What to get for light grading

ATL Lawn

LawnSite Senior Member
Atlanta, Ga

I curentlly sub out all my grading work, but after looking at what i spend on a month on it, i was thinking about doing it myself.

what do you guys recommend for just light scraping up the grass (pics of my sub above). ?

I only have a new dodge 1500 truck, so i need something light weight.

would one of theses really do the job? (or other similar mini skid)

http://powerhouseequipment.com/series.html?series_id=8 / PowerHouse Prodigy /or PowerHouse Pro?

i'm really looking to spend less than 10k (is this reasonable)?

Thanks for any comments

Gravel Rat

LawnSite Fanatic
British Columbia
The cheapest and lightest tool for grading would be a rake :laugh:

Like Scag says get a skid steer it will do the jobs you need to do. A short thing like that Dingo isn't long enough so you will not get a flat surface.

Look at road graders they have the long neck on them so you get a flatter surface it doesn't follow the contours of the ground.

The same thing happens when your trying to grade with a mini excavator blade. The machine is too short so you get waves instead of a smooth surface.

AWJ Services

LawnSite Platinum Member
Unless your plan is too leave the yard in bare dirt the attachments for prepping for seed or sod alone will set you back 10k not counting the machine too operate them.
No offense but I very rarely get a chance too just bucket grade a job unless it is for rough grade.

Or as Gravel Rat said get a rake.


LawnSite Member
Norwalk, CT
My advise is to not buy anything until you have more money and experience, learn as much as you can watching your sub, then rent a machine when you're ready. Also remember you'll need to have it delivered, you don't need to hurt your 1500.


LawnSite Member
You may want to consider an ASV RC30 (http://www.asvi.com/rc30_specifications.cfm). At approx. 3300 lbs I think you should be able to tow it with your truck no problem. The cost is likely to be alot more than what your budget is unless you find a good deal on a used one (but then watch out for the undercarriage wear). You should rent one if you have a dealer/rental center near you and see what you think of the experience as far as buying and doing it yourself.


LawnSite Bronze Member
Gambrills, MD
CDDVA has it right. Asv RC30 + 4' Harley rake = profit. I charge $ 120.00/M to prep/grade. The Asv is an awesome little machine, and its built well, tracks are all rubber with no steel to pop out or crack the rubber. I now have 15 attachments for mine!:cool2: :cool2:

Dirt Digger2

LawnSite Silver Member
half the problem is guys with no experience buy machines thinking anyone can push dirt...which may be true, but it takes a lot of skill to get final grade down to a science...i've been running a TL130 for quite a few years now and still have trouble on some jobs...you need to get a few jobs, maybe even your own house where you can...for lack of better words..mess up. It can get very frusterating not being able to get a grade looking good, especially on paying jobs where you must leave it looking good. and like its been said before, skid loaders are not the miracle machines you might think...they can get costly and small on some jobs plus unless you buy a blade, bucket grading can get old...fast


LawnSite Member
Raleigh, NC
You can't grade ANYTHING with those midget loaders. Get an older full size skid and have at it.
I must be doing something wrong then! My Kanga G520 works rather well at grading and back dragging a smooth level surface. Stripping grass is no problem either, open the 4n1 and put the top blade on the ground, backing up peels the grass and about 3/4" of dirt in a 4' wide path for as long as I back up. The sod slides right up and through the blade and lays back on the ground to be rolled up. I'll roll it and then cut it in half so that I can pick up the 2' wide roll and use it somewhere else.

We have a lot of crushed stone driveways here and I can knock down a tri axle dump truck load of stone and spread it 12'X60' and put a finish grade on it with my mini skid steer. In fact I don't even use my tractor/box blade any more. Just did one of these last Friday, took about an hour and a half, and that includes removing the grass and grading a 12'X15' area to pour the concrete apron.

Bigger isn't always better and if you can't do a grade with a mini skid then it's just about a given that you can't do it with a full size skid either.

I'm just glad that my Kanga can't read the posts in this thread or it would probably go on strike for all the false knowledge expressed about mini skids.



LawnSite Fanatic
Marysville, WA
Those mini loaders aren't capable of finish grading tolerances, or if they do it will take at least twice as long to get it there. The wheelbase is so short that you could be off by 1/2" in a 3 foot run pretty easy. Those machines are great for jobs where you can't get a full size machine, other than that, you're wasting time.