Skid Steer operating costs

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by ksss, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. AEL

    AEL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,724

    I can count on one hand the amount of "by the hour jobs" i have done in the past 5 years. I dont really have a per sf or lf price for anyone the jobs we do because every job is a good bit different. And to be honest i like to keep doing jobs like these. I find when we work by the hour or unit rate jobs that are constantly around the same figure , it is easier for the lowballers to come in and beat up the price.
  2. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,170

    Sometimes we end up working by the hour (certainly not my preferred way to run, but sometimes its the only way), no one has ever complained about $90-95 and hour for a SSL or CTL. Which tells me that at that rate, we are providing a service which has a good perceived value. Much like Yellowdog, with us your getting large framed machines with big power and performance. The key is the customer needs to see the results at the end of the job. The operator is a big part of that as well.
  3. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,792

    And with your particular setup and guys who are set up like you, getting you onsite opens up a lot of possibilities for the landowner. If they have more than one project, you have more than one tool. I've noticed several of the "cheap" guys just have a small machine or just use rentals making them inefficient and probably not nearly as proficient as an owner-operator or operator who is full time in that setup.

    You do get what you pay for and it takes real $$$ to keep any of these modern machines running. I was just adding hydraulic oil today. That stuff isn't cheap. I have no clue where it disappears to (maybe little elves are stealing it) but it goes somewhere when I mulch. Does anyone know if oil evaporates? :dizzy:
  4. Cornell

    Cornell LawnSite Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 544

    Super surprised at your hourly rate. An erosion control guy I know has an 1845C and bills out $150/hr and it's usually with a bucket or a grapple on it. I don't think he has a minimum as far as hours though.

    I know the T770's running at full tilt burn through fuel like crazy.

    As for hyd fluid disappearing, you have a leak somewhere. After 4 years I finally found couplers for our DX180 Towtem Lines that don't blow apart after 2 weeks, sometimes those Pioneer quick couplers wouldn't last a day. I've had the couplers on now for over 3 months and not even a drip from them yet. I also zip tie them up so they don't get dirt in them and make a point to clean them thoroughly before coupling them again. They were spendy but worth it considering how many pioneer pieces I would have gone through in this time, the hyd fluid I would have been adding and just the fact of hyd fluid getting everywhere and making a mess not to mention it contaminating the environment. Pick your battles I guess. The DX180 has 1200 hours on it since we got it last July. Towtem has in the neighborhood of 100,000 sq ft of boulder abuse as well in less than two years we've had it. I tore apart the one side of the clam (1 1/4" T1 hardened steel) a few weeks ago and had all the wearing edges and side reinforced with cutting edge and 3/4" steel. The 1/2 plate that was welded on in July was already worn down to nothing. Boulders are abusive. Also last week had a 4' boulder come off the top of an 18' wall and tagged the front of the cab so that has to get fixed this winter and I'm building a cage I can grab and set in front of me to stop that from happening again.

    I have a few "friends" that had a bid from us to do some work and they went with the low baller. Guess who went back a year later to fix all of it?
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  5. Steiner

    Steiner LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 409

    These numbers reinforce why I always buy a slightly used machine and take great care of it. It lowers my operating cost and makes me more money.

    Notice I said "slightly used" that way the first owner pay the largest depreciation hit.

    Again another article that says if you use your head and calculate simple math you can make money.

    Another point: This is why I always tell new guys to rent tools first because it gets their pricing right when they do buy something because they have always had to factor those costs into the job. Guys who buy right away think that the rentals are a rip off and never think that multinational companies like sunbelt have their expenses in order to know what to charge. Imagine that!

  6. Construct'O

    Construct'O LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Sw Iowa
    Messages: 1,387

    Just 5 bucks difference in the SS and the CTL.Management must be getting better with age.Are you sure you have the right cost per hour right on the CTL????

    I forgot it's not a Cat right,still can't be right it got those evil tracks right!!!!:hammerhead:
  7. alldayrj

    alldayrj LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,793

    When in doubt, thats what i use. I figure if they can make money at (example) 250 a day i can too. Plus fuel operator transport etc of course
  8. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Messages: 4,281

    I have averaged well over 100 dollars an hour on my CTL and at least that on the Mini ex. I am averaging over 150.00 per hour with the Min ex and mulcher. Sure I lose quite a few jobs but I prefer higher profit margins and less work over lower profit margins and more work.

    And regardless of what you pay for your machine you have too figure operating costs based on a replacement machines price with below average trade in. You can not dictate your operating expenses off of the hopes of getting as good of a deal on a replacement machine as you got on the one your in. Thats a gamble and not good buisness.
    allinearth likes this.
  9. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,792

    If I could get $150/hr for bucket work, I'd probably sell everything else! That's what I struggle to get for mulching or chipping.

    I've not found any leaks. None in the compartments and aside from slow drips around my auxiliary couplers, I can't find any fluids lost. Machine is clean inside. The only thing I can think of is one of my attachments has a slow leak from hoses or motor seal that, when I connect to it, robs from machine to refill the lost fluid. I'm thinking my tree shear is the culprit or possibly my grapple which has some residue around the cylinder.

  10. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,792

    Do you have a handle on operating costs for your mulcher (teeth, hoses, etc.) to figure into the total operating costs? Took me awhile to get an idea of how long teeth last and now I can plan for that in my day price (or hour price if you look at it like that). I sat down and tried to figure out everything from fuel to teeth to tires, to hoses and then put my haul truck into the mix, too. While it's not exactly what KSSS posted from the article, it encompasses everything I could think of within my daily operating cost. If you are getting good life out of your teeth or blades, then it will help you put more away from each job. One set of teeth for me is about 2500 to 3k depending on the setup.

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