Starting up ?

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Countrysidelawncare, Jan 20, 2004.

  1. Countrysidelawncare

    Countrysidelawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I curently do mostly landscaping and lawn care work but want to expand into bobcat and light excavation work. What is the best way to get into this area? Getting work? and I'd like to try to spend less than $40,000. Equiptment ideas? Thanks for the help.
  2. Countryside

    Countryside LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Well you have a few options for equipment. You could get a skidsteer and get a backhoe attachment for it for the light excavation. This is a good idea if you want to stick with a budget. Our company has a Bobcat A300 for the skid work and a Bobcat 334 excavator and a Kubota L35 TLB to do the light excavation work. The backhoes on the skidsteers are not too bad. They dig pretty good. You only have to get in and out of the cab to move the machine. Depending on how big of a skid you are looking at you probably could stay in the $40,000 area. As for the work you will be surprised how much you will get when people findout you can do light excavation. At least that is how it goes for our company. we are always doing Bobcat work and excavation work.
    Countryside Landscape Services
    Landscape Contractor
    Western, Ma.

    Bobcat A300 skid-steer, with a power rake, forks, auger, and a bucket.
    Bobcat 334 mini-excavator, with digging bucket, and wrist on a cleanup bucket, and a thumb
  3. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    It all depends on what kind of excavating you want to get into I know mini excavators are busy in this area the smallest mini is 6000lb which is a tad too small. You really need a 9000lb unit that can do any kind of work especially if you doing rock walls or light demolition.

    If you do get a mini excavator get one with excavator controls with two short controls they are easier to feather the hydraulics. You also should get a hydraulic thumb they should come standard equipment it makes picking up rocks logs or brush so much easier.

    A skid steer is good or carting around material or backfilling foundations but it isn't something you would use all the time. If your looking at skid steers I wouldn't go any larger than a 763 Bobcat it weighs 5700lbs so it is a medium sized machine.

    You can get a backhoe attachement but it wouldn't be as versitile as a mini excavator especially if you are going to get into digging foundations in back yards.
  4. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,170

    Gravel Rat makes several good points. A mini ex in at least the 7500 pound class is as small as I would go. Go with zero tail QC, and a thumb. I would not even consider a backhoe for a skid steer. If you are only going to have one skid steer for the time being I would shoot for something in the 2K lift capacity class. Dimensionally not any bigger (depending on make) a lot more productivity although they weigh more. One thing to think about. On almost any excavatiing job you'll want both machines on site. Pick a truck and trailer combination that will allow for the excavator and a skid steer on the same trailer. I had a 7.5K miniex and traded for a 12K mini ex. A lot more capability but it won't be as convenient moving around.
  5. coopers

    coopers LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,223

    I think there are a ton of options, maybe the best is you should just offer your services, and rent machines. If you find that you use a skidsteer the most, then that says something. You may have a certain service you will want to do, but who knows if you can get enough of that do use whatever machine you've bought. Personally, I like using backhoes and trackhoes the most. Backhoes are nice because they're so versatile, they can travel on grass, mud, cement etc. You have the FEL, the hoe, anything else you want to use for attachments (if you have a Kubota or JD)and so on. Then you have your trackhoe for work that doesn't need a FEL, you got your thumb for brush removal, rockeries etc. and they're quick, 360 turn, dozer blade and all. I hated using the skidsteer. Yeah, they have a ton of attachments, they can go in tight places, but they're so bouncy, tippy, and they make one hell of a mess where you're working. BUT, I think it would be a good idea to rent machines, see which you like best and which you use the most. Trackhoes are expensive, but so is a good backhoe, like a Kubota L35 (which I'm personally fond of). So, there's a ton of options, you just need to explore them by renting. At least that's what I'd do if I wasn't sure.

  6. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    With a excavator you use the bucket to lift the machine and swivel the undercarriage to the direction you want to turn it really saves damage to the ground. A mini excavator with wide steel tracks will do less damage to the ground than a skid steer because the tracks spread the machine weight.

    I find rubber tracks do more damage to soft ground than steel tracks I don't really like rubber tracks they are slippery when you use the machine on slopes.

    One thing about steel tracks you drive everybody in the neighbourhood nut with the squeek squeek squeek clang clang clang.

    Once you get used to a excavators charistics every machine is different the two joysticks become extentions of your hands.

    I ran a Bobcat 328 series mini I really didn't like its tippyness you really made me feel uncomfortable how unstable it felt. I was working on fairly steep grade and it wouldn't climb it I had to push myself with the bucket the tracks just spun like tires.

    The worst feeling is when the machine started to slide :( if I didn't have the blade down the machine wanted to move on its own.

    If your looking at mini excavators look at Kubota stay away from those other funny brand machines.
  7. badranman

    badranman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    Gravel Rat

    Any opinions on backhoes? I am cosidering a Cat 420it for snow as well as excavating in the summer. I already own a Bobcat 763 skidsteer and thought I would get more use out of the hoe than a mini-x especially in winter where I could use it on big commercial jobs. Any thoughts?
  8. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    Are you sure it is a 420 or a 426 if its a 426 they are a fairly decent machine on par with the Case 580-590 I ran a 416 loading trucks wasn't too impressed. The common machine in this area is Case 590 4x4s they work good if your doing utility work or snow plowing they used to be used for building septic leech fields.

    If the machine has low hours on it and its not all beat to heck with the price is right go for it.

    With a rubber tired backhoe there really is no point in buying a low powered machine if you are going to be loading trucks etc. If you already have a bobcat to use for your tight spot machine get a decent sized hoe that can get larger projects done.
  9. badranman

    badranman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    I have the brochure in front of me, it's a 420d it. Used to be the 416. 420 has 10% more power. Has an extendahoe. I've been told the extendahoe limits me somewhat because I can't put on a thumb etc.
  10. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    I haven't kept up with Cat backhoes or rubber tired hoes in general fullsize and mini excavators are used for landclearing etc.

    I have seen extendahoe with thumbs does this machine have the curved boom or the straight boom ?

    A hydraulic thumb is handier than heck for doing any type of landscape work or general work.

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