Skid Steer v Loader/Backhoe

Discussion in 'Tractors' started by Markf, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. Markf

    Markf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 406

    Our company (2 man LLC) is growing and we may have reached the cross roads in our next equipment purchase. As the title states, my son and I are discussing a purchase of one type of machine. Our work is expanding. We have installed Unilock retaining walls with the use of rental equipment and have several paver walkway jobs lined up. I am not a "Build it and they will come" type of guy, however, the versatilty of one of these machines is hard to resist.
    The Bobcat salesman, of course, states that the skid steer, with its many attachments, is the way to go.
    We do have a 2001 F550 diesel to tow the equipment.
    I would appreciate the pros and cons of both styles of machines. The brand name at this point is not important. Cost is a factor and most likely the purchase will have to be a used one.

  2. tnmtn

    tnmtn LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NE Tn.
    Messages: 1,022

    the main advantage of a backhoe is that it only takes one truck to get it there and one person to operate both ends. i am assuming you are talking about compact backhoes in your question. from what you describe as the type of work you are doing i would lean strongly toward the skid steer mini-ex combo. the key words being there are more than one employee and perhaps more than one vehicle goin to the jobsite. your 550 and a 1 ton can tow either of these pieces of equipment. also for the work you do i would imagine many tight quarters situations which would also favor the ss/mini-ex combo. if you have already rented some equipment for your uses try renting the backhoe for a couple jobs and see how it works. that should give you all the answers you need. also keep in mind the weights you will need to lft when shopping. a pallet of pavers isn't light. sometimes a tlb is cheaper than buying the combo. it will all be about comprimise.
    good luck
  3. Joe74

    Joe74 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    It all depends on what type of work you will be doing most. I have all three. The skid came first, then the TLB, then the mini ex. Nothing beats a skid for moving material and attachments; but if you do a lot of work on existing lawns and not new construction, a skid will tear the yard up and make more work for you. I got a Kubota L39. It has more than enough power at the hoe plus the loader dump height is great for a machine of its size. It also seldom does any damage to a lawn if you are careful. The only problem it has is it can not lift a full pallet of pavers. You can get around that by having the pavers delivered by the paver co and placing them strategically. So you can excavate, move the base material, and move wall block pallets and half pallets of pavers with one machine and not destroy turf. If you are on new construction, nothing will beat the skid - mini-ex combo. But you have two payments and two machines to transport. You live in the north, A skid or TLB can also load bulk salt or move snow for you.
  4. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,641

    I'll be honest I have no idea what kind of terrain you're working on but personally I would LOVE to have one of these new ditch witch units. I've seen them at the deal but I refuse to demo for fear of purchase :) I though have a backhoe (large, 2 compact track machines and 2 mini-track units) the backhoes/excavators win hands down for digging, you simply can't keep up w/ a skid steer, for materials handling the skids will win. You just have to decide which you do more. We have a backhoe attachement for our 864 bobcat and it works ok, but it doesn't work nearly as good as the real thing (limited reach, can't crane and sheer mass isn't there.) This ditch witch unit though seems to do it all. I'm sure it wouldn't have the capacity of my cat 287b nor would it dig as deep my ford 555 but if your starting out and you don't need the biggest thing out there give it a shot. I have 2 ditch witch units and am very pleased w/ the quality, the staff and of course the color (orange uniforms). DEMO everything, that's the fun part of buying.

  5. Markf

    Markf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 406

    Thanks for the replies. I think that we will go with a tractor/loader and buy the backhoe attachment at a later date. At this point in time, we can only afford a used machine. I did stop at a Kubota dealer and liked what I saw in the L2800.

  6. leaflandscape

    leaflandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 241

    Tom, that ditchwitch is insane looking, where'd you get your hands on that? I've never seen anything quite like it. How much do they cost new (probably can't find them used)?
  7. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,641

    I saw them at a trade show and also I've seen a few of them on the roads behind utility companies. I belive the one pictured above is about 60k which I think inline.
  8. waltero

    waltero LawnSite Member
    Messages: 206

    I bought an Ingersoll Rand Backhoe Loader similiar to TNMTN's backhoe and I have to say that there are some great deals out there because Bobcat/Ingersoll discontinued them. It wasn't because of a problem with the machine, it was more of a marketing flop. I got the IR BL570 and I have to say that it has as much power as a 10,000lb excavator minus the 360 degree swing and on the loader end it will lift as much if not more then the skids. I am not sure about the largest tracked loaders, but it will keep up with the big dogs. It isn't as nimble and quick as a skid, but it keeps up and has loads of power. It is worth a look and if you need more info on it there are some pdf files out there with the specs. I also have a post going back to the spring that has the pdf file attached so all can see. It isn't the typical thing people buy, and there aren't many made but they are well built and the parts are still going to be easy to get. Good Luck
  9. waltero

    waltero LawnSite Member
    Messages: 206

    Just a little more info: I picked mine up for only $28,000.00 and it had 67 hours on the clock. I was able to get a lower interest on the loan because they sold it to me as a new one. It was truely a great deal and there are still some out there at or near that price if you look.
  10. accurate machinery

    accurate machinery LawnSite Member
    Messages: 165

    If you are still looking, a machine that might fit the bill is a JCB 208S mini master. It has a Bobtach style front loader bucket quick connect and a side shift backhoe. Skid steer drive line with pilot style controls. I have had them from $15 to $20K, I don't have any now. If you do find one, check it with a fine tooth comb, JCB's can be tricky.


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