Backhoe business?

torch

Tech Guy
Staff member
Background info:
I've absolutely loved construction vehicles since I was a kid. I've just never had an opportunity to be around them that closely. I've often dreamed about one day starting a business just so I would have an excuse to own one. Right now I have a Cub Cadet sc2400, which is a sub-compact utility tractor. Just a step above a garden tractor, but it has a bucket and can do a few things. Enough to clear my yard and let me have a little bit of fun.


My own research:
I think people will say the following about backhoes:
a) they are good at a lot of things, but not great at anything?
b) a one-man business would be more viable with smaller tools, like mini excavators, a skid steer type of machine, etc.

My questions:

1. Would a one-man backhoe business be a viable company in the Maritimes? My gut tells me "no". So if that's the case, my only other option is to get rich enough another way that I can afford to just buy one of these as a toy.

2. Can you effectively use a backhoe year round? With a snow bucket can these things get enough traction for them to work well in the winter? Do any backhoe's have PTO's or other methods of using a snow blower attachment?

Would love to hear from anyone with ideas or advice.

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2001BlackGTvert

Moderator
Staff member
i Have seen backhoes move some snow before so I would say that is an option in the winter. Personally I would think a mini escavator/post hole digger type setup that you can move around easily with a half ton truck and trailer would be a decent small business. I know a guy who started out with one and a half ton. He has a good small business going now. Keeps him and a couple employees busy. I know there is plenty of competition out there though.
 

Ohtobbad

Administrator
Staff member
Backhoe is becoming less common and used less on many projects.
as machine become more job specific. But they do find work, they can do snow.
Only problem I see with the, is quite expensive and do not demand big $ per hour return.

If all your going to own is a backhoe and only hire yourself out by the hour,
you had better have a lot of connections and you had better be a very good operator.

Owning 1 piece of equipment as a business today is a tough road.
Many companies buy their own equipment now and hire less people,
best way in small business today is offer services that go with the equipment
and then you have a chance.

With this type of work, you need to understand one thing, normal hours or days of the week
rarely mean much, you work when's its busy, helps if your handy, fixing this stuff is not cheap
have multiple skills is almost essential.

Of course if your prefer long hours, with low pay then you should definitely buy
a $130K machine to make $85 per hour lol.
 

pei_guy

Moderator
Staff member
Coming in late to this thread....
A tracked Bobcat skid loader gives you options fornwork and play. Attachments are pricey but broad. Bucket, posthole digger, street sweeper, snowblower, etc. Enclosed cab option, or homebrewed version for winter use. Small trailer for specific jobs, or larger with all the attachments along for the ride.

Single backhoe operators here seem to run a small dump with a tailored backhoe and licensed for septic installs. Pretty territorial business, at least here in PEI. New players get squeezed, but if development outpaces supply of service and drives wait times, there's an in.
 

Ohtobbad

Administrator
Staff member
Skid steers and backhoes are different animals
you can buy anything you want.

First you need to know why you're buying and what you're going to do with it.
Next you have to have or learn the skills that go with the piece of equipment.

Knowledge is a funny thing.
 

Ohtobbad

Administrator
Staff member
If I were buying one piece of gear to put to work, it would be an excavator.
But again you need the skill to run it, most people don't hire a machine, they hire ability / experience.


Couple questions, do you have a hammer? are you a carpenter?
Do you own some wrenches are you a mechanic ?
Bet you own a lawn mower, you must be a landscaper.


thats like me saying I have a computer and I like them, I am going to work in computers.
( that being a joke because I am technically challenged on a good day)
even though, I have owned a computer for over 20 years, go figure.

Being an operator is one thing, have the knowledge of what you need to do is another.
Oh and moving most of these things requires more than your corolla :)


If you really want to run equipment, come to nova scotia, take the dexter construction school,
once done they will give you a job, after 5- 10 years and some experience you can invest
a couple hundred K and go out on your own..

upside is when you buy one of those shiny machines above for a 140K they give you a cool hat :)
 

TrueBlue02058

Post King
Sounds like I am better off trying to get rich another way and just buying one as a toy then

Although, a 2004 model can be had for as little as $17K on auto trader. I'm sure anything in that price range comes with a handful of issues.

You are all ready Rich Phil.

You have a Loving Wife and a House full of wonderful Children 👍
 

pei_guy

Moderator
Staff member
I'll confess.... I don't have much knowledge other then a bit of operating experience from 30-35 years ago unloading boxcars of lime!

Just saw it as another opportunity to help a fellow MM member spending some cash. A different diversion than the past foxbody build recommendations!
 

TrueBlue02058

Post King
I have experience unloading CN Boxcars by hand that were filled with 100 and 150 pound burlap sacs full of Peanuts 40,41 years ago when I weighed 145. It was all in the technique from boxcar to pallet 👍💪
 

Ohtobbad

Administrator
Staff member
I'll confess.... I don't have much knowledge other then a bit of operating experience from 30-35 years ago unloading boxcars of lime!

Just saw it as another opportunity to help a fellow MM member spending some cash. A different diversion than the past foxbody build recommendations!
if he wants to learn I will teach him, but these lessons and are hard and in todays world expensive.
We all get bored or at times we wish we were doing something different. but hard to switch careers
and expect to make same money in same hours. rarely if ever works that way.
Everything looks easy when on outside looking in.
 

05 gt 5spd

On the road again
In today’s land of permits, liability, customer expectations and competition a single backhoe is hard to make a living with. If you choose to live where you are the only “go to guy “ and you always get it done ,it’s easier.
PS most $17,000 machines are close to needing $20,000 of repairs in the next year!
 
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