1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

Need advice on new purchase

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by HPSInc, Oct 2, 2016.

  1. HPSInc

    HPSInc Member
    Messages: 30

    I just signed a contract for two neighboring HOA communities for snow removal. They are both pretty tight accounts. I've been doing HOAs for years but after starting out using walk behind snow blowers for the driveways, because let's face it that's all I could afford back then, i started to sub out the driveways to another contractor who had a bunch of machines with blowers and just concentrated on plowing the roadways and handling the shoveling aspect of the properties. However it looks like the subbing is coming to an end this year.

    I already own a toro ground master 455d with cab and 72" blower but Im putting it at an account I was subbing that out to last year and need to purchase a new machine for the accounts I just signed. The contractor I subbed to had a bunch of toro groundmaster type machines and uses 35-40hp kioti tractors with 66" blowers on his larger accounts. He despises skid steers and told me several times not to buy one due to poor visibility. Thing is, I like skid steers. I've never run a tractor but have plenty of time behind wheeled and tracked skids, just never owned my own. Business is good now and with these new plow accounts I can justify the purchase of a nice machine. The last thing i need to do is put a machine that could break down on me in the middle of the night in a snow storm so I'm buying new. Not that something couldn't still happen but....you know, new is nice.

    I priced some tractors, I'm between a 40hp kioti tractor with 66" blower and loader, a case farmall 40hp tractor with 74" blower and loader, and then an s570 bobcat with 2 speed, high flow, pilot controls, winter package, quick disconnect, bucket, 66" blower, and plow blade. Basically every option I can get on the machine.

    What I witnessed at times in the past was the blowers can push the snow depending on the conditions, it piles up and they push it right into garage doors making it a nightmare for the shovelers, and it would frustrate the H-E-double hockey sticks out of my subcontractor so I kind of want a plow attachment as well as a blower in the event the snow isn't cooperating and I would be better off back dragging them. I thought I was a genius when I was looking at tractors and thought I would put a blade on back, and blower on front, but I feel the machine might be too long and cumbersome now that I see what the back blades look like hanging off the back.

    Price wise the kioti is the least expensive around 45k with dealer cab (no AC, no radio, no rear wiper or defroster) 50k with factory cab (has all those things) The case is 55k with factory cab. The blower is almost 5k more than the kiotis (5500 vs 10,700), the skid comes to 55k with all attachments. I feel like I'm leaning towards the skid but I just don't know. I would leave all attachments on site so we could switch around on the skid depending on what we needed, and could stack or move snow around with the bucket as needed too. I'm not sure I can switch from blower to loader or blower to possibly front plow as easily on a tractor as I can a skid. Fill me in if you know.
    Lastly, the kioti does 15.5 mph, the case 17.0mph, and the skid does 11.9. I have some accounts near these I could drive a machine down the road if necessary, like if my toro craps out on me, so that's where I like the tractor. For summer use, I like the skid. It's not that I can't trailer a machine, but I'm talking a 5 min ride down the road between several of my accounts. Probably longer in a machine but still close enough to drive in a pinch if we had to.

    I also already own a nice 130hp payloader, does nearly 30mph, it's big yet not too big that I couldn't use in my accounts to move piles around and my shop is right around the corner from these accounts as well so I can just drive it do the road if I really had to. So moving piles could be left up to the loader if it comes to needing that done. But having a smaller machine with pile moving capabilities already on site is better than me having to drive my loader down.

    Please help me make this decision a little easier, or atleast enlighten me on how I can. Maybe there is something I need to consider that I'm not? I know this was a long winded post but I'm just trying to give details up front and it's a large purchase I need to make relatively soon. Thanks
     
  2. FredG

    FredG 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,228

    A skid don't save the day in a lot of situations. You could use a pull behind on your truck for the drives, If you got your mind made up on a tractor you could get a inverted blower. JMO but your buddy is right with the visibility issues on the skid. Not implying a skid won't work but you will need to take your time to be safe.
     
  3. HPSInc

    HPSInc Member
    Messages: 30

    Ideally we really want to snowblow driveways. I don't want to do these driveways at all with a truck. Inverted blower would solve the issue of pushing into garages but we had 7ft of snow fall in 1 night 2 years ago and an inverted blower would be useless if something like that were to happen again. Why can't a skid save the day? What's a tractor with a blower got over a skid with a blower? Thanks for your reply
     
  4. FredG

    FredG 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,228

    Well well, You appear to have it all figured out, FYI a skid can do damage by skidding on spider cracks on a drive. Why would you wait for 7' to fall? I change my thoughts buy the skid. You must be in the Buffalo area, The night you had the 7' of snow I was on the thruway stranded with a lowboy and had to drive the loaders into buffalo. In 7' of snow most blowers are useless. Unless it is like mine in my avatar. BTW how productive is a skid in 7' of snow?
     
  5. seville009

    seville009 Senior Member
    from CNY
    Messages: 737

    Visibility can be a big factor. I'm just a homeowner, but with a country driveway. Started out with a tractor/blower, then added a truck with a plow (still the main snow removal tool), and also a skidsteer with a blower. The tractor does not have a cab, and it gets real cold and old blowing backwards. I use the tracked skidsteer mainly for blowing back banks and piles and making paths in the fields; has a heated cab. In powdery snow, especially if it's windy, I'll have to come to a dead stop in the skidsteer to let the snow settle so that I can see where I am. With the tractor being higher up, and the blower farther away from me (at the back), I don't have that issue when using the tractor. They each have their pluses and minuses.

    If you have a loader on the tractor at the same time that you have the blower on, you can always use the loader to knock the snow down when you have those 7' storms (or even to break up hard snow banks before blowing them back). It'd be tough to blow through 7' of snow even with a skidsteer.
     
  6. HPSInc

    HPSInc Member
    Messages: 30

    Yes I'm in buffalo, and I do not have it all figured out, but just my opinion and what I saw from that storm I couldn't see how an inverted blower could clear these driveways. Wasn't so much about letting 7 ft drop before going out, I was out like everyone else and we all got caught and buried. It was nuts, my truck was in a ditch before I knew it and that was all she wrote until 2 days later a high loader dragged it out. I was stranded at my shop. When we finally broke into our properties again we had to dig our way in. Those little red toros with 60" blowers cleared the driveways. We snowblowed the bottom until the top layer fell, and just kept working into them like that. Cleared them all the same way. A driveway like I pictured would take the machine that is hard to make out in the pic about 10-15 min to blow clean. Typically on a normal night your talking 30 seconds and on the the next. Most companies around me use skid steers with blowers, and I see a few with tractors. I think it mostly boils down to what they need more in the summer, then hang a blower off it. The guy I subbed to only does snow so he only wants tractors. For some reason I feel a skid might have some perks over a tractor with being able to quickly change from blower, to plow, to bucket... then again it could be the other way around and the tractor would be superior due to better visibility , and that's why I'm posting here, because I just don't know what Im really would be better off with.

    image.png

    image.png

    image.png

    image.png
     
  7. FredG

    FredG 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,228

    This is the 3rd time you been warned about visibility issues including your buddy. I guess I should of asked you why you don't want a truck on these drives. Meaning is there no where to put it unless you blow it?
     
  8. HPSInc

    HPSInc Member
    Messages: 30

    Yes I know, perhaps I'm being a bit of a hard head. I guess I just want a skid more, esp for summer use, but don't want to get the wrong piece of equipment for what I need it for now just because I want it. I've been mowing the accounts I'm putting the new machine for about 5 years, so I don't want to look like a schmuck now that I'm doing the snow for them. They really like us and I want to keep it that way. Yes the accounts are too tight for a truck to put the snow anywhere. The blowers edge the road and driveways so nice as well, they look great when finished. I posted a pic to show what they typically look like when finished. I plowed the road and handled shoveling at this account and like I mentioned before, subbed the snow blowing portion.

    image.jpeg
     
  9. ktfbgb

    ktfbgb Senior Member
    Messages: 783

    I would say that you should get the piece of equipment that is going to work for you 95% of the time. Meaning what will make you money all year in your business rather than just during the snow season. Then on top of that what will work best in the snow during the normal years where you get typical snow fall. It's good to be prepared for a 7' snowfall overnight but I would rather have a plan to deal with that with what I have over buying something specifically for when a freak storm comes through. Looks like you handeled it last time with what you had, and when something like that happens normal operations go out the window and you have to punt anyway.
     
  10. FredG

    FredG 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,228

    Cool pics, A skid would definitely help you out there in the pics next to a tractor, I guess I wasn't thinking about severe conditions. I had one of them toros they are handy I used to use them in handy cap area's. I still would do some research on a ebling or daniels. You don't have to mobilize the pull behind like you do the toro. Maybe you need both I do. I don't blow anything anymore specially sidewalk shear pins are a PITA.. Good Luck
     
  11. ktfbgb

    ktfbgb Senior Member
    Messages: 783

    X2 on the Ebling.
     
    FredG likes this.
  12. HPSInc

    HPSInc Member
    Messages: 30

    I know all about shear pins, I used to change them all night for the guys since none of them could seem to figure it out. Those little toros are nice but they were older and broke down too much for my liking. I'm not even too confident in my 455d I bought last year since it broke the first 15 min I had it out and I had to redo a bunch of wiring and connectors. The only thing is the account I'm putting that machine I can back drag driveways with a truck and pile snow if it comes down to it. It won't look as clean as when the machine does it, but I'm not worried the same as if a machine took a dive on me on these new places. I know I'd get it done through hell or high water either way, always have, but still want a nice new machine in there.

    I bought the high loader last year, so I'm pretty covered in the event of a freak storm now. It's a really nice dependable and roadworthy machine. On average snow falls, 2-6" what would you think to be faster, the skid or tractor? You can see the types of places I do, the one I posted is a bit roomier than the new ones I have though. Most of our snowfalls it dumps for a few hours, then clears up and we go to work.
     
  13. FredG

    FredG 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,228

    I'm assuming a high loader is a wheel loader for severe conditions. Why do you need the skid? If you need it in the summer to don't compare it to whats best for your HOA job in the snow. You got plenty of good advise. Now it's up to you.
     
  14. Michael J. Donovan

    Michael J. Donovan Head Moderator, Online Communities Staff Member
    Messages: 1,051

    NO need for the uncalled for language and insults...if you feel the need to do so again, DON'T, if you would like to continue posting here

    thanks
     
  15. HPSInc

    HPSInc Member
    Messages: 30

    Yes the wheel loader is for severe situations, in the meantime I use it around my shop property quite often. The skid or tractor would get used for landscaping jobs in the summer months.

    Just ran into a guy who is retired but was a machine mechanic and operator, He has ran just about everything out there. He told me to get a tracked skid, an asv/terex. He said he hates wheeled skids. His animosity towards them had me laughing. I suppose the more I ask the more I'll just go around and around trying to find as answer that might not be out there but I appreciate the replies.
     
  16. seville009

    seville009 Senior Member
    from CNY
    Messages: 737

    I have an ASV PT-50 (tracked); it works great in snow. Not good on ice, but what is. The ASV tracks don't have the larger flat lugs like some, so they dig into the snow really well.
     
  17. Herm Witte

    Herm Witte Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    Ok, we've used them all in condominiums, HOA's are basically the same. Trucks with front and pull plows work but you often run out of room to place snow and damage to turf always happens. Skidsteers with plows work but visibility, especially behind you, is an issue. Skidsteers and toolcats with blowers work well but pull back from garages is is an issue. We have found tractors with inverted blowers to work out very well. After 40 plus years of operating a snow and ice management firm the inverted blowers seem to work out the best in these situations with little or no collateral damage to property.
     
  18. FredG

    FredG 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,228

    I only seen one person running his lips insulting others. Why not just identify him and be done with it. I only seen likes to my response back. The OP is naive to the snow biz and thought it was funny spitting out his coffee out. Grow some and tell it like it is.
     
    ktfbgb likes this.
  19. FredG

    FredG 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,228

    You hire operators that don't know how to repair a shear pin. Ya I'll change it for them along with there walking papers. :dizzy: :dizzy: :dizzy: :terribletowel::hammerhead:
     
    ktfbgb likes this.
  20. Michael J. Donovan

    Michael J. Donovan Head Moderator, Online Communities Staff Member
    Messages: 1,051

    I was talking to everyone, in general, and specially, to a few...so DON'T tell me to grow some, understand?

    Now, time to move on and keep the discussion moving forward