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Starting Skidloader Service?

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by wanabe, Jan 6, 2004.

  1. wanabe

    wanabe LawnSite Senior Member
    from So. IL
    Messages: 943

    I am thinking of starting a skidloader service, but I have a few questions. What is operating and equipment insurance running? I want to start out with a used machine, some where in the 10 grand area. Am I crazy or can I make some money doing this? I have previous experience, so that is not a problem. What is the best loader to buy(remember 10 grand limit)? I have ran a 40XT which I liked(no foot pedals), and I have ran a JD260, which realy sucked. How is bobcat? Thanks for any help!
  2. badranman

    badranman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    Do you need a trailer out of that $10 000? How about attachments like forks etc.? I think any one of the better names in the industry would be good since you're buying used. Check the big things and if their not done than you know the little ones never got done either. A machine with 2000 hrs on it with regular maintenace is alot better than one with 1000 hrs and no maintenace. I'm partial to Bobcat since I own one.
  3. jimrguy

    jimrguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I have a cat 226 skidsteer it in my mind is the best. I have never had a problem with it, but i paid 25,000 new. I saw a few for 15,000 used recently. no foot pedals. all joysticks. spend the extra like badranman says you will be happy. i get $50 per hour but i also do a variety of things. well good luck.

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 5,132

    if u can rent 1 and still turn a good profit then u r charging enough 2 own 1
    there are many cost that come with ownership ins. maint. where r u going 2 store it and move it?
    is there anybody else in the area doing this? in my area eastern PA everyone has 1 it is hard 2 get a good rate
    u may be able 2 make a good buck but do some research
  5. wanabe

    wanabe LawnSite Senior Member
    from So. IL
    Messages: 943

    Local rental rate is 200 a day for a 40XT with trailer. I think it will be hard to turn a profit this way. That equals 1 grand a week for rental, so I think I would be better off buying a good $10xxx machine. Nobody in this area offers skidloader service. There are a few 45-50 miles away, but they never come my way. Will insurance kill me? I have a farm about 11 miles away from my house, so that is where I would park it. How do you guys get work? Thanks again!
  6. badranman

    badranman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    Get the word out that you offer this service. Parties, get togethers, anytime you meet someone don't be scared to tell them what you're doing. Stop into any mulch or topsoil etc yards and leave some business cards with them. Try and get to know any excavation guys in your area and let them know too. You never know when one of them will need you. In time word of mouth will get around. :cool2:
  7. coopers

    coopers LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,223

    badranman said it all. It's so important to do that. Stop by all those places, rental places, nurseries etc. You'd be amazed at how fast word will spread.

  8. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,162

    When I started I sent letters to all landscapers, and contractors in my area and I got several clients that I still have today and that was 10 years ago. What makes or breaks a skid steer service is attachments. When I started there wasn't many skid steers around but now they are everywhere. The secret to staying busy is to have attachments that others don't. Around here it is rock rakes, concrete breakers, grapple buckets, post hole auger, broom. However it may be different in your area. I don't think 10K is enough get started with. If you found some good buys 20K would give you a better start. You can buy a skid steer for 10K but nothing else. You will need a small dump truck to be competetive, a trailer, and attachments on top of that. My liability insurance isn't bad nor is the insurance for the equipment. What sucks is insuring vehicles. We do a lot of concrete grade prep. (probably about 30% of our income) that is another place to look for work. You'll need a laser to shoot grade with and at least a plate compactor to compact subgrade. Overall I enjoy it. I like doing different types of work all the time. I first started with a Case 1840 which great little machines. They can be found around 10K, they have 1400 pounds of lift and very dependable. CASE skid steers rule. Good luck.
  9. badranman

    badranman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    Do you own all those attachments? That would be a big outlay if you did wouldn't it? If I need an attachment I rent it for the day/week. I guess if you had the demand for all of them it would make sense financially to buy them, but currently it's cheaper for me to rent. Who do you find are your biggest customers?
  10. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,162

    We own all the attachments but I did not buy them all at once. We do work for landscape companies and do some work for larger excavation companies as well as our own landscape and excavtion projects. It is tough to be rent and be competetive unless you are on a bid job and have allowed for that. Attachment avaibility can also be an issue. Sometimes however it is a necessary evil. I would try an get equally involved in landscaping and excavation. The season for excavating is longer than landscaping which will keep you busy longer. I would try and find what competition is in your area and what kind of equipment they have. Might also help to contact landscapers and excavators and see what their needs are. The issue you may have initially is that skid steers can be rented for under two hundred a day and customers can rent the machine and attachments just like you. You have to give them a reason to use you over doing it themselves. It starts with being an extremely competent operator and establishing a reputation as such. That takes time and many for hours mastering your machine on your own time. It isn't enough to just be good you have to be so good that they can't justify doing it themselves or having their hired help do it. Without knowing anything about your area, I would suggest buying a Rock Rake (Harley, Rock Hound, or Preparator) a Grapple bucket and a Concrete breaker. These attachments make me the most money. The breaker itself gets me on large demolition jobs with large companies. Great exposure. But your area maybe different. Good luck.

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