Exercise the Bobcats or let them sit?

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by tallrick, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. tallrick

    tallrick LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 682

    As a "casual user" of equipment it's not uncommon for me to use a machine only a few hours a year. While low hours means that your machine lasts longer, I have found that letting it sit brings its own kinds of problems. Now I am moving in another direction, rebuilding a machine to replace my old one, that will also be rebuilt. Generally a skid-steer loader for me ends up being a trailer mover, tree trimming platform, engine puller, mulch mover, and insurance for a natural disaster. ( My old Bobcat saved my parent's house from a fallen tree) A friend I have not seen for a while has purchased a tree service, and has several commercial customers. Every summer involves a tree trimming and mulching schedule. He was using a bobcat service from time to time, but have found them to be unreliable, and the company at one time owned a skid-steer, which caught fire due to lack of maintenance. Most of the work they do involves trimming low-hanging branches, chipping them and distributing the mulch. Generally the work is done by hand but larger tree removal or mulch spreading benefits from a skid steer loader. He has been trying to convince me to take on the occasional weekend work, which would bring some extra money. We are exploring the legal side of this but in terms of equipment use it seems to make sense. All mulch is chipped and used on site. No digging or heavy pushing, just picking up branches and distributing mulch like I do at home. The work is from June-October usually. Does this seem like a good idea, or is it better to just let the Bobcats sit under the tarps when not in use?
  2. RockSet N' Grade

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

    GRAB IT!!! That is opportunity knocking on your door........you never know where it leads unless you open the door. Give it a go and if it doesn't work out, at least you gave it a go. My business is built on saying "YES" to most opportunities that come my way, some work out and some don't, but you have got to get into the game. I personally would be all over that in a heart beat!
  3. tallrick

    tallrick LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 682

    Considering that I already have been doing the maintenance for his wood chippers, chainsaws, tractor, stump grinders, etc and he pays promptly without question, I tend to agree with taking the offer. We just have to arrange things so I am not on the hook for liability issues. I do have confidence that even though I have old machinery, it is extremely reliable. He did point out that I should have clean machinery as some customers objected to seeing run-down equipment, all his trucks are fairly new and I repainted the chippers and stump grinders. They have several condo/townhome and office park developments, as well as a few shopping centers. Most do not require the services of a skid steer so he thinks that its better to hire someone when needed than to keep one as part of the fleet. Most "Bobcat services" charge $80.00 an hour with minimum requirements so he says that owning one does not make financial sense. He just wants to make sure that the skid steer guy is ON TIME and not late like many have been. We were just talking about this again and I have agreed to try it out and see how it goes. It does seem to make more sense to use a machine all day and get paid rather than use it for a hour only at home with no pay.
  4. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,131

    Put it to work as much as you can, even an hour a day makes a difference, if machines sit too long, the outer seals in the hydraulic cylinders get hard and brittle and they'll be shot in no time.

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