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Old 07-02-2007, 01:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Starting Bush hogging business any advice?

Well I'm going to be starting my bush hogging business here soon and I needed some advice. I'm wanting to use an old tractor hopefully diesel of course. I'm also wanting to restore one so I would like to find an inexpensive one that needs some repairs..any suggestions of where I could find one? I've been told to not buy a "tricycled wheel" tractor for bushhogging. Is this because they are more prone to flip over? Also what are some decent rates I should charge. Any more advice would greatly be appreciated. I always like a second opinion.
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Old 07-02-2007, 02:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Bush hogging business any advice?

Theres alot of up's and down's in brush hogging, and alot of stobs, holes, hills, etc. I would get a nice old diesel tractor, and spend money on some heavy duty tires, stobs and lots of thorns, limbs etc. will tear up tires in a heart beat. My suggestion on price would be 50$ an acre,+ or - depending on difficulty.
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Old 07-02-2007, 07:10 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Bush hogging business any advice?

Definitely stay away from a tricycle tractor. They'll roll on you in a heartbeat. I don't know how hot it gets in Ohio, but in Georgia an enclosed cab with AC would be very nice. In the sun with the engine heat blowing back on you, you'll cook (or at least I do). The pastures around here are hilly and terraced so 4wd is nice. Go ahead and spend the money on a heavy duty Bush Hog brand rotary mower. It'll pay for its self in the long run. I can't tell you how much to charge, I've done it for free and I do it for me but not for hire.
Be safe, Joe
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Old 07-02-2007, 07:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Bush hogging business any advice?

People around here usually charge by the hour based on tractor / hog size.

Call around and see what the competition is charging.

Old fella I used to help years ago got $25 an hour for a 56 hp tractor and 7' bushog, for instance. he tended to be on the cheap side too but made decent money.

He also rode the tractor wherever - i.e. all his jobs were close. Might have to factor in travel time if you go county wide.

Agreed on buying a quality hog. downtime will kill you, business wise.
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Old 07-02-2007, 08:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Bush hogging business any advice?

Definitely get a good cutting unit, but think about having a back up one too if something happens. Instead of down time just put on the other unit and keep mowing
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Old 07-02-2007, 09:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Bush hogging business any advice?

Definately find a good old heavy bushhog. One with laminated tires. I'm indifferent to size, but I think 8' would be as big as I would want to go. And I do favor 3 pt hitch bush hog because of the way you can control them. You don't have to worry about turning to sharp with them, you can back them into whatever, don't have to worry about falling off the side of the ditch, etc.

Pricing. I'd charge $10 per bush hog ft per hour. 5 ft bush hog = $50 per hour. 10 ft bush hog = $100 per hour, etc. And I also recommend around 9-10 hp per bush hog ft for power. Be sure and get a bush hog that's wider than your tractor. Makes trimming so much easier.

Go slow and do a good job. Sharpen your blades every once in a while. Maybe offer trimming with a weed whacker.
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Old 07-02-2007, 10:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Bush hogging business any advice?

Don't forget to walk/drive the property first also. You'll discover all those blade killing obstacles like chunks of concrete, tree stumps and other Discovery Channel items of nature. Nuttin like watching a blade wrinkle like it's been in an overloaded washing machine....

Some of my co-workers encountered and learned the hard way so at least a drive thru for a quick overview.

Take care.....

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Old 07-02-2007, 11:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Bush hogging business any advice?

I agree with not using a NFE but for different reasons than the tractor can roll-over easier. This is a hotly debated topic on all tractor forums and unless Your working slopes You have great difficulty WALKING up You can drive a NFE tractor up & down them as long as Your rear tires are slid out on the wheels or axles approriately. The closely spaced front tires knock down the weeds & grass Your trying to mow and a day after You've mowed it stands back up and looks bad. Only way around this is to mow again a day or two later in a different set of tracks or different direction.
Buy a BUSH HOG brand of cutter...they're the heaviest-duty made. My Buddy bought a twin spindle 8 ft Bush Hog pull-type a year ago. It's built REALLY heavy. He uses a 50-55 HP Allis Chalmmers D-17 diesel to run it and it has it's hands FULL in anything much over a foot tall. He's looking for something Orange (Allis) in the 80-90 HP range and LOW Profile to pull it with now. He has some SERIOUS hills & ditches on the 100 acres He mows.
With todays $2.75/$2.95/gal. diesel fuel the idea of $10/hour per foot of cut is a good place to start on costs. Say You get a 60-70 HP tractor, and a 7 ft 3-point hitch cutter, and can run about 4 mph while doing a good job mowing You can cover about 3 acres/hr. In lighter cover You can run faster, normally up to 6 mph and cover almost 4-1/2 acres/hr. But Your burning depending on load probably 4 gal. of fuel/hour. Plus Your time, grease & oil for the equipment, the inevitable repairs.
Another piece of advice on the tractor, a Row Crop tractor is taller and the heat from the engine & rearend effects the operator MUCH less on hot days but a low profile utility tractor is more stable, normally smaller, shorter, & lighter but on hot days will fry You like egg.
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Old 07-02-2007, 12:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Bush hogging business any advice?

Thanks for the advice guys. How should I go about charging for travel? I'm hoping that I will get some business out of town.
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Old 07-02-2007, 12:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Bush hogging business any advice?

A front end loader is not a bad idea when you're mowing unknown parts/fields. Kept low, they will prevent the front end from dropping into a ditch, and they can also be use to push/bulldoze obstacles that might be hiding in the weeds. Every time I've started a new field I went slow with the loader close to the ground, and twice now I've found hidden trees and a complete tire & wheel that otherwise would have made for an expensive repair.

The Bush Hog brand of mowers is solid, with wide dealer support. However, if you want indestuctible, I'd suggest either the Brown or Rhino brands. Brown's Shredder models, as well as the 600 series of cutters, are absolute beasts, and Rhino offers mowers capable of cutting material up to 6in in diameter. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/eek.gif[/img]

Oops, forgot to add about travel....I'd suggest calling local rental yards and tractor dealers and asking how much they charge to deliver equipment. That would give you an idea of the going rate in your area, and you can price your travel charges accordingly. Jsut make sure to factor in the time, fuel, insurance and wear/tear on your tow rig & trailer.

- Jay
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Old 07-02-2007, 02:34 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Bush hogging business any advice?

Another suggestion since You mentioned using an older tractor....Don't get one Too old....Antique prices are HIGH....parts are scarce, and You definitely want power steering, live PTO & hydraulics. Anything from say about 1960 & newer in the 70-100 hp range should have these options in the major AG manufacturers.
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Old 07-02-2007, 10:34 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Bush hogging business any advice?

You gotta make at least $30 per hour - and you can charge the fuel usage to and from the site and for the tractor.

Like was said - do not believe land owner that there is nothing in field.

let me say this again....

DO NOT believe the land owner that there is nothing in field.

Have a slip clutch on the shredder and still carry extra drive pins.

I have even put a seat belt on - when you are cutting 4' high weeds on a side hill and can't see the hole coming up - it can be a clencher - so don't worry about changing up your pattern for safety - most people don;t ask you to come out till it;s too late.....

Anyway - good luck and save up for a canopy.
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Old 07-02-2007, 11:37 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Bush hogging business any advice?

A good comfortable seat, safety belt, rollover bar and power steering along with the above other suggestions will make it a fun job. Definately not a tricycle tractor, they can flip in an instant in rough terrain, even turning to fast. Don't forget about our rotten Ohio sales tax on services, different tax in different areas--ie. cities,counties and townships. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/warmsmile.gif[/img]
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Old 07-03-2007, 09:21 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Bush hogging business any advice?

dont do it.its a hot job
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Old 07-03-2007, 09:46 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Bush hogging business any advice?

As far as a brush hog goes, go with a chain style cutter. If you go blade the first rock you hit wipes out the seal in the unit and you are dumping gear lube in there all the time.

A chain goes over the rocks and flexes v/s a rigid blade.
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