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View Full Version : Mini-excavators


SoDak
02-19-2010, 07:33 PM
I love mine and use it for many purposes. How about you? In my opinion every hardscaper or landscaper should have one. It's worth at least two employees in many situations.

mrusk
02-19-2010, 08:42 PM
You can't be in this business without a mini excavator. I'd be lost with out mine.

scagrider22
02-19-2010, 09:21 PM
You can't be in this business without a mini excavator. I'd be lost with out mine.

LOL your mini is not so mini that thing dwarfs my kubota 161

BrandonV
02-19-2010, 10:28 PM
and rusk knocks it out of the park... i came into this thread expecting that and YOU did NOT disappoint!

zedosix
02-19-2010, 11:31 PM
A mini ex is good but with a thumb it is great!

stuvecorp
02-20-2010, 03:17 AM
I have rented mini's on and off as we needed them but after having a Rusk-sized excavator decided to downsize to a TK 153. I wish I would have gotten one way before. It seems like the 10-12,000 pound size was the most rented but I have used the smallest Kobelco(Gatekeeper - 3,000 pound-ish) and that was sweet.

Rocha_Construction
02-20-2010, 10:29 AM
LOL, thats not mini :D

The only problem with those bigger excavators is the need for clearance to get to the back of the house for some patio applications.

Lite4
02-20-2010, 04:17 PM
Don't leave home without the Hoe.

Lite4
02-20-2010, 04:20 PM
in tandem with another tool

stuvecorp
02-20-2010, 05:25 PM
I want to see the finished pictures, Tim.:) Looks like that rock made you work some.

Lite4
02-20-2010, 05:43 PM
I want to see the finished pictures, Tim.:) Looks like that rock made you work some.

Here is the whole project, start to finish. I put it in the Pond waterfall thread. This was one of my last landscape projects B4 going 100% lighting. This was March of 08

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=219911&highlight=pond

riverwalklandscaping
02-21-2010, 04:36 PM
pics could be used for a cat ad haha

DVS Hardscaper
02-21-2010, 05:48 PM
yep. they come in handy

stuvecorp
02-21-2010, 07:22 PM
DVS, how long have you had your Takkie?

DVS Hardscaper
02-21-2010, 11:05 PM
DVS, how long have you had your Takkie?


The Takkie isn't ours - we rent. And this year we've spent more on renting one than what payments for a year would be.



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KrayzKajun
02-21-2010, 11:11 PM
Don't leave home without the Hoe.

thts the perfect size i need!!

stuvecorp
02-22-2010, 01:24 AM
The Takkie isn't ours - we rent. And this year we've spent more on renting one than what payments for a year would be.



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That means you are busy though. I can see the argument for owning or renting.

zedosix
02-22-2010, 08:18 AM
Anyone who is serious about hardscaping and makes a career out of it should have at least one mini x and skid steer. I supose there are occasions where people just don't have the room to store equipment but having to depend on "mr rent all" would be a pita to me anyway. We rent small tools sometimes like core drills and extensions, heavy compactors as well, but the larger ticket items around here are always out on rental leaving the opportunity to just call and have it delievered out of the question. If you know ahead of schedule that you need it I suppose that is ok. I just don't want to be dependant on rental equipment.

DVS Hardscaper
02-22-2010, 09:14 AM
So many factors exist Zedosix.

I think it boils down to what type of services you offer and what type of materials you use. If you're a *hardscaper* that primarily uses Legos (wall block and pavers), you can very easily get by without owning a mini-ex, and you can easily get by without having to rent one for every job. The reason is because with the Lego products there is no frost footer and there is no poured concrete footing, meaning excavation is minimal.

Its not uncommon to build a big patio thats set into a hill with a retaining wall holding the hill back. Ok, well if you're working with what I call Legos - a mini-ex would never need to set foot on the property. You can cut the earth out with a skid steer. Depending on the height of the wall, no footing for the wall is required, as the excavation and aggregate base installation for the patio is the wall's excavation and footing.

On many of our smaller jobs - yep a footing is needed. But by the time you load, transport, unload, load again, transport again a mini-ex - the guys could have hand dug in less time. If it's a small footer - thats even more reason to rent and have it delivered and picked up. If you're spending more time loading, securing, unloading, and repeating - than you are to actually do the work - it's more productive to have the rental company do the transporting, etc.

If you're a hardscaper that works primarily with natural stone, then you're digging alotta frost footers, thus having a greater need for a mini-ex.


Now, if you venture into other types of work as we have done at my small company - then you may find more of a need for a mini-ex.

The reasons our need for a mini-ex has increased is because:

1. We have ventured into a speciality service that corrilates more with the excavating field and has no relation to the hardscape industry and other then sowing grass send when the work is complete, has very little corrilation to landscaping.

2. In 2009 we received alot of rainfall. Due to the heavy rains - the need for retaining walls has increased, or the need for retaining wall *replacement* has increased. We did more retaining walls in 2009 then we have in any other year. And I'd say 50% of those walls were needed as a result from the wet weather. Anytime you're workin on a steep hillside, you're gonna need a mini-ex. When the wet weather subsides - so will our wall jobs.

3. Drainage work. Again, due to the excessive rainfall in 2009, we have been called upon to perform more drainage problem solving than ever before. Here again, I do not group drainage services with hardscaping. We did one drainage job that required a Georgia buggy, all the others required a mini-ex.

In this line of work the weather plays a big role on how food is put on your table. Alotta rain or snow comes along, you get a couple calls for drainage correction, next thing you know 4 months later you've done more drainage work in the last 4 months than you have in the last 3 years!

If all we did was play *hardscaper* and we did not offer excavating services - I'd bet we'd probably only need to use an excavator no more than 7 occasions annually, making renting cheaper than owning (unless you stumble across nice used one for a good price).



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DVS Hardscaper
02-22-2010, 09:45 AM
Another rent vs owing analogy -

About 2 weeks ago I needed a skid steer moved from a construction job site to a snow management site. Naturally we have our own truck and trailer. But based on a few underlaying logistics - the numbers balanced out to cost the same to pay company with a rollback to move the machine, as it would for us to do it with our truck. Not only did it nearly cost the same - but it allowed myself and my employees to focus on other necessary tasks instead of playing truck driver.

Same mentality works for renting. We can go one step further - same mentality also works for engaging the services of a sub-contractor. You may have your own machines and operators, but sometimes it can be more productive and profitable to pay a sub.



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zedosix
02-22-2010, 03:27 PM
None of that works for me, I have my own trucks, trailers, men, mini's and skidsteers, I depend only on myself to get this equipment to my jobsite when I want it there and on time. Fueled and ready to go, the men have to get out to the job site anyway. Only drawback now is I really need one more float, but I'm working on that.

DVS Hardscaper
02-22-2010, 06:54 PM
Damn ol' Zedo - you been edgie and bragatory lately. Thats not like you. Everything at the homefront ok?






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zedosix
02-22-2010, 07:48 PM
Damn ol' Zedo - you been edgie and bragatory lately. Thats not like you. Everything at the homefront ok?






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Naw, I ain't braggin, just telling it like it is, just don't agree with your mini ex philosophy thats all. If I was braggin I'd tell you that I have 200k worth of work booked for next season. :)

stuvecorp
02-22-2010, 08:36 PM
The part of renting that I understand is then you can pick which size fits the job better as if you own one it will be too big sometimes or too small. The picking up thing I don't get as the mini can just get sent with the crew when they come to the job? We did a project back in 08 and that really opened my eyes to using a mini for more that 'just digging'.

I didn't really get the 'Lego' block thing?

Swampy
02-22-2010, 10:42 PM
The part of renting that I understand is then you can pick which size fits the job better as if you own one it will be too big sometimes or too small. The picking up thing I don't get as the mini can just get sent with the crew when they come to the job? We did a project back in 08 and that really opened my eyes to using a mini for more that 'just digging'.

I didn't really get the 'Lego' block thing?

I think he was talking about how the precast concrete retaining wall block is like lego's. Just stick and go.

My only opition is to rent right now. I don't do enough work to justify the purchase, not only that but for me if you can't use it for snow removal. So it'll just sit for about 4 months. Though I found out the hard way, when you need one you need one.

SoDak
02-23-2010, 10:31 AM
I've done a few basement waterproofings since buying my mini-ex. This picture was a local university where the general contractor dropped it in with a crane.

SoDak
02-23-2010, 10:34 AM
Mini-excavators also work great when doing lanscape renovations. The work great for tearing out old shrubs, etc. Beats putting extra labor on it to hack away at stubborn shrubs for hours. They are also turf friendly as long as you are not turning.

DVS Hardscaper
02-23-2010, 03:48 PM
Picking up and dropping off equipment logistics would depend on how you operate.

I have 3 man crews.

Many of our jobs are in the DC area. Crazy rush hour traffic situations.

We don't tote a trailer around any more than necessary. Usually our trailer goes to the jobsite on the first day the work begins and on the last day when the work is finished. A bulky medium duty truck and a 22' trailer is a pain in the butt for our client's neighbors when we're working in these old, upscale neighborhoods.

To have a truck and trailer pull into a rental yard with 3 guys - drop the trailer gates - load a machine - chain it down to DOT specs. - flip the gates back up - get in traffic with a 22' trailer - arrive at job - put the gates down - unchain the machine - find a place to park the trailer thats out of the way for the neighbors and the UPS truck - then repeat when it's time to return the machine - you can do the math.

We have one rental yard that charges $150 to deliver and pick up. Another rental company whom we've been using alot that charges around $80 to $100 to deliver and pick up. Usually it's $80. Pick up AND delivery. Do the math. PRODUCTION. PRODUCTION. PRODUCTION. I'd rather have my guys onsite staging block or laying out the site and being productive than standing at the rental yard watching Raul back the machine on.

You gotta do what works best for you production-wise and financially.

We did a job a few months ago that required a chainsaw. Well I forgot the saw! There was a rental company nearby and I thought about it and concluded that it would cost less for me to rent a saw than to drive back and get the saw.

Got a sod farm in the area. Ain't no cheesy operation, either. Their sod is at the White House. They deliver sod every day. VIA an outside hauler!!!!!!! They don't have a single delivery truck to their name.

Here it is 2010 and we have guys that'll spend $40k on a machine. But they won't invest $3k on a nice website that if done correctly will land them sales :)




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stuvecorp
02-23-2010, 05:16 PM
I agree everyone is different but somehow Rusk tows his 'mini' to oodles of jobs and I didn't Jersey was a cake walk?:p The way I read Zedosix's post was the mini is on the trailer and ready to go at his shop not a rental yard? But what do I know, I'm a lego block installer.:)

mrusk
02-23-2010, 06:53 PM
I agree everyone is different but somehow Rusk tows his 'mini' to oodles of jobs and I didn't Jersey was a cake walk?:p The way I read Zedosix's post was the mini is on the trailer and ready to go at his shop not a rental yard? But what do I know, I'm a lego block installer.:)

I have a local contractor move my machine with his lowboy for 95 a hr 2 hr minimum.

My excavator was honestly the best investment I ever made in my business. On my jobs we use the excavator more for backfilling and less for actually excavating. If I just needed a hoe for the initial excavation of a job I would of never bought one. But since I needed it over the course of the entire job it penciled out to own.

If I need a mini I sub out. It would cost me 250 plus fuel to rent a 10k lbs mini. Then I need to pick it up. I hire a guy out for 550 a day.