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5 Essential Skid Steer Attachments for Landscapers


By Mitch Salva


Buying a skid steer is often the first big investment for new landscape business owners. It's an investment that, if done right, can both add value and provide quick return. However, the machine is only half the battle. The right attachments are the other half. Here are the first five attachments every landscaping skid steer owner should purchase.



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Bucket

What does it do? Most of the time buckets are just used to transport dirt, sand, gravel, and the like. Landscaping buckets are great for that, but also are designed to help grade and level land.

What to look for? When grading and leveling it's important to be able to see over the top of the bucket from the cab. As a result, landscaping buckets have a low-profile design. It's also important that the bucket sits level with the ground. Landscaping buckets do this by using a raised hitch plate. Lastly, teeth are added to landscaping buckets to help dig into the ground when grading.

When to buy? A landscape bucket should be your first attachment. Other options include rock buckets for heavy rocks and gravel, bulk material buckets for large material quantity and snow removal, and grapple buckets for tree limbs and logs.

How does this make money? The savings on labor alone will provide ROI within a couple weeks of regular use. Combine that with the ability to grade and level and it's not hard to see the value a bucket adds.

Price Examples:
(From LC/DBM Research)

60" Wide
$450 - $1,645

72" Wide
$599 - $2,295

84" Wide $700 - $2,495



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Pallet Fork

What does it do? Loading and unloading anything too big to carry. This means sod, seed, brick, concrete bags and the rest.

What to look for? You'll need to know the machine make, model, and capacity rating. Forty-eight-inch forks are pretty standard. Speak with a salesperson here, but always verify the forks are fully heat treated and built with steel capable of heavy usage.

When to buy? Get these when buying the bucket. These two attachments will do the majority of the work.

How does this make money? Potential workers' comp claims from heavy lifting aside, faster loading and unloading means time saved. Just having forks also gives you the option to add a variety of fork mounted attachments like booms, work platforms, and more.

Price Examples:
(From LC/DBM Research)

36" Wide
$499 - $882

48" Wide
$499 - $1,260

60" Wide
$669 - $1,795



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Auger Drive

What does it do?When paired with drill bits, auger drives can make digging holes for trees, shrubs, post mounting, and fence installation faster and easier. They can save some serious time and expand business capabilities. In addition, auger drives can fit other attachments including stump planers and cement mixers.

What to look for?Drives are pretty simple. Get a planetary drive with a sealed gearbox for less maintenance and an increased lifespan. Look for a single piece shaft assembly to eliminate shaft pull out. Also, invest in a good set of bits as different sizes are needed for different uses.

When to buy? An auger drive isn't necessary right away as most holes can be dug by hand and shovel. However, it does make life a lot easier and gets the job done faster.

How does this make money? Augers are a fairly simple way to save a lot of hard work and time if you find yourself digging holes often. This increase in efficiency makes expanding into new services like fence and post installation an easy decision.

Price Examples:
(From LC/DBM Research)

3,000 PSI
$1,229 - $2,100

4,500 PSI
$1,475 - $2,595



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Cement Mixer

What does it do?The cement mixer can get where traditional cement trucks can't by attaching directly to the auger drive. Cement mixer attachments are pretty straightforward to operate: just load cement mix and water, rotate the bowl using the auger drive, and pour cement as needed.

What to look for?Cement mixers use an adapter to mount to the auger drive. Make sure you have the correct mounting system for optimal performance.

When to buy? After purchasing an auger drive.

How does this make money?The cement mixer will save time on smaller jobs like driveway or sidewalk repair, as well as small cement foundations, and other jobs. Similar to a stump planer, the cement mixer eliminates the need for costly rentals.

Price Examples:
(From LC/DBM Research)

(Bowl Only)
$790 - $1,275



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Stump Planer

What does it do?The stump planer attaches to the auger drive and can easily remove stumps without the need to rent a very costly stump grinder.

What to look for?These are pretty simple; just verify information with a sales rep.

When to buy? After purchasing an auger drive.

How does this make money?The cost of owning a stump planer is comparable to the cost of renting a stump grinder for about a week. If the need is just to remove the occasional stump, a planer will provide tremendous value and save against unnecessary rental costs.

Price Examples:
(From LC/DBM Research)

$6,595 - $8,995



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And One More for Good Measure...

Another important job for landscape professionals that none of the previous five attachments do is to dig deep and uncover a lot of area. That's where a backhoe attachment comes in handy. They facilitate different bucket sizes, and come in fixed arm (left) and swivel (right) models. This attachment can also be used with an added thumb unit to grapple and move rocks, logs and other materials.

Price Examples:
(From LC/DBM Research)

Fixed
$1,175 - $2,495

Swivel
$8,995 - $14,495



As seen in LC/DBM magazine, October 2017.






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