I have looked at renting a backhoe attachment for my skidsteer, but the dealer requires that I purchase the mounting hooks for my specific machine. The mounting hooks are $250. Well he didn't have them in stock and ordered them for me. By the time the hooks showed up, they sold the backhoe attachment. The dealer had to order another attachment and winter showed up before it arrived, so I didn't get to try it. My dealer said he is having a difficult time keeping the 709 model in stock because people keep buying them. I think people rent them, then like them so much that they just purchase the rental model. At $9,000, I can see why the dealer might be hesitant to carry more in stock.
A new 337 or 435 compact excavator is going to run about $54,000 and a 331 about $43,000. Any of these are quite a bit more money than the backhoe attachment, but you'd be getting much more machine. A used 331 will run about $25,000 and used 337 about $30,000. The downside to owning a skidsteer and a compact excavator if you are a owner/operator business is: since you can only operate one machine at a time, only one machine at a time is making money.
There are a few items discouraging me from buying a backhoe attachment for my skidsteer. First of all, you have to operate the backhoe from outside of the loader cab. This means you are not protected by a ROPS structure and may not be allowed on some jobsites. Although, this is not a problem if you only do small residential work. Also, it looks like a pain to change from backhoe to loader bucket to move piles of material. I heard you could active the traction control over-ride and move the loader from the backhoe operator's seat by reaching back to the control levers, is this correct?
The Bobtach backhoe looks like it may be too much of a workout to operate. I guess you use the lift arms of the loader and probably your thumbs for swinging the boom & curling the bucket. I would not want to run that too long. May be alright for the occasional small, quick job. How much does one of these cost?
I think I am going to wait until I can afford the compact excavator solution. On the other hand, if I rent a backhoe attachment this summer and it performs well, I may not bring it back