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Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by mrusk, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,260

    I am trying to work smarter this year.

    Normally, if i had to dig out for a retaining wall, or a footing, etc i'd just rent a Mini X for about 250 a day. Then i end up wasting a hour picking it up, and a hour dropping it off. I figured the whole renting thing wasn't the smartest thing in the world.

    Ok so i decided it would proably be best just to sub out the excavation for these projects. I got a couple guys i can use for 550 a day. Sounds great. For 300 more then a rental i do not have to waste a minumum of 2 hours picking up and returning a machine. I do not have to worry about fuel or the machine breaking down either. Most of all, i do not have to perform the work myself! Sounds good.

    Then i started thinking about how many times i am going to need to use the sub a month. Then the numbers start to make it seems like a better deal to just buy.

    Its seems like its a never ending circle of buying equipment!!!

    I think if i had a excavator i'd end up using it for alot more then just digging trenches.
  2. RockSet N' Grade

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

    The two most versatile pieces of equipment in this game seem to be a skid and hoe. There are lots of ways to skin the cat in this game. One landscaper I know is just a paper contractor and subs everything out. His overhead is a phone and pick-up truck. Others want or feel the need to be hands on and have the manpower and equipment. It depends on your particular game plan and where you want to go and how you want to get there. I don't know that there is a single right or wrong answer.......I think it is mostly on what you decide you want to do.
  3. waltero

    waltero LawnSite Member
    Posts: 206

    I am a big fan of owning because sometimes not everything can be done in one day. A job may broken up into different parts and you may not want to excavate for the walkway out front when you are excavating for the patio in the rear of the house. However you look at it, if you don't own it, the machine will have to be delivered twice.

    I think it also depends on what equipment you have now and how much you will use an excavator for other jobs. There are certainly lots of work out there and I once hoped that I could capture some work that just an operator could do and when I needed the excavator I would grap it between jobs. If you could find a good operator and can find the work it makes for a good combination.

    I just got real lucky and found a machine that I think is the best for hardscaping. It will lift as much as a large skid, and has the digging power of a larger mini-ex, all wheel steer and full time 4 wheel drive. It has hydraulics both front and rear and accepts bobcat attachments. I can run an auger, or hammer off of the backhoe, and the bobcat soil conditioner, 4 in 1, grapple, on the loader side, plus a few others. I can also load a tri-axle with the loader and I should be able to dump the spoils from the backhoe into my truck.

    I am a small company that is looking to grow over the next couple of years. I have a truck that is 33,000 GVW and now with the new loader backhoe I feel that I can take on most jobs. I may still rent an excavator depending on the job but it would be a very specific reason and I could send the machine back sooner and I could always finish up the projects with the machine that I have.

    If you already have a skid, you could always look into a used smaller excavator. They can be very affordable and you could always try to find some side work for it. As you find more and more work, you could always upgrade to a newer machine knowing that you can keep the more expensive machine busy enough to pay for itself. I find the hardest part of buying a machine is making sure that the work is there and captureing enough to pay for itself.

    Good luck, I will attach a picture of my recent purchase.

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  4. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,260

    Right know i have a 246b btw.
  5. waltero

    waltero LawnSite Member
    Posts: 206

    I was looking at ironplanet.com for a while there. They have alot of CAT equipment and you already own a CAT skid. You can check what past auctions went for, and that should give you an idea of what it should cost you. They have an inspection process and it seems to be very fair. If they see something wrong, they mention it. They also have an assurance policy or something on certain machines. It is worth checking out, good luck.
  6. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    Waltero that little backhoe looks like a handy machine.

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