Starting a part time business

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SteveH1149

Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Messages
7
I have been lurking around here a couple of weeks now trying 1) to find an answer to a question and 2) to try to figure out how to ask this question when I couldn't find it. I know a lot of this answer will depend on where you are in the country, but I will accept any input I can get. I am considering buying a Bobcat mostly for personal use, but a friend of mine has suggested I can make it pay for itself by working a few days a month in it away from the house. I guess my question is...Is this a realistic expectation? It has been a few years (about 10 or so) since I spent a lot of time in a skid steer, so I know I will be slower than I used to be, but that should (I hope) come back pretty quickly. I know this question is pretty open ended, but I didn't want to limit any input you guys might have for me.
 

skidsteer.ca

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
3,853
I guess it would really depend on your area and the demand for the type of work you can do. I started out in the same place you are now about 4 years ago. We are located in NW ontario Canada, in a relatively low population area. The local economy is supported by Paper Mills , farming and tourism. I bought a used 753 2100 hrs, trailer, hoe, brusher, forks, snow bucket, tracks, from a local fellow who was getting divorced. He rented this equipment as a sideline to his hotel business. I was mostly looking for something for my own personal use. But decided to get into the rental bussiness as a sideline to my main occupation a equipment contractor to the paper mill. For rental equipment , the piecies all seemed to be it reasonable shape, not beat to death despite being used by inexpierenced operators. I have a strong background in equipment maintenance and repair, and seldom send anything back to the dealers for work, which keeps my costs low, I had a 1 ton truck as part of my main business. I could do more custom loader work the I do, but i don't have the time to sit in the seat, other then weekends. So the rental thing fits me ok, Although I'm through renting the brusher without a operator. The remaining pieces have been relatively trouble free. My most reqested items are the backhoe, and a auger I added to the package, (along with a grapple, and a meyers pickup blade coverted to skid loader for my personal snow removal use) I don't advertise other then parking the equipment on a main hwy with a for rent sign on it. as a sideline business I have recouped my $23k initial investment, including repairs in about 3 years, I feel I could have done this in 2 seasons if I pursued it more agressively. Without the backhoe, however I would have lost 1/2 my work. I also used the machine for @ 700 hours for my own personal use and billed maint. to the business. I feel there is potential here, even in my limited market, but I would not want to try it as a steady income (winters would be tough) and I'm glad I never purchased a new machine, and attachments because the market is not here for that. I traded that loader on a newer one after 3 years and 1300 hrs and got my money back out of it, less tires, a battery, and maybe $500 worth of misc parts. For 3500 bucks extra I traded up to a 2000 773 with 1500 hrs. In my opinion (for this rural area) steel tracks, a hoe and a auger are a must, along with a trailer, and a truck if you are going to operate it yourself. With this equipment you can expect to bill yourself out a $65 to $85 dollars a hour. In the right market you might recoup your investments quicker then I did, but wet weather , winter, etc can grind things to a halt to. Also check to see how much competition is in your area, and ask yourself, what can I do better then them? Here there is not much work for just a loader itself, as every mile has a farmer that can use his tractor, but not to many guys can bury a well, wood stove or power line as cheap as I can get it done for you. Regards Ken
 

SteveH1149

Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Messages
7
I guess it would really depend on your area and the demand for the type of work you can do. I started out in the same place you are now about 4 years ago. We are located in NW ontario Canada, in a relatively low population area. The local economy is supported by Paper Mills , farming and tourism. I bought a used 753 2100 hrs, trailer, hoe, brusher, forks, snow bucket, tracks, from a local fellow who was getting divorced. He rented this equipment as a sideline to his hotel business. I was mostly looking for something for my own personal use. But decided to get into the rental bussiness as a sideline to my main occupation a equipment contractor to the paper mill. For rental equipment , the piecies all seemed to be it reasonable shape, not beat to death despite being used by inexpierenced operators. I have a strong background in equipment maintenance and repair, and seldom send anything back to the dealers for work, which keeps my costs low, I had a 1 ton truck as part of my main business. I could do more custom loader work the I do, but i don't have the time to sit in the seat, other then weekends. So the rental thing fits me ok, Although I'm through renting the brusher without a operator. The remaining pieces have been relatively trouble free. My most reqested items are the backhoe, and a auger I added to the package, (along with a grapple, and a meyers pickup blade coverted to skid loader for my personal snow removal use) I don't advertise other then parking the equipment on a main hwy with a for rent sign on it. as a sideline business I have recouped my $23k initial investment, including repairs in about 3 years, I feel I could have done this in 2 seasons if I pursued it more agressively. Without the backhoe, however I would have lost 1/2 my work. I also used the machine for @ 700 hours for my own personal use and billed maint. to the business. I feel there is potential here, even in my limited market, but I would not want to try it as a steady income (winters would be tough) and I'm glad I never purchased a new machine, and attachments because the market is not here for that. I traded that loader on a newer one after 3 years and 1300 hrs and got my money back out of it, less tires, a battery, and maybe $500 worth of misc parts. For 3500 bucks extra I traded up to a 2000 773 with 1500 hrs. In my opinion (for this rural area) steel tracks, a hoe and a auger are a must, along with a trailer, and a truck if you are going to operate it yourself. With this equipment you can expect to bill yourself out a $65 to $85 dollars a hour. In the right market you might recoup your investments quicker then I did, but wet weather , winter, etc can grind things to a halt to. Also check to see how much competition is in your area, and ask yourself, what can I do better then them? Here there is not much work for just a loader itself, as every mile has a farmer that can use his tractor, but not to many guys can bury a well, wood stove or power line as cheap as I can get it done for you. Regards Ken
Thanks for your input, Ken. I have some contacts in the construction industry who tell me they can keep me pretty busy on site prep and cleanup. Actually, they say they can keep me busy 7 days a week, but I will base my figures on 1 day a week. If I get more, great, but I am not betting the farm on it. I am in a rural area too, but close to San Antonio, so I may be in the best of both worlds. The Bobcat dealer is 12 miles from my house. I hadn't given much thought to the tracks, but then I have never used them. If I work close to home, I will be in black dirt that gets real nasty when wet. I guess that is what the tracks are for. If I go 20 miles away, I am in rock. I could be in for a lot of on and off again with the tracks if I go with them.
 

skidsteer.ca

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
3,853
Thanks for your input, Ken. I have some contacts in the construction industry who tell me they can keep me pretty busy on site prep and cleanup. Actually, they say they can keep me busy 7 days a week, but I will base my figures on 1 day a week. If I get more, great, but I am not betting the farm on it. I am in a rural area too, but close to San Antonio, so I may be in the best of both worlds. The Bobcat dealer is 12 miles from my house. I hadn't given much thought to the tracks, but then I have never used them. If I work close to home, I will be in black dirt that gets real nasty when wet. I guess that is what the tracks are for. If I go 20 miles away, I am in rock. I could be in for a lot of on and off again with the tracks if I go with them.
Tracks are great if you have soft ground, and they give you more pushing power in gravel or dirt to fill your bucket. I seldom work on concrete, asphalt or bare rock, so my tracks stay on all summer. Sounds like you are in a good situation work wise. If you can work for a fair rate I don't see how you can go wrong. These machines a fairly trouble free, and if you can keep it busy even one day a week, you will do just fine. I was just glad I did not listen to the dealer here who told me I could pay of his new machine doing what I'm doing, because the work is not here. I could have made my payments through other means, but that was not the point. I'm glad I step into it slowly, and I don't regret doing it with used iron, I've had very few mechanical problems, all small, and lost nothing to depreciation. My rentals and custom work only amounts to 200 to 300 hours a year. Regards Ken
 
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