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Backhoe Service

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by GradeMan, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. GradeMan

    GradeMan LawnSite Member
    from canada
    Messages: 214

    ANyone offer this service or is it a dying option now? I want to add this service but have fears that nobody wants backhoe service anymore? Thanks
  2. RockSet N' Grade

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

    I am not from your neck of the woods.....so I am not familiar with your economic or geograpic environment. There are guys here making a go of it. When I lived in California some time ago, my friend Dave Wasden, had 6 of them going and acted as a broker for work on top of that........but then again, Dave is dynamic - has an incredible "feel" and is legendary on a machine. He got a two year contract working at the movie studios with the cavaet that he was there and ramroding the job. My point is, if you have got the will and desire, develop the talents and contacts.......you could make a living off any single piece of equipment on the face of this planet. On a more practical side, I think the environment here is getting used to the idea of "normal" as a skid steer and ho combination. Take it with a grain of salt.
  3. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    Depends on where you are. Around here, a backhoe wouldn't be so bad in an urban area where pavement, bringing only one machine to the site, and smaller quantities of material to be excavated are prevelant. I'd estimate that on the average building site here, on flat ground and in an urban area, you could get away with doing probably all the sitework with a backhoe. No roads have to be built to provide access, no steep slopes to conquer, a backhoe itself would really save some headaches in the right market. But, where I come from, if you don't have at least a 12 ton excavator in addition to a backhoe you're missing out, the backhoe itself will sit. Steep ground and large quantities of excavation to be done on just about every site makes a backhoe the last option. You can't dig a daylight basment on a hillside with a backhoe. Well, you probably could, but it would take you 3-4 times longer than it would with an excavator and would be much more difficult.

    As mentioned, a skid steer and mini excavator combo seem to be the way to go. A 12K pound mini excavator will dig footings and/or a basement for a house and a skid steer can assist in transporting materials around the site or finish grading the lot. Both of these machines can be had, brand new, for less than the cost of a new backhoe for sure. However, there are still plenty of folks that stay busy with just a backhoe. It's all about marketing a niche.
  4. RockSet N' Grade

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

    I was just sitting watching my favorite movie, Forrest Gump, and thought of this.....we used to use a guy with an off-set back-ho and he was busy all the time. Not alot of folks have them, and this chap was buried with work. I think if I was to get just a backho, I would consider that as an option.....it gives you an edge over all sorts of other types of machines and you could fill a real need with one of those. Just another thought.......now, back to the movies........
  5. tnmtn

    tnmtn LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NE Tn.
    Messages: 1,022

    you are softening your biew on backhoes. :laugh: it wasn't a long time ago your answer may have been a bit more one sided. good of you to keep an open mind.
    i have a backhoe service and work by myself. for my needs it is working very well. i also have a dingo for clean up work. i am really liking the combination. that being said every market is diffrent and i can't say how it will do in your area. if you work by yourself i would suggest more research and maybe renting a backhoe for a bit and seeing how it works for you. at the same time if you already have employees especially one other than that can drive and tow a trailer then look into the skid steer mini ex combo as well. also consider space for parking on your jobsites. 1 truck and trailer or 2. you can carry both on one but again your getting into larger tow vehicles. more info is needed to go further. are you looking full size tlb? already own a suitable towing vehicle? what market are you going for? what work are you doing already?
    for me i mostly do homeowner work. i have a compact tlb that does very little if any damage to yards. most of my work is the jobs no one else wants. i like it this way. quick in, quick out, cash a check. i am able to use skid steer attachments. tlb's are more and more adapting to the tool carrier mentality from skid steers and it makes quite a diffrence in what you can offer. they're not just for digging and loading anymore.
    good luck,
  6. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    To make a backhoe service work is you gotta be a good operator and able to do mircles with one. Backhoes are a dying breed on the West Coast of B.C. they are not as common as they used to be. In my area the property being developed is too steep for a backhoe. Where a 12,000lb mini or a CTL will go a backhoe will not. Some places you take a mini the slope around a house is steep enough that even wearing a seat belt isn't enough to keep you from sliding forward in your seat.

    Last thing you need a 4x4 backhoe a 2wd backhoe is useless you spend most of the day trying to get unstuck :laugh:
  7. GradeMan

    GradeMan LawnSite Member
    from canada
    Messages: 214

    I have a 7 ton hoe on steel tracks and a 50hp 4x4 tractor but i seem to always have the wrong piece of gear. Example small edition job, i move the dirt three times, sometimes i wonder if there is a better way, I like the idea of a loader{ snow and screening} and the hoe for the water sewer lines and the small jobs for home owners. I want least amount of gear with the most pay back. Any ideas? :rolleyes:
  8. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,162

    I don't own a backhoe and by my showing at the CASE backhoe rodeo that is a good thing. I subscribe to the 12K mini and skid steer model to get most things done. That does not mean that is right for everyone, and I actually find myself wishing I had a hoe at times. However for the majority of what I do my set up works fine for me. I think backhoes will always have a place. Mini Excavators and skid steers have stolen some sales from the backhoe market but they will never total displace it. Whether one is right for you that is more difficult. A market study of your area would be in order. That would include the amount of competetion in your area, the current status of your local economy and the projected economy. Your operating skill as it pertains to a backhoe is also important. Your initial reputation will stand for a lot especially in a smaller market. It has to be a positive one. You can always buy a good used hoe and test the market. If it does not work out, sell it.
  9. GradeMan

    GradeMan LawnSite Member
    from canada
    Messages: 214

    I would say that there is 4 owner operator and god knows how many backyard fly at night guys with junk, I wonder if it is better to fly at night or be 100% legal. Cash sounds better but no contractor work. People still call and ask for a backhoe and need 3000 yds of dirt moved, but i want to improve my bottom line.:walking:
  10. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    Your not busy with your mini excavator yes we class a 7 ton machine as a mini excavator.

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