What are you using for excavating?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by westcoh, Jan 31, 2008.

  1. westcoh

    westcoh LawnSite Senior Member
    from Alberta
    Messages: 313

    Just curious what all the hardscaping companys here are using to excavate for patios / retaining walls etc. And more specifically how many are using their own mini excavators? Currently I just use a skid-steer and rent a mini-ex when necesarry. I'm tossing around the idea of purchasing a mini-ex later in the year, and am just wondering if the guys that do have them manage to keep them busy enough to justify the cost?
  2. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Messages: 601

    We own 2 mini excavators, and older 314 bc and an 06 cat 305, we keep them busy when not doing installs with drainage work and trench work for a big local electrical company. It's easy money!!!!! Just keep in mind that it's not just about keeping a machine busy, you need other reasons to justify an investment like that. We run 1 or both machines at least 3 days a week, we could get by with one, but it's nice to have two. There are lots of reasons to buy equipment, but there are also reasons not to, can you effectivley move an excavator, will you need a different trailer? Do you have a place to store it, will you keep it moving and earning or do you need to make a purchase to appease the tax man, if so is that the best you can do for yourself right now???? Is another or an upgraded bigger truck a better idea??? No one can answer these questions but you..........Either way good luck!!!!!!!
  3. mrsops

    mrsops LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,879

    i do alot of retaining walls backfilling and digging. i have a bobcat 334 excavator and a bobcat 341 excavator if your doing alot of jobs with them i would think about purchasing one they come in handy even if you have to dig a few holes with them
  4. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,665

    We have our own excavators, both are kubotas, a kx41-3v with varialbe width tracks and a kx91 for the bigger excavation jobs. Couldn't do without them.
  5. waltero

    waltero LawnSite Member
    Messages: 206

    I know it isn't the most popular among hardscapers, but I have the Ingersoll Rand BL-570 and it works well for me. There are things that are more difficult for me to do then a skid may be able to do or even a mini-ex can do. But on the flip side there are things that my machine could do that are easier then with a skid or mini-ex.

    I will say that the power that my machine has can only be had in a large skid/mini-ex combo. With that being said it is rated slightly higher then the s330 that just came out(mine is rated just over 3400lbs) and it will lift much more. As for the backhoe on my machine, it would take an excavator over 11,000lbs to have more power then mine. If you figure out what a large skid/mini-ex combo would cost I bet it would be above $80,000.00 easily. I will be the first to admit that my machine doesn't do everything that the combo will do and the skid/mini combo is going to be way more productive, but most people can't find enough work for both if their focus is Hardscaping.

    On the plus side for me I always have the ability to move materials, excavate the site, etc... with one machine. Now one of the downsides to this machine is that it isn't as good with the finish work as say a skid or tractor. I used this machine for the grunt of the work on the site(moving pallets, excavation, moving the materials) and when I was done with the hardscaping and was moving on to the softscaping (including the grading, plantings and such) I just move this machine to the next jobsite and used the kubota that I have.

    Now the best part is that I was able to pick this up for only $28,000.00 with 67 hours on the meter. Mybe I can't do everything, for some things I may have to rent, but I can do most everything in this package and the price was right. This wouldn't work for everyone, but it is an option that most people look over. If you not sure about the BL-570 then do a google search or look back in my previous post I uploaded the spec sheet on it.

  6. ff1221

    ff1221 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 123

    Here's what I use, my other option is a bunch of absoloutely useless employees. The work ethic in this town sucks.

    May 13 2007 038 (Small).jpg

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  7. MRBsx2

    MRBsx2 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 85

    im with walt on this one the backhoe loader works great for me i have a john deere 110 backhoe and a skidloader but the backhoe gets used most on hardscape.. I have a 3 foot clean out bucket for the backhoe and a 2 foot bucket.. the 3 footer works perfect for digging out sidewalks and patios..you cant beat it.. heres a few pics

    2007 work 142.jpg

    2008 work 001.jpg
  8. waltero

    waltero LawnSite Member
    Messages: 206


    That is a nice machine you have there. I was interested in the JD 110 until I got the Ingersoll. I was wondering about the lift on the loader end of the tractor, I know that it is rated somewhere around 2000 lbs, but I was wondering what you find that it could lift.

    The Ingersoll is a beast when it comes to power but it isn't the fastest machine. It gets the work done and I would rather have the power then the speed when the job gets difficult. I think that the JD 110 with the extra hydraulics both front and rear makes for a great machine. The Kubota I have is a good compliment to the Ingersoll but I was thinking about selling the Kubota and getting the 110 Loader/Backhoe and a harley rake.

    Let me know what you think about the 110.
  9. mverick

    mverick LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 307

    Takuchi on both.

    Old TL26

    Old TBO15

    Both work well. And get the job done quick.

    Do have others if the job is larger. But to be honest, unless we're diging deep we're fine with those for any landscape.

    Putting in Large retaining wall block for sea walls I use a Takuechi 45 series and haul the block in with the Track cat.
  10. MRBsx2

    MRBsx2 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 85

    Walt... You will not be disapointed with the 110 it is a good all around machine, the backhoe is super strong and with that thumb on there i can do just about anything...The only thing i wish that deere would do is up the horse power a little bit and put an extenda boom on these, along with build a factory cab on them. Other then that everything is great all attachments that go on my skid work on the 110 too its nice bc you only need one machine on some jobs bc of the front end loader and backhoe....As far as the lift capability they could up that too a little, but i pick up full pallets of natural stone and cubes of brick out of the back of my dump truck just fine, where the machine strugles is with pallets of wall block ,but my skid picks them up just fine. I have the 110 more for its digging abilities its very strong and digs real smooth. I do a lot of excavation for other contractors and landscapers in really tight situations and my backhoe always gets it done and everyone likes it every where i go. Any more questions jus ask.

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