Well guys, my dad said last night that if we could possibly justify an excavator this year, he'd look into buying one. I think he's realized that we could use one on just about every job we do, but for us it's too much of a hassle to go rent, plus the expense. Sure I could go rent a machine for $200 a day and that sounds cheap, but it's like our skid steer. Some days you just don't have time to run them all day and if you rent the machine, it's costing you a ton! You might have a machine for 4 days that you might put maybe 10-12 hours on and you're paying for 32 hours. Basically, you need it when you need it and renting is a PITA. So, with that said, I'm looking for a machine, not "cheap" just a good, solid machine. I'd like to stay with Cat because our dealer is awesome, no complaints, but Deere is another player as well. I've looked at 304CR, 305CR, 303.5, and 304.5. Ideally a 304CR is exactly what we need with a canopy, long stick and a thumb, not many bells and whistles. I found a machine in the dealer network that is a 2004 304CR with 120 hours, canopy, aux. hyd, and long stick for $38,000. Good deal? Machine looks brand new, inspection report shows that it's in great condition, undercarriage is stated at 95% remaining. Also found a 2002 303.5 with long stick, hyd thumb, canopy with 675 hrs. for $30,000, but I think that it's out of state and could be expensive to get it here. Anyway, just shopping the market on Catused.com. I think a 305CR would be too big, they're about 11,000 lbs and we need something under 10K, which puts the 304 just about right. Any opinions would be appreciated. Thanks!