When did you buy your first machine

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Edgewater, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. Edgewater

    Edgewater LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 457

    I am a small operation. I work on about one landscape project every week. Some are hardscape, some are complete tear outs of large beds and re-landscape, also some 5000 sq ft re-sods.

    Averaging 1 project (2-3 days) per week, I can't justify a machine eg. Kubota B-21 is $50,000 canadian.

    Right now, I hand dig small patios (under 500 sf) and rent a machine or hire out the excavation on larger jobs. My problem is that the reliability of the rental yards for delivery and some of the excavators is less than good.

    For those of you that rent, do you transport the machine on your own?
    Also what do most of you use, Mini-X or compact TLB?

    I have a one ton dump and a B-21 will load it but not heaping full.

    I just hate finishing each job with a scrap pile at the road that we spend and hour or two hand loading into the trucks.

    I would love to hear how you guys delt with these issues.

  2. Qualey

    Qualey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 144

    We bought the machines immediately at start-up. Our business plan forecasted the growth, and due to a lack of excavation subcontractors and an unwillingness to expose out clients to multiple subs I felt it was the right decision. However, it really stinks paying for an excavator as it sits all winter long, and truth be told I really don't use it all that much. But, its one of those machines that when you need it its the best thing on earth.
  3. northmichigan

    northmichigan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 133

    i have run a small hardscape install biz for the last 20 years and rent a toro'dingo' or hand dig small jobs. i have done dozens of jobs with a man that has heavy equipment. we do large projects together based on who has the contract and agree on terms before hand. we both have our own projects so scheduling is an important consideration as is trust.
  4. GreenMonster

    GreenMonster LawnSite Silver Member
    from NH
    Messages: 2,702

    I bought a skid steer and a mini ex a few years ago when I booked a couple walls. Both have had only but a few days idle this season.

    I decided that if I was gonna be serious about this, I couldn't dig out patios and walls by hand! I couldn't imagine doing a 500 s.f. job by hand :dizzy:

    Now, I want a bigger skid to move nearly full pallets, and a mini skid for tighter areas and for the auger.
  5. Henry

    Henry LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    You don't have to buy new. I bought a used mini-x a few years ago for $5k and I'll probably be using it for a couple more. It's about 12 years old and slower than a new one but alot faster than you and a shovel.
  6. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    Renting expensive equipment can be cheaper in the long run. At first glance it might seem that you can save all kinds of money on rental fees by owning all kinds of ocassional use equipment. Take a few minutes to divide the purchase price of the equipment by the daily rental rate to determine how many times you will have to use that piece of equipment just to simply break even. Once you do that you might decide that renting is pretty attractive. When buying equipment that will set more than it is used, I suggest that you consider looking for good used equipment. Its usually a lot cheaper and doesnt take near as long to reach that break even point. Equipment trader mag's are always full of low hour equipment at a fraction of the price of a similar new piece of equipment. Ever wonder why there are so many machines for sale. Lots of time the owners have found that they dont use the equipment enough to pay for it. Their loss is your gain.
    Here is a link to a small excavator for sale on this site. http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=116316. There are probably more listed in the equipment market forum here as well as other sites. You can do a google search by just typing in used equipment and find hundreds of similar machines. Rental companies also usually have a huge inventory of used equipment for sale. Sunbelt rentals gives IAHP members discount rental rates on all of the types of equipment they rent. If you rent a lot of equipment it could pay you to check out becomeing a member in an organization that has such an agreement with a rental company. The yearly savings could easily offset the cost of the membership fees.

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