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

Options for snow removal.......UGH!

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by taxreliever, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. taxreliever

    taxreliever Member
    Messages: 63

    So, for the past 10 years or so, I've maintained a fairly large (10-12k square foot) double driveway/parking lot with used plow trucks.....trucks in the 3-5k range and have only been successful with breakdowns because we had a traveling mechanic.....he's gone now :realmad:......:cry:.....so my truck can't be easily maintained in the winter and I NEED it to be so I can maintain my yard when I want and how I want....I've ruled out paying someone cause I haven't found one reliable enough to be there when I want it done and believe me I'd pay if I could find someone, just don't think he exists, and besides, the peace of mind of me doing it any time I want is worth the self hassle.

    Anyways, I don't think an older plow truck is going to work for us anymore....I'm thinking of:

    -UTV plow $10-15k range
    -UTV snow thrower $10-15k range
    -a more expensive plow truck $10-15k range

    I've been struggling with all three above and not sure any of them will be a whole lot better than my old plow truck.

    I think a UTV would be easier to maintain and repair if it broke down in the middle of winter....meaning I could trailer it somewhere right away and small engine mechanics are more readily available than vehicle ones; from my experience anyways....lots of really good back yard mechanics that can fix these things that I know of. First, not sure if a UTV plow or thrower set up is even feasible in my price range.

    If I get a nice UTV for $25k, might as well buy a new pickup for that, right?

    Any thoughts or help on the subject would be appreciated.
     
  2. micklock

    micklock Senior Member
    Messages: 118

    we were considering a new plow truck but bought a new cab tractor instead. I mowed all summer in air conditioning and now plowing snow in a warm cab.Thumbs Up
     
  3. taxreliever

    taxreliever Member
    Messages: 63

    THANKS!

    I thought about a tractor as well, but thought that might be more than a UTV and a Truck in my price range.......I also thought maintenance and ease of use would be better on a UTV vs a tractor, but maybe not. We wouldn't use the tractor for anything else other than snow removal, so I guess it would be cool to have a plow and a snowblower attachment also.
     
  4. Ramitt

    Ramitt Senior Member
    Messages: 156

    Depends on what way you look at it. The utv is pretty limited to your driveway/yard. Great for all year yard work tho! The truck on the other hand can be driven all year around and used as a spare truck if you need it. Plus gives you the option to plow other places easily enough. Granted now you need insurance and a little more maintenance. A plow truck in the 10-15k range will get you a very decent one. In my area they have some 3/4-1 tons about 5-7 years old that you can get for around 10k. If they are only gonna be used for light use they should last a long time! That or get an older solid truck and get the whole thing gone over. Then slap a new plow on it. I know the older early to mid 90's chevys will take a beating and the 350's are very reliable. This is coming from a dodge guy.
     
  5. taxreliever

    taxreliever Member
    Messages: 63

    THANKS! All very good points. In the 11 years I've owned my property, I've had two plow trucks. I had a not too old Ford which lasted 5 years before not being able to get another sticker...then decided to take your suggestion of a solid older rig and bought an 83 Chevy.....super solid, has ALWAYS started, regardless of how cold it was outside and never garaged...super reliable IF YOU CAN TINKER....so this rig, which is still road worthy requires constant tinkering....I have a decent size yard so it does get a fair amount of work, but nothing like those who plow commercially or have multiple yards for sure.

    They're small things, like brakes locking up (normal maintenance), steering linkage ($5 part) broke.....ujoint.....little things that even after going through it can cause a breakdown in the middle of a storm.......I did get my brakes done, replaced calipers, pads, and hydraulic lines and she seems to be freed up and braking fine, but it still left me without a rig for a few days.

    A newer (say 10-15k plow truck) might give me a season or two or three without incident...maybe...not sure, but I know even my newer rigs have something every now and then that could leave me in a bind.

    I'm one of those paranoid property owners who goes overboard to keep his property maintained....I have 3 commercial businesses on my lot plus a small private school and I can't be left in the lurch with a small repair I can't do myself.

    Like I said you made some points that my wife and I have been pondering......we like having the truck for it's on road use throughout the year as well, but we did purchase a DD pickup that could take that slack up. The UTV would solely be used for snow removal, maybe some recreational time in the summer.
     
  6. Ramitt

    Ramitt Senior Member
    Messages: 156

    Also remember that a utv will have its moments of repair too. Especially if plowing bigger areas. They arent designed for hard plowing use. Ball joints bushings and bearings will need replaced... You might be suited for something like a kubota or skid steer... We have a kubota l3800 which gets the crap used out of it and its been a good machine. Almost 1,000hrs on it right now. For sure the Tractor will be able to take more abuse then a truck or utv. While you dont have the comfort of good suspension it will be able to do all the work you ask of it... At the end of the day its your money. Talk it over with the wife and go over all the pro's an con's. Make your best decision and go from there. The kubota l3800 is a newer model so most likely out of your price range..New is 21k I believe. Used ones with around 100-300hours are going for around 16ish
     
  7. taxreliever

    taxreliever Member
    Messages: 63

    That's what I was afraid of.....wondering if working a UTV on my property will cause similar issues....the ONLY advantages I see of a UTV breakdown over a plow truck breakdown are 1) I can trailer it somewhere for repair and 2) the availability of a small engine mechanic might be more than a regular mechanic in the winter. A friend of mine also said to keep in mind that any parts for a utv probably won't be on the shelf, but should be available in a day or two.

    Maybe a used kubota would be our best bet, but I'd really want a heated cab, so if that wasn't part of your prices above, I've heard those can bring another $3-4k.
     
  8. Ramitt

    Ramitt Senior Member
    Messages: 156

    I dont really have good info on utvs for plowing. Most of the guys I know use them for light yardwork and trail riding.. So im not sure how well they hold up to plowing. They will take some abuse but I wouldnt be surprised if you had to do maintenance on the front end once a year.. If you were just doing your driveway id say go for it but needing it to plow other things and needing it to be in top working order every time makes me hesitant. While you are right you can find a small shop to work on it, sometimes that not the best option. Chances of motor work needing to be done in the next 5 years is slim to none.. Needing bearings,bushings and ball joints will def happen within the 2 years of ownership. Im not sure how well the deere utv holds up to abuse. I know they are more designed for work so that is an area you would have to look into. On the other hand 2 years of ownership with a plow truck will prob result in the same ball joint, bearing replacement. Unless you can find a truck that has the proof that new quality items were just put on it. Then you can have a few years of not having to do it... We have an 02 ram 2500 at work that we use to plow with. 5.9 gas and it plows about 2 miles of rough paved road. It has held up pretty decently for the last 4 years of plowing.

    Im not sure what the used tractor market is like. You would have to take a look and see what you can get for the money.... backhoe would be nice but thats about 40k over your budget lol
     
  9. CowboysLC_DE

    CowboysLC_DE Senior Member
    Messages: 174

    I used a tractor for a family friend in high school before I started my business and it definitely got the job done. In my mind it definitely beats out a UTV because not only can you push/blow the snow, you can also stack it in certain areas during crazy winters that you get up there.

    Otherwise, I would advise that you trade in one of your family vehicles for a new truck with a brand new plow. Should be easy to get financing and you would have little worry the first several years if you are only taking care of your lot. You could get away with a half ton (1500) since you are only doing one lot, but I run two 2500hd's and will be buying new 3500's in the future.

    Also, are you sure about the 10k-12k sq ft? That seems like a small lot for the clients you have.

    As for price, I would end up paying $8k-$14k for a nicely equipped used tractor and $35-$40k for a new 2500/3500 with a plow.

    Michael
     
  10. taxreliever

    taxreliever Member
    Messages: 63

    Now I might be leaning towards a tractor.......:help:

    Michael thanks for taking the time....I did think about getting a newish plow truck that would double as one of our daily drivers......but the cheaper option might be the used tractor you mentioned above....wouldn't want anything fancy, just the heated cab would be a must and of course big enough to handle the snow.......like you said, it would be versatile enough to plow and move banks around, which I cannot do now and have a tractor come 2 or 3 times throughout the winter to do for me.
     
  11. beanz27

    beanz27 Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    Skid loader would be my choice. After that a tractor, after that a hd pickup for a dd.
     
  12. Rick547

    Rick547 Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 535

    For years I used a smaller Kubota tractor to move my snow in my driveway but I also used it to mow my yard in the summer. No cab but the front mounted loader and 4 wheel drive did a nice job moving snow. When I moved I decided to buy a older 1/2 ton truck and put a 71/2 foot blade on it. Beat the Kubota plowing snow. It was much nicer to be in a warm cab and I could move snow faster. My 1/2 ton truck was also a short bed single cab and I could move it around just about anywhere. I still have it but I also have purchased a newer 3/4 ton with a single cab and full size bed. Love the new Boss V plow but the longer bed on the truck makes it harder to maneuver. Something I can live with.
     
  13. taxreliever

    taxreliever Member
    Messages: 63

    Skid loader is a tad out of my budget. payup

    I'm really leaning toward a tractor now.....are they difficult to operate? As compared to a plow on a pick up truck?

    Wow, so the truck was better for you for plowing than the tractor? Maybe cause it was faster?

    I was thinking a snowthrower attachment for larger storms and for moving banks and a plow for smaller storms and scraping.
     
  14. CowboysLC_DE

    CowboysLC_DE Senior Member
    Messages: 174

    Can you add an aerial map of your property?

    With a tractor you will need a large trailer to transport it a few times a year. Unless everything including a mechanic are in driving distance.

    Also, in my area I can pick up a clean used skid steer for $9k-$12k with a bucket, plus a cheap to decent pusher for $1,500 to $2,500.

    Michael
     
  15. Rick547

    Rick547 Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 535

    That was many moons ago and it was the smallest 4 wheel drive tractor Kubota made at the time. I bought it to landscape my yard to begin with. So it had a front end loader, rear blade and a rear mounted woods mower. I forgot I had a used Bobcat for one year. Now that was fun. Also it would move a lot of snow.
     
  16. kimber750

    kimber750 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,663

    Paid $6700 for bobcat 763 with 1300 hours. Buddy found a 743 for under $4000 with just over 3000 hours.
     
  17. Ramitt

    Ramitt Senior Member
    Messages: 156

    Well skid steer might be a bit cheaper since they all have cabs and heat. I know our deere 323 had a fully enclosed cab but you rarely had to use heat with the amount the engine put off. If you find a tractor with a full cab and plow on it already that will be a pretty good route. If you have to put a cab on it look at about 3k for a hard top one.
     
  18. CowboysLC_DE

    CowboysLC_DE Senior Member
    Messages: 174

    Make sure you price check cabs and heaters if you go that route. It could be the right route if you find a tractor/skidsteer with one already but buying new is pricey.

    I know for Kubota heaters are pricey $400-500, if I recall. The cab for an L4740 cost $5,200 without install but that tractor was probably bigger than you were thinking. Cheapest cab would be a soft cab off eBay and would cost around $1,000. Don't let these prices discourage you, just make sure you have a price from a dealer before you buy a machine.

    Michael
     
  19. taxreliever

    taxreliever Member
    Messages: 63

    I'll work on a hand drawing and I'll post the google satellite pics, but the satellite pics have too many trees in the way to see the entire driveway.

    Oh wow.....I didn't know they were that inexpensive.....I was probably thinking of something else. I'll have to consider that for sure.
     
  20. taxreliever

    taxreliever Member
    Messages: 63

    Found these with a quick craigslist search:

    $8300
    https://maine.craigslist.org/hvo/4863152021.html

    $5500, but it's an 84
    https://maine.craigslist.org/hvo/4862520431.html

    All the other ones I saw had cages instead of enclosed cabs, probably because they're used for summer work.

    I was hoping for a plow and/or snowthrower and saw these also:

    https://maine.craigslist.org/hvo/4844792019.html

    https://maine.craigslist.org/grd/4838497492.html