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Starting a Bobcat based business

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment' started by ARP, Feb 28, 2005.

  1. ARP

    ARP Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    I am an 18 yr old high school senior and have been operating my own lawn and snow removal business since age 10. I will be heading off to business school in August with the goal of learning how to run the financial side of my own landscape/excavation/snow removal enterprise. I would like to start out my business operating skid steers and expand my business from there into heavier equipment and bigger contracts. I am getting my class 2A hydraulic hoister's license at the end of March 2005 through my uncle's construction company. I am trying to determine several things : 1.) Whether it is feasible to start my own Bobcat based business during college or if I should wait until I graduate. 2.)What kind of capital I might need, and what models of equipment, preferably Bobcat or Cat, I should start with. 3.) What kind of tow vehicle, preferably Ford should I use 4.) What kind of contracts should I pursue when first starting out.

    Can anyone help me out with my questions or give me suggestions on how to start my business?
  2. ace911emt

    ace911emt Member
    Messages: 83

    school should be #1 undertaking a new business, and the cash and time it will require is not compatible with school and grades.(the bad news)
    (the good news) I would get a part time job with someone in the area (older and established) and learn from others mistakes, and apply what you learn. After school and you will be guaranteed success. that is your goal
  3. norrod

    norrod Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    Like ace911emt said.

    I know you would love to jump right into a skidsteer of your own, but you should hook up with a company where you can learn the ropes in equipment operating, but more important, the in's and out's of excavating, like ...

    how to estimate jobs.
    how to perform a finish grade.
    digging footers
    excavating for sewer and drainage tile.
    how to locate & excavate around utilities (the biggest headache out there)

    Then there's other things you can lead into like
    retaining walls
    foundation drainage projects
    french drains

    Also working with a local company while going to Biz school, you stand a good chance of maybe aquiring some used skidsteer and truck from whom you are working for.

    Best of luck to you. There is a lot of work out there for compact equipment owner\ops.
  4. ARP

    ARP Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Thanks for the advice. School is definitely my first priority at this time.

    That being said though, my dad has been affected by corporate "downsizing" and shows an interest in my business ideas as a possible alternative to reentering the corporate world. If we were to start our own business just doing small earthmoving and/or snow removal, what kind of equipment such as loader (preferably a Bobcat as we have a dealer nearby) and truck (preferably Ford as we have dealer down the street) should we consider getting into used? Also, what kind of business should we try to drum up once we become more proficient operating the loader?
  5. tom 300

    tom 300 Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Have you checked out at the college to see if there are any construction courses there as well as business classes.There is a community college near me that has diesel trianing a construction program as well as all your business courses and others.I agree with everyone else it is better to get in with someone else and learn.I actually know of a place in WI. that is a school for learning to operate equipment if you want just say so and I will look it up and put it here for you or email me either way it I will get it to you.I would recomend if you and your dad want to buy a mchine and truck to look into a small dump truck so you could haul material to and from as an extra service.I was looking to buy a machine but since my boss did I just use that one we use it for backfill final grades moving gravel around for driveways moving lumber with pallet forks and snow removal.
  6. ARP

    ARP Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    thanks tom 300 for the advice. Thanks for the offer to find that school but I'm already set to go to business school at the time. I actually think I've heard of that school- it looked interesting, certainly a fun place to play!
  7. drmiller100

    drmiller100 Senior Member
    from idaho
    Messages: 119



    I've had a truck for 9 months, and a skid steer for 6. I bought both used, and used the difference in cashflow to finance my day to day life.

    Used equipment is a better deal. I truly believe that most of the skidsteers sold by dealers are sold to folks like you; new to the industry.

    Smart operators are standing by with cash in their front pocket to pick it up after it has lost 20 percent of value, and has 140 hours of use on it.

    Snow season is over for getting new customers.
  8. hickslawns

    hickslawns Senior Member
    Messages: 627

    It sounds like you have your school priorities in line. I finished an associate degree although I hated every minute of it. By saying this I am not trying to turn you away but to show you no matter how bad it is or how good it is, you really should do it. At 30 with a business, house, 2 kids, etc., it is a great insurance policy not to mention a great building block for your business. I plan on retiring self-employed, but you never know when an injury/illness, or greedy law-suit hungry person may take away your business. It is a good thing to have that diploma. Something else you probably haven't thought about is when you have kids and they grow up, they can't throw the wild card at you "but Dad never went to college and we did alright".

    If your Dad wants to go in with you that is great too. I wish my Dad was willing to go in business with me at 18. Enjoy every minute you have with him. I still enjoy fishing or motorcycle riding with my Dad, but would be nice to have him run a crew for me or with me.

    Equipment sounds like you really want a Bobcat. I would recommend a 773 or 763. They are a great versatile machine. Good resale value, and durable.

    Truck sounds like you want a Ford. I have an F250 4x4 Superduty and have had injector problems, electrical problems, front end problems, axle bearing problems, coil pack problems, brake problems. . . That truck has a 5.4 V-8. I hear the diesels have the same front end/brake problems, as well as injector problems, tranny problems. . . Now with that said, I also owns other Fords, Chevy, and Dodges. They all break down, but I have had horrible luck with the particular Ford I bought. Just do your homework, and find one that has been well maintained, or better yet buy a warranty if you buy used. Like I said, they all break and I am not going to list everything my trucks have ever had broken. If you go diesel, I would highly recommend the Dodge with a Cummins and a 5 speed. Mine has been excellent, but the 2 I had before it were automatics, and didn't hold up. That engine is great, but you can also expect front end wear problems with that heavy diesel.

    I want to wish you the best of luck with school and whatever decision you make with your business. My best advice on that is keep your overhead low, and profits high. Don't get impatient, as every self-made business man (or woman) I know didn't get where they are overnight. Shoot for consistant, steady, controlled growth, and by the time you are my age you can be on top of the world. There are a lot of pros to being your own man, and there can be a lot of headaches, so be ready for it all and good luck!
  9. ARP

    ARP Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Thanks hickslawns and drmiller100 for the good advice. Definitely time to continue mulling some things over.
  10. szippijr

    szippijr Member
    from S.E Pa
    Messages: 50

    Rent at first. Don't go in over you head.