Skid steer or Tractor?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by dutchacres, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. dutchacres

    dutchacres LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 516

    I am looking into possibly getting a skid steer or compact tractor this fall. I am going to use it for snow removal and for lawn maintenance stuff as well as I want to start selling some mulch next spring so I need something to load that with. I am kind of torn between the two. The tractor would be nice for many applications such as spraying and fertilizer spreading as well as I could spread salt with it this winter. Also the tractor would be nice for snow because I could drive it to the different locations much faster than a skid steer. I am looking at probably a Deere 3520 with the cab. The skid would be nice because I think it would be a lot better for snow removal but then I would have to buy a spreader for my truck. Plus if I do any landscaping I prefer a skid over a tractor hands down. Pros and cons list are about even and so are prices for the units. Skid size I am looking at is the JCB 260.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  2. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,904

    i started out with a tractor for a few years, then added a skid steer, they both are great and both have there place.
  3. Johnagain

    Johnagain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    A skid steer is better at lifting heavy things higher and it's better at moving things around in tighter places but a tractor can do so much more than a skid steer. Brush cutting pastures are a big job prospect that a skid can't do. I have a grapple for my loader, 84in finish mower, 5ft and 6ft brush cutters, fertilizer spreader, disc, tiller, roller, box blade, angle blade, rake, and trailer mover. I can do almost anything a skid can do but they can't do a lot of things I do. Plus they get stuck so much easier than a tractor.
    The tractor I have is a JD 4310.
  4. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,820

    I agree with both of the guys above.

    What you really need to ask yourself, is what you believe will be the largest amount/type of work that you will be doing that really calls for one or the other, and then base your decision off that. Take into consideration other types of work that you don't currently do, but may after a period of time, or may because you will now have a machine to do so.

    I owned a JD 4500 for a long time that I bought new, and I never had to do anything to it other than buy a new battery. I sold it when the economy crapped out and we were stuck living here for a longer period than we had planned to originally, but I still have my 4115 and it's very handy.

    I can tell you this, if you plan to do lots of grading, loading etc, and decide on a CUT, get a large frame CUT of whatever brand you like instead of the mid-frame like the 3520. It will hold up much better over a longer period of time for day in day out use, and allow you to do more with larger attachments.
  5. 4 seasons lawn&land

    4 seasons lawn&land LawnSite Gold Member
    from NY
    Messages: 3,613

    only answer... two of each!
  6. meets1

    meets1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,857

    My thoughts - justify one then figure out to get the other!! I just get them, guys see new machine, my wife see's the invoice about a month later doing bills - then questions are raised but at that time - productivity in new toy has begun!
  7. dutchacres

    dutchacres LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 516

    Both would be sweet! Maybe one day. It is going to be a leap of faith to make this investment as really the only way I currently have to pay for it is snow removal which is not a certain. I think for what my business model is and the focus I have the tractor is the best decision as like said I can bushhog, load mulch and just do so much stuff that it would be very useful to have around. You guys think Deere is the way to go or should I check out kubota, Massey and new holland. I used to have a case IH compact but sold it because it was a POS and it cost to much to keep it in proper working order. I am leaning toward the Deere as I have a good relationship with the dealer already but the Massey looks just as nice as does the kubota.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,820

    If you compare them side by side, buiild for build, feature for feature, the Massey isn't as well built, or advanced in design as the Deere or Kubota. I am a die hard Deere guy, but Kubota makes a darn good machine. I still maintain that your best off with a Deere. Any of the deeres from the 3000 series on up are totally American made (though they do have some offshore parts in them now), even their engines are made here by Deere and are very good engines, and I like knowing that I am keeping corporate profit money here in the USA. Kubota's may be made here now too, but the profit money goes back to Japan:nono:

    Other than that, they are pretty close overall.
  9. Birdhunter1

    Birdhunter1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    You could get the skid steer for all the work you want to do then add an older utility tractor (like a Ford 3000, 3910 or Massey Ferguson 135 or 245) and have the best of both worlds. The 2wd utility tractor does a decent enough job at snow removal with a good heavy blade on it, the size of the ones I listed will have no problem at all with most 6-8 ft. implements and you can put a spreader or sprayer on them real easy, and still have a skidsteer.
  10. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    As I've been searching for some property to build a shop/barn on, I've also been looking at utility tractors to have to do a little farming at the property and be able to use it for some landscaping jobs if necessary (and if I start to get into more mulch/landscape installs).

    Now, I was looking at a John Deere 2520 or 2720, so it'd be a little smaller than what you are looking at. However, I've run tractors enough over the years to know kind of what I want. A skid steer would be nice to have but I just wouldn't have the business or money to get a skid steer.

    One of the biggest things that I liked about a compact utility tractor like the 2720's, is that they weigh much less than a skid steer which would be much easier driving over a lawn or loading it on a trailer (you wouldn't need to have a heavier duty trailer to tow it with).

    I personally think that a tractor would offer the most versatility, you can always add a skid steer later when business increases and the need arises.

Share This Page