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Skid Steer, Tractor or Toolcat?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by NLS1, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. NLS1

    NLS1 Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    Picking up more commercial accounts and strings of houses for this year. What's the best return on my investment with these machines? I will run both trucks but need to add something else this year. Spent lots of time with skid steers, and they are great for lots of close driveways, but are so dang slow unless you spend major money on the 2 speed units or a toolcat:eek: . Should I add a small loader or tractor, or is the toolcat or 2 speed skid steer better? I am willing to spend the money in whatever way I need to to get the most profit.
    I will be using it for small to medium lots, strings of driveways, and trim work if I can get larger accounts too for this year. Thanks for the input!
  2. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    If money isn't the biggest factor I'd go with a 2 spd. skd steer. As much as a tractor is a little bit faster you'll be able to do more with a skidsteer with respect to snow. I'm sure you'll also find ways to leep it busy landscaping. Putting a flip down pusher which you can use to back drag loading docks and bay doors with is the best way I think, they back drag like no plow you have ever used. Also you'll be able to stack alot more snow a lot higher with a skidsteer. Come summer you won't be moving pallets around with a tractor or toolcat, nevermind summer what about pallets of salt, no moving them with the other machines either.
  3. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    If money isn't the biggest factor I'd go with a Toolcat. Enclosed cab, 4x4, 4 wheel steer, 18 mph, radio, etc. dump box for carrying salt and a push snow blower, and a reese style hitch for the spreader. Heck carry a second guy with you to get out and do whatever.

    I might have just talked myself into looking into them again for a job I'm bidding.
  4. magnatrac

    magnatrac PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,055

    I'd stick with the skid to tractor over the tool cat. Don't get me wrong I think they are really neat but way to expensive. $45k is what I was quoted last spring. If your a city or maintain a large property all year it would be a handy untility vehicle but it isn't tough enough for work like a skid or tractor in the summer months. The lift capacity is only 1500lbs. You can get any 2 speed skid you want for that kind of money. 2 speed was only a $ 1200 option on my new machine, half the price of a cab!!! My brother is currently looking at a tractor w/cab or a small wheel loader. We are leaning towards the tractor becasue of it's possible summer uses( brush cutting, yard prep, etc. Most of the 40-50 hp. tractors will lift 2000lbs.+ depending on options. You can get a loaded tractor for 30k and closer to 25 if you buy a gear drive. I am a skid steer guy but I got to say that after looking at all of these tractors those cabs look really nice for spending a long night in them!!! The small wheel loaders are really neat too but they are priced closer to 50k. Since I have the skid for summer digging work we're leaning towards the tractor( for now atleast!!!). Good luck, keep us posted!!!
  5. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,594

  6. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,396

    FWIW, a Toolcat will lift over 2K. I know, I always have to test the limits. :D

    After using a tractor for several years then a skid, my vote is definitely with the skid. It is a dedicated loader whereas most tractors it is an add on option. We wore out the hydraulics on the Deere we had, engine was good, hydraulics were shot. The only thing I miss is the 3 point, but I will be figuring something out for my Toolcat.
  7. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,030

    How wide is a tool cat. I would probably go with a skid IMO. Mark, this Deere tractor you speak off, what model was it and what blade or attachments were you using.
  8. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,396

    It was an 870. I know, not a good example, but still, it was not a dedicated loader. We killed it loading salt over the years..
  9. SLLNorth

    SLLNorth Member
    Messages: 39

    Skid-steer is preffered for us. We run JD machines 325's and 260's all are 2 speeds.
  10. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,396

    Toolcat's are about 60", little less. Tire spread is like 58". Although with the mirrors from the road kit, you'll be wider.
  11. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,030

    Thanks Mark, I guess I could have looked it up. I was thinking about one for sidewalks at a very large property, but they just aren't manoeverable enough. I like that you can put a tailgate salter on them and still fill the box with bags. I have used front mount ones on a skid before but you can't salt and plow at the same time.
  12. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,396

    I agree on too wide. I think if you had 8' walks, it would be great. I had hoped to put one on walks a long time ago too, but had the same problem. Best thing I've come up with so far is a Kubota RTV 900 with an Erie Special Blizzard 720 cut down to 5' and a sprayer in back.

    SNOWLORD Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 610

    My choice would be a 2speed skidloader probably a bobcat 300 they will hold their value better than the other choices and with about a milliion attachments hard to go wrong one thing I know for sure is if your loading anything into trucks or whatever the skidloader will put the tractor to bed
  14. NLS1

    NLS1 Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    Thanks everyone!

    Sounds like a skid steer is probably best, I have always liked Bobcat, but it looks like the JD skidders are good from what I see on their website. Is it propaganda or are they really that great? Anyone use them, how much is a good used one, and what size? Any thoughts from those who have used them?
    Hey Forestfireguy, that pusher you are talking about sounds great, which kinds can flip down for backdragging like that?
    Thanks everyone!:waving:
  15. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    All of our pushers are pro-tech units, we have about 15 of them total. The skidsteer units are nice because they hook onto the machine directly, you can get down pressure on them unlike a loader, backhoe where the pusher is "driven into" and chained on. As far as your machine choice, I like the bobcats we have 3 1 t300, 1 t190, and an 873. I prefer the tire machines for snow work only beacuse they are less hard riding, however with a track machine you will be able to drive up piles of snow that a tire machine will bog in, also for other kinds of work a track machine will outwork and go places a tire machine will never do. Example, a t190 is basically the same as an older 773, but it will lift another 1200 lbs, since it's on tracks.
  16. RipT

    RipT Senior Member
    Messages: 184

    JD Dave,

    Said you had used front-mounted salter (& sander?) on a skid steer......do you recall what type/brand/model? Purchased item or custom set-up? Ever used or seen the Thomas hydraulic spreader/sander?


    This is a self-loading 9 cu ft unit that looks well suited for a Toolcat. Seen the Normand drop spreader and the SkidSteerSolutions.com broadcast models, but these hold a yard or more and are too big for a toolcat or small/mid size SS. Also looked at Bauman drop spreaders, but they would have to do a custom job. Bit $$ also.

    My application is sand mix for traction on icy dirt/gravel drives. Looking for experience feedback since I am right at purchase point.

    Thanks, Rip
  17. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,030

    Hydraulic would probably be better, but we just put a Snow Ex tail gate salter on a quick tach bracket. It worked well but you can't plow and salt at the same time. If you are going to spread sand, make sure the spreader you buy is capable for sand. The one good thing about having it on the skid, is you can shake the salter to get the sand to flow.
  18. RipT

    RipT Senior Member
    Messages: 184

    JD Dave, Thanks for the reply.....just had the grandkids leave today, so finally had a chance to check out the site again.

    Since my application wil be sand/salt mix for traction on dirt/gravel road, I will be doing separate passes as needed. I like the Thomas unit the most at this point since it can load itself like a bucket from a bulk pile, and like you said, I can shake it to keep it flowing.

    My second choice would be a ProFlo2 or SpeedCaster2 mounted to a QA plate. While not self-loading, I could at least lower and tilt it forward for easier ground-level shovel loading. Can also shake it and dump out excess after a run.

    Will persue the Thomas some more.
  19. hardscaper

    hardscaper Member
    from usa
    Messages: 44

  20. RipT

    RipT Senior Member
    Messages: 184

    Thanks for the link to the Hydromann spreaders......would be a possibility if the Thomas won't work out. I still like the idea of self-loading and already set up for a skid, but one of those may be better than rigging up a ProFlo2 or SpeedCaster.

    Have I seen you on LawnSite? Have you used or seen one of these in action?