How do you know if you need a skid steer or a tractor

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Gilla Gorilla, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. Gilla Gorilla

    Gilla Gorilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 923

    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
     
  2. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    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
     
  3. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,068

    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.
     
  4. Gilla Gorilla

    Gilla Gorilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 923

    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.
     
  5. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    Justin I use a 36" auger and it works great on most trees if you need to go bigger rent a tree spade.

    Mac
     
  6. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,128

    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.
     
  7. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Posts: 1,891

    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.
     
  8. Gilla Gorilla

    Gilla Gorilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 923

    Bobcat do you have a website address for the powertrac. I typed in powertrac.com but it was not it.

    Thanks
     
  9. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Posts: 1,891

  10. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,068

    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.
     

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