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Hello everyone im new to the site but not new to excavation. a little history about myself to help you guys answer my questions . I have been running heavy equipment since i was 12 for a friends dad( i am now 33) started going to college at 18 while working for him installing septics, residential foundations , general sitework etc i quit college because i love digging dirt. got a job with a couple large contracters doing commercial sitework and also installing gas stations. Eventually i got moved into a foreman postition then onto a more superintentant position when i was 24 then i couldnt find a company that i liked and took a job at my current place of employment as a chemical operator at a chemical plant = yr round work and better pay and benefits. so now i am here 7 years and miss running equipment and have a decent chunk of money to start my own business . Along the way i have met numerous contacts along with friends that have businesses in the trades .

Now my question to the seasoned pros on here ....... I am considering buying a a bobcat 250ish size along with an international single axel dump and trailer to do residential work and if a cellar hole comes along rent a hoe till i see what kind of work i am getting . what are your opinions on this ? also i am currently working on my business plan and i am having trouble finding home improvement numbers annually not just new housing starts . Do you guys know of any good places for this info ?
 

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Check out the marketing section . Buy the truck and trailer . Keep operating capital in your bank account instead of iron . Rent 250 from dealer for a month or so . If your company takes off then you can look in to owning equipment .
 

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You dont have a location. Im not sure what its like where you are at. Around here residential work is hit or miss. Trucking is usually pretty cheap. That said a lot of times the guy with the truck is doing the same type of work.

That said, how much trucking are you really anticipating? To start out, I would seriously consider a 3/4-1ton pickup, and team that up with a dump trailer. That way you dont have a huge start up cost, and you can keep a good bit of working capital. Dont forget the hidden costs with that Single axle dump. State gvw plates, insurance, and trailer plates. Depending on the set up you can get away a lot cheaper and legally on a pickup/trailer combo like I mention.

How much residential work do you expect, and what type? What kind of market do you have? Is it possible to team up with a few smaller landscapers and concrete guys that dont have equipment? Lots of ways to make a go of it, but Im also guessing by stating you have a day job, you intend to keep that? If so, how are you planning on making things happen during the week to accomplish jobs? Only a certain amount of customers will be ok with a few hours here and a few hours there kind of deal
 

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I don't have much experience on the residential side but you can try to find some developers that have small grading or clean up work. If you can find a few and get to know the supers they could throw you some small work. I know there are some very small or one man shows around here that get a good bit of the small stuff the bigger companies won't do or can't get to fast enough. We do a bunch of t&m work for our customers, they like us because we are good, get everything done they ask in a timely manner and are reasonable with the hourly rates.

I like your choice of a single axle and trailer. I think a dump trailer would be a little small to haul and might be a pia if you have to get into tight spaces to dump or onto stockpiles. Trailer will also allow you to haul a good sized mini hoe if you need it. Being able to drop the trailer or go load some material and still be able to pull equipment will help I think.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
davis i am located outside of springfield ma . The residential market around here is picking up alot of new starts and remodels . I actually got approached about sitework for a new 2000sq/ft ranch with septic system when he gets the plans im gonna shoot him a price. I am actuall gonna go with a 1 ton dump and trailer and a t-250 skidsteer which will give me plenty of money for operating capital . Oh and i am quiting my job to start this venture so 100% of my time will be dedicated to the business.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I don't have much experience on the residential side but you can try to find some developers that have small grading or clean up work. If you can find a few and get to know the supers they could throw you some small work. I know there are some very small or one man shows around here that get a good bit of the small stuff the bigger companies won't do or can't get to fast enough. We do a bunch of t&m work for our customers, they like us because we are good, get everything done they ask in a timely manner and are reasonable with the hourly rates.

I like your choice of a single axle and trailer. I think a dump trailer would be a little small to haul and might be a pia if you have to get into tight spaces to dump or onto stockpiles. Trailer will also allow you to haul a good sized mini hoe if you need it. Being able to drop the trailer or go load some material and still be able to pull equipment will help I think
Mox that is exactly what i am shooting for with the business to start i am gonna look into getting small jobs that the big contractors dont have time for or even bs finish work at the end of the job like topsoiling islands, grading , sidewalks etc. I am actually gonna go with a 1 ton dump and 10000lb gvrw trailer to keep it simple to start . How did you get into t&m work ? did you just get into contact with the site super or manager ?
 

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I don't think a 10,000 pound trailer is enough for a t250. Remember with trailers you take that 10,000 pound gvwr and subtract your unlaidend weight and that is what you can haul. A t250 weighs around 9,000 pounds or so. You should probably look into a 14,000 pound trailer so if needed you can take an attachment or two with you and still be legal on weight.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I don't think a 10,000 pound trailer is enough for a t250. Remember with trailers you take that 10,000 pound gvwr and subtract your unlaidend weight and that is what you can haul. A t250 weighs around 9,000 pounds or so. You should probably look into a 14,000 pound trailer so if needed you can take an attachment or two with you and still be legal on weight.
Good point didn't think about that. To many damn rules and regs to follow by you are right about the weight of the t250 I'm still up in the air about if I want a track machine or not the bottoms seem to go quick on them .
 

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Good point didn't think about that. To many damn rules and regs to follow by you are right about the weight of the t250 I'm still up in the air about if I want a track machine or not the bottoms seem to go quick on them .
Track machines are great. They do require a lot more maintenance but like anything else, if you don't abuse it, it'll last. You just have to be smart about what you do with them. I treat mine like a rubber tire machine. It's hard to get a flat track but concrete and steel will rip a track and that'll cost you about 2500 for a new set. That being said I'll take a track machine any day. I have my 267 cat for sale on here too, btw. It's comparable to a t250.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Track machines are great. They do require a lot more maintenance but like anything else, if you don't abuse it, it'll last. You just have to be smart about what you do with them. I treat mine like a rubber tire machine. It's hard to get a flat track but concrete and steel will rip a track and that'll cost you about 2500 for a new set. That being said I'll take a track machine any day. I have my 267 cat for sale on here too, btw. It's comparable to a t250.
I'm leaning towards a track machine I always loved running them . Where you from ? Do you move snow with the 267 ?
 

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I'm leaning towards a track machine I always loved running them . Where you from ? Do you move snow with the 267 ?
I'm in Erie, Pennsylvania and yes we move a lot of snow with it. The caterpillar tracks work great in the snow as compared to the other track machines like Deere/takeuchi/kubota etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm in Erie, Pennsylvania and yes we move a lot of snow with it. The caterpillar tracks work great in the snow as compared to the other track machines like Deere/takeuchi/kubota etc.
Ok that is good to know . I'm in the process of getting my finances in order and then getting the corp set up gonna be a month or so till I'm actually purchasing anything . Thanks for your help
 

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Agree with a heavier trailer, I would try to get the biggest machines you can afford and handle with the truck you chose. Our t-300 is close to 10000# also if you go with a wheeled machine that size it should be closer to 8000.

I would actually start out with a wheeled machine unlike the others would suggest. If you end up in the street or broom finish concrete it eats the tracks. It would also eat the tire as well, but the ride is so much nicer in my experience anyway. Our track machine is so loud, rough and shakes on hard surfaces I hate to run it on them and can't wait to get out. Also our s-300 has high ranger travel and can get you around the job on the roads much faster. I assume you can get a track machine with high range though also, but ours doesn't have it. Track machines will work circles around the wheeled ones in the dirt though, guess it's 6 of one half dozen of the other.

To answer your question though, we get into most of our t&m work through our contract customers. Get on the job, bust ass, show them you are honest and a hard worker. If they like your work and you are available to make there life easier you can get a ton of work. Don't bitch about anything and be thankful for the work, we end up being pretty good friends with our good customers, buy them a beer, take them fishing or any small thing goes a long way. They don't expect it, but are very happy we don't think we are just there to cash there checks.

If you talk to the supers you can figure out what they like or don't like about the other contractors, be the guy they love to use because you get there and get things done on time and/or when you said. We aren't the cheapest guys around, but you can make one call and know what you need will get done and done correctly for a honest price. Even when we didn't have a bunch of equipment I got our rental yards to give me some ballpark numbers to rent machines. Get those and make a rental sheet with rates for equipment/fuel and operator per hour so you can hand them out to show what you can do.

We never owned a mini excavator until this past year I bought one at auction and I don't think it has sat idle more than a day or two since we've owned it. Awesome machine, we've got all our hoes, mini and 2 hitachi 200's set up with helacs. Can't tell you how nice they are that way, you pretty much have a gradall with them set up like that. Fine grading machines, you talk about maybe backfilling islands or grading ditches when your done little rake and seed or sod it.

Good luck when you get started. Get out there in front of everyone and keep on them. You may think you are bugging the ***** out of them, but someone will eventually get tired of you asking for work and throw you a bone. Get it done quick and well and they'll be calling back. I really do feel your best bet is to find a pretty big developer/development find out who runs the show and try to get in slowly with them. Every developer I know around here has a small guy or company they call on a lot to do all the small stuff that doesn't need a contract. You just need to know you will need enough insurance and be prepared to wait 30-60 days to get the $ going. Once you get the timing down it isn't too bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Agree with a heavier trailer, I would try to get the biggest machines you can afford and handle with the truck you chose. Our t-300 is close to 10000# also if you go with a wheeled machine that size it should be closer to 8000.

I would actually start out with a wheeled machine unlike the others would suggest. If you end up in the street or broom finish concrete it eats the tracks. It would also eat the tire as well, but the ride is so much nicer in my experience anyway. Our track machine is so loud, rough and shakes on hard surfaces I hate to run it on them and can't wait to get out. Also our s-300 has high ranger travel and can get you around the job on the roads much faster. I assume you can get a track machine with high range though also, but ours doesn't have it. Track machines will work circles around the wheeled ones in the dirt though, guess it's 6 of one half dozen of the other.

To answer your question though, we get into most of our t&m work through our contract customers. Get on the job, bust ass, show them you are honest and a hard worker. If they like your work and you are available to make there life easier you can get a ton of work. Don't bitch about anything and be thankful for the work, we end up being pretty good friends with our good customers, buy them a beer, take them fishing or any small thing goes a long way. They don't expect it, but are very happy we don't think we are just there to cash there checks.

If you talk to the supers you can figure out what they like or don't like about the other contractors, be the guy they love to use because you get there and get things done on time and/or when you said. We aren't the cheapest guys around, but you can make one call and know what you need will get done and done correctly for a honest price. Even when we didn't have a bunch of equipment I got our rental yards to give me some ballpark numbers to rent machines. Get those and make a rental sheet with rates for equipment/fuel and operator per hour so you can hand them out to show what you can do.

We never owned a mini excavator until this past year I bought one at auction and I don't think it has sat idle more than a day or two since we've owned it. Awesome machine, we've got all our hoes, mini and 2 hitachi 200's set up with helacs. Can't tell you how nice they are that way, you pretty much have a gradall with them set up like that. Fine grading machines, you talk about maybe backfilling islands or grading ditches when your done little rake and seed or sod it.

Good luck when you get started. Get out there in front of everyone and keep on them. You may think you are bugging the ***** out of them, but someone will eventually get tired of you asking for work and throw you a bone. Get it done quick and well and they'll be calling back. I really do feel your best bet is to find a pretty big developer/development find out who runs the show and try to get in slowly with them. Every developer I know around here has a small guy or company they call on a lot to do all the small stuff that doesn't need a contract. You just need to know you will need enough insurance and be prepared to wait 30-60 days to get the $ going. Once you get the timing down it isn't too bad.
Mox thanks so much for the tips I really appreciate it . The track machines have me worried honestly because all I remember running them is they are beasts in the dirt but once you get on pavement they will shake your teeth out . About the developers I have been working on meeting with some and have talked to a couple just gave them some history on myself and they didn't seem turned off so I guess that's all I can ask for before I get started just wanted to plant the seed . Thanks again mox !!!
 

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Mox thanks so much for the tips I really appreciate it . The track machines have me worried honestly because all I remember running them is they are beasts in the dirt but once you get on pavement they will shake your teeth out . About the developers I have been working on meeting with some and have talked to a couple just gave them some history on myself and they didn't seem turned off so I guess that's all I can ask for before I get started just wanted to plant the seed . Thanks again mox !!!
If you want a topshelf comfortable machine get a kubota svl 70 or 90. There pricey but theres a reason they are.

ForumRunner_20140228_185947.jpg

If your not careful itll put you to sleep lol!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
If you want a topshelf comfortable machine get a kubota svl 70 or 90. There pricey but theres a reason they are.

If your not careful itll put you to sleep lol!
Oh that is nice ill check those out also ! Sleepy time !!!! Lol
Mox also any pointers on how bidding jobs that is where I'm alittle shaky I can run jobs but never really got a chance to bid . Like how to figure price for foundations ,water ,sewer stuff like that I'm not asking for exact numbers nor would I ever but like how to get to the numbers . I understand price the material ie pipe ,bedding , time , fixed costs etc but would like your opinion. I'm sure its gonna be a learning curve when I get started but I don't want to loose my ass or not get jobs .
 

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If you've been in the field more than behind a desk in my opinion you've already got a good start to bidding. The fixed cost are pretty simple as you said as long as you get supplier quotes. You'll need to figure any overhead/profit costs that you want or need on to of those delivery/pickup costs etc.

You'll need to get an idea of equipment, mobilization, fuel, etc. I've pretty much figured what it cost me to own, insure, maintain all of our equipment and use a fixed cost per day for each piece. I've added a payment, insurance, estimated maint. Cost per month and divide the total by the number of days I think they will be working per month (I usually use 15-18 considering rain and down time) to get a daily rate for equipment. Don't get caught up in thinking that as soon as you pay off or own something outright that it no longer costs you that amount because all you'll do is where something out and have never recouped enough money to replace it when it junk.

Where I think you are ahead is man hours it will take to get the work done. I've seen people bid jobs that will take double the time to do at the same rates as high production work. If I bid paving work for a job that has tons of parking bays that are only 20' long it take 4 times longer to lay 20 tons of material than just dumping it down a straight street with no obstacles. Labor is a big part of bidding, get it correct and you are good, but if you bid it wrong or short you will loose your a$$ quickly. Make sure you know what it actually cost you not just the hourly rate: rate, taxes, ins., Work comp, overhead and profit.

Simply put I take my mobilization cost + equipment/fuel cost + material cost + labor cost + overhead and profit to get my price. There are tons of small things that you'll want to figure as well: small hand tools, pickup truck and gas cost, etc.

All of my bids are put into an excel template that I've created with company info, customer info and contact, job name, engineer and date from the plans and all our conditions. I line out pretty much every aspect of the job into individual line items and the each have a quantity and line item price so the customer knows what they are getting and how much it costs. Most like it, but sometimes it can be a pia when they go line by line and say so and so will do that this much cheaper. Usually don't hear anything about the items you are doing cheaper though.

Hope that helps some, have to be kind of vague not knowing your situation.
 

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If you want a topshelf comfortable machine get a kubota svl 70 or 90. There pricey but theres a reason they are.

View attachment 108746

If your not careful itll put you to sleep lol!
Those are good looking machines. Cabs are nice to have in the snow, I could sit in there and push in a tee shirt in our bobcats. Pretty sure both our machines have kubota engines also pretty much bullet proof.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
If you've been in the field more than behind a desk in my opinion you've already got a good start to bidding. The fixed cost are pretty simple as you said as long as you get supplier quotes. You'll need to figure any overhead/profit costs that you want or need on to of those delivery/pickup costs etc.

You'll need to get an idea of equipment, mobilization, fuel, etc. I've pretty much figured what it cost me to own, insure, maintain all of our equipment and use a fixed cost per day for each piece. I've added a payment, insurance, estimated maint. Cost per month and divide the total by the number of days I think they will be working per month (I usually use 15-18 considering rain and down time) to get a daily rate for equipment. Don't get caught up in thinking that as soon as you pay off or own something outright that it no longer costs you that amount because all you'll do is where something out and have never recouped enough money to replace it when it junk.

Where I think you are ahead is man hours it will take to get the work done. I've seen people bid jobs that will take double the time to do at the same rates as high production work. If I bid paving work for a job that has tons of parking bays that are only 20' long it take 4 times longer to lay 20 tons of material than just dumping it down a straight street with no obstacles. Labor is a big part of bidding, get it correct and you are good, but if you bid it wrong or short you will loose your a$$ quickly. Make sure you know what it actually cost you not just the hourly rate: rate, taxes, ins., Work comp, overhead and profit.

Simply put I take my mobilization cost + equipment/fuel cost + material cost + labor cost + overhead and profit to get my price. There are tons of small things that you'll want to figure as well: small hand tools, pickup truck and gas cost, etc.

All of my bids are put into an excel template that I've created with company info, customer info and contact, job name, engineer and date from the plans and all our conditions. I line out pretty much every aspect of the job into individual line items and the each have a quantity and line item price so the customer knows what they are getting and how much it costs. Most like it, but sometimes it can be a pia when they go line by line and say so and so will do that this much cheaper. Usually don't hear anything about the items you are doing cheaper though.

Hope that helps some, have to be kind of vague not knowing your situation.
Okay so its kind of how I thought I would have to figure the price of the job out plus some things I didn't think about . I never have had a desk job or wanted one I'm a field guy through and through so I guess me knowing how long it would be to do a task is better than someone who just can crunch numbers . My overhead is low as I will own all my equipment outright while that's good and bad I figure just starting out it will benefit me not having notes to pay every month . I will have roughly 50k in operating cash after equipment is bought . Any input on this strategy would be helpful . Also I will be a one man band for the foreseeable future till I get some cash flow . Thanks mox
 
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