Skid steer or tractor......

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by BLC1, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. BLC1

    BLC1 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 714

    What are pros and cons of both. What do you use as far as putting in lawns, patios, moving dirt, mulch.......etc..
  2. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,129

    A skid steer is much faster at moving material, more powerful and tend to have higher dump heights than tractors. Skid steers have more powerful hyd. systems.

    Tractors tend to do less damage to established yards, attachments are cheaper. Although not as plentiful or as varied, but always seem to be cheaper. I also think that if you buy a well known tractor (red, green, blue or orange) that they hold their value better, dollar for dollar than a skid steer does.

    Which is better depends on what kind of work your doing or intend to do. If your spending your time on established yards and high production dirt work is not what you do, a tractor with loader would likely work fine. If not a skid steer is more productive at moving material it just is harder on surfaces than is a tractor.
  3. KTM

    KTM LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 492

    Ditto what Ksss said, I also want to add that a skid steer is much easier to improve on performance, you can see your cutting edge which helps with everything, I have seen some good operators finish grade with a tractor, but they were all old timers that started with tractors before skid loaders were popular.
  4. KanAg

    KanAg LawnSite Member
    from Kansas
    Posts: 18

    they each have their purpose. A tractor w/FEL and a few implements can get a lot done. I have a 43hp 4x4 tractor and it very handy. I think PTO driven implements like a power rake can do more than a skid steer hydraulic driven one. Skid steer power rakes are every where and PTO driven ones are hard to find at a good price and not trashed. I will tell you though I absolutely hate changing implements and charge an implement fee. (attachments = front / implements = rear)

    A skid steer can for material handling, out work a tractor hands down. The attachments are pricey, but very very useful. I use my skid steer more but if I had to give one up it would be the skid steer. I use my tractor on my land.

    Just not an easy answer.....if you are purely wanting one for just making money then a skid steer would be the way to go. You very shortly will more than likely see quite a few up for sale because of diesel prices. My tractor burns a lot less fuel but then again my skid steer is a 75hp machine . I keep waiting for some smart guy to develop a cross between a tractor and a skid steer that is affordable.
  5. hosejockey2002

    hosejockey2002 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,195

    A tractor is sort of the jack of all trades, master of none. A skid steer will move material faster and an mini excavator will dig faster, but a tractor with a backhoe can do both. If you work solo and do mostly small jobs, a tractor can be more versatile and cost effective. For bigger jobs where you have more than one operator a skid steer is probably the way to go.
  6. stuvecorp

    stuvecorp LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,214

    Dad has an 1020 tractor that does almost all our finish raking on lawn installs, everything else is done with the skid. I would always pick the skid over the tractor.
  7. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,454 there you have an open ended beginning of a discussion. The trick is, or the question is, what is the particular job and its physical dimensions/characteristics that you are addressing. New homes on large lots? Older established neighborhoods with narrow access? Commercial/residential? Each of those machines has an advantage....I own one of each. Because the nature of the market in my area, I have been considering adding ( and I never thought I would be saying this ) a mini-skid the likes of a ditch witch 650. The reason for that is that the market is changing for me and I am getting more calls ( demand ) to work in already established areas with narrower access and smaller width requirements. Some of the landscapers here are selling their skids and getting one, two or three mini-skids and they seem to be generating alot of billable hours off those machines, even in this slower economy. The mini's are easier on fuel and that is becoming a consideration also. So it boils down to your target market and specific job application.
  8. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    RSG, a while back you were considering a larger truck and a 200 sized hoe. Have you gone back on your planning? Curious to see the market changes everywhere else, seems like the landscape market here in the Seattle area is renovations as well, back home work on new sites is still going full bore.
  9. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Posts: 4,276

    I prefer too do my soil conditioning with the tractor.
    It seems overkill too have 80+ hp too run a Harley rake.
    The tractor just sips the fuel and goes days on what the big skid will use in a half day.My tractor works great for mulch jobs as well.

    I want a mini skid as well.
    They are very handy but a little too pricey at this point for my taste.
  10. RockSet N' Grade

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

    Scag......thought I had some large walls lined out. They evaporated..POOF!! Bid some large demo jobs.......POOF!!! they were put on hold or guys with no work got them for bottom feeder prices. I am getting 3-4 calls a day on yard renovations - so what do you do? I just got 3 text messages this am for more of the same. I guess it is go with the flow and be flexible, take what is put on your plate.......It is still early in the year, so I will see what develops........time to go dig out and install a pool. Good day to all......

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