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Wheel Loader or Backhoe?

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment' started by Crewcutlawncare, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. Crewcutlawncare

    Crewcutlawncare Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    Hey guys,

    I read a lot of posts on here as far as which is better, a wheel loader or backhoe for snow. I do landscaping in the summer months... not too much topsoil work, but a ton of mulching for commercial accounts.

    My questions is should I trade my 16' loader pusher box in for a 12' backhoe pusher box, and buy a 310J TC backhoe for winter time and summer, or just keep the already paid for loader pusher box and rent/buy a JD wheel loader.

    I figure it will just sit most of the year, but at least it would be mine eventually...

    Also, if I do opt for the wheel loader, do you think I would be better off with a 524 or 444 series one? The 444 seamed to do the trick last season, but then again here in PA, they are talking about a lot the white stuff this year. We are plowing for the airport a little bit and around some Fedex planes. I don't really have any shopping centers, just some corporate accounts and large commercial places. The only big open area is Fedex.

    If anyone could give me their opinions, I would greatly appreciate it. I need to let them know by Tuesday though... :eek:
  2. accipiter12

    accipiter12 Senior Member
    Messages: 223

    Skip the 524 and go for the 544J. :) So you don't do any dirt work in the summer that would need a loader? Do you have a supply yard or screen topsoil and compost or something that would warrant the loader? If you bought the hoe would you be able to use it in the non-snow months?
  3. Crewcutlawncare

    Crewcutlawncare Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    Well, I could use it to load salt into my dump truck. I would also be able to pickup the mulch piles on different sites and carry it to all of the different areas, but that's about it. So to answer your question, no I don't have my own place just yet.

    With the backhoe I would get more use out of it, but then since I am still pretty small, I was thinking of just getting a 35D mini excavator. We do a lot of paver patio and retaining wall projects. So I'm not sure if I should invest in a 35D, and a new 323 track skid steer?

    Also, the other problem is that the Deere dealership only has a 444K and a 524K loader available for rent.... which kind of puts me in a tough spot considering the fact that all the other places I would use this at, besides Fedex, havent made up their minds yet! :mad:
  4. Crewcutlawncare

    Crewcutlawncare Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    Plus accipiter12, I am trying to save $20,000 so that I can get a tandem axle dump truck too for spring time, and an eager beaver trailer... So right now my mind is in 10 million different directions. What should I do??!!

    I think that I definitely need a bigger truck because we usually go through about 3-400 yards of mulch per season, plus all of the hardscaping work with stone.

    Please keep in mind here that I am only 20 years old, and we do about $300,000 a year which isn't a whole lot. I pretty much do everything from the lawn spraying to cutting, shrub pruning, etc. So if someone could help me figure out they think is best for me, I would sincerely appreciate it!
  5. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 5,976

    I think its gonna be really hard for you to justify the loader..... Or even get financing on something like that to begin with....
  6. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    for my two bits, man, starting looking for some good used equipment, a decent used backhoe is going to run you (if you look hard and carefully) $20 000, a good used loader is going to be about the same, a tandem truck you can pick up for around $10 000, and the trailer if you keep a good eye out i have seen them as low as (6000-8000) since you are basically a one man crew, start out with some used equipment, here are my reasons.

    -cost less
    -we are in a recessiong motivated sellers
    -there is some really good rebuilt equipment out there (iron planet)
    (i just bought a 1980 cat 910 with a rebuilt engine and tranny(1000hrs on it) for about $15000canadian)
    -you probably aren't going to put huge hours on it
  7. accipiter12

    accipiter12 Senior Member
    Messages: 223

    Well it's really hard to suggest things because it sounds like you're in a cross roads here. I'd keep a close eye on machinertrader.com and iron planet. I do. There's a nice JD 554J for $43K right now. It may not get much higher than that (I have a thick book of machines that have been sold at auctions the past 6 months from machinerytrader and 544J's are going at decent prices).

    Think hard of what you would need (not want) that can handle most projects and then rent other machines until you're ready to buy. If you buy a machine and you don't use it enough to keep up with payments and get your money's worth you'll have a headache 24/7. A mini and a skid steer may be the way to go. Then for jobs that you need larger equipment just rent...and when winter comes around, rent. That's kinda my way of thinking but others on here may have better advise. Peterbuilt and others are far more experience than I am (I'm only 24, not much experience like the old timers on here).

    I started out using a backhoe for EVERYTHING so I am a firm believer that a backhoe can be a big help until you're ready to buy specific pieces of iron such as a mini. That being said, backhoes aren't always the greates for some jobs but if you get one it's not the end of the world. Maybe get an older hoe, (low price) and then invest in some good iron like a mini etc. I'm in the process of starting up a business (I do excavation work on the side from my day job) that will ultimately replace what I do now for a living. I'm kind of in the same cross roads with equipment needs and purchases...I am going the backhoe route first then a loader will be my next purchase (pending some other things in the works I could get both at the same time). I just feel for what I need a hoe will be sufficient for the time being and anything else needed will be rented. PM me if you want to brain storm some more.
  8. procut1

    procut1 Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    If you are going to buy ONE machine to use year round for both snow and landscaping, I think the backhoe would be the most versatile.

    For plowing snow, I much prefer a wheel loader. The traction and maneuverability is generally better and overall its a better snow machine.

    With that said, even though a backhoe isnt as good as a loader in the snow, it will certainly do the job and a good operator can cover some serious ground with one.

    Unless you have a use for a large loader year round, go with the backhoe.