Making money with a track loader or backhoe requires a significant investment in equipment, but in return, you get to enjoy the perks of owning your own business, including setting your own rates and choosing which jobs you want. Do you need some backhoe business ideas to turn this dream into a reality? Take a look at what you need in order to have a successful business doing backhoe work.
Equipment ... and More Equipment
One of the major drawbacks for a backhoe business is the fact that heavy machinery costs a lot of money. That fact will become your major selling point for your business. Hiring you to do backhoe work ends up being far cheaper and safer for property owners than trying to purchase or rent a backhoe to do the work themselves.
However, it's not just the backhoe itself in which you'll need to invest. You'll also need a heavy-duty truck and trailer to transport the backhoe to and from work sites, and this can essentially double your financial investment. Sometimes, the backhoe, truck and trailer combination is all you need, but many times, the folks digging the dirt are often expected to haul it away. If you want to offer a complete package to your customers, add a dump truck to your fleet.
One final factor to consider is where your fleet will be stored when not in use. If you live on acreage, you might be able to keep all of the equipment under a carport or in a garage on your own property. However, this can affect your taxes and insurance, so consult with professionals before making that decision. Otherwise, you'll need to rent space in a secure lot or commercial garage.
Employees Trained in Backhoe Work
Operating a backhoe seems like a one-person job, but it often helps to have another person on the ground, especially in situations where finesse is required. Plus, if you'll offer debris or dirt-hauling services to complement the backhoe work, you'll need a second person to drive the dump truck.
Hiring employees will add to your business expense as well as affect your business insurance, but having a dependable team will help you deliver results to your clients and build your reputation, so it's worth taking the time to find the right people to represent your backhoe business. Anyone driving the backhoe or the dump truck or hauling the truck and trailer will need a commercial drivers' license in most states. It's also wise to hire employees with a clean driving record to keep your insurance premiums low.
Finally, hiring employees with a certification in backhoe operation never hurts, although you can also choose to provide on-the-job training for these machines.
Finding Clients for Your Backhoe Business
Most backhoe work is done when prepping a site for new construction, so most of your work will be done on a subcontractor basis for the general contractor in charge of the construction. Online platforms exist to help you bid on these jobs, and you should make it a habit to routinely review and bid on opportunities.
However, you also have a market among homeowners, and you shouldn't discount this population even if their pockets aren't as deep. Homeowners may need an area flattened or graded to help with water pooling on their property or to prepare a site for a concrete slab building they plan to install themselves, for example. A professional website is essential for getting calls from homeowners and for increasing your credibility among all your clients.
You can also grow your network through old-fashioned relationship building. People who install driveways or pools are excellent folks to get to know. They probably already have a backhoe business on speed dial, but if their go-to person isn't available, you could have the opportunity to step in and build your reputation.
Cathy Habas specializes in marketing, customer experiences, and behind-the-scenes management. Cathy has contributed to sites like Business and Finance, Business 2 Community, and Inside Small Business. She served as the managing editor for a small content marketing agency before continuing with her writing career.