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I don't like to compare a CTL to a skid because they both have pros and cons. It's like comparing a skid steer to a tractor with a box blade and loader. I see in your sig that you have a NH skid. If you're looking for a CTL to compliment your skid, that's the best of both worlds.
I have a Deere CT332 that I've been real happy with. I work year round doing mostly dozer work, and my CTL is a compliment to that. I do everything from hog dirt to finish grade with it. Most importantly though, 95% of the time I use it on the brown side of the curb. Besides cleaning streets once in a while and loading/unloading, I hardly ever use it on pavement. I stay away from all the obvious conditions that could damage the U/C like concrete/brick debris, stumps, etc...
I work in wet conditions probably 1/3 of the year. A skid steer is useless to me in many conditions. We use our Case skid only when we're in pavement. So as far as the extra costs of a CTL, to me they are worth it.
If you're working in mostly dry conditions and traction is not an issue, or if you're on and off pavement all day, you should probably stay with a skid. The extra costs pay for themselves (for me), but you need to figure those costs into your bids.
Do some searches on this. There have been many posts over advantages and disadvantages of CTL's and skid steers.
this is our second season using a ctl and our first owning one, so i cant comment on the maintenance costs. we are buying a 277B and had a asv 4810 in rent last season. i found the days that we could use the machine and be productive far outweigh the extra costs. not mention the restoration is almost nominal with these machines. today i ran the machine at least 10 times to the front of the house with a full bucket across the grass and you could not tell we where there. Last week my buddy got his 267 stuck in the mud and borrowed the 277B i was demoing to pull it out. well not only did he get his machine out and get the job done with it, he traded his 267 in for a 277B ctl the next day.
Only want to make one quick observation. I don't think that you are far enough along in the CTL ownership process to say that the production outweighs the added costs of purchase price, upkeep, and depreciation. You may right and you might be dead wrong. I only mention that because the cost Vs production increase seems to be all over the place depending on what you do with the machine. Some seem to be happy with the their cost ratio and some are very much not happy. Some appear to have depreciation costs of around $25.00 an hour. That gets expensive. Good luck.
Sounds like your buddy with the 267 isn't too bright, the difference between the 267 and 277 is very minimal. Not trying to sound like an @$$ here, but that's just the nature of these guys buying CTL/MTL's, they have no idea what they're getting themselves into. Did your buddy really think your 277 is a better machine than his 267 just because he got stuck? If you can honestly say yes, he must know ZERO about any of this equipment, which confirms what I've been saying for a while. Guys are just jumping on the CTL bandwagon without any knowledge of equipment whatsoever. You could get away with slightly lax cost management system running skid steers in the past, they were much cheaper to buy and maintain. Business costs are also going up, fuel and insurance are the monkey's on everyone's back and I wonder if these new guys running around with $50K+ CTL's with maybe a year or so in the business that are going to make it. Poor, poor business and cost management if you ask me. Like I said, not trying to come off as a know it all, I don't know your situation first hand. But, having been through the liquidation process of a 277B that was too much for our needs I can say that I have a pretty good idea of what kind of business you NEED to be running to even turn a profit with these machines. Just because you're covering the payments doesn't mean you're making money, I'm willing to bet that about 80% of the guys with a CTL/MTL could be doing the same job with a comparable size skid steer. Sorry if I offend anyone with this post, but I guess I'm trying to stress the importance of cost management, I don't understand why it's such a difficult concept to understand. Even after the lost value on our 277B and sales tax, the amount of work we got done with the machine still covered our depreciation costs by a long way and it was still the right move to let go of it. We were LUCKY, we came out ahead on the deal and I still shake my head at the decision my dad made to buy that machine. I can't even imagine what it would have been like if we would have been using the 277 for landscaping jobs only, there's just not enough high production work to even come close to covering the added operating costs, not even close.
I think if a person has a CTL/MTL they really need work besides just (skid loader) type of paying jobs. Around here most charge between $60 to 70 an hour. Don't get me wrong there is many here that charge by the job that make more. For instance my buddy will not go out for any less that $300.00 for a CTL. He tries to make between $500 and $600 per job. Anyway yes a track machine is an incredible machine but from what I see most jobs just dont pay enought to have one especially at $60.00 to $70.00 an hour. Besides just track/undercarriage wear there is allot additional wear that skid steers do not get near as quickly. I have compared various skid steer brand versus CTL's latley and notice way more wear in the boom area. For instance look at the stops that a CTL has that controls side to side movement of the booms versus one with wheels. You will see an incredible rate of wear on the machine. What Im getting at is really even theough these trackloaders are beefed up some most are just a skid steer put on tracks with a few improvments here and there Personally I dont think a skid steer with a 1000 hours has near the wear as a CTL with the same amout of hours. Sure it depends on there life but from what i have seen so far look out when they get about four years old.
first off i misspoke it was late when i posted, my friend machine is a 268B, a wheeled machine. sorry about that. anyway, your insulting my friends intelligence wasn't appreciated. you can rant and rave all you want about your view of things and thats fine, but when you make snap judgment about people you have never met before based on a simple post is where i get really annoyed. so many of you guys use the cloak of this website to say what ever you want to who ever you want and hide behind "sorry if this offends anyone" If that is the way you prefer to conduct yourself than thats fine, but i have no respect for people who act that way. I prefer to treat people the way i would if we where talking person to person, not hiding behind a Internet connection. i have a feeling that you guys would not say half the crap that you say, the way you say it, if you where in person and if you did i wouldn't give you the time of day.
As for the repair and depreciation, your right i cant comment on that, as i said in my post. i can only comment on the initial cost difference. only time will tell if it truly pans out. i did not mention that the machine that i have decided to buy is a used 277b 05' with about 500hrs. the dealer has overhauled the undercarriage, new set of pallet forks, $2500 credit toward new tracks when i need them or replace the ones on the machine now. They want $36k at 4.9% for 48. it seems like a good deal they painted the machine and put new decals on it.
Well, that makes sense if he buried a 268 and went out to buy a 277, that makes 100% sense to me. You have to understand where I'm coming from with my comment and I will not apologize, that would be absolute stupidity for him to trade a 267 for a 277, they're basically the same machine, let's agree there. So you're right, I didn't know the situation and assumed, but given the information you gave I made a judgement. I would have said the same thing to your face, let's agree that the information you gave me was grounds for me to make a judgement.
You have to understand where I was coming from, though. Like I said, I wasn't trying to be a complete jerk, just made an observation given some information.
I am hopefully not insulting your intelligents nor anyone elses. Your inital post asked if it was worth the extra money to get into a CTL. A couple things you may want to ask. How much in repairs was spent rebuilding that machine at 500 hours? You may need to clarify if that is CAT's costs or the cost that a customer would be paying. Are you prepared to pay that in another 500 hours or even a 1000 hours? Are the jobs your doing requiring a CTL fulltime and do they pay well enough to cover the payment and the rebuild not to mention overhead and profit? Have you run anyone elses tracked machine? Are you prepared to lose approx. one third to half of your purchase price within the next 500 hours (SOURCE: Iron Planet). If your still on board with a 277B then research Iron Planet. I spent only about 20 min. looking for comparable machines. I could not find one that cost more than 33K. I may have over looked some but I don't think so. There are a bunch around 20K and less. Granted I doubt they had new undercarriages but it does not sound like your getting new tracks either. The deal sounds like you buy one and CAT will buy the other track. It is hard for anyone but you to decide if a tracked machine is worth the costs. I am only putting out some things you may want to consider when deciding if a CTL is right for your operation.
call me a fool if you will, but I went about it a little different. I purchased a wheeled machine and bought the VTS track system to change out between wheels and "real tracks". My considerations were: longer working year with tracks, and higher resale value of a wheeled machine when that time comes, and I have the best of both worlds (tire and track). The cost of the whole outfit is several thousand less than getting a ctl. Time will tell on this one, but for me it felt right. Oh yea, forgot to add that the machine I ordered is loaded and even comes with rotating beacon.......I got all the goodies not out of pure business sense, but "feel good" and perceived value when I pull onto a job.....I have hit a niche where money is not the object, but perceived value is ranked higher than actual value. It's a funny niche. Since I have worked on this one home, just because I am "there" I have picked up two more mansions for dirt work, two rock walls on new construction, and a complete yard remodel.