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skid steer or tractor?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by kotajack, Aug 7, 2005.

  1. kotajack

    kotajack LawnSite Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 21

    Hey I am new to this site and am looking for some experienced opinions. If you could only own one machine would it be a skid steer or a utility tractor?

    My company has a small dilemma, I sold our Kubota tractor because it was a little bit too small and had full intentions of buying a newer one now I am unsure what to buy. We already have a field mower, York rake clamp on pallet forks and a backhoe for a tractor. We have rented some skid steers and really like them. they do grading and dirt work better than a tractor but also make such a mess marking driveways and existing turf. We are looking to get into more snow work, adv skid steer. Patios and walkways adv skid steer for handling pallets etc but not sure about the excavation part of it. I find the tractor to be nice for renovation work, plantings etc.. on or near existing turf we can carry the tree, dig the hole and no damage whatsoever. The tractor would be a Kubota or Deere. The skid steer would be a Cat, Deere or Bobcat. We can only have one which would you guys do? Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Itsgottobegreen

    Itsgottobegreen LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,177

    Well I have both. Both are small machines. You really need one of each. I would get the tractor. Since $250 gets a skid loader for the day. Plus you already have 3pt attachments. We use the kubota more. Since it won't tear up the grass. And we have a bunch of attachments for it. You can also always pick up a used skid loader cheap if you really need it later.
  3. freddyc

    freddyc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 578

    If you get a skid steer, you can always rent attachments for excavating if you want.

    Only you know what work you will be doing....get the machine that makes the most sense for the majority of your jobs.

    One thing to consider is time/production. Moving snow with a skid steer is probably faster but if you're only doing one small driveway who cares.

    Skid steers aren't the best for digging controlled holes. A mini ex is great for that. If you need to do plantings though, an auger attchment on a skid steer is great.

    If your doing snow removal, is it commercial or residential? And, when you tear up the place with the skid, can you repair it?? It sounds like a track loader could be a good choice for you...if you got the ching! Also, if you can pick up a few attachments, it might give you the best of both worlds. Can you get by with a Dingo??? They don't tear up the turf so bad but their lifting ability is limited. But, for walkways and so on,,,, they squeeze almost anywhere. Theres a few people here with them and give them great reviews.

    I have a small skid steer and love it. But for digging its a pos. For moving stuff....its the best!
  4. all ferris

    all ferris LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,309

    Get a TRACK loader!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  5. longwinter

    longwinter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I have been using Kubota tractors for almost ten years now, I have been very faithful during those years believing that tractors were superior to skid steers. I rented wheeled bobcats many times and rarely liked the results unless I was doing nothing more than moving lots of material.

    Well everything changed for me last fall when my dealer brought me an ASV to demo. After using for about an hour I purchased an RC 60. There is almost no comparison between the tracked and wheeled units. It is unbelievable how much traction you can get with rubber tracks, and they do a considerable amount less damage than the wheeled units.

    Our company does alot of SRW walls and brick pavers so the extra lift capacity is the main reason I brought the demo in originally. I still like our Kubotas for running the Harley rakes but that seems to be the only time that they leave the shop anymore. I have not yet purchased a harley for the ASV but it is on my list.

    If you are doing alot of new landscapes, heavy lifting or moving large amounts of material, the skidsteer is the way to go. If you are doing alot of add-ons, or maintnance work in existing landscapes than the tractor will probably work just fine.

    It is a tough comparison between the two because a tracked skidsteer is going to run almost 10k higher than a moderate tractor.

    I am a strong believer in equipment, you don't have to pay it overtime, you don't have to babysit it, it doesn't call in sick, and it doesn't complain. I watch my bank accounts very closely but equipment is one area in which I almost always break down and purchase something if it will help our company.

    Good luck in your descion.
  6. start2finish

    start2finish LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 497

    You can buy an adapter for most 3pt hitch backhoe to fit a skid-steer, as for the grapples and pallet forks, they can also be converted. Don't let that change your mind.

    We own a John Deere 4600, a Kubota 4630 (both with loaders) and a Bobcat S250
    I would never be without a large skid steer due to the large amount of production they are capable of, on the other hand I owned a L3010 Kubota w loader for 5 years prior to this year and built this business with it. If I had to go back to one machine I would probably stay with the tractor.

    Remember it is usually easier to do things with a machine that is too big rather than a machine that is too small.

    Rated cap of S250 2600#
    "" Kubota 4630 2200# approx
    these are saftey oriented ratings the machine will do 25% more with a careful operator and level ground
  7. kotajack

    kotajack LawnSite Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 21

    Thanks everyone for the info. I really am still torn which way to go. We always got by with our kubota 2550d even though it was a bit too small. We could put a lawn in with the loader and york rake. Dig with the back hoe, mow fields with the fieldmower, and move stuff with the palletforks. I have been sorta a partial to the tractor as a do it all machine.

    On the other hand, everywhere I look there are bobcats etc... people seem to be so accustomed to bobcats I wonder if the turf damage matters. Commercial snow accounts seem to want bobcats not tractors unless its like a cat loader/backhoe. I also prefer loading and grading dirt with the skid

    In the past we have mostly done renovation work, add-ons to existing landscapes dealing with a lot of plant material. We also mow a couple fields a few times a year all sufficient for the tractor but we are now starting to do some walks patios etc.. Our snow work has been plowing with trucks for municipalities for many years but we are trying to get some commercial plow accounts of our own.

    In researching this purchase I have found that if we went the tractor route we would need a longer trailer. By the time we bought the tractor with cab ( for winter work ) and a new trailer we would be at about the same $ for a new skid steer with our existing trailer. I think I will check out the asv tracked loader just to confuse myself a little more. Thanks again
  8. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,544

    Its a skidsteer but with tracks.

    Easy on turf and driveways

    Great in the snow...will go more places in snow than a regular skidsteer will go in the summer.

    Never again a flat tire.
  9. longwinter

    longwinter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Let me know what you think after trying the ASV.
  10. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    If you want to demo an incredible skid try out the Bobcat A300. The company I work for has one and it's absolutely amazing. The best part is it's 4 wheel steer. It does not mark up driveways, tear up lawns, wear the tires too fast from "skidding" etc. It will lift a pallet of anything you can get your hands on, has incredible power, great maneuverability, pushes snow great (better than a skid with tracks), it can be used as a regular skid with the switch of a button, and best of all it's got a button to release the pins for your attachment so you don't have to get off your butt to do it yourself. It's really a versatile machine for new landscapes and existing landscapes, easy to operate, and just flat out kicks %&$. Good luck with your purchase

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