Are skid steers disposable items?

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Fieldman12, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. Fieldman12

    Fieldman12 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,504

    I had to go ahead and put this question out there since somoene else on here brought it up. It is a question I been thinking about asking for a while. Me and an excavating bud was just talking about this issue a few months ago about the life of a skid steer. There is many dozers, backhoes, trackhoes, wheel loaders, and crawler loaders that is at least 15 years old that are very reliable machines running everyday. Now there is some old Bobcats out there running with allot of hours but I have heard this more than once and agree that skid steers just dont last like other pieces of equipment. I mean we are on this board talking about the durability of each brand when in fact allot of people are getting rid of them with hardly a thousand hours on them. I know allot of people want something reliable but in my opinion if they are not lasting at least three thousand hours they are just not much of a machine to start with. Yes, they have a hard life but that was what they where suppose to be built for. What can they do to make them last longer? I myself want all the solid metal I can get but of course weight can cause issues with lawns and so on.
     
  2. Mr. Vern

    Mr. Vern LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 632

    We have over 3400 hrs on ours right now, and I would like to think it is not even half used up. I know with the heavier Cat equipment we have we expect 9-12000 hours before a major overhaul. I would not expect to get that out of a lighter duty much less expensive skidsteer, but to get 1000 hours would be ridiculous. That's 6 months if you use it full time.
     
  3. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,454

    I think a major factor in this equation right now is that we have a hot economy, low interest rates, and anyone can qualify for a machine. Times are red hot......so there is alot of turnover whether it be yellow iron, autos, homes.......money is flowing big time and that psychology boils over into overconfidence and overspending and the thinking that next year will be as good or better than last........I have seen this cycle before. When the belt tightens a little bit, the disposable attitude will self adjust and you will see more fix up/repair in equipment and it will be kept for a longer period of time. I am not sure what a complete life cycle would be on any particular piece, I am sure there are tables on that, and would love to see them myself.
     
  4. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    A lot of it is also technology & the new features on new equipment.
     
  5. roguesuerte

    roguesuerte LawnSite Member
    Posts: 105

    I dont ever I would think of a $25,000-$35,000 piece of equipment as disposable, unless I hit the lottery. I have two skidsteers that I use primarily for snow. Our older machine is a New Holland L35 which is 35 years old or more. It runs circles around our 2002 ScatTrak 1300 in about any task we put it to.
     
  6. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,131

    I trade often. I have kept them as long as 3000 hours and as short as 1500 hours. It depends on a lot of variables. The OEMs are making great improvements much more rapidly now. The mid 90's were pretty stale that way. Except for 1994 the 1800 series CASE machines didn't change much so I ran them longer. The newer machines seem to get more and more productive so I keep them for a shorter time. My trade value is high and I get great prices on the new ones. Usually the machines I trade in are presold before it even hits the lot. I keep new iron, the dealer moves inventory. Works great for everyone.
     
  7. gammon landscaping

    gammon landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 550

    well my cat has 1300 hrs on it and we use it some but not full time by any means i think we bought it 4 years ago. i would say that i will keep it till it starts giveing me trouble or when i need to spend some money for tax reasons. it does all i need. dad just traded his 9 year old case 580sl for a new cat 420e. the case served us well no major problems and it had 4500 hours on it. i would say that we could have run it for another 9 years with out more than a few thousand in repair bills, but he traded this still good machine cause he was looking at sending uncle sam a check for 43,000 in taxes. so he gave cat 45,000 and only had to send sam around 17,000. so to us it was spend 43,000 for nothing or 62,000 for a brand new backhoe. we would have been happy with the case but for 20,000 a new machine is pretty cheap. and it kills us send in that check. i think that the tax aspect of trading equipment is why you see alot of good machines for sale today
     
  8. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,454

    Gammon, bingo! With the newer tax law and accelerated depreciation that too adds fuel to the turn-over rate..add that little bonus with hot economy and everything seems to be "disposable" not for the life of the equipment running out, but for accountings sake. I would still like to see a life cycles chart of equipment if anyone out there has one.
     
  9. Mr. Vern

    Mr. Vern LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 632

    Here's a thought. We are working on determining the "hassle free" life span of a piece of equipment and dumping them before they get too close to that.

    Our thinking is that if we lose our full time mechanic in the next couple of years , it will be too expensive to replace him. If we have all newer equipment, perhaps with warranties, then we can put the mechanic's salary toward the payments. We're doing the math on it all right now, but it is looking like a good value proposition. The cost of maintaining equipment coupled with the lost opportunity costs when equipment goes down is a major expense.

    On top of the numbers working, our operators would always be in newer equipment which makes them more likely to stay long term.
     
  10. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,131

    Adding to that, I believe that hired help has more of a tendancy to take better care of newer equipment. I think there is an increase in operator pride even if it isn't theirs. The added eye appeal to customers especially other contractors. It helps promote a successful image. I also like being under warranty coverage. It helps reduce some of the variables in this business.
     

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