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View Full Version : Skid Steer VS Excavator


Prime Interlock
12-12-2012, 03:55 PM
Good day gentlemen,

I use that term loosely ;). I am new in the business and thinking about a purchase down the line...skid steer or excavator?

I'm thinking of going with Bobcat miniex 418 or the mini S70 with backhoe atatchment.

What are your thought? excavator or skid steer and why?

Cheers,
Vlad

scagrider22
12-12-2012, 04:08 PM
We use our mini way more than the skidsteer, so that will be my recommendation but others may disagree. I definitely would not buy a skid with a backhoe attachment they are not very productive, just rent until you can afford to buy what you need. It also depends on what kind of work you typically do.

DVS Hardscaper
12-12-2012, 05:11 PM
This topic comes up about 3 times a year.

If you do a search you should find the most recent topic.

It's important to consider a gazillion different factors. And in the most recent topic I've shared paragragh after paragragh after paragragh with my thoughts and experiences.

If you can't find the topic, click on my user name and them click on "find all posts from" and sooner or later you'll find it.
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zedosix
12-12-2012, 07:13 PM
Good day gentlemen,

I use that term loosely ;). I am new in the business and thinking about a purchase down the line...skid steer or excavator?

I'm thinking of going with Bobcat miniex 418 or the mini S70 with backhoe atatchment.

What are your thought? excavator or skid steer and why?

Cheers,
Vlad

New in the business, what about playing it smart and using a wheelbarrow and shovel.

alldayrj
12-12-2012, 08:34 PM
I would lease both.
But in reality those excavator attachments are garbage. I had one for a few years. Used it twice and it took me three months to sell it for 2500
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TomG
12-12-2012, 10:02 PM
My opinion is always get a skid steer first. But there are a million things to consider. Our mini excavator was the most used piece of equipment this year. But you really cant do jobs productively with out a skid steer. (moving pallets, loading trucks, etc...)My question to you would be why do you want a machine so small? An S70 will only lift about 700lbs... I call those machines motorized wheel barrows. They definitely have there purpose but not really in hardscaping.

Prime Interlock
12-13-2012, 09:13 AM
DVS: Will do, thanks.

Zedosix: New in the business but not brand new.

Tom G: Well, since I am staring out, residential clients are all I have. I do realize it's a small machine, but that's the beauty of it. I'm guaranteed to get into backyards with fences. Plus, the way they build houses these days (around my parts), you can touch both houses with your hands at the same time.

Also, Tom, you seem like you have been around a few times. My current set up is a jacked-up 150, small dump trailer, a table saw, quick-cut and a 200lb bomag tamper. Plus all the hand-tool stuff, wheelbarrow's etc...In your oppinion, what is a good progression in terms of what do I buy first.

scagrider22
12-13-2012, 09:16 AM
Well after hearing that I would start by purchasing a truck first!
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Swampy
12-13-2012, 09:26 AM
Coming form a equipment operator's position, your trying to justify buying a apple or a orange. Both are required to do some task but not the same task. But from just reading your 2 posts, about working in backyards with narrow access that you can't back your trailer into the back yard to dump/load materials, your going to be doing a lot of "material handling" which is in my eyes the main function of a skid loader.

Those backhoe attachments, we have them and seem to lose more paint to rust than use. Granted our MTOE is road construction we are still equiped to do general engineering ops, and out of the 6 years of service I've actually used it once just because we didn't have a backhoe yet and the SEE was broke down.

TomG
12-13-2012, 07:36 PM
DVS: Will do, thanks.

Zedosix: New in the business but not brand new.

Tom G: Well, since I am staring out, residential clients are all I have. I do realize it's a small machine, but that's the beauty of it. I'm guaranteed to get into backyards with fences. Plus, the way they build houses these days (around my parts), you can touch both houses with your hands at the same time.

Also, Tom, you seem like you have been around a few times. My current set up is a jacked-up 150, small dump trailer, a table saw, quick-cut and a 200lb bomag tamper. Plus all the hand-tool stuff, wheelbarrow's etc...In your oppinion, what is a good progression in terms of what do I buy first.

Get the biggest skidsteer you can and maybe a trailer if you need it to haul it. That's what I tell everyone. I wouldn't be worried about fitting through fences. It will take you way less time to take a section out of the fence and put it back up and use a full size skid steer than to use a small skid and not take the fence down. I take down plenty of fences a year, its really not to difficult. If its chain link, factor in some money to get some one with the fence stretching tool (yes that real) because chain link is a b**** to put back up with out it. I do 100% residential jobs as well. And I'd say in the past 5 years we have rented a mini skid maybe steer twice.

Take the money for a new S70 and buy a used full sized skid, the biggest one that you can haul and for your application. But its really hard for me to give you good advice, I have no idea what work, job sites, economy is in your area.

DVS Hardscaper
12-13-2012, 07:55 PM
I'd tread lightly with buying "the biggest skid steer".

Actually.....I don't think I would ever advise anyone in the RESIDENTIAL landscape / hardscape industry to "buy the biggest".

Here is why:

A) In the residential world, there is reality. Reality is - if the machine is too big - it ain't going to work. It's gonna be too tight. You'll end up knocking decks down. Damaging A/C units. And so forth.

Our rubber tire skid steers are classified as 'Full Size Skid Loaders'. Weighing around 7000#. I don't want any skid loader that is one inch longer and/or one inch wider.

B) Bigger machines require bigger trailers. And bigger trailers may require a Class A license. Although not too sure about Canada. Because I'm American. Not Canadian.

I look for the smallest machine that can lift 3000#.


To the topic creator:

You're new. Crawl before you walk. Walk before you run.

Its hard to be in this industry working out of a 1/2 ton truck. You're gonna burn up brake rotors. If its an automatic - you'll fry the transmission.

You're going to first need a truck.

Next - try to find a decent used skid steer. No excavator. I been in business for 22.5 years and we do not own an excavator. Yet, I spend about 16 hours a week on one. Unless I come across a used one for the right price - I have no plans of buying one. In the residential world different jobs require all different sizes of excavators. If you own one - it's either too big or too small for the job at hand.

Good luck to ya! You'll probably be excited to show us pics of your first job. And I'll probably tell you we're not interested in seeing the pics and to post them on Facebook instead. Haha! :)



,

TomG
12-13-2012, 10:42 PM
I'd tread lightly with buying "the biggest skid steer".

Actually.....I don't think I would ever advise anyone in the RESIDENTIAL landscape / hardscape industry to "buy the biggest".

Here is why:

A) In the residential world, there is reality. Reality is - if the machine is too big - it ain't going to work. It's gonna be too tight. You'll end up knocking decks down. Damaging A/C units. And so forth.

Our rubber tire skid steers are classified as 'Full Size Skid Loaders'. Weighing around 7000#. I don't want any skid loader that is one inch longer and/or one inch wider.

B) Bigger machines require bigger trailers. And bigger trailers may require a Class A license. Although not too sure about Canada. Because I'm American. Not Canadian.

I look for the smallest machine that can lift 3000#.

,

Couldn't of said it better my self (obviously) haha, especially that last line. Our machines are all rated to lift 3000# and they are perfect for what we do. Anything more is over kill. I guess I just assumed someone starting out wouldn't have the funds to get a full size skid. Bad assumption... I remember our first skid steer was a old bobcat 743, it wouldn't lift a full pallet, so we had to unload half of each pallet onto another pallet. Not fun... But you have to start with something, I just think a machine that is rated to lift 700# is way too small to start out with. My opinion is you will most likely regret it.

zedosix
12-14-2012, 12:00 AM
Good advice (mostly) but I know what Prime is talking about because he's working in our neck of the woods and most of the new homes are a complete joke, were talking 4' sometimes between homes (premium lots are 40' wide). So you're not really removing a fence, you would have to remove all posts and a gate and neighbours while you're at it. So,coming from a guy who knows his area very well, my advice is to purchase (after the truck) is a used kx41 and a used mini dumper. Then work on getting your self a used asv pt 50 at min. All this can be had for around 40k. After the truck of course....

Prime Interlock
12-14-2012, 04:49 PM
Thanks for the advice everyone. I will keep this information in mind.

Prime Interlock
12-14-2012, 05:15 PM
Haha, that's halarious, about the photos. No, I've done a few now and believe me, I'm not coming on here to try to impress someone. I just wanted some advice, and I got some. Thank you to all who took the time to respond, I appreciate it.

In my area, my limited experience has shown me that we basically live in clay, and trust me, I've done it with the shovel a few days. The good part about it is you can eat like crap when you're working like that and still loose weight :) That's about the only benefit other than not breaking buried lines.

I'm hoping I can bring my truck through one more season. I put 3/4 tonne suspension on it and I have a 3-tonne dump trailer. My truck is rated to tow about 5500-6000 lbs. If I don't overload it, I should be alright. But I am aware its not meant to be stressed like that. I've already broken brake lines, had to change rotors, pads, calipers,etc...All of this of course just adds to your argument and I agree, I need a beast. Wish I had the cash. Nothing's cheap, that's for sure. I came in here knowing I'd have to pay the piper.

Others may not agree with me and I respect that, never said they had to.

I will probably do it like this:

1) Truck
2) Mini-Ex
3) Skid steer

DVS Hardscaper
12-14-2012, 09:15 PM
What makes you even wanna do this work?

What's your background, where have you been?

When did you decide you wanted to do this?

.
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zedosix
12-14-2012, 10:12 PM
I am wondering the same thing, also, where did you get your experience from?
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Prime Interlock
12-15-2012, 08:04 AM
Hi Guys,

Respectfully, I'm not going to entertain justification of my credentials. I will say though that I didn't get here by accident and nothing was given to me for free. If you really are interested, please call and we can chat, I'm not going to have such conversations in a public forum...you know how it can be.

If you ask nicely, I can post some pics off my facebook page of jobs I've done ;) (just kidding of course).

Thanks again.
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zedosix
12-15-2012, 08:43 AM
Good luck, you're going to need it in this industry.
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DVS Hardscaper
12-15-2012, 07:05 PM
I wasn't asking anyone to justify anything, silly boy.

You have to keep in mind some of us forum jockeys have been here a long time. And over the years the same subjects come up over and over and over. And during the course of posts underlying facts start to surface.

You mentioned you're not new to the industry. But yet 9 out of 10 times anyone asks questions about building walls - they always say "I've built walls in the past, but just can't remember which part of he block is the face". LOL and that's no exaggeration!

So, when I'm/we're taking time to help someone and openly share our experiences, mistakes, and knowledge - I/we like to know who you are and what you're about. It's only fair :)

.
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lukemelo216
12-15-2012, 08:00 PM
I agree with dvs.

We do a mix of commercial and residential and do not not use the "biggest" machines out there. A good full skid loader will do you just fine. We run sv300s, l190s, and t190s all are full size loaders that cas pick up pallets of blocks and sod just fine.

I would certainly get a skid before a mini ex unless your in the business of pools or something you need to dig deep. A skid will do just fine to take out a foot or so to get your tb in. Plus you can move pallets, material, and finish grade the property when your finished.

We have a backhoe and did about 10 or so patio projects this year and not once did we take the backhoe or use a mini on one project but we did use a loader on everyone of them.
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