thinking abouth heavy equipment

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by racer56, Jun 23, 2007.

  1. racer56

    racer56 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Kansas
    Messages: 285

    Been thinking about getting into the bigger equipment. Anyone here own a good size hoe and dump truck? Thinking it may serperate me from the guys in an old beat up truck and a trailer. What doe a guy charge per hour for a hoe and operator these days? Everyone has a ztr so we all look the same in the eyes of the customer, at least mostof them. Been asked a hundred times about who is Exmark? I thought you would have used a JD as they are the best... Anyway I can buy a good used hoe for what I paid for our new ztr and thinking about doing that again.
  2. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Messages: 5,407

    In my opinion, your quality of work and service seperates you from the competition... not a backhoe, not a shiny truck, etc. If you don't have a demand for backhoe... and aren't renting one every week why would you buy one? I would think you would have to spend at least 20k to get a decent backhoe.
  3. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,649

    When someone wants a yard installed, ditch dug, or mostly any service they dont care what you do it with. They are calling you for a reason, weather they heard you was good or just pulled you out of the yellow pages. I do get calls for seeding because i have a hydro-seeder and there are only a few with them but they had to see my seeding work also. If i needed a tree cut out of my yard and you came to give me an estimate if your price was in line i could care less if you had a husky chain saw or used a cross cut saw.
  4. racer56

    racer56 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Kansas
    Messages: 285

    I thought this might help me get into the bigger landscape jobs and such. I get passed over for guys with bigger equipement all the time. The other day a customer that loves my work and refers to us to friends all the time passed us over for a job at her husbands bussiness as she thought it was have been too much for us :cry: . This lady pays us 60/ hour / man and is glad to have us. Would have been nice to have a big job with her even at a small reduction in hourly pay. I was just thinking a good used hoe around here is around 15k-25k depending on size and options of course and the guys I see get 125/ hour for the bigger equipment. We have been starting to think about the mini exc. and and small skid that could all fit on a 16' trailer. Something that could get into back yards easy and be fast to load and unload so a guy could do the 1-3 hour jobs and make good money. I've not had any experience running the small stuff other than a few small jobs that I just rented the euipment on. I've always had big equipemtn to run so don't know if I would like the limited capability. Thought if I could get in and out fast and go places the big ones can't I might have little competition that way. I never see used small rigs for sale so they must like them.
  5. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Messages: 5,407

    I just don't see how the bigger equipment will qualify you for the bigger jobs in the customers eyes. It seems like most companies near me don't own backhoes... if it needs to be done it gets subbed out. It seems like your advertising, referrals, and company branding would be where you would need to concentrate to get bigger jobs.... then I sure as hell would rent the equipment till the workload built up before making such a big purchase.
  6. GraZZmaZter

    GraZZmaZter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 740

    I agree ... buying equipment does not induce you into any set area of this market. How YOU run your business does. How YOU train your guys does. How YOU decide on the appearence of YOUR equipment does.

    Not just having a new toy, that it already sounds like you have no idea on how to run....
  7. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    I dont thing size of equipment matters(except to the ladys !!!) This year we have done 2 one hundred thousand dollar jobs and 3 fifty thousand dollar jobs. These are big jobs too me and the largest machines we have are Bobcat loaders and are biggest trucks are chevy 4500's. I think a bigger truck may help but back hoe loaders are to big to move around and maneuver around the site.
  8. EMJ

    EMJ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 200

    If I am not renting a machine every week I am not going to buy one. when you show up at the job no one care if a rental company's name is on the side of a piece of equipment or not. They only care about the finished project and the professionalism of the crew. Price is in there somewhere also.
  9. Mike Fronczak

    Mike Fronczak LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 301

    There is a book out by Dwight Hughes (spelling?), Systems for Sucess, has a green cover. He runs a nursery/install business, does most of it with machines, has a crew of 4 guys & averages 100K each (these are early 90's numbers). Do a search it'll show up, he was/(is?) actively involved in our industry, do a search he'll show up.
  10. drmiller100

    drmiller100 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 562

    A customer wants a berm, sprinkler system, sod, and a firepit.

    They call 5 companies for bids. You show up for the appointment on time, with a smile, a direct look in the eyes, and a business card driving a clean pickup.

    You just blew away 3 of your competitors.

    You listen, and repeat what the customer said in your own words. This indicates to them you are understanding.

    You give a hard bid, no excuses, that is 25 percetn lower then your competitor. How can you do it so cheap??????

    Your competitors use unskilled labor, and charge by the hour. You used skilled commissioned employees and provide them with the equipment to do their job right.

    Here is an example. My 2 guys came to me and wanted a grunt. "Why" said I? To rake rocks, fill in holes, pick up clumps of grass.

    So, I bought a rock hound for 7,000 bucks. At the end of hte summer, I will have 15 tons of rocks raked up, and a rock rake that is worth 6,000 bucks, and my employees saved a bunch of sweat, and more importantly, TIME.

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