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Dandy Lion
07-15-2008, 07:20 PM
I am a small business and am looking to do more seeding and lawn installs. I can't afford a bobcat and power rake right now and was wondering if there were any cheaper alternatives??? Are there any smaller walk behind units maybe?? Or is it a shovel and a wheel barrow?? Any help appreciated.

procut
07-16-2008, 12:06 AM
I'd perfer a tractor vs. a bobcat for lawn installs. A landscape rake (york rake) is a much cheaper alternitve to power rake, but will not do nearly as good of a job of leveling and pulverising. If your willing to spend some time with one, you can get a pretty decent seed bed especially if your willing to do a little hand raking when your done.

I have seen walk behind power rakes before and they are also avilable for mini skids like the dingo. Personally I wouldn't buy one, because they would have there limits.

For just starting out, you can rent all the equiptment you will need. You should be able to rent a utiltiy tractor with a power rake for about $300 for a day. Good luck!

Turboguy
07-16-2008, 07:01 AM
On one hand I could be the last one to give adice on this topic since all I do is hydroseeding. I do get to see more prep jobs done by different methods than most anybody so I will throw out my thoughts.

As far as a good prep job done very efficiently it would be hard to beat a Harly rake or a rockhound. However some of the most beauiful prep jobs I have seen were done with a box scraper and a york rake. It just takes a lot more time but for someone starting in on a budget those are pretty economical tools.

There are some walk behind soil prep tools but you could probably buy a used tractor, particularly an off brand and a box scraper and rake for the same money.

I think Pro Cuts suggestion to rent equipment for a while was a great one. Good luck.

larryinalabama
07-16-2008, 07:07 AM
Small yards can be done with a rototiller and a 36" aluninum manual rake. No telling how many sod and seed jobs Ive done like that.

Lawnworks
07-16-2008, 07:54 PM
Start w/ a dingo and harley rake... then upgrade later when the installs are getting bigger.

KevinACrider
07-16-2008, 08:46 PM
I prefer to use a skid steer w/ a rockhound. This allows you to scoop up and remove the rocks, I don't think you can do this with a rockhound on a tractor. I may be wrong.

Either way, $300 - $400 a day will get you a nice sized skid steer and a rockhound and make your day easier, job nicer and time spent shorter.

I'm actually picking up a skid steer w/ rockhound tomorrow for a job.

Lawnworks
07-16-2008, 08:55 PM
In my experience with grading, by the time you rent the equipment... you will be cutting your profits big time. We get $700-$1000 per day for a skid steer.... hard to make money if you rent it. But if the grading is only part of the job, it often makes sense to do it unless you have a great sub.

Dandy Lion
07-16-2008, 09:52 PM
Thanks for all the help. A skid steer and power rake are about 700 dollars a day at the rental place, so it makes it hard to justify renting.

david shumaker
07-17-2008, 08:54 PM
For small areas or lawns, I just use a tiller, roller and landscape rake. My next door neighbor had her yard graded and reseeded. It looks to me like the equipment they used made it worst, because it was too big for the yard. The mini equipment may have been more suitable for a small yard. If you just want to improve an existing yard with no grading, you can till the bare hard spots, aerate and reseed. Also, apply lime and starter fertilizer if needed.

KevinACrider
07-18-2008, 12:05 AM
Thanks for all the help. A skid steer and power rake are about 700 dollars a day at the rental place, so it makes it hard to justify renting.

Holy cow. I just rented a T180 w/ a B6 rake today for $261.

shovelracer
07-18-2008, 07:48 PM
Holy cow. I just rented a T180 w/ a B6 rake today for $261.

Thats unreal, they go for about 450 here. I now own a skid and can rent a rake for 175 a day. I rented for years. Each year I rented bigger equipment and more often. Last year I spent over 10K on machine rentals. This year I bought a new S175. So far it has been invaluable. The boom in installations I saw a few years ago has slowed a bit, but you only have to use it for 1-2 days a month it still pays for itself. I covered half the years payments the first two weeks I owned it. It is used all the time to move supplies and equipment. Ive since put all my plows and larger equipment on skids and can move them around anytime I need to easily. Tomorrow I get to load a 20 yard container with my old driveway and walkways. The days of miserable hand labor are over. I use it for all sorts of other jobs and allows 1-2 people to do what used to take 4 a day to do. The labor savings helps pay for it as well.

mybowtie
07-19-2008, 10:23 AM
I pay $500 for a skid, 72" rake and a bucket. I tell my customers the cost for the job does not include the rental. Lot of times ill have them call the rental place and put it on there cc. Im not picking it up so no $ out of my pocket.
My customers seem to seperate the rental cost from the cost of the job......:usflag:

shovelracer
07-20-2008, 02:39 PM
In the end its all the same. If you owned a piece of equipment and didnt charge the customer for it than you are shorting yourself. If you are using a rental you may get up to 60 / Hr for your labor. If you are using your machine you can get double that. The biggest difference is with a rental you have to do the most important tasks first, and if that means the next day you have to cleanup or do something by hand than you do it or cut your profits to keep the machine. If you own it and its sitting there anything it would speed up the process and it doesnt cost anywhere near as much. The idea is to speed up work, cut labor costs, and this will allow you to make more money. I can charge less, get done faster, and show more profit by owning, but you must have the work to justify the expense.