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  1. #1
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    Default What type of mini excavator should i buy??

    Hey guys, I'm thinking about starting a small excavation business that deals in the removal/excavation of stumps, trenches, small basements/foundations, and any other excavation work that you all think I should take part in. (any information is helpful so I can widen my clientele range)

    My question is what brand, type, and size excavator should I purchase.

    The sizes that I should be looking at for the type of work that I want to do (correct me if I'm wrong) is from the 2 ton-6 ton mini.

    So any information is helpful as to what type of machine I need, thank you very much!!

  2. #2
    Super Member Robert_in_NY's Avatar
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    Default Re: What type of mini excavator should i buy??

    I have a Bobcat 331 and it is perfect for drainage projects around houses and other tight areas. It is just shy of 4 tons and 5' wide. But for stumps and larger excavation projects like basements it is a little small. Yes, it can do the job but it isn't well suited for them. If stumps and basements are your main money makers then I would look for something larger like a Komatsu PC120 or similar. It will require you to have a 10 wheel dump truck and tag trailer to haul but that will only enable you to better suit potential customers.

    I don't think I would look for anything less then an 8 ton unit though


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  3. #3
    Super Member Robert_in_NY's Avatar
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    Default Re: What type of mini excavator should i buy??

    I was just checking, Komatsu has the PC-138 USLC-8 which has an 8'6" blade option. I have seen other excavators this size with blades as well. Some have 6 way blades so you have one machine that can do small dozer jobs as well as excavation projects. I don't know what type of budget your working with but you can look to united rental or Admar and just rent the proper size equipment needed.


    God must love stupid people; He made so many

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What type of mini excavator should i buy??

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert_in_NY View Post
    I have a Bobcat 331 and it is perfect for drainage projects around houses and other tight areas. It is just shy of 4 tons and 5' wide. But for stumps and larger excavation projects like basements it is a little small. Yes, it can do the job but it isn't well suited for them. If stumps and basements are your main money makers then I would look for something larger like a Komatsu PC120 or similar. It will require you to have a 10 wheel dump truck and tag trailer to haul but that will only enable you to better suit potential customers.

    I don't think I would look for anything less then an 8 ton unit though

    Well Ill probably be hauling it around with my 1 ton diesel ford and if i sell that, I would probably buy a 1 ton dump or something along those lines, I dont want to get into the big dump trucks just yet....

    My budget is probably from 8-15k

  5. #5
    Super Member Robert_in_NY's Avatar
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    Default Re: What type of mini excavator should i buy??

    15k will buy you a decent open station used 4 ton mini. I would look at keeping your Ford and buying a dump trailer that you can haul the excavator in. It will have a higher load rating then the 1 ton dump and enable you to haul debris and material easier away from job sites. It is also easier to load stumps into a low trailer then a high box mounted on a 1 ton dump. With a 4 ton mini you can't handle too big of stumps for loading at full boom extension so the lower the sides of the dump box the better.


    God must love stupid people; He made so many

  6. #6
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    Default Re: What type of mini excavator should i buy??

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert_in_NY View Post
    15k will buy you a decent open station used 4 ton mini. I would look at keeping your Ford and buying a dump trailer that you can haul the excavator in. It will have a higher load rating then the 1 ton dump and enable you to haul debris and material easier away from job sites. It is also easier to load stumps into a low trailer then a high box mounted on a 1 ton dump. With a 4 ton mini you can't handle too big of stumps for loading at full boom extension so the lower the sides of the dump box the better.
    Very good advice right there, thank you man.

    That is in regards to getting a dump trailer that can haul the excavator and can also handle the loads/weight of stumps, concrete, dirt, rocks, etc.... and it is lower than a 1 ton dump so its much easier to load and unload as well.

    Although, im still trying to figure out what tonage excavator I should get... I wonder if a 2.5-3.5 would get me by...?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What type of mini excavator should i buy??

    Hey man, good luck on your adventure. I have built my house with a buddy of mines help and he has a 13,000 lb bobcat machine hat worked great for digging a 1500 sq basement. He took it to another job and rented one to finish stuff around the property which was a IHI 12,000 lbs unit and it was junk! No power at all diffidently like the Bobcat. We also looked at the kubota series which is dependable however never ran one.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member SSdoxie's Avatar
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    Default Re: What type of mini excavator should i buy??

    Over the past 4 - 5 years the size class that has led the market in sales is the 4.5 - 5.2 Ton machines. They are well suited for the general use contractor. Being easy to tansport, small enough to get into most digging jobs, yet large enough to take on some of the heavier jobs on a limited basis.
    Dennis

    CT225 w/7TL QA FEL, 60"tooth dirt bucket, 68" smooth bucket, Pallet Forks, Bale Spear. Hydrualic top llin, QH, 48 RC, 60" tiller, Angle blade, Landscape rake, Carry-all, Post hole auger.

  9. #9
    Super Member Robert_in_NY's Avatar
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    Default Re: What type of mini excavator should i buy??

    Quote Originally Posted by RPPaving View Post
    Very good advice right there, thank you man.

    That is in regards to getting a dump trailer that can haul the excavator and can also handle the loads/weight of stumps, concrete, dirt, rocks, etc.... and it is lower than a 1 ton dump so its much easier to load and unload as well.

    Although, im still trying to figure out what tonage excavator I should get... I wonder if a 2.5-3.5 would get me by...?

    A 3.5 would be the smallest, anything smaller and you start looking at just having machine good only for very small projects if your trying to make money. They all have their place but for what your trying to do a 3.5 would be the minimum. As I said, stumps are going to be difficult for this size machine already, anything smaller and all you will be able to do would be dig them up, not load them. You also have to remember that digging depth gets shorter as the machine gets smaller. In order to do foundation work you will need to be able to dig deep and be able to reach out as you won't always be able to pull in tight to every area. A zero tail swing unit is great as well because then you don't need to worry about what is behind you or around you as much while digging, only look forward as anything that will hit something is in front of you.


    God must love stupid people; He made so many

  10. #10
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    Default Re: What type of mini excavator should i buy??

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert_in_NY View Post
    A 3.5 would be the smallest, anything smaller and you start looking at just having machine good only for very small projects if your trying to make money. They all have their place but for what your trying to do a 3.5 would be the minimum. As I said, stumps are going to be difficult for this size machine already, anything smaller and all you will be able to do would be dig them up, not load them. You also have to remember that digging depth gets shorter as the machine gets smaller. In order to do foundation work you will need to be able to dig deep and be able to reach out as you won't always be able to pull in tight to every area. A zero tail swing unit is great as well because then you don't need to worry about what is behind you or around you as much while digging, only look forward as anything that will hit something is in front of you.

    Never heard of the term zero tail swing, but im guessing that almost all excavators are like that in order to keep everything in front of you right??

    Also, I can get a 2003 Terex HR-12 2.5 Ton Excavator with 2100 hours for 9 grand, but now that you are saying anything less than 3.5 isnt practical, then i guess it wont be worth my money...

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