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How to Turn Your Compact Excavator Into a Profit Center

Mon August 14, 2023 - National Edition #18
Drew Kolo, Bobcat

While compact excavators are known for being efficient digging machines, your compact excavator offers jobsite versatility far beyond digging.

With the right attachments and coupler system, compact excavators can perform a wide variety of tasks that can help you win jobs you may not have previously considered bidding for.

Here are five jobs you can perform with a compact excavator:

  • Demolition — Compact excavators are ideally suited for demolition work and can often complete small-scale demolition jobs, due to their power, extended reach and maneuverability. The combination of an excavator and breaker is ideal for breaking up concrete and asphalt driveways, sidewalks, trails and swimming pools.
  • Land Clearing — Clearing areas zoned for new development is an opportunity to generate additional income with your compact excavator. When outfitted with a tooth bucket and a clamp, or with a three-tined grapple, compact excavators are effective at grabbing, and pulling rooted undergrowth from the ground. Additionally, excavators can extend their reach into areas that present access challenges for other machines. This advantage makes an excavator equipped with a flail mower the ideal tool for clearing saplings, brush and other heavy overgrowth from steep hillsides, bridge embankments, riverbanks and utility right-of-way.
  • Ground Compaction — An excavator fitted with a plate compactor becomes a dual-use machine for increased return on investment. After digging with a bucket, a plate compactor attachment can be used to compress soil, eliminating the need for a crew member to pack down the dirt with a hand tamper.
  • Loading, Placing and Lifting — Compact excavators are ideal for loading and unloading trucks on confined work sites. Operators can dig out material and then rotate 180 degrees to load it into a truck for removal from the sight. When outfitted with a grapple, compact excavators provide precision grasp, allowing operators to not only move, but also place and sort materials. Additionally, a lift eye can be used for a wide range of lifting and placing tasks.
  • Site Prep — Prepping a site is another way to increase revenue with a compact excavator. A ripper can be used to scarify ground frost and hardened ground. Grading buckets and blades can be used for leveling uneven terrain. Combining a bucket or blade with a tilting attachment adds significant range of motion for more versatility on a jobsite. The wrist-like action moves the excavator bucket or blade to either side, improving productivity by tilting the attachment or blade instead of moving the entire machine, to cut swales, shape contours and create slopes.

Outside of considering these applications as revenue streams, we advise that you also examine your compact excavators and the jobs they are performing as two separate areas within your organization. Sit down with your team and talk through which tasks are most profitable compared to their utilization rate, which attachments are bringing you the most business and what maintenance considerations you need to plan for.

Compact excavators have proven themselves a popular machine for traditional digging tasks. However, their compact size, attachment capability and proven performance have taken compact excavators beyond their traditional digging role and turned them into versatile profit-generating machines.

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