time i like to use the trackhoe is when time is of the essense or that job is a little too big for a backhoe.

with a backhoe you can install septic systems, dig trenches, dig small/medium foundations, cut out roads and driveways (i have another thread called "A Few Late summer pics" where all that work was done with backhoe) But you have to remeber is that nobody will hire you and you wont get any work if you can't operate it...in my opinion backhoes are the hardest all around machine to master, not only do you have to worry about the loader, but you have to use the hoe as well, and every "difficult" job we get, and we get a lot...the backhoe goes out on it

Dirt Digger2
09-28-2007, 04:31 PM
You guys are just using the wrong Backhoe.


http://youtube.com/watch?v=7w9WDhT_TYg

thats pretty neat...i cant tell if thats a JCB or a Terex though...i dont know how long the headlights on the loader would last in the field but it sure can take a corner fast, thats the one thing i hate about the backhoe is when you drive them on the road in 4th gear you feel like your going to flip around every turn

GradeMan
09-28-2007, 04:40 PM
I'm from the east coast and I hear you on the fuel bills.I do most of my work on the side water/sewer service repairs and installs,septic systems,digging for additions,small demo jobs of trailers and garages,concrete tree stump and asphalt tear outs,small trenches for electricial services I've even dug a couple pools since the access was perfect not to mention its perfect for snow removal as it won't sit around like a mini would all winter.

As said earlier rent a machine at first as I do now keeping your costs low and carry basic contractor insurance 1 million is standard now in most cases to start out.

So you rent and don't own? Do you ever get stuck not getting a machine?
I really like the idea of doing it on he side but how do you get inspectors and customers to wait?

murray83
09-28-2007, 06:48 PM
Not yet,I have an older gentleman up the road with a jcb he doesn't use much I just fuel it up and pay him whatever I put on the hour meter decent relationship and keeps it profitable for myself but in your case you might have a Cat rental store,United Rentals,Hertz that all rent backhoes at a decent price.In time I'll buy my own machine when I'm getting a steady base of calls and jobs lined up.

For inspections I don't have any issues except for septic system approvals and that I set up for my lunch hours when and if I do them.I'm not that overall busy to go full time so I work full time for a larger civil contractor and he has no beefs with it since its too small for him to bid on so he could care less and my work isn't affected by it.

Not shure what part of the country your at but snow plowing is a great side income during the winter months unless your doing that now.

RockSet N' Grade
09-28-2007, 07:46 PM
GradeMan.........I think you have it backwards here. We offer a "service". We show up when, where and at what time they say. If a customer says they want it done, we do it.........if the inspector is gonna show up in a week or tomorrow, if the customer organized it that way.......all is fine and dandy. The hitch to this whole thing, is that you have to be savvy enough to figure in "standing time" for waiting for all this other stuff to occur. If you have to wait a week, there is a clause that I will put in my contract that allows them to pay for my equipment sitting......The key to the whole deal is on time service on your end and if the customer drags their feet, in the dirt game, it is very expensive and alot of residential customers learn that the expensive way. My time is worth something - to me its all I have, and I will not just sit idly by not being compensated while a happy homeowner decides what they want to do. Now, if it is a regular/competent contractor that I routinely work for.......I will bend a bit..........but remember, the bottom line in this gig is billable hours.

GradeMan
09-28-2007, 09:02 PM
[QUOTE=RockSet N' Grade; to me people seam to bend alot more for a guy that does it on the side, I agree completely with you, but i can believe the number of part timers coming out of the wood works and night. Most of them are cheap, but with dirt work nobody see what you do under ground.

dozerman21
09-28-2007, 11:44 PM
Hey dozerman how did you make out with the brakes on the old 550?

I tried to fix them myself... it turned out to be an even bigger job than I thought so I just decided to tough it out until I trade for a new machine sometime next year. I don't want to put the kind of money into it that the dealer wanted to fix them.

Gravel Rat
09-28-2007, 11:45 PM
Where abouts in Canada are you located ?

I'am on the West Coast and Murray is on the East Coast are you in the middle somewhere :laugh:

On the West Coast mini excavators are the most popular everybody has got one trying to do the mini excavation business. Its amazing how many 6000-7000lb machines there are now. Technically they are too small to do most of the jobs. A 12,000lb mini works the best it can do septic systems to house foundations. The PC-75 PC-80 sized machine is the most popular now and they are also used to do septic fields. Using a rubber tired backhoe to do a septic field is a :nono:

The inspectors and engineers prefer septic fields to be dug with a excavator and from the reason I was told less ground compaction. Conventional drain fields are not done much anymore. They are pressure systems with 1 inch pipe and infiltrators.

The one project I'am helping with is getting a treatment plant installed there is 2 3000 imperial gallon tanks a 1000 imp gallon treatment tank and a 500 imp gall pump tank. The field requires 1200 feet of runs. I hate to see what this system is going to cost I have a feeling its going to be well over 50,000.

Its overkill but its what the engineer wants for 3 houses.

GradeMan
09-30-2007, 07:27 PM
So What everyone think of murray83 relationship w his boss? Could be much better? He wont let you use his iron?

murray83
10-03-2007, 07:01 PM
I could use his excavators but digging a residential basement with a 550 Hitachi is a bit overkill :laugh:

GradeMan
10-03-2007, 08:08 PM
Holy crap that a big hoe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rock breaking machine or trench? Anyone tried a JCB sitemaster backhoe with all the same sized tires? I was looking at them today on their website. Seems kind of big?:canadaflag: