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Need Help Picking Equipment

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Hamster360, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. Hamster360

    Hamster360 Junior Member
    Messages: 26

    Hey everyone, my name is Dennis, I've been lurking on these forums for a while, and finally decided to join. I am looking into starting a landscape and snow plowing business, possibly starting this November (for snow season) or in the spring for grass season. I currently have a sales job where I make 40k$ from April-November with 3 months off. I'm starting to not enjoy it so much, and my entrepreneur side is taking over. I have plowed snow for a few years, so I have experience. A few of the sites I plowed regularly were a hospital, 24 hour grocery store, small gas station, pizza place, big box store etc. I am not worried about being able to complete my contracts. With my sales job I have made many contacts that are property managers and business owners, so getting the contracts is not a problem either. My question comes down what is the best equipment for me.

    I plan on running 2 tractors/loaders and 1 salt vehicle.

    I went to Kubota, they will rent me a 100 HP tractor with frame mounted pusher for 2500$ month for 5 months.

    John Deere will lease me a 75 HP loader with 10-16 foot pusher for 5100$ per month for 5 months

    Cat will rent me a 60 HP loader, no pusher, for 5500$ per month for 4 months.

    Kubota is obviously the best deal and best value, but I have never plowed with a frame mounted pusher, only a loader mounted pusher. My fear is the pusher won't lift off the ground far enough to be able to stack snow properly. Can someone who owns or uses this type of set up let me know some of the pros and cons of it?

    My jobs will be all commercial, and spread out a little, so skid steers are not an option. I am located in South Western Ontario Canada, so we get a lot of snow.

    My other thought is that instead of 12500$ in rent, I may as well spend 20K on a backhoe, remove the hoe, plow for the season, and either park it, or sell it. Thoughts?

    Please don't flame too hard :(
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
  2. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    John Deere and Cat are out to lunch, you can own for less then that.
  3. sven1277

    sven1277 Senior Member
    Messages: 498

    At those prices, buying a backhoe does seem like a good option. May want to leave the hoe on for the extra weight.
  4. Hamster360

    Hamster360 Junior Member
    Messages: 26

    John Deere and Cat are crazy priced. I knew cat would be expensive, but I thought JD would have been closer to the kubota price.

    My only worry with actually buying a couple backhoes is getting financing for them. Financing for brand new equipment isn't too bad through the dealer, but used is harder.

    Can someone shed some light on the pros and cons of pushing with a frame mounted 10' pusher vs a FEL mounted 10' pusher?
  5. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    The biggest pro for pushing with a frame mounted pusher is you don't have to worry about the weak loader arms that come on a tractor. No bending or cracking under the force that comes with pushing snow.

    The biggest con is the one you already stated. You can't stack snow. You also can't load snow to haul if you run out of room.

    You can pick up older used equipment at a decent price to get started, knowing that your going to upgrade after a season or two if needed. I had that thought in mind when I started buying equipment, but I rather enjoy plowing in older equipment. I pick them up cheap and fix them up to my standards, then here is the key, I maintain them to preform like new. My old equipment is way cheaper to run and maintain then new stuff, and it's built stronger as well.

    FISHERBOY Senior Member
    Messages: 542

    most importantly know your numbers, 2nd buying a backhoe would be a better choice than renting, make sure these sites have a place to store bulk salt, and of course insurance, good help, also have a good lawyer to look over these contracts.
  7. peteo1

    peteo1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,660

    Check out Komatsu or Kobelco if you have dealers nearby. I love my Cat equipment but if I were to buy something else I'd go with those two. Komatsu builds a pretty darn nice loader
  8. Hamster360

    Hamster360 Junior Member
    Messages: 26

    I don't know my numbers real well yet. Some of it obviously depends on whether I rent or buy, so that determins my monthly payment, what I buy determines my fuel consumption etc. It's a work in progress, but I have an idea. I went to a Kubota/Massey Ferguson/Fendt dealer today. Got a price on all 3. The Kubota wheel loader is 101k, basically the same price as the John Deere. I was a little surprised. They didn't get into renting much, so he had to look into rental prices for me. The more I think about it, the more I am leaning towards spending 50-60k on a couple used backhoes. As far as bulk salt, less than 1km away from me is a landscape company that has bulk salt and will load your spreader 24/7. It's a real good idea for them, saves with having to deal with it yourself, and keeping a loader behind simply to load salt. Not sure on the price, but I am going to guess they add 20$ a tonne to their bulk price. Contracts I am fine with, I write contracts for up to $1M for asphalt and concrete jobs.

    I do have a kobelco/kamatsu dealer in my city. I never seriously considered them, but maybe now I will give them a look.

    Do any of you guys have a preference between a 100hp tractor with frame mounted pusher vs a 70hp loader with pusher? I need some opinions.
  9. LapeerLandscape

    LapeerLandscape 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,247

    I have plowed with both 130hp tractor and my case 580sm backhoe. They both have advantages, the tractor I sat up higher so I could see better but it was a little slower pushing and turning around. The backhoe is all round the better choice. I think the transmission is key, shuttle shift (forward to reverse without clutching) and a powershift for changing gears without stopping. You should be able to find a good used one for $25,000 to $40,000, we bought our backhoe used bout 8 yrs ago.