1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation about fertilization strategies for success with the experts at Koch Turf & Ornamental in the Fertilizer Application forum.

    Dismiss Notice

kubota L39

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by T Scapes, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Look at it this way, once you use an excavator with a thumb you will be disappointed with the L39, an excavator has 360deg use, the L39 may get half that if your lucky. Once you use a track loader (terex or cat for ex.) you will be disappointed with the front loader on the L39. Way to slow and clumsy, you'll need like 40' of room to maneuver that thing around. You just gotta bite the bullet and go for the two. Especially at the price of the L39, your only getting half the performance.
    Like someone said there are alot of good used machines out there.
  2. T Scapes

    T Scapes LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,225

    the main reason i was looking into a l39 was to save some money but after reading what you guys have said the skid and mini ex route sound alot better even if i have to shell out some money at first. I would still go new with a skid and ex. I like to know the total maintenance history of my equipment and have the warranty. I gonna look into the numbers after next mulch season and prob go with a skid next summer when i start the the jobs i have and then maybe the mini ex the next year
  3. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,602

    I have been in business for 22 years. 16 of those years doing hardscaping. And the last 4 years venturing more and more into a speciality excavating field. I spend about 16 hours a week on an excavator. And you know what? I don't own one. I rent. I have no plans to buy an excavator until 2014, and when I do - it will be used, and I will pay cash.

    You really have to have alotta work and you have to know you will always have alotta work to reasonably justify buying an excavator. That is - if you're gonna make payments. I have a buddy that owns a small excavating company, does strictly commercial and government work. He has about 35 pieces of equipment ranging from dump trucks, dozers, loaders, end dumps, rollers, backhoes, etc. But he does not own an excavator. He says "each job always requires a different size excavator, if you own one it's either too small or too large". He says it's cheaper to rent by the month, and I agree.

    This is the order that a new scaper should acquire equipment:

    1) rubber tire skid steer. if you need tracks - use the add on tracks.

    2) after you have built the business and are self sufficient financially - then next you buy a tracked skid steer, used in conjunction with the rubber tire machine.

    3) After the tracked machine is paid for - you then buy a compact utility tractor. Great for the small jobs where a skid steer is too heavy and will incurr more turf damage than the job is worth. Our compact tractor is 35 hp with industrial tires, and I love it. Does virtually NO damage to the lawns.

    4) After all that - then maybe buy an excavator. Nothing wrong with a used machine. All they are is an engine and a giant hydraulic pump. And a million hoses. As long as it wasnt used in a rental fleet - it'll probably do you well.

    5) I'm not a believe in buying a walk behind skid steer. My operation has no use to own one. If we need one - we'll rent.
  4. SDLandscapes VT

    SDLandscapes VT LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 581


    good perspective--We have been using excavators quite a bit this season--several month long rentals, and I was toying with perhaps getting one for next season, but the need for the various sizes is so true--and our rental yard keeps a very up to date fleet so I think we will rent longer. I do own a mini-skid and I will very much disagree with your opinion on that one--mine takes the place of your compact tractor and can do most of the operations of your full size without the turf damage--we work in places where you would trip all over yourself with a full size machine. bigger isn't always better
  5. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,602

    A walk behind skid steer would be used mostly for really small jobs for us. We're just not really set up for small jobs.
  6. T Scapes

    T Scapes LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,225

    thanks for your knowledge. I was thinking of a wheeled machine next winter for snow plowing but i have one i can use next summer for the guy i plow for this winter. Do you only really do hardscaping. I was planning on getting some erosion work like restoring creek banks and other stuff that i feel like it would be beneficial to have one full time. I like the compact tractor idea Do you just load the pavers into the bucket and drive them to where ur putting in the patio. I was looking at kubota tractors around that size but i would like it have a cab for snow plowing Any other equipment truck trailer or business advice you can give me i will take thanks
  7. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,602

    We plow with wheeled skid steers with old meyers plows fabricated to mount to the skid steers.

    At one time hardscaping accounted for over 80% of my revenue. Now it's at 30%, sometimes things do change for the better.

    With the tractor, it's usually used for small jobs, as in jobs like small walkways, patios behind townhouses, stuff like that. The loader can lift about 1000#. So yes, we must hand load the bucket with the pavers right off the back of the truck. The idea is to come in and do as little damage as possible. Like with a patio behind a townhome we can drive back and forth all over the common area all day long and not make any ruts and not rip up any turf. I had a townhome patio I priced a few months ago - long access from the paved parking area to the back. A skidsteer would have made an incredible mess, and it would have been too far to wheel burrow or use a walk behind skid steer. Because of our tractor's efficiency for this scenerio I was able to provide the best price. No turf restoration to account for and no additional time for smaller machines or doing it all by hand.

    Last year we had a small retaining wall to replace. The job was too small to justify carting an 8,000# skid steer there. The tractor was perfect. Made for quick unloading of the new material and quick loading of the old. This would not be possible with a walk behind unit, they cant reach over the sides of a dump truck like ours. The tractor is also used around my property, such as splitting firewood. The tractor doesnt go out much, it's 5 years old and only has 250 hrs on it. But it's great when we need it, it's a tool that I keep in my bag of tricks for landing work at a low price and still make a profit. But like I said - this is something you only buy after you're established. Like - for more of a tax write off.

    You're mentioning Kubota and mentioning buying new. My tractor is a New Holland. It was thousands of dollars less than Kubota, and even has some specs that out-do Kubota. The difference between John Deere and New Holland in this size tractor were day and night, New Holland walks all over JD's specs, bigger clutch, higher hydro flow, more HP, etc. It kills me when people buy Kubota and Deere because I know they're only buying the names, they're not looking at the specs and comparing.

    You also mentioned buying new. It's easier to unload a used machine that you dont have much money in then it is to unload a new machine that is worth less than you owe. I plan to buy a 3500HD one ton truck with a utility body at auction next month. around 125k miles, on a routine maintenance schedule (owned by a large national utility co), I'll get this truck for less than $3000 including auction fees. I'll probably get 3 years of production out of it. No payments. Very little risk. Buy smart. Sell smart.

    Business ideas, plans, and journeys change. When you're venturing into new waters it's best to do it for a while and make sure everything goes well. Also, in spring the phone will ring off the hook. This is when new contractors go out and buy buy buy, they think they're ontop of the world. Reality is - the phone calls will soon stop. But the monthly payments won't :)

    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012
  8. scagrider22

    scagrider22 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,272

    You have to decide what makes sense for your company, none of us can do that for you. For a lot of excavating companies renting is way cheaper and it's cheaper for landscapers that don't use them more than 4 or 5 days a month. I have one crew that does nothing but hardscaping and my mini is used almost daily, some days I use it for 10 minutes and other days I use it for 10 hours. For me owning a new machine machine is cheaper.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. Ukisuperstar

    Ukisuperstar LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    We own a JD TLB110, very similar to the kubota and it sits at the shop all year long. They are only usefull on estate projects where there is alot of space. Its mainly a winter only machine for us now.
    Like DVS mentioned, renting an excavator to suit the job is the way to go.

Share This Page