Backhoes are essential equipment for many industries, including construction, landscaping and agriculture. From digging out foundations for buildings, to excavating trenches for pipes, drains and cables, backhoes save time and money, making the whole task quick and easy. Backhoes all follow the same basic design –plan, consisting of a heavy-duty scoop fitted to an articulated hydraulically powered boom. Backhoes are available in a range of sizes and styles, blending power and finesse into an efficient solution.
What is a Backhoe?
Backhoes are available in a wide array of sizes, from the huge mega-machines that shift tons of material in quarries, to the agile mini-backhoes that are small enough for home use. Many large excavators include backhoes fitted to the rear of the plant machine, allowing it to fulfil a variety of roles. Backhoes are often temporarily fitted to the rear of a tractor or they replace the bucket on a mini-excavator. Whilst often confused, the difference between bucket scoops in a forward direction whilst a backhoe drags material backwards, sacrificing a little capacity for extra manipulation and control.
For many tasks, a backhoe saves a great deal of time, effort and stress, recouping the cost of buying or renting the equipment. If you are excavating foundation trenches for a large building project, or clearing trenches for drains, a backhoe performs the job accurately and efficiently. Even for smaller jobs, clearing large quantities of earth with ax and shovel is arduous and tiring, so renting a backhoe excavator for the day is extremely cost effective.
Hiring a Backhoe – Cheaper Than You Think
For most tasks, especially where skill and experience are required, hiring a backhoe excavator with a specialist operator is the only choice. Considering the amount of time saved, and the subsequent reduction in labour costs, paying for a professional is money well spent. Even if you need a backhoe fairly frequently, hiring plant machinery is still more cost effective than buying your own and paying wages for a skilled operator.
Of course, if you are licensed and have experience in operating plant machinery, you can hire your own and complete the task yourself. For those of you with access to a tractor, it is possible to buy or hire a standard backhoe attachment, and most regular tractor drivers are experienced at operating the machinery.
Mini-Excavators and Backhoes
For small tasks, especially in restricted areas, where large plant machinery cannot operate, mini-excavators are an excellent choice. These small machines, often called Bobcats, are excellent multi-taskers and you can replace the fitted front bucket with a small backhoe. This is perfect for excavating shallow foundations and small trenches, although the size and depth is limited, and they lack the power for hard or difficult ground.
Finally, although many people operate these machines themselves, they are still heavy equipment and training is advised. For example, attempting to move large rocks or overextending risks tipping the machine, causing damage and risking injury. In addition, you should always be aware of where existing utility trenches run, ideally consulting plans because severing cables and pipes is dangerous and can result in repair bills and fines totaling thousands of dollars.
Buying a Backhoe Excavator – Factors To Consider
Hiring plant machinery or a backhoe attachment is a very cost-effective solution for infrequent use, but many businesses choose to buy. If you already own plant machinery and construction equipment, it is usually possible to purchase a backhoe attachment to fit. Otherwise, you need to buy a backhoe loader and the type depends almost entirely upon your needs. Budget is always a consideration, but you also need to buy the right size and power for your business.
For a landscaping company or small constructor, a mini-excavator is often a great choice, cheap and easily transportable. You must, however, be fully aware of the limitations in power and capacity. Larger loaders are more expensive and you must remember that bigger is not always better; if you buy a machine with too much capacity, you will waste a lot of fuel unnecessarily. You should also look at the attachments, because many backhoe excavators can be fitted with drill augers or jackhammers, adding to the versatility of the machine.
Whatever type of machine you ultimately decide upon, you should spend a little time researching the various manufacturers and decide upon one that enjoys an excellent reputation for aftercare and a solid warranty. A good backhoe excavator or backhoe attachment should last for many years, and buying a cheaper model may result in higher maintenance bills, short lifespan and difficulty in finding mechanics and parts. Used and repossessed plant machinery is often a great option, and it is often better to buy a good used machine rather than a cheaper, brand new one.
Buying Heavy Plant Machinery – The Financial Implications
Finally, look at the financial implications and incentives before you buy, talking through things with an accountant before signing any agreement. Many states and countries give excellent tax-breaks and grants for capital expenditure on large equipment. In addition, many plant machinery vendors offer excellent financing and hire-purchase agreements, so you should seek independent financial advice about the best financing options if you do not wish to buy a machine outright.
Backhoes are essential plant machinery for many businesses, and buying or renting backhoes can be difficult, considering the sheer range of types and manufacturers. Assessing your needs and asking the right questions will make sure that you are not taken in by the sales-patter and that you will find a backhoe that is cost-effective, durable and suited to the task.