If you have a skid I want your opinion

samsquatch

Well-Known Member
My business scored a line of credit and I feel like a 5yr old in a toy store. Looking for some hydraulics to purchase to save on my back. I think I've settled on either a Bobcat MX85 or a Cat 247/257. To those of you with a mini: how many times have you needed the mini where a full size track loader would not work?
I'm thinking tight back yards where a large machine would not fit. But in those situations I could just cut smaller and drag to the fence gate, then pick with the Cat.
I would also like to keep an option open for snow removal, and that's why I'm considering a MTL with a cab, and the 257 has high flow. I could plow with a MX85, would just be colder and far less efficient.

Thanks for your ops.
 

OasisTree

Well-Known Member
Get a Ditchwitch SK1050 with a rake grapple and a BMG. Enough said.

They can pick up over half the weight the full-size can pick up, are light on lawns, and don't reduce your payload too much when hauling that last load out. Also the bomb when you have steep slopes to navigate.

I have a full size as well but it stays at the shop for managing wood waste there. We have had it for 6 months and not had it on the job yet! BTW my grapple truck can pick twice as much most skid loader anyways...

Of course this is my opinion and what has worked the best for me, we have tried several different options including a wheel loader. I am sure that you will hear more.

The mini is not the best for snow unless doing sidewalks or small parking lots.
 

samsquatch

Well-Known Member
Thanks. I should also mention that I will not buy new. I would rather buy used, even well used and if it needs a little TLC I can do that.
The last thing I bought new was a pair of blue jeans in 2011.
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
Consider what financing options you have for new equipment that is not someone else's headache. New machines are not field-tested, so they will still probably have a minor problem here or there.

Doesn't matter what anyone else does. What matters is what you do in your market.

My machine has an expandable undercarriage (tracks go in and out), with wide tracks. My market is saturated, not frozen. My market has tons of landscaping and tight spots that barely fit my machine through and under. Doesn't matter in your market.


From what I've read, I'd be looking at the Ditch Witch.

My only local dealer support is Vermeer. I'd consider it, but...

Dealer support is more important for some people than others, especially, new (warranty) versus used. Not that complicated of machines, overall. Not simple, but mostly without finicky rpm sensors, computer boards, etc, as on chippers.

If you're out working instead of fixing, you'll have the little bit more monthly payment available to buy new instead of used.

Mini's are not expensive like a $150k bucket truck.

If you have more time on your hands to be a mechanic than a business owner, arborist or tree killer, that's again, specific to you, which is all that really matters.


Being able to fix your mini at home/ shop is great, but what if you have to fix it in the middle of a job, in the middle of their yard, or in the middle of a road?

A little TLC???? Mini's get used hard, IMO.



My mini makes me smile, still, years in. Running it instead of my back/ employee's back's, wages, WC, payroll processing, etc, makes me feel exuberent like a kid.

Those savings help make payments.

Potential customers being impressed with the mini's efficiency and coolness will bring a customer here and there, helps make the payment.
 
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OasisTree

Well-Known Member
Thanks. I should also mention that I will not buy new. I would rather buy used, even well used and if it needs a little TLC I can do that.
The last thing I bought new was a pair of blue jeans in 2011.

That was my attitude when I started my business, but time has taught me that the hours that i spend fixing things dont pay very well. Not to say that the new stuff doesn't break, but it is less likely to and then it is on their dime.

Having newer equipment and scheduled maintenance days each week has dramatically improved my crews efficiency, as we rarely have down days due to breakdowns.

And yes minis get used hard, unless it is a homeowners toy.
 

samsquatch

Well-Known Member
Yeah for some things a guy might need dealer support. But for other things like fluid lines, swapping an alternator, replacing a relay, etc. I'd rather do it myself anyway. I got all sorts of time when the sun goes down, and someday I'll have a shop with all the right tools. I'm a quick learner, maybe that's why I like saving $$ up front on used machinery and when I say saving $$ on used, I'm talking like 40% max of new price.

People always say "time is money". yeah well, whenever I see someone binge watching Netflix instead of fixing something that's broke, I say "what a waste of money".
 

colb

Well-Known Member
My business scored a line of credit and I feel like a 5yr old in a toy store. Looking for some hydraulics to purchase to save on my back. I think I've settled on either a Bobcat MX85 or a Cat 247/257. To those of you with a mini: how many times have you needed the mini where a full size track loader would not work?
I'm thinking tight back yards where a large machine would not fit. But in those situations I could just cut smaller and drag to the fence gate, then pick with the Cat.
I would also like to keep an option open for snow removal, and that's why I'm considering a MTL with a cab, and the 257 has high flow. I could plow with a MX85, would just be colder and far less efficient.

Thanks for your ops.
It may be useful to ask how often you really want a full size skid rather than asking how often you need a mini. For me, that is once every year or two. I've overbid a couple jobs to permit renting a full size skid for $450. Lost those jobs. Not really disappointed about it. Minis with bmgs are much more agile, especially in non-rural areas with 15'-long skinny branches.

This summer I was on a full size laurel oak. The crane put stuff on the road. I cut a couple pieces to transport stuff during lunch, then had to deal with a section of 50" diameter crotch wood that was 15' long. I just pushed and rolled it 50 feet to the pile. I have a DW SK650 with the 32hp kubota diesel.

If you buy used, buy newish used with the warranty still in effect. Or, buy two machines and transport both to the job site for each job.
 

Serf Life

Well-Known Member
Full size would be great for land clearing or at the yard, but residential tree work you would need a ton of mats and large openings between plantings etc. One month in on owning a SK800 with forks bucket and bmg, no long-term data to contribute. Worked with tractors with previous companies and a mini is so much nicer for 90% of tree work. If the machine won't fit then it is more work on the back. And the BMG is a modern marvel btw.
 

colb

Well-Known Member
The boxer 700hdx has an expandable undercarriage. There may be others.
Did Boxer add in some hydraulic pumps to permit multiple functions? Last I looked that 532dx was a beast with the retractable treads and massive tip weight, but you could only move the tracks or the business end - not both at once.
 

Treetopflyer

Well-Known Member
Love my ditch witch. Only miniskid brand I've found that has the most right stuff so far. Right now going back and forth between them for a new one and articulating loader.. those loaders with bmg seem to lift higher and slightly more pound for pound I believe in most close size machine. Heres a comparison video by avant I bet this has been posted on the buzz before somewhere sometime. A full size would be compared to say a 750 or so and a mini skid sk 800 or 1050 would be like a 423 through 523 there abouts for size reference. Only you know your market and the conditions you work. Good luck with your search!
p.s.you mayhave a hard time finding a used articulated loader
 
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samsquatch

Well-Known Member
How about ground psi? The full size Cat at 4.5psi is actually nicer on turf than the MX85... plus I can use it to pick cants and logs for a sawmill someday.
 

colb

Well-Known Member
Love my ditch witch. Only miniskid brand I've found that has the most right stuff so far. Right now going back and forth between them for a new one and articulating loader.. those loaders with bmg seem to lift higher and slightly more pound for pound I believe in most close size machine. Heres a comparison video by avant I bet this has been posted on the buzz before somewhere sometime. A full size would be compared to say a 750 or so and a mini skid sk 800 or 1050 would be like a 423 through 523 there abouts for size reference. Only you know your market and the conditions you work. Good luck with your search!
I got around the mini hinge pin height by buying a dump roll off trailer. I just roll it off to gain 2-3 feet in height. Mostly, I do not enter the bin with the mini, but I can. I load large logs and brush material from the back. I load all but the super large logs over the side to top off and hold the brush down. The super large logs I can just roll into the bin since it is only a foot high. The Stein arbor trolley is just above the edge of the bin, so I can tip logs straight into the bin. I have split level doors, so when the brush gets to the back I close the lower level to keep the butts from scooting past the edge, then keep loading. With the bin not rolled off, I can tip it a bit to optimize loading from the back, if the load is smaller, but I definitely have less game.
 

Barc Buster

Well-Known Member
Did Boxer add in some hydraulic pumps to permit multiple functions? Last I looked that 532dx was a beast with the retractable treads and massive tip weight, but you could only move the tracks or the business end - not both at once.
I think they have, but I'm not sure. I'm rocking a little dingo 220. I don't run into too many gates narrower than the 40" width of my machine.
 

CaPowell

Active Member
I love my Vermeer S900TX. I'm w/ everyone else saying go with a mini if the bulk of your work is residential. I do jobs all the time where there is no way a full size skid is going to fit...

One thing I like about a mini that I don't think has been mentioned is the ease of access. It may not seem like a big deal, but you just hop on; you don't have to climb into the cab. Once again, not a big deal, but when you do it a hundred times in a day... And, the visibility is WAY better on a mini.
 

Talon Tree Service

Active Member
Really you sound like you are sold on a full sized skid, but I’ll add to.
In my market, a full size skid steer has little to no place. The yard damage being the largest reason, gates and fences can be worked around. People aren’t excepting of yard damage in my market.
Lift capacity, I worked around a ditch witch sk1550 last month, that machine picked up a 3,000 pound butt log of poplar and loaded it into a dump trailer with a root grapple. (I know the weight because we picked it with the crane). The 1550 is pretty pricey, but impressive and DW has been known for good quality. I don’t know all the specs on it, but it definitely outperformed the MT85 bobcat I am used to.
Lift height, a low pro dump trailer makes it easy to load with a mini skid. Or a BMG makes it possible to grab the butt and load from the rear even in full sized or tall sided dump trailers and trucks.
Large wood is where the full sized skid shines, you can load semis with logs in sawmill lengths. If this fits your market better, I say go for it. We have a case 70 horse full sized skid steer, it gets used a fraction as much as the bobcat MT85.
If you do land clearing, logging, excavating, etc, a full size is more versatile. But if the bulk of your work is residential treework, a mini skid pros list far outweighs the pros list of a full size.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
I’d rather have a small full size than a bobcat mini, but rather have a Vermeer or ditch witch mini than a small full size.

There is a sk800 near me for sale with low hours
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
532dx-- You can move them in/ out and forward/ back simultaneously. This puts less strain on the tracks, probably.

I've had some problems with my Boxer, for sure.
IF they have put cushioned engine mounts on the 700, it would be a good improvement.
 

Scheffa

Active Member
How come I never see much about you guys in the dates using excavators for feeding choppers etc?
Here in aus I don’t know of anyone who owns or rents a mini for tree work.
 
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