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Would like to start small excavating business.

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment' started by Ryan Collins, May 23, 2003.

  1. Ryan Collins

    Ryan Collins Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Hello Everyone!

    New to this board. Looks like a lot of good information! I have searched many of the past threads, and would like some more input from you on this topic.

    I am a 22 yo farm boy from South Dakota. Currently employed at a local processing plant. At my current job I work 4 days on, 4 days off. I would like to start a small excavating business on my days off, which I would hopefully be able to pursue fulltime eventually. My primary interest right now is purchasing a good used backhoe and transport trailer. I intend to dig mostly odd jobs at first, such as burn pits, small stock dams, livestock burials, stump removals, ect. I would apprieciate any input or ideas any of you might have on additional income opportunities. I have spent many hours in a John Deere 4440 tractor/loader, but not one in a backhoe. I am ambitious and have the desire to pursue this. Is schooling recommended or available, or should I just start out on small odd jobs and work up, learning as I go? I would someday like to move up to a full size tracted excavator.

    Having been born and raised on green machinery, I would like to go with a Deere. Is this practical for a beginner? Can anyone recommend a good older machine? Dependability is important. I would like to spend about $17,000 total for the hoe, and trailer. What type of trailer is required to transport a small backhoe? I would imagine a fifth wheel trailer and a 3/4 ton pickup would be adequate? Thanks for any input! Much apprieciated. I have many more questions........however I'll see how the post goes! Thanks! I am sorry if this is not the "appropriate" place to post this. I wasnt sure.

    Ryan
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2003
  2. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    I would skip the school, as it seems you already have the skills. I would also look for a Deere, because they have their own style of controls (yes CAT and others can be converted I know) that you are already used to. If you hopped in a CAT the sticks would be backwards for what you are used to now.

    As far as a truck and trailer, I would suggest something bigger than a pickup. A single axle dump, like a Chevy C-60, Ford F-700, or something similar in size. A 12 ton flat deck trailer with a pintle hitch. A 12 ton will hold a hoe fine. Anything larger for the right price would be a + too.

    With the larger dump, you can also do some material hauling, instead of limiting yourself to just digging. Between being able to dig, remove materials, bring in and spread materials, you should have a good amount of work available. You might even be able to hook up at the plant (you didn't say what they process, I am guessing quarry materials) you work at, and do some small load hauling for them. If not, you may be able to hook up with a local quarry and do small hauls for them.

    A 3/4 ton will be pushing it towing a hoe IMO, and possibly illegal too. A gooseneck is not the best choice for a hoe IMO, though it may be common in your area.

    Keep an eye out for auctions in your area. You can pick up a hoe at a good price, and possibly even a trailer. IF I see any auctions in your area, I will post them on the calendar here on PlowSite.

    Welcome to PlowSite :waving:

    ~Chuck
     
  3. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    It is fine to post what you did here. Now when you want to start asking business specific questions, the best place for them in the Elements Of Business Forum.

    ~Chuck
     
  4. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,223

    Ryan,It's all what your used to driveing i like case backhoes myself some guys like the deere and cat.You will have to drive an decide for yourself it almost like asking what truck brand is good.Every has there own favorite.As far as transporting it you would be best to get a truck with a gvw of 25K and a 9 ton trailer which brings into play another thing a cdl .As far as going to school if you've been running equipment on the farm that will be more than enought ot get you started but you might want to work for some one who does this typ of work in your area to get hand on trainning .I hope that this has helped
     
  5. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    I checked one auction company, and the closest they will be to you is Racine, WI. They don't have any hoes this time around, but they have 9 excavators.

    RACINE, WI on 06/27/03 for category HYDRAULIC EXCAVATORS...(9).
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1996 CAT 312, sn-7DK6328, diesel powered, equipped with cab, 28in pads, 36in digging bucket.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1994 CAT 307SSR, sn-2FL0780, diesel powered, equipped with cab, blade, offset boom, digging bucket, rubber tracks.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    CAT E120B, sn-7NF0754, diesel powered, equipped with cab, 20in pads, 3rd valve hydraulics, digging bucket.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    CAT E70B, sn-7YF0649, diesel powered, equipped with cab, 18in pads, 30in digging bucket.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    KOMATSU PC50UU-2, sn-8411, diesel powered, equipped with canopy, blade, offset boom, digging bucket, rubber tracks.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1995 KOMATSU PC28UU-2, sn-12341, diesel powered, equipped with canopy, blade, offset boom, digging bucket, rubber tracks.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1999 JOHN DEERE 160LC, sn-40784, diesel powered, equipped with cab, long undercarriage, digging bucket.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1999 JOHN DEERE 160LC, sn-40740, diesel powered, equipped with cab, long undercarriage, digging bucket.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    HITACHI EX60URG, sn-1076, diesel powered, equipped with canopy, blade, offset boom, digging bucket, rubber tracks.
    ------------------------------------------

    The CAT E120B is about the same size as the newer 312 model. It comes in at about 38,000 lbs, and it will just fit on a 20 ton trailer with air brakes.

    They have another one coming up later in the year in Racine, but no equipment listing yet for it.

    ~Chuck
     
  6. Ryan Collins

    Ryan Collins Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Thanks a bunch guys for the warm welcome, and advice. A very nice site you have here!

    I didnt realise that such a heavy truck trailor would be required for a backhoe. This will probably effect my startup cost significantly. I have considered purchasing the backhoe, and waiting on the truck/trailer. Most of my work, espeicially the first few years will be withen 25 miles of where I live. Is it reasonable to think I can simply drive the Hoe where I need to go, until I can turn enough income to purchase truck/trailer? I realise this would be hard on tires......however I would probably be looking at close to or better than $30,000 for Backhoe, Truck, and trailor, which is a little over my budget.

    Any advice on a good John Deere model in the $10,000-$14,000 range? Is there a model/year that was well known for its versatility and reliability? Thanks again!

    P.S. Plenty of land to practice on! :)
     
  7. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,223

    Go to this site it has alot of used equipment from backhoes to loaders, to excavators etc. http://www.machinerytrader.com/ I drive my bachoe to close jobs other than that i call the local tow co and they have a equipment trailer but that price just gets added to the job . so you really don't need to get a truck traile combo right off the bat but you will need a dump later on for removal and stone and other material pick up's for the small jobs.
     
  8. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,223

  9. Ryan Collins

    Ryan Collins Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Thanks a lot Cat!! Great link!

    As far as bobcat, do you mean a skidloader with hoe attach? I suppose this would be very handy, however everything I've looked at in a bobcat, is so much more expensive than an older backhoe. Also wouldnt achieve the depth I dont think that I would with a backhoe.
     
  10. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,223

    I was thinking of like a mini excavator and a small loader thought there might be so good deals where the factory was right there .
     
  11. Ryan Collins

    Ryan Collins Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Interesting idea,
    I am not at all familiar with the mini excavators. You are talking about the small tracked baby excavators? :) I would imagine they would be similarly priced to an older backhoe. How would they hold up in versitility? I suppose they would be easier to manuaver in small places. How deep can I get with a mine Ex compared to a tractor/backhoe? Certainly would be a handy item to have if and when I can expand my business. Thanks Cat! Your very helpful.

    Anyone know? Whats the going rate for a Tractor/Hoe and operator? Just an apprx would be great!
     
  12. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    Best way to find out rates is to call around to a few guys, even if they are a little further from your area, and get some prices. It seems sneaky, but it happens to all of us at one time or another. I don't think we have any Members in your area of the US, but I might be wrong. Just about any other area we have a dozen Members that can give you a range. If I remember correctly, things in your area are ridiculously cheap compared to much of the US. (I recall Eric ELM was from the Dakotas, and when he told me some property prices, I almost fell out of my chair! I couldn't have a driveway installed here for the cost of a home on 5 acres there!)

    ~Chuck
     
  13. Ryan Collins

    Ryan Collins Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    LOL!

    Thanks Chuck. You are probably right on the land prices, however lately even here they have gone up.

    One other thing, how about insurance? I have yet to call my local auto/home agent, as I doubt he can do much for me w/ this type of insurance. Can you tell me what I would expect to pay over a 1 year period? Just a ball park, and also who to get ahold of to purchase insurance from?

    Thank You fella's.
     
  14. snow

    snow PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 1,002

    Ryan-


    While i'm a big younger than you (18) i'm sort of in the same boat as you. I'd like to have my own excavating business one day and do septic installations and other work where you need a liscense.

    I plan on attending school to get my Class A cdl because i want to be able to move machines myself. I plan on buying a 6 wheeler mack dump truck soon and maybe a tagalong equipment trailer.

    I work for an excavating contractor and hope to get more experience in the field as far as drainage, running machines, driving trucks, etc.

    After i get the dump truck and a possible trailer, i hope to add a backhoe or a small excavator to the lineup of equipment. One thing that is hard to find in my area is space to keep equipment. Land is expensive and finding a place to keep trucks and equipment is really expensive.


    Once i get my cdl and get more experience working for a contractor, i plan to go on my own and start off doing small jobs and work my way up.


    Before you go out and buy something, you might be better off renting a machine first to determine how you like it and find out what the machine can and cannot handle as far as work.

    Also, where are you going to keep the equipment once you purchase it? Do you have room at your house or will you have to rent space?


    Insurance is also a big factor. I'm sure it's not going to be cheap, but it's something you will need to cover yourself if you damage anything or hit a line.

    Also, do you need a liscense to perform excavating? Might be worth looking into or talking to some local contractors.

    Hope this helps some,


    Bryan
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2003
  15. Ryan Collins

    Ryan Collins Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Bryan:

    Thanks for the advice. Sounds to me like your well on your way! You brought up some very good points.

    I dont think I'll have any difficulty in storing the equipment. My grandparants family farm is only about a 1/2 mile from the small acreage where I live.

    As far as needing a license in SD, you may be right. I will surely look into it.

    On the topic of transporting the backhoe, I have come across a trailer company that makes "backhoe trailers" . These appear to be a bumper hitch trailer rated upwards of GVW 25,000. I think a heavy duty (3500) pickup would handle this ok. Thanks guys. Any other input, please add! Nice to get all of these different angles.

    P.S. Here is a link to the trailers. http://www.belshetrailers.com/trailers.html
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2003
  16. snow

    snow PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 1,002

    Maybe i'm wrong, but i don't think a 3500 pickup would handle a 12 or 13 ton trailer. I think a a 3500 pickup could handle a 6 ton trailer, legally.

    An F550 dump truck could probably handle a 7 or 8 ton trailer i'm guessing. You'd be better of with a bigger truck even if you don't plan on using the weight capacity of the truck. The larger the truck also normally means it could tow mow. So if you were looking at a 33k gvw truck, it could tow a 20 ton trailer (i'm guessing).


    Do you have your cdl? If not, that might be something to get before you can use a trailer over 10k lbs gvw. Also any truck over 26k lb gvw you need a cdl to drive.


    What equipment do you have now to do any excavating now?

    Also, what about local competition, is there a lot in your area?


    Bryan
     
  17. wxmn6

    wxmn6 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,037

    Whoa, I would not think that one ton truck can tow a trailer capacity of 12 and half tons. You would be pushing way over the limit. Pulling empty, I would think ok, but loaded, forget it. Does that trailer have electric, air or hydraulic brake? I am not sure but you should look at least into 6500 - 7500 series trucks.

    A trailer with GVWR of 25,000# - you will need a CDL for sure. Here in NY, you need Class A CDL and be 21 years old to tow any trailer with GVWR of at least 10,000#. So be sure to check into DMV. What you should do is, go to DMV, pick up a copy of CDL manual, take a look at requirement, and figure out what you need.
     
  18. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,223

    I know that GM shows p/u pulling a 14K lb machine but there's no way that it would real safe and on a day to day basis.The bare minimum truck to pull like a 580 case would be 22K gvw with a 9 ton tag a long.As far as a mini digging deep they have some that go down some what deep,my baclhoe digs down to 18' with the E-Hoe.
     
  19. lamarbur

    lamarbur Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    check the auctions closest to you, if nothing, how about Heavy equipment Trader? I get this every ten days or so. Lot's of times they list an older Ford 7/000, or IH 4900 w/ trailer. On rare ocassions some include an older backhoe.
    Have you thought about compact diesels?
    I have a Mahindra 4110 model with a Bradco 511 hoe. Now that it has it's own separate PTO pump and hydraulic fluid tank, it can pretty much keep up with any smaller production hoe.
     
  20. Ryan Collins

    Ryan Collins Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Thanks guys for clearing me up on the transport issue. I'll be keeping my eye's open for an older single axle dump truck w/ hitch.

    No I dont have a CDL yet, however not a big concern. I have been driving heavy trucks w/2 speed axles for quite a few years now on the farm. Here in South Dakota, we can get by without the CDL in many cases, especially on the farm. I will be sure to check into it however.

    Competition? Yes there is some, however not reallly enough for me to be very concerned about. There are 2 big contractors in my area who many times will not even take the time to do work for the average guy who needs a burn pit dug, stump pulled, junk pile buried ect. There are too many high paying basements to dig.

    I'm not going to be out much I dont think. I can pay the hoe off just by working at my shift job, processing soybeans. Not as though I absolutely need dirt jobs to pay for it. I already have about 3-4 people who need Backhoe work done, not to mention the fact that it would be very usefull on the farm. I'm hoping to find a $14-16k hoe, maybe a $5k truck and an old trailer to pull it around on. Probably end up spending less than $20k.

    I do still need to figure out how much insurance will cost. Also research the backhoe's themselves a little more. I hope to end up with a deisel, would like a 4x4, however in the price range I am looking at, will likely end up with a 2x4. I hope to just start digging a few holes for friends, and see where it goes from there. I'll also get some use out of it moving a little snow in the winter on my acreage. Thanks for everyone's input. I appreciate everything. Still have quite a bit to learn.

    Ryan