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Buying Guide for Backhoe Loaders
At most job site, a backhoe loader is standard issue equipment. This is perhaps because a backhoe loader is like two tools in one.
The front end features a loader, or bucket, which lets you clear massive amounts of debris quickly and easily. The back end features a digger, a scoop that makes quick work of digging holes. So these two tools clearly belong together! But the coolest part is that the operator's seat swivels, so the operator can just turn around when it is time to use the tool on the opposite end.
Also, for most backhoe loaders you have the option to change out the tools on either end with different attachments, such as a crusher, a grinder and different bucket types. This gives you extra flexibility to do many different jobs with one single piece of equipment.
If you are in the market for a backhoe loader for your job site, this Buying Guide will give you a thorough overview of what to look for and consider before choosing your new equipment.
Features of Backhoe Loaders
The standard backhoe loader comes with a number of different helpful and safety features.
Stabilizer.This is a set of two legs that supports the rear wheels to stay steady during tough jobs. Make sure the loader you choose has two legs and rubber soles to grip asphalt firmly.
Controls.If you are thinking about buying a used backhoe loader, be aware that the controls for old and newer models are very different. Older models use hand and foot levers while newer models have controls that look more like a joystick on steroids. Newer controls are much easier to use and often also include something called "sideshift," which gives you much more flexibility in where you can dig.
Transmission.Automatic transmission makes it much easier to steer and drive for distance jobs, but manual is cheaper.
Cab setup.A comfortable cab not only makes it safer and easier for the operator to do their job, but is more likely to come built to comply with OSHA safety standards.
Four-wheel drive.Four-wheel drive steering gives your new backhoe loader better transaction on slippery or loose surfaces. You will also get more maneuverability, especially in tight spaces. The newest backhoe loaders sometimes feature 4X4X4 (four wheels of equal size, four wheel drive, four wheel steering).
Choosing a Backhoe Loader Seller
Choosing a backhoe loader seller may seem like a simple enough propositions, but the truth is that you are potentially establishing a relationship of long duration. Backhoe loaders last for many years, but often need maintenance and repairs as they age. You want to be sure your seller will still be around and servicing older backhoe loader models when those days arrive.
Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when selecting a seller:
Single versus many model sellers:For sellers who represent a number of equipment models, you may find you have more choices to find the perfect backhoe loader for your job needs. However, when you opt for a seller who sells only one model, you may find the seller has much more expertise on that model that can benefit you.
Customer service.If your backhoe loader breaks down, what then? This is a question to ask any potential seller. If possible, you want a local seller who can be at your site quickly and has all the needed parts on hand, plus a loaner vehicle if yours needs more major repairs.
Ask for references.Any reputable seller should be glad to provide you with a list of references you can call to ask about equipment and service quality. But also do your own research online and elsewhere to be sure you are choosing a reputable seller.
Backhoe Loaders Pricing
Sticker shock is a nearly inevitable phase of the backhoe loader purchasing process. But when you stretch that cost out over a decade or more of time, you may find the sticker shock wears off a bit.
Here are some standard prices you can use for comparison purposes:
- 9 to 10 foot digging depth. $25,000-$35,000.
- 14 foot digging depth. $55,000-$70,000.
- 15 to 16 foot digging depth. $75,000-$90,000.
- Over 16 foot digging depth. $110,000+.
- Specialized attachment (1). $1,000-$2,000.
If these costs don't work with your current budget, you might opt to rent a backhoe loader instead. Here are some average rental costs to help you decide (range of rates is due to different types of equipment):
- Daily rental. $150-$500.
- Weekly rental. $600-$1,500.
- Monthly rental. $2,000-$3,000.
You have even another option, which is to purchase a used backhoe loader. Here you can expect to see the price drop by 25-50 percent after a few thousand hours of use.
Buying Tips for Backhoe Loaders
Finally, here are four buying tips you will want to keep in mind before making your final purchase decision.