05-29-2011, 05:56 PM
I live in West Texas and my dad and I are looking into getting into a now hobby kind of business. He has a good paying job but he wants to get into something else as a full time summer,after school,and weekend job for me and a...never time job for him.ha. So he told me about this idea, we started looking at excavators/bobcats, then i think he talked himself out of it. Im trying to talk him back into it because i think we could make a go of it. Especially if we get an excavator so we can do grubbing and trenching. The next question is what is the right size of excavator for mesquite with roots of 4+ feet in the ground. Then, any one already in business in texas that can tell us how the business is going, we dont have to have a job every week just as long as the machine dont set more than 2wks. Also do yall get liability insurance and equipment insurance and how much does that cost for you?
Im trying to find info so i can talk my dad into it because its either this or now he is looking at getting a tractor for shredding and discing(small jobs) which excavation is much more fun and easier to do for 12 hrs a day.
05-30-2011, 12:20 PM
Excavators are great, and can do a lot in the right hands (see Dirtman's picture thread for numerous examples). There are so many different models out there in every conceivable size. It's hard to answer the question but I can throw some general ballpark ideas out there and maybe some other guys will chime in to correct me...
In general, an 8,000 pound class to 12,000 pound class machine will do a lot of stump and trench work. You will have to be patient with it on larger jobs but I would advise not getting too big a machine (which would mean too much debt) for your first go 'round.
Also, a machine in this range can be pulled by a one ton truck legally and comfortably as long as you get a good trailer with good brakes.
This is a very popular size and so there should be good availability for quality used machines which can keep your initial investment or debt low.
You can probably find a good machine, less than 1000 hours, later model diesel one ton truck, and 20,000 pound trailer for under $50,000.
If you have a big pile of money and just need to get rid of some of it, move up to the 16,000 pound range machine with a medium duty dump truck and pup trailer. I have less experience pricing these but you can probably get into that game under $100,000.
Also, if you are doing a lot of tree removal, not just stump removal, a thumb is essential. A hydraulic thumb is even better.
$2 million in liability insurance may run you a few grand per year, along with business insurance on truck and trailer and a "commercial inland marine" policy on the machine itself. If you work mainly for homeowners or smaller builders, you can hopefully avoid the black hole of workman's comp insurance. Not sure on laws in your area. In North Alabama, to go work as a sub for a big time operation, they will want workman's comp. I paid almost a grand one year for a "ghost policy" that basically covered myself - only I would still have had to pay myself should I have gotten hurt. I found that for my situation as a one man operation, jobs requiring excessive insurance and so forth aren't worth the aggravation and expense.
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