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View Full Version : How do you know if you need a skid steer or a tractor


Gilla Gorilla
01-11-2005, 09:24 PM
I know that this up coming season I have a couple of front landscape installs coming my way and I would rather buy a piece of equipment then get a full time employee at this time in the beginning of the season.

I have rented the Toro Dingo twice with the 24 inch auger bit to dig a total of 75 holes in December for some plants and arborvitaes and it worked great to get the holes in the ground.

I love the Auger bits but know that I will have some grading work and back fill work on some retaining walls to do where a skid steer would be nice to have along with snow season I could use it for plowing a couple of commercial lots.

On the other hand it would be nice to get a bush hog for the back of a tractor because I know that I could get some decent use out of that also along with a bucket on the front of a tractor and possibly a backhoe off the back of it.

What I am asking is how do you determine which piece of equipment is going to work better for you business at this point or shortly in the future for your company.

I was also thinking about a Dingo or mini track loader like that but it has its limits on what it can handle.

Thanks

olderthandirt
01-11-2005, 09:37 PM
They both have there benefits and draw backs. tractor implements are usually cheaper that skid steers a skidder can maneuver in a tighter area and will take a bigger auger. A tractor will do side hills and wont get stuck as easy if your not running tracks on the skid steer. I have both and IMO I prefer the tractor over the skid , but I've been using them a lot longer and I cant take the beating and running backward like you have to do with a lot of implements on a skid steer. The benefits of a skidder is how many implements you can rent for them and most rental places carry implements for skids and not for tractors. If I could only have one it would be a tractor with a fel

Mac

Scag48
01-12-2005, 01:45 AM
Depends on what kind of work you're going to be doing. The cost of the machines is relatively the same, a skid steer and a tractor are comparably priced so that's not much of an issue. For us, we need a skid steer for fast paced dirt work. When you have 20-30 yards of topsoil to move and spread the only way to go is with a skidsteer. We have a newer Kubota with a loader on it for loading mulch at our yard and we use it in the orchard as well and there is no way I would trade our Cat 216 skid for that tractor when it comes to moving dirt. For power, speed, and just brute strength in a small package you can't beat a skidsteer with a 10 foot stick. Now, if you're working on an established lawn or something where you don't want to disturb the ground, a tractor is your best bet. But remember, to lift the same size load that a skid steer could lift with a tractor, the tractor would have to be much larger in physical size than the skid. Therefore, you might not get into smaller spaces with that tractor. Sometimes when I'm running our Kubota I know there are places I would never get it into because it's so long and awkward to turn. We have had alot of jobs that require 90 degree turns and running down 6-7 foot wide property setbacks and a tractor for us is a complete waste of time in those situations. Also, direction changes and machine steering is MUCH faster on a skid, I don't care how fast you are with a tractor with a hydrostatic transmission, you just can't beat instantaneous movement.

Gilla Gorilla
01-12-2005, 10:44 AM
Scag do you have or know of anyone that has any auger attachments for their skid steers? Also how well do they work as far as putting hole in the ground for planting trees?
I am aware of the turf issues with a skid but it seems like it would be worth the repairing of some turf as opposed to taking the extra time with a tractor and not having the accessablity in tight areas also versus a skid steer.

Thanks Scag and Mac for the replies.

Im just a little scared about dropping 15k to 20k on a used skid or tractor and not getting the rite piece of equipment for what I need. It actually sounds like I could use both but the skid will probably be the first major investment then sooommme day a tractor.

olderthandirt
01-12-2005, 10:51 AM
Justin I use a 36" auger and it works great on most trees if you need to go bigger rent a tree spade.

Mac

ksss
01-12-2005, 05:53 PM
A skid steer is much more adapt to drilling holes than a pto driven auger. The knuckle mechanism on the skid steer mounted auger allows for a plumb hole regardless of terrain. Much more down pressure, and if you have a skid steer that makes at least 20 gpm, it is faster. If that is not enough flow there is also a high flow option on a skid steer that jumps the gpm to high 30s to low 40s depending on machine. That said if your only drilling holes for trees the above statement may not make all that much difference. It is more important if you are drilling fence holes or pier footings in tough ground. My experience is the same as Skag. We move a lot of material in a year and a tractor would never be fast enough to be competetive. If your only purpose for a tractor is Brush Hog work you can buy mowers for the skid steer. Loegren also makes a bolt on/off track system that can go on skid steer making it more turf friendly. But everyones business is different, what is right for some of us may not be for you. The compact tractors are still very popular tool for a lot of landscapers even after the boom in the skid steer market; that has to say something for the staying power of compact tractor.

Tigerotor77W
01-12-2005, 06:50 PM
Take a look at the Powertrac machines as they combine a tractor's better balance, longer footprint, and less turf damage and a skid steer's ability to use attachments.

Gilla Gorilla
01-12-2005, 08:57 PM
Bobcat do you have a website address for the powertrac. I typed in powertrac.com but it was not it.

Thanks

Tigerotor77W
01-12-2005, 09:24 PM
Very close... I had to do a bit of searching myself as I didn't know it, either.

But: http://www.power-trac.com/

Scag48
01-12-2005, 11:59 PM
Gilla-We rented an auger to put some wire anchors in our orchard. I didn't run the auger personally, but my dad said it was a great piece. It was a Bobcat brand auger, a little bit older but he said it worked so much faster than a PTO auger on a tractor that we used to use just because you could position the machine faster and more precisely. In my book, an auger, if you had the need for one, would be a great piece to have. We opted for a Harley Rake over an auger, we just wouldn't use one very much.

thepawnshop
01-13-2005, 12:31 AM
That Power Track looks A LOT like a Terramite...which I really wouldn't recommend. This one looks better built, though. I say go with the skid...it is so veratile. I sincerely doubt you will regret it. BTW...I just purchased an auger for my skid...a Mcmillen and used it to install 200' of privacy fence posts and it was such a dream! It took about 30 minutes to dig 29 holes whereas it sometimes could take that long for one hole (this site had alot of shale...very painful to dig by hand).

Good Luck!

Griffondor
01-14-2005, 11:25 PM
My first piece of equipment was a Dingo with augers, rake and trencher. Now I have a Cat 226B. This progression has worked very well. Few employees and high production. You can't beat a Cat.

Gilla Gorilla
01-16-2005, 11:25 AM
Griffondor

That is exactly what I am looking at. If I can buy a piece of equipment that is one or two possibly less workers that I have to pay. Then when the time comes to upgrade equipment I can sell it and get some money back. You cant exactly do that with employees now can you.

DUSTYCEDAR
01-16-2005, 11:31 AM
i have a tractor and i love it

jd270
01-16-2005, 04:20 PM
tractors work ok but if you plan on moving really heavy stuff around on rough ground and want to move a lot of dirt really fast or really dig .go with a skidsteer

Tigerotor77W
01-16-2005, 07:44 PM
tractors work ok but if you plan on moving really heavy stuff around on rough ground and want to move a lot of dirt really fast or really dig .go with a skidsteer

Most people here would say the opposite... just a thought.

jd270
01-16-2005, 09:19 PM
they might but i know from experiance ive broken 2 front spindels and a main pivot casting driving a jd 4020 with a loader and caring heavy loads in the bucket its hard on the front axels to put a heavy load way out in front of the tractor my 270 will out move and out haul our 4020

YardPro
01-23-2005, 09:13 AM
here's my take

we have rented both tractors (mostly kubota's (45 hp range)) and bobcat's (773, s185, 783, and 753).
I could never decide which to buy becuase i often needed one over the other. here were the pro's and con's of the two for us.

Tractor :
here in the sand it was almost impossible to get stuck
much faster transport speed.
better for steeper grades
less turf dammage when maneuvering

problems:
not enough lift capacity
not as good at digging
smaller bucket, so more trips are needed


skid steer:
larger bucket, so it will hual more
much higher lift capacity
much faster to change implements
much more maneuverable
more protection for operator
can see the bucket better, so i could better manipulate it.
much more force for digging.

cons:
gets stuck very easially (tracks eliminate this)
lots of turf dammage when maneuvering
HEAVIER than tractor
much slower transport speed, so hualing long distances in a drag
rougher ride ( the track machines eliminate this also)
not as good visibility

for us it all boiled down to what did we need it for.
since we are primarily maintenance, we just rented whenever we need one ( once a month or so).

we just bought a track dingo for the fill in jobs where both the tractor and the full size skid are over kill.


the tracked machines really make the skid steer a much more attractive option.

hosejockey2002
01-24-2005, 12:19 AM
If you are still agonizing over whether to go with a tractor or skid steer, rent each one for a good month or so. It won't be cheap, but if you are investing 25-30K in equipment you want to get what works best for YOU. Maybe you can find a dealer who sells both, let him know you are serious about getting the right machine for you business and get him to rent you each machine (maybe at a discounted rate) to help you make your decision on which one you want.

D Felix
01-24-2005, 12:47 AM
A lot of places that rent machines as well as sell them will apply rental charges toward the purchase price. You just have to ask about it up front.

Also, AFAIK, the Kubotas have a "standard" skidsteer attachment in the front. If you get a tractor with enough hydraulic output, you should be able to run several skidsteer attachments with the tractor....

Good luck with it. Right now we have a JD 4300 tractor, and are looking at trying to get a tracked mini-skid this spring. Next on the list (probably next year) will be a skidsteer or larger articulated loader. It's just gonna boil down to what you want to do with it.


Dan

Guthrie&Co
01-25-2005, 12:46 AM
I know that this up coming season I have a couple of front landscape installs coming my way and I would rather buy a piece of equipment then get a full time employee at this time in the beginning of the season.

I have rented the Toro Dingo twice with the 24 inch auger bit to dig a total of 75 holes in December for some plants and arborvitaes and it worked great to get the holes in the ground.

I love the Auger bits but know that I will have some grading work and back fill work on some retaining walls to do where a skid steer would be nice to have along with snow season I could use it for plowing a couple of commercial lots.

On the other hand it would be nice to get a bush hog for the back of a tractor because I know that I could get some decent use out of that also along with a bucket on the front of a tractor and possibly a backhoe off the back of it.

What I am asking is how do you determine which piece of equipment is going to work better for you business at this point or shortly in the future for your company.

I was also thinking about a Dingo or mini track loader like that but it has its limits on what it can handle.

Thanks

when you cant pick that tree up cause its too big. thats when you need a tractor. or when you get tired of running a shovel