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Need some direction

wmtom

LawnSite Member
Location
pensacola, fl
I am starting a compact track loader (ctl) business as an owner operator. I have some questions maybe y’all can help. I have a John Deere CT322 with a 78” bucket and a 78” root rake grapple and can rent just about any other attachment that a job might require.
Here are some of my questions.
1. What should my target customer be, Landscapers, homebuilders, general contractors doing site clean up, etc.
2. Should I get into cutting down trees or sub contract that due to higher insurance cost.
3. Hourly rate I was thinking $80.00 per hour with bucket and grapple with a 3-hour minimum.
4. Do you charge more with specialty attachments or just charge the rental price of the attachment extra.
I am sure there are other pointers y’all will have please feel free to let me know any comments or criticism would be appreciated. My e-mail is wmtom@cox.net

Thanks
Mike Thomas
 

ksss

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Rigby, Idaho
That is a lot to think about, my opinions are speaking generally as I know nothing about doing business in Florida. My short answer would be to go after all the above. The issue I see would be that with only a bucket and rake you are very easy to replace. A trip to a rental yard and they can rent for themselves. This is most likely to occur with landscapers and builders who have the ability to run equipment. My views are that you need to provide 1. what others can't provide for themselves (this usually means being so good at what you do that guys are willing to hire you just for your ability) 2. what your competition can't, wont, or doesn't do well. 3. exploit areas that are not covered in your area. I would look at your local market and see who is out there and what kind of service they provide and what they charge. I would directly talk to other excavators, landscapers and home builders, find out what the needs of your market are. Very important to build relationships face to face. Don't overlook the smaller builders and excavators they are the ones that may not have enough equipment and would be most likely to use you. I would look at finding a niche, something that can make you money that doesn't have a lot of competition. this may be apparent after talking to those in the industry. This usually means kicking down for a high priced attachment. Certainly you need a Harley rake or FFC Preparator or the equivilent. Good luck
 

ksss

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Rigby, Idaho
That would certainly qualify. However does your Deere have high flow? The reason I am big on picking your market than pick your equipment is so that you spec. your machines properly. If you found yourself using a timber Axe you probably would also want a cab and AC (depending on how dirty the Timber Axe is to run) in addition to the high flow. That attachment is expensive. Running your CTL around stumps and fresh cut foliage will probably result in additiional wear on your tracks (due to cuts and tears in the rubber). This would all will have to be factored in an hourly rate. I would guess you will need to be somewhere in the 150 plus range to cover wear on attachment and machine and still make a profit. That is all speculative as I don't know what the exact costs will be. Since the Deere CTL is new you will probably have to make educated guesses as to what your upkeep costs will be.
 
OP
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wmtom

LawnSite Member
Location
pensacola, fl
My machine does have high flow and the cab is enclosed. I figure the hourly rate will be around 160 to 180 with the timber ax. I realy appreciate all of your help. Does the Harley rake and FFC Preparator both grade as well. Do you charge more per hour using your Harley rake or FFc Preparator.

Mike Thomas
 

Scag48

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Marysville, WA
The Harley will out-grade the FFC any day of the week and it's 10X more versatile. We charge $95 an hour for our Harley with our 216.
 

bobcatboy

LawnSite Member
Location
kansas city
wmtom said:
How much are Harley rakes. Would y'all suggest a timber ax or a harley rake for my first large attachment.
I would get the timber axe as my first attachment. harder to rent attachments that are really productive are the ones you want in your fleet. If you are going to clear land you also need a tree shear.
 
OP
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wmtom

LawnSite Member
Location
pensacola, fl
I have had the machine using it for other things. Mainly on the beaches here in Pensacola. I am wanting to expand alot of the beach clean up is finishing.
 
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