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Is there any sense in homeowner buying excavating equipment?

Is there any sense in homeowner buying excavating equipment?

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  #1  
Old 05-14-18, 06:58 PM
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Is there any sense in homeowner buying excavating equipment?

I have a retaining wall project that I'm planning on doing myself. I've already done one a few years back. This time, it's longer and taller, plus requires some excavation. I had been thinking about renting a bobcat or some type of excavator for a week and trying to get it all done in that amount of time. With a day job and family, plus the experience of the previous wall, I'm afraid a week won't be enough to get it all finished. Sure, you can do the excavation in a day, but it's nice for backfill and any other work after the foundation is done. I don't have any guarantee of any help either.

So, I've been wondering if it would make any sense for a homeowner like myself to buy a used backhoe or some bobcat-like machine, get all my projects done (patio etc.), and then sell it? It looks like most "cheap" stuff is at least 5k, probably closer to 10k. While it's a big chunk of money, I'm always looking for ways to save in the long run. I already have a plate compactor that I bought with the same philosophy for the first wall. Even if I could break even on the machine, that'd be just fine. I'm a farm boy so I'm good with tractors and stuff like that, but have never used a digger of any kind. Can also fix some things but don't have a full shop with all the tools. Does this make any sense? Am I overlooking something? If it makes sense, any advice for a newbie wanting to buy this type of stuff? What to look out for, etc. I don't want to buy something that I need to fix right away so I'm willing to pay for a machine that is in good shape. Doesn't matter if it's old, I grew up driving tractors from the 1960's.

Looks like this type of equipment goes for around $800/week at most rental places in my area. Having a contractor do this would be in the $10k neighborhood. Doing it myself, I'm hoping to be under $3k, plus the excavator, of course. Not sure if this is the right forum but thought I'd ask. Appreciate any constructive feedback

Here's a few types of equipment that I found. These links will of course be obsolete in a few weeks, sorry future readers:
https://rmn.craigslist.org/hvo/d/cas...576978271.html
https://rmn.craigslist.org/hvo/d/201...580963893.html
 
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  #2  
Old 05-14-18, 10:38 PM
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I bought a used Kubota BX-24 a while back (8 years) for a little more than what you've been looking at. I've used it extensively for my rather small chunk of land in a more suburbia than rural area. It has the back hoe attachment with a narrow bucket. I've used the machine extensively from every project you could think of to some that were out of the box. Moving dirt, digging trenches for electrical, water lines. Moving and spreading 20 yards of mulch other year in a day (sometimes the wife helps out). Digging out trees (no stump grinding hassles)! And yes, I also used it to put in 2 significant retaining walls. Lent it to neighbors and in exchange have been able to rely on them when I need something.

I've looked occasionally and if I were to sell it now I'd probably "lose" less than $3K on it. It's been one of the best tools I've ever bought. My back has been saved, I've done projects when I want and the speed I want. No hassle of renting, transporting, etc. Maintenance has been pretty much zilch in cost as it has seemed indestructible.

Lastly, they're fun!
 
  #3  
Old 05-14-18, 11:36 PM
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Several homes ago I needed to build a series of bolder walls in my "canyon" back yard and received quotes up to $80K to build them.

One contractor told me "well it's not like it's a homeowner project" which I promptly told him where to shove is estimate.

I ended up buyng a small compact diesel tractor with bucket and 120 tons of boulders and over the coarse of the summer installed all those walls.

After selling the tractor a couple years later I had around $15K invested in that project between material and small loss on the tractor.

So yes it can make perfect sense to buy tools to accomplish big projects as long as the savings are significant,

In my current house I bought a similar tractor to do all the landscape projects which were not as extensive but love the tractor so much I have not parted.

Comes in handy when we get those 15 yards of wood chips delivered every couple of years.
 
  #4  
Old 05-15-18, 05:27 AM
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You are asking the wrong person if you should buy a piece of equipment... I will tell you to get one of everything. Especially an excavator (track hoe).

You are pretty close to the mark about buying versus renting the machine. Getting something well used it's value isn't going to change much with 20 or 100 hours use. So, you could likely do your project and sell it for about what you paid. The big risk is a breakdown. With a rental you have a known cost for your machinery. If you buy something used and you break a track or something else it can throw your cost analysis out the window.

Whether or not those pieces of equipment are right for you depends on your project. I find a excavator amazingly useful and don't know how I ever got by without one so of the two things you listed I would lean towards the backhoe since it gives you both tools. Unfortunately backhoes are BIG and have high ground pressure so you need to have the room for it to work and tolerate what it does to the lawn.

The tracked skid steer will have lighter ground pressure but nothing with tracks can turn without tearing up the ground so again. It's not friendly on the lawn.

One thing to consider is how quick and easy it is to get on and off the machine especially if working by yourself. Sometimes something smaller that you can hop on and off of can be quicker than a monster with a door and ladder.
 
  #5  
Old 05-15-18, 06:30 AM
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I'm in snow country so have lots of use for my tractor. Had 2 big projects so bought a new Kubota B7500 with a woods 7500 backhoe and of course the loader. I'm now 70 and having this machine just keeps me going where serious lifting or digging would have stopped me cold.

If you have the property and projects to justify owning one, buy a good one. If this is a one time use, rent or borrow.

Bud
 
  #6  
Old 05-15-18, 06:29 PM
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Thanks for the encouraging feedback! I was expecting the opposite. Now, I'll just need to start looking for a machine that'll work for me. Those compact tractors with a backhoe seem surprisingly capable.
 
  #7  
Old 05-15-18, 06:47 PM
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My neighbor bought a Kubota. It looks very much like the BX24.
He also bought a trailer that it can go on. A very impressive pair.

You just need the place to store it.
 
  #8  
Old 05-16-18, 04:48 AM
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Be sure to check the depth capability of any backhoe you look at. If they say 5' that is only at the very bottom of the swing.

Bud
 
  #9  
Old 05-16-18, 05:02 AM
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Oddly larger equipment seems to get as low in price as compact. I think demand is so hot for compact tractors that they bring a premium price pound for pound versus larger machines. There is a reason though. They are extremely handy. I've had a couple Deere and Kubota compacts in the 22-25 hp range and it's a great size. The machine is small enough to work on city size lots but still powerful enough to do serious work. The biggest drawbacks are reach and capacity. Buckets don't dig as deep or reach as high and the smaller buckets mean more trips but it's hard to complain much when your sitting on the machine letting the diesel do the hard lifting for you.
 
  #10  
Old 05-16-18, 09:08 AM
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I love my Deere, 23hp!

I had a backhoe I picked up at an auction for $1000 but had an offer to sell for $2800 so I reluctantly let it go.

If it had been at the beginning of the yard projects I probably would have kept but hasn't really been a need since!


https://www.doityourself.com/forum/a...1&d=1526486867
 
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  #11  
Old 05-16-18, 06:14 PM
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I have a cub cadet 7305 which has a 30 HP diesel motor on it. The FEL has a quick attach that is the same as bobcat skid loaders so I can use many other attachments on it. I also added front hydraulics to I could run a fork grapple on it. I did a very large boulder retaining wall project that I am very proud of.

I also agree that buying the equipment to do a project makes sense. On top of the money aspect you will not be pressured to get the project done a fast as possible. Likely you can turn around as sell the equipment for close to what you bought it for if it doesn't get beat up by sun, rain, or work.

For what it is worth, that New Holland skid steer appears to be a fairly decent deal.
 
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