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He Makes Good Money With A Skid Loader
With 15 years and nearly 25,000 operating hours, Art Bargabos is enthusiastic about the quality of the JCB skid steers he's owned and the income he's been able to make with a land-clearing mulching head.
  "I feel like the JCB is the safest skid steer out there," Bargabos says. Two features make it stand out for safety: side entry with one easy step, which is much safer than climbing over a bucket; and good visibility because of its one-arm boom. He believes that the JCB skid steer could be easily outfitted for people with disabilities to provide them a way to make a good living.
  Bargabos is a custom grading contractor. He outfitted his 1110HF JCB with a Bradco mulching head and hires out to clear land around Lynchburg, Va.
  "Many farmers have a skid steer loader on their farm," he says. "They could upgrade and get one with high-flow hydraulics and get a mulching head to allow them to reclaim farm land."
  Bargabos works with builders and landscapers. A common job is to turn brush land into several inches of mulch, which can be left on the land, or hauled away. The heavy-duty Bradco mulcher requires high-flow hydraulics (three lines instead of two) and can limb and mulch small hardwood and large softwood trees.
  "This is a relatively new way to clear land that's catching on fast," says Bargabos. "We need to train people to quit pushing and burning."
  To set up a business, he suggests contacting local landscapers and general contractors - hiring a mulch operator saves the contractor high transportation costs. About half the sites where Bargabos works keep the mulch for landscaping or erosion control - he goes over it several times to chop everything into small pieces.
  If it needs to be removed, he unhooks the mulch head and puts a bucket on his skidsteer to load the mulch on a truck. In some areas, there may be markets to sell the mulch.
  Besides new construction jobs, Bargabos finds private work for individuals. He often works some of the mulch into the soil to enrich it and hauls the rest away.
  Bargabos charges $115 per hour for his services, which he says is probably on the low side. He burns 25 gallons of fuel in an 8 to 10-hour day.
  For better traction and to save money, Bargabos puts steel tracks on his wheeled-machine. At $1,300 a pair, steel tracks last about a year when doing hard work and are cheaper to replace than rubber tracks.
  He's willing to advise others how to set up a custom service.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Art Bargabos, (ph 434 546-0280; artbarg@verizon.net).

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2008 - Volume #32, Issue #4