Why I sold my skid .......... And bought Tractors

Discussion in 'Tractors' started by Mdirrigation, Feb 12, 2016.

  1. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,959

    I had a bobcat skid steer , a 753 It was a nice machine . I used it for snow and on an occasional job . But about 3 years ago I ran across a deal on a Kubota bx 24 , backhoe and rototiller . So I picked up this small subcompact tractor , for what I paid it would be a neat little toy . After toying around with it , I started finding work for it . Going on and across nice established lawns with no damage . So I started looking for more implements to fit its small size . On craigslist , picked up a mower , bush hog , grade box ,had the tiller , aerator and a york rake . Best of all I spent less than 2K for everything .

    That tractor paid for itself and the implements in short order . Mainly due to the aerator . The bobcat got used once that season .

    2 years later ...... I hear about a guy selling a 35 hp new Holland tractor , HST ,4wd with a loader and some implements . i go look at it , 475 hours needs front tires , new 6 ft york rake and grade box both landpride. I tell him I like it , but need to sell a skid steer first . he asks me what do I have , calls a friend and his buddy buys my skid steer I buy the tractor and everything is a wash . So I get on craigs list and the auction sites . All my implements for the bota are too small, I pick up a big aerator , bush hog , finish mower, top dresser, and a slit seeded over the course of a year . All in ,less than $3000.

    I could do everything I needed with the small tractor , but some things took too much time . The larger tractor on the bigger work , moves . Again the best money maker is the aerator . I can do 4 acres an hour on ball fields .

    Pros on the skid steer for me ,

    It could lift more and the cycle time was faster .
    I could MOVE dirt faster .
    I could lift a bit higher

    Cons of the skid steer for me

    Attachments were way more expensive
    Tight quarters doing repairs
    Heavy ,made ruts on existing lawns
    Skid steer , , hard to not tear up ground when turning
    Couldnt get out of machine with arms up if nessary

    Pros of the tractors for me

    Minimal lawn damage
    Implements are much cheaper
    more versitility in MY work
    Lighter on the trailer
    Easy to work on ..........so far
    Faster between jobs doing snow , I drive down the road
    Grade much faster with grade box
    York rake almost eliminates hand raking
    Slit seeder and aerator Make $$$$
    Better visibility

    Cons of the tractor

    less power by 20 percent to 30 percent
    less break out force .... hasnt been a big deal
    slower cycle time on hydraulics

    If I need a skid , I can rent or borrow one , There is only one place to rent a tractor around here . Guys with skid steers are a dime a dozen .I can hire them for $ 60 an hour and they are good . There is very little competition that have tractors , none have slit seeders , 1 has an aerator and doesnt work my area much . There is lots of work on established properties where a tractor shines .
    Both tractors covered all their costs in the first 18 months of ownership , they were used but low hour machines .

    I use the tractors twice a week ALL year .

    The bobcat maybe 1 time a month .
  2. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,900

    Interesting... I've went from a BX to a B, was having size issues with the BX... I've been toying around about adding a Dingo or similar but this gives me something to think about. The tractor gets used quite a bit and it's a money maker (brush hog, aerating, rough cutting, garden prep, etc....).
  3. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,873

    I struggle with this decision as well. I want to purchase something with a cab for snow and go back and forth every time I think about it.

    I've looked into the dingo route too
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  4. Are you using the tractor just to move piles of snow? Or actual plowing. I'm guessing piles because you talked about lift height and cycle speed.
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  5. TX Easymoney

    TX Easymoney LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,184

    good info...thanks for posting...Ive contemplated the same for some of our rough cut areas on these darn hoas, and could also move dirt whereas a loader only would move dirt-I believe I'd get far more use out of a tractor
  6. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,959

    i use the tractor for clean up , stacking and opening up entrances . The truck is used more . I wish I had a cab , the tractor would be out 24/7 then
    ncpete likes this.
  7. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,959

    I havent had an ounce of problem out of the BX , I got this cheap with 110 hours on it , from a neighbor . I have put in drainage with the hoe , graded lawns where a skid steer wouldnt fit , aerated all day sitting on my a$$ . I have a electric seeder that i mount so no pushing a spreader . People saw me aerate and jobs kept rolling in word of mouth . I have pushed it past its limits with no problems .

    The dingo is a nice machine , i had one of those for a year . The wheeled model , problem was when I stood on the platform and on rough ground I kept hitting the family Jewels . Sitting on the tractor seat is much nicer

    My New holland is a 35 hp , around the size of the B , maybe a bit bigger . It was a deal too , I has allowed me to do larger jobs quicker . When i picked up my 6 ft aerator it was on my trailer attached to the tractor . A guy followed me , at a light we talked , and the next week I was aerating some football fields .
  8. AMC32

    AMC32 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Lincolnton, NC
    Messages: 1,504

    A lot of the reasons you listed are why I want a tractor over a skid steer. Pretty much all except no one having a tractor around here would be a huge lie lol. Pretty much everyone has a tractor and a good bit have skid steers but tractors are definitely more common here. Would you ever buy a new tractor?
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  9. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,959

    Would I ever buy a new tractor . No . I have good luck finding deals . My bx with 100 hours was $4k new they run $18K plus . My NH with 475 hours was $7k . The 2 combined were less than the small one new . I do wish I had a cab for the winter , but I love the visibility of the tractor .
  10. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,900

    I had a BX2360 and I loved it but it just seemed like there was a lot of things it didn't have the "oomph" for it but it was a little prone to teeter totter (we work on a lot of slopes). We do everything you've listed and a few more with the tractor, I'll have to look but I think last year we did at least $12k to $15k of tractor specific work alone... I've been using a tractor in the business for going on 5 years now and they are definitely money makers.

    My issue using a Dingo/Boxer/whatever would probably be the same. I'm 6'3" so the controls may be a little low. My other guys are shorter than me, probably 5'7" to 5'10" between them so it might be OK for them.

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