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

How many acres justify a skid loader?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by jdavis11, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. jdavis11

    jdavis11 Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    I am fairly new to the site. We currently have a few trucks and two skid loaders, both are dedicated to their own respective sites, one of which is 8 acres and the other is 6 acres. I also send a truck to the 8 acre site for the first 2-2.5 hours to help out.

    My question is what size lot justify's having a dedicated skid loader for your company? I see many reply's to people posts who some think are "in over their heads" with just a truck or two for a large lot. Well then, at what point to do have to put a loader there? For me I would say 4-5 acres or more can justify it, but this obviously depends on the type of client and layout of the lot.
  2. JustJeff

    JustJeff 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,478

    Depends. Do you possibly keep salt there as well?
  3. concreteguy

    concreteguy Senior Member
    Messages: 136

    I would say the layout of the lot more so than the size. We do a townhouse complex that takes me 20 min with the skid. I never attempted with a truck but would have to say it would be 1- 1/2 hours. Just the shape of an H and everything needs to come out to one spot. Some of the bigger sites with long runs are almost better with a truck and the correct plow, unless you're thinking of a wheel loader
  4. TGS Inc.

    TGS Inc. Senior Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 569

    Size of lot...

    We usually put skids on lots at 4 acres or more...

    IDOCTORTREES Senior Member
    from MONTANA
    Messages: 792

    I use one on my driveway.
  6. blizzardsnow

    blizzardsnow Member
    Messages: 83

    I base mine on my production rates as a function of what time I have to have accounts serviced by. That pretty much answers the question for me.
  7. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,594

    Exactly! If the skid is going to be faster or easier then it doesn't matter how big the area is.
  8. Ne1

    Ne1 Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    I have five office buildings all on the same street. They add up to roughly 5 acres. I dedicate a skid and a 10' pusher. It's not because the lots are huge it's that there not super easy to plow.
  9. LapeerLandscape

    LapeerLandscape 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,247

    I have seen some of the driveways in Montana, you could land a plane on them unless you live in town.
    IDOCTORTREES likes this.
  10. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,794

    To me lot size isn't the only determination. I think my entire route could be done significantly quicker and easier with a skid steer. I'm considering replacing one of my truck's with a 2spd skid since my CTL isn't very quick. Even though my CTL only goes about 7mph with my 10' kage it can still knock out the smaller or more intricate lots much faster then my pickup and v plow can.

    PLOWTRUCK Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    Like many have said there is not an exact answer. For me it would be about 4 maybe 5 acres before I thought about putting a machine in a lot where I didn't have anything else around it. I do a few 1.5 acre lots near my condo site so I use my backhoe on those lots to free up 2 trucks.
  12. mike ward

    mike ward Member
    Messages: 79

    I have to build a route that is 6-8 hrs of work whether it is a plow truck or a skid steer/loader. The lots need to be close enough together to "road" the skid steer or the load from job to job. Build a production rate for your equipment, measure your lots, assign hrs to each job and build your routes.
  13. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    thats about as good as an answer as it gets! 160-170k sq ft mark you can't plow fast enough with a truck to justify tying up one truck, "even if just a pickup truck" on one site... so you leave a skid there, owned/rented etc.

    Its also faster in large areas even if not all open areas, to plow with a box on a machine instead of a truck.. i wouldn't even want to attempt plowing something that large today without a machine doing it.

    Our smallest lot with a skid was likely 160k sq ft... and thats enough to keep it busy full storm when its dropping a couple inches per hour, especially if during the day when the store is open.

    Call truck to come in and salt often to keep really clean too, works good.
  14. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    Yeah its not all about top speed for 4 seconds before your slowing down in a pickup truck.. I used our Deere 332D once two years ago overnight to clear a 280k+ site in about 2 hours when it was empty.. the speed of a two speed skid, about 12mph wide open with a 10' box would annihilate anything someone could do with a pickup truck with any snow plow on it without too much snow to jam up the box each run. Granted i only pushed about 4-5" but id get to the end lift box, do a 180 and 12mph the other way in a matter of a couple seconds. if plowing with a truck, i'd only be plowing one day, backing up the whole time. Doing it with the skid, id make piles a the end near the store then turn around and take that pile and the next run back towards the end of the lot. This wouldnt work if we had 8-12" but i would have already cleared it once by then anyway so we're never pushing that much snow in one shot.
  15. John_DeereGreen

    John_DeereGreen 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,910

    One of the sites we have a truck on is just over 250000 square feet. 2-4 inch storm and an 8'2" v plow with wings and it takes 2.25 hours to clear overnight. I'm positive once I convince myself to spend the money on an Ebling I'll knock an hour off that. Daytime storms we just clean driving lanes and loading docks, so it's not any longer.

    That same truck does another ~150000 square feet on average in a 2-4 storm. Route time averages between night and day storms to be right around 6 hours on a 2-4 event.

    To me, it's not the size of the lot that matters, its the layout. In most of our apartment and condo complexes, the skids make trucks look stupid. I have no problem letting a truck do 300000 square feet, if it's set up right for a truck. Open with a few islands so you can radius plow, I'll send a truck there all day long.

    We have one route for a skid where the average lot size is 40000 square feet with the total route being 300000 square feet. It's all office buildings. In a truck, it takes over 8 hours. The skid and 10' Kage does it in right at 4.

    In my very humble opinion, if a lot is too big for a truck, it's too big for a skid steer as well 99% of the time. Those are the lots that loaders belong.
  16. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    Ive found skids are useless compared to a truck in bigger lots. I like using them in lots that have tons of islands etc. Cuts our time in half basically.
  17. John_DeereGreen

    John_DeereGreen 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,910

    Looks like we think the same...put the equipment where it's best parts will shine. Trucks move faster, put them in the open areas where they don't have to manuver. Skids turn faster, put them where there's a lot more turning and stuff to go around.
  18. snocrete

    snocrete Banned
    Messages: 2,862

    Depending on the layout I'll agree..obviously if you have a lot of area that can be windrowed the truck will rock, but as soon as you go to pushing/carrying snow, our 10ft pushers carry much more volume than the powerplow or vplow w/wings.......but im curious if either one of you have have experience with utilizing/operating newer med-large frame SS's with 2spd, dedicated snow tires, & an attachment w/ features that make it more efficient over a standard pusher or plow? Seriously...not being a smart ace.

    I've also found the more snow it is, the more productive the SS's become over the pickup.

    Im sure we agree each has its place, but Im a little surprised at your comments.
  19. John_DeereGreen

    John_DeereGreen 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,910

    Yep, all 4 of our machines are 2 speed. 2 Cat 242's, and 2 New Holland L180's. 2 run 10 foot Arctic (till this year, they're Boss boxes now) (Cat's), 1 runs a 10 foot Kage (1 NH), and 1 runs an 8-13 HLA SnoWing that we bought used (other NH). None of them have snow tires, but we don't get the super big snows to justify that where we're running these machines. 2-4 inches is all we ever see in Athens.
    I would probably agree with this if we got deeper snow, but then again, this is when we'd be leaning harder on our loaders than skids to carry snow. The skids are in broken up lots like one office building route, HOA's, and apartment complexes.
  20. snocrete

    snocrete Banned
    Messages: 2,862

    Fair enough....In the end, I think we agree about more on this matter than disagree:salute:.....but I'll still pick a well equipped skid over a truck "most of the time" to take care of larger properties;)