Posted on: November 1, 2017 6:52 pm
If you run a landscaping business, you know that your ability to provide a variety of services is what helps differentiate you from your competition. As a business owner, you want to make sure you have the best equipment possible. It has to perform the toughest jobs all while maximizing your bottom line.
The good news is that your investment in a Cat® brand machine can continue to work for you year-round and at a variety of job sites. That’s provided that you have the right landscaping attachments. At Alban, we supply landscaping businesses with quality equipment attachments for all makes and models of any machine type.
Choosing the Right Attachment for Your Needs
The great thing about Cat machinery is the versatility it offers when it comes to tackling different job functions. There are dozens of different equipment attachments available. They can easily transform your equipment to have the functionality you need at any job. But with so many options, how do you know what kind of equipment attachment you need for your machinery?
You may already know exactly what you need, and that likely comes from lessons learned on tough projects. Or, maybe you’re looking at making an investment in attachments that will extend your landscaping business into a full-service one offering other seasonal services. For that, you need the right tools. Here are some things to consider when deciding on the right equipment attachments for your Cat machine:
- Do you need to invest in new tools to replace worn-out or outdated ones?
- Will you consider investing in used attachments instead of new ones to keep costs down?
- Are you looking for a unique product that may be difficult to source?
- Are you looking to add seasonal attachments to your inventory so you can operate year-round?
- What types of jobs are you typically up against?
- Where are you operating your business?
- What climate do you operate in?
- What services provide you the most work and benefit?
Considering your answers to these questions will help put you on the right path when it comes to purchasing work tools for your Cat equipment. They are great questions to come prepared to discuss when you visit your local Alban location. For now, let’s review the most popular Cat machinery attachments that serve landscaping businesses.
Cat Landscaping Attachments
When you run a landscaping business, you never know what you’re up against from one job site to the next. On one job, you might need to clear land where you could use a felling head for cutting trees. This is going to leave you with some difficult stumps to remove, and that’s where a stump grinding attachment is invaluable. You might need a delimber to clean up the fallen logs. Then a mulching attachment is perfect for adding value because of the wood waste you’ll now be able to use on this site or transport to other landscaping projects.
Attachments Change With the Seasons
Your landscaping conditions change with the season. So should your Cat attachments. Brushing, mowing, felling and grinding are generally spring to fall landscaping tasks. However, you know you need to operate your machines all year to pay the bills. The simple solution for cold winter months is to turn your equipment into snow clearing machines. Fortunately, Cat has a big selection of snow attachments. You can select from any number of specially-designed snow plow blades. Maybe a snow pusher is best suited, or how about getting a snow blower attachment to really throw the snow?
There are so many Cat attachments to select from. You may be wondering what to look for when choosing the right attachment for your landscaping business right now. Here’s where Alban experts can really help you. Our online selection of work tool attachments is ready to give you all the information you need to get the right choice. When you have questions, you can contact us online or give our experts a call.
The details on each landscaping attachment are extensive. To help you with picking exactly what attachment you require, we’ve narrowed these details into a short explanation of what each attachment is capable of and precisely what you should look for. Here’s a summary of the most popular and effective Cat landscaping attachments we see each year.
In the cold winters of the East Coast, particularly in Maryland and Virginia, snow removal can extend months of service to your landscape equipment. That’s if you have the right snow clearing attachments. Many residents and local businesses aren’t as prepared for snow removal, especially after major storms, as their northern PA or NY neighbors. This is where your business can play a key role.
Snow blowers are exceptionally effective devices. They’re designed to scoop up deep snow with a leading bucket and force it through a spinning auger. This pressurizes the snow and throws it in a set direction.
Snow blowers are perfect for handling large amounts of snow and transferring it long distances. Blowing the snow prevents it from creating localized piles. Blowing is best done in large areas where there are no buildings or sensitive trees to damage. The force from blowing snow can be considerable. Here are the details you need to look for in snow blower attachments:
- Intake size
- Impeller and fan width
- Cutting height
- Chute rotation and direction
- Maximum throw distance
- Auger diameter
- Hydraulic pressure and flow rate
Cat offers you five different snow blower attachments. They range from the small 17 blower to the large capacity SR321 snow blower.
Often, in urban settings, snow plows are more useful for snow clearing. The advantage to plowing is that you’re able to quickly clear large amounts of snow off to one side and carry on. Plows are great for long distances like road and driveway clearing where one pass with a wide plow blade opens up a passage and let’s traffic flow through.
Snow plows are excellent for clearing heavy, wet snow. Dry or powdery snow is fine for blowing, but the heavy, dense packed stuff is hard on your blower. Not to worry, though, with a specially designed snow plow blade that’s curved and angled to cut through snowy areas, you can easily push it aside. When shopping for a snow plow blade, it is important to consider:
- Overall blade width
- Plowing angle width
- Blade curvature
- Hydraulic angling degrees – right or left of center
- Interface type
- Trip edge height and quantity
- Float degree
- GET and wear edges
It’s important to match your snow plow attachment size to your machine’s power capacity. Too large a blade on underpowered equipment will work to your detriment rather than advantage. Cat snow plow attachments range from small 6-foot blades up to large 14-foot snow removers.
Don’t confuse snow pushers with blowers or blades. They’re a different design for different conditions. Blowers are excellent for throwing snow across distances and plows are best for passing heavy snow aside. Snow pushers are made to clear areas and pile snow up.
You’ll often find snow pusher attachments on machines that are busy clearing parking lots after a heavy snowfall. They’re essentially large buckets that scoop snow up where it can be dumped in controllable piles. Snow pushers have a large capacity compared to regular loading buckets. That allows relatively light amounts of snow to be handled in large volume. Be sure to think about these items when buying a snow pusher attachment:
- Standard or sectional design
- Working width
- Bucket capacity – length, width and depth
- Trip edge height
- Rubber or steel trip edges
- Back draft bars
- Interface type
Note that snow pushers aren’t classified by capacity, although that’s ultimately what you should know. Cat brand snow pushes are rated by their width. The smallest snow pusher attachment is 8 feet across and the largest measures 16 feet. As with snow plow blades, it’s important to match a snow pusher size to your machine’s power capacity.
There was a day when dynamite was the first choice for stubborn stump removal. That has changed due to safety regulations and liability concerns. Now the best way to deal with stumps is with a stump grinder attachment. These tools literally grind a stump to pieces rather than pulling it out or blowing it up.
Stump grinders attach to your machine but still operate with their own motor. What grinder attachment you’ll need depends on the particular job. They have the same general characteristics but differ in size and cutting capacity. Look for these details in a stump grinder attachment:
- Motor displacement
- Hydraulic pressure
- Drive shaft torque
- Cutting wheel diameter
- Cutting head height and extension
- Swing range
- Type of teeth – square bolt-on or carbide
- Number of teeth per cutting wheel
Something else to be aware of with stump grinders is the depth below ground they can reach as well as how far above the surface they can start cutting. Check out the Cat brand SG16B and SG18B grinders.
Mowers can be indispensable equipment pieces for a landscape company. They’re in high demand in the spring when vegetation is in its fastest growth, but can still be employed full time in the summer and fall. Mower attachments operate on a cutting drum that chews plant material into pulp. Things to consider when researching mower attachments are:
- Drum size
- Drum speed
- Motor type
- Dive system – V belt
- Swinging teeth per drum
- Maximum cutting diameter
- Hydraulic system and type
Nothing beats a brushcutter attachment when it comes to clearing heavy brush on landscape jobs. These independently powered attachments will shear the toughest scrub into mulch in no time. Brushcutters operate on your equipment boom to start high and cut right to ground level. They’re the only way to deal with brush situations that a mower can’t handle. Details to watch for in brushcutters include:
- Motor displacement
- Cutting diameter
- Cutting tip speed
- Physical size – height, width and length
- Required hydraulics
- Hydraulic flow pressure
Cat brand brushcutters are primarily rated by physical size. The mechanical components are similar, but larger models do your work faster. Choose from a variety of Cat brushcutter models.
Felling Heads & SATCO Directional Felling Heads
For large landscaping jobs where you have a lot of trees to fell safely, there’s no replacement for a felling head attachment. Felling heads are much more efficient than chainsaws, and they’re a lot safer. Regular felling heads grasp the tree truck and then saw it off at a set height.
SATCO directional felling heads also work on a grasp and cut principle. Their difference is the attachment’s ability to let you control which direction the tree will fall. This is advantageous when you want to steer a tree clear of an obstacle or when you need to fell trees in rows. Here’s what to look for in felling heads:
- Standard or directional design
- Throat opening
- Cut diameter
- Saw motor size
- Saw speed
- Tilt – full or partial
- Accumulation area
- Height and width
Choose from seven different Cat brand felling heads.
Once your trees are felled, you’re going to need a delimber attachment. These tools make quick work of sawing off limbs so you can get your logs in the round. Delimbers work with a combination of saw blades and knives. They’re easy to attach and operate efficiently in taking off branches. Watch for these details in a delimber attachment:
- Throat opening
- Saw drive
- Number of knives
- Blade size
- Blade composition
- Chain dynamics
- Chain tension adjustments
- Chain oil capacity and delivery
Cat offers you two delimber attachment models.
Mulching is an important landscape task. Mulch is used for more than a decorative touch. It’s important for water and weed control material in beds and around tree bases. Why buy expensive landscape mulch when you can make your own with a mulcher attachment? You also add value to your other attachments by mulching debris from delimbing and brush cutting. Look for these points when choosing a mulcher:
- Motor type
- Drive system
- Drum capacity
- Number of teeth per drum
- Drum speed
- Cutting diameter
- Flow type
- Hydraulic controls
- Hydraulic flow
Consider using a rake attachment for cleaning up your mess from grinding, felling, delimbing, brush cutting and mulching. We have two types of rakes. One is the industrial grapple rake, and the other is a tined rake. Each has its intended purpose. Look for these details in selecting the right rake for your landscape business:
- Tine design
- Tine size
- Number of times
- Interface connection
- Linkage for B, C & D machines
Tines come in 2, 3 and 4 tine models. The number of tines is important as the more times on a rake attachment, the greater raking power it has. However, you have to match your rake size to your machine’s ability to handle it.
General Purpose Buckets
There’s no more useful attachment than your bucket. Bucket selection can be overwhelming, though. It seems like there’s a bucket designed and available for every unique task. Basic buckets are the smooth-faced and the toothed, ripping bucket but there’s more to buckets than that. Here are the main features to account for in buckets:
- Intended purpose
- Volume capacity
- Height, width and length
- Leading edge design
- Available GET attachments
- Steel composition
- Steel thickness
- Changing speed and complexity
- Thumb capability
Visit Alban CAT’s bucket selection and check out our dozens of models. There are so many buckets to choose from that a call to one of our service representatives may be in order.
Getting the Most Value for Your Money
Without question, using an attachment on your landscaping machine is going to make your work more efficient. Generally, more efficient work translates into greater profits. However, you need to get the most value for your investment. Selecting the attachment with the right details to suit and complement your machine is important. But so is deciding whether it’s in your best interest to buy the attachment or to rent it.
You also have the decision whether you’ll get the most value in buying new or used equipment. That’ll depend a lot on the amount of use you expect to get from your attachment. New attachments should have a longer life span than used equipment. New, though, comes with a greater price point where used equipment has already absorbed much of its depreciation markdown.
Some used equipment is in remarkably good condition. Much of its condition depends on the previous owner and how well restored the piece has been by the used equipment dealer. You’ll find the same issue with rental attachments. Reputable companies like Alban CAT keep their equipment in top shape. We only offer our customers equipment that can get the job done.
The choice of whether to buy new, purchase used or renting landscaping attachments can be a personal one. There are tax implications and pros and cons of each acquisition method, and that may be best to take up with an accountant. Discussing the details of what model and type of attachment to rent or own is best discussed with a professional like the sales and service people at Alban CAT.
The first thing a dealer will ask is whether you intend to use the attachment seasonally. They’ll also ask how much service you expect of the equipment during a particular season. That’s usually rated in service hours which places wear and tear on the attachment, but it also has return on investment implications.
For instance, if you’re pushing snow in VA and MD, you may have periodic use for a snow blower, plow or pusher. You might be best to rent your attachment. If you’re grinding a few stumps upstate, maybe renting a grinder or rake is the way to go. Maybe you have a great need for a mulching attachment but can’t quite justify the expense of buying new. Here’s where you might be able to economize by purchasing a used mulcher and saving some money in depreciation.
Top 5 Most Versatile Tools for Any Job
Landscaping professionals know that the best return on their attachment investments is selecting the most versatile tools for their job. There are certain attachments you’ll use more than others. These are the equipment pieces to purchase whether new or used. Less versatile attachments can be rented as required or obtained when your financial situation allows.
Over the years, we have observed what attachments are in high demand. The same pieces surfaced over and over. That’s because of their versatility. Here are the five most versatile landscaping equipment attachments:
- Buckets are by far the most versatile attachment. No landscaper can be without a bucket on their machine. Many operators have multiple buckets. They include smooth-edged cleanup buckets, tooth-edged ripping buckets, loading buckets, dumping buckets and trenching buckets.Landscapers also know the value of specific ground engaging tool (GET) attachments for their buckets. GETs include tips like teeth that bolt, pin or weld on. Cat brand GETs hold tighter, change easier and stay sharper than lesser makes. Bucket attachments also include bucket edge protection for sidebars. Just like the dozens of bucket types you can find on our website, you can sort through dozens of GET protectors.
- Mowers get a lot of use during the spring, summer and fall. A mower attachment should be up there on your landscape tool list. Make sure it’s sized right for your machine.
- Brushcutters are popular attachments with landscapers. They’re used for lot clearing as well as for seasonal maintenance. Consider your options when acquiring a brushcutter. Depending on your anticipated use, you might be surprised in the value of owning a brushcutter.
- Delimbers are irreplaceable if you do a lot of tree felling. Removing limbs or branches is time-consuming if using a chainsaw by hand. It’s also dangerous. Save your time and protect your safety by getting a brushcutter.
- Mulchers are in the top five versatile choices because they deserve it. Mulching wood waste lets you clean your site efficiently and turn it into profitable material. How can you argue with that value?
Get Expert Advice From Alban CAT
How do you know how to choose the right landscape attachment? The answer is easy. Call the knowledgeable professionals at Alban CAT. We have 18 locations throughout the Metro DC area and the mid-Atlantic region to serve you with the best options in landscape machinery and attachments.
We have an impressive selection of all types of versatile landscaping equipment. Our attachment inventory is extensive, and our experienced staff members are sure to match you with exactly what attachments you need for your landscape jobs. Contact Alban CAT today.