What machine do I need for some concrete flatwork?
My company specializes in decorative concrete and we do a lot of jobs in the 300-800 sq ft range. I own a John Deere 270 skid loader that I mainly use to maintain some land of mine. I've used it for clearing, grading, and mowing. For most of my jobs it's not worth hooking up my 25' gooseneck, hauling an 8xxx lb machine, tearing up/rutting lawn, and cutting a 6' swath for a 3-4' sidewalk. In addition, a lot of the jobs that I encounter have gates.
Yesterday I was setting the grade on a 500 sf patio and realized that we'd be moving 15+ yds of soil by hand as opposed to the 7 or 8 that I had guestimated during the proposal. Had a good workout yesterday to say the least. It did get me thinking that a small skid may be the way to go. A 1999 Bobcat 453 with 1600 hrs popped up on CL near me for under 5k that got me thinking it would be the way to go. I already have a heavy built 12' trailer that I could upgrade to a 5000lb axle and pull it with either my 3500 box truck or Econoline van. That way I wouldn't have to have my F350 making an unnecessary trip to a small job.
I'm against an RC30 just based on what I've read about purchasing cost, undercarriage costs and reliability. I'm open to a stand on mini but am opposed to a walk behind just due to speed, productivity, and safety. I like to pay for things in cash and am much more comfortable not owning brand new equipment. I know there is the "perfect machine" for the job that costs $25k, but I'd like to have the machine pay for itself in a few jobs and not over the course of 10yrs. What do you guys think?