If you rent one, you're frantic to get the job finished so you can return it by 8:00 Monday morning.
Also, in the best season to do those projects, the rental yard is often out of stock for weeks on end.
Everybody else wants to do their projects in the same same time frame.
Once you have one, you'll see another dozen projects that you'd like to do.
If you shop around and find one at a decent price, once all of your projects are finished, you can probably resell it at the same price you bought it, as long as you don't FUBAR it. I think owning one for a year can be cheaper than renting one several times. The biggest gamble is not buying one that the current owner is selling because he knows something major is about to happen to it. If you have a friend that really knows the machines, talk him into going with you when you go shopping.
I have seen several, that appear to be "worth it" on Craig's List.
Yeah, renting seems like it would be a waste since there is a learning curve for everything.
I just hire it to get done since people that do it day in and day out are going to be the best
at moving the dirt the most efficiently. Since you are mechanical and maybe don't mind
fixing a lot of problems, then could pan out buying one.
I have developed a relationship that requires me to neither buy nor rent. I took in a tenant who owns an excavator. I think that is what you are calling a track hoe. It's my tenant's job to maintain the road and provide me with 3 hours of digging per month. I provide him with a nice patch of gravel with a view of the river valley. I stand at a safe distance and point, while a 40 year veteran runs the controls.
My brother mentioned that I should keep Randy around for a long time. I told him this. " If Randy weren't old, ugly and male, I'd marry him right now".
If you live near a city, I guarantee you that there are guys like Randy who have storage problems with their Bobcats, excavators, bulldozers and such. It's expensive for them to rent commercial lockups for this stuff. Just a yard would cost Randy more than the $300 in machine time that he pays me. He wouldn't be allowed to live with his stuff as he does at my place, so he would have to rent an apartment. And he wouldn't be able to pay with machine time during periods when work is slack.
As the property improves, Randy lives at a better place all the time. He is currently surrounded by hugel beds and a pond will soon reside 200 ft from his door. He hunts deer and he fishes, as do many of his friends. His butchery trailer where they all process meat, will soon be parked by a pond that contains some hungry catfish.
Dale Hodgins wrote:
I guarantee you that there are guys like Randy who have storage problems with their Bobcats, excavators, bulldozers and such. It's expensive for them to rent commercial lockups for this stuff.
We have an arrangement like that and we're not even in a city. The guy who owns it only visits a couple of times a year and doesn't want it left parked on his plot in the forest so we get to look after it the rest of the time. He's quite happy for us to use it - it doesn't do them any good sitting around for months on end without at least starting them up and playing with the hydraulics a bit. It's been *very* handy, and a wonderful opportunity for my son to learn to drive the thing as we'd never have been able to afford one otherwise.
At one of the Holzer workshops (after a long discussion about the importance of earthworks) someone asked Sepp:
"What are the two or three pieces of machinery that you just couldn't do without?"
"None of them, you always need different machines for different projects." Then he went on to say that he has two small tractors, basically the same model but 20 years apart in age, and that's it.
The thing is if your doing earthworks you always need different machines and different size machinery for each project. I find the best approach is to plan out the project thoroughly and then execute efficiently. Rent the right machine for the job and it goes incredibly quickly. Sometimes this is a big excavator (30-50 tons), sometimes a little one (5 tons), sometimes just a big excavator isn't enough.
To be honest I'm amazed that rental companies can rent their equipment out for as cheap as they do. The only way I can figure is they must buy straight from the factory for a huge discount, when the machine is abused and costs too much to maintain they sell it for nearly what they bought it for.
And I third the professional operator suggestion. After over 40 hours on a machine I am now pretty competent. But if I have a big installation to do I hire an operator who is 15 years more experienced then me and it's well worth it because he is so much quicker.