Updated: Jul 6, 2021
Time to Clear
So you have decided it is time to clear out some of your property and begin re capturing the yard that has been over ran with grape vines and pepper trees. Now you are D.I.Y.er and are beginning to research YouTube videos on how to clear underbrush. You stumbled across this machine called a forestry mulcher and now want to know; should you and can you rent one, or should you hire this job out. You lean towards renting, but the machine looks ominous and you are just uncertain. So you set out with your machete and chainsaw and begin the attack. 2 weeks later you are back researching this forestry mulcher machine, but are hesitant to move forward. So you continue the attack, but to no avail. Everything chopped yesterday has grown back, and quite frankly, you don't have enough life span to finish the job.
The Rental Option
You realize renting a mulching machine is no easy task as they are simply hard to track down. The reason for this is these machines sustain a lot of damage in the field and many rental companies simply just won't rent them because of the amount of damage they sustain. Also, they can be really dangerous to operate. An amateur learning on his first day may not realize that much of the dangers of the machine are actually behind the machine. Yes, the primary concern isn't where the debris is flying in front of you, but rather the log that is shot out behind you at the neighbor as he watches the incredible machine in disbelief.
Pointers For Renting
Here are some pointers to renting the machine. A rental machine that is hi-flow ( a machine designed to run a mulching head typically is hi-flow. There are standard flow machines out there but the efficiency is just not there. A standard flow machine could take twice as long if not longer to do the job of a hi-flow machine), can run from $1200 for a smaller machine, upwards to $2000 plus a day to rent. Don't forget to tack on the needed insurance to cover the machine from the mishap that will most likely happen. Also, if you don't have a way to transport it, assume there will also be a transport fee starting at $100 each way. We have priced day rentals from $1850 a day upwards to $3000 a day in our area. Now of course the day rate gets cheaper the longer you have the machine. Typical week rates run $5000.00 to $8000.00 a week or more with monthly rates being even cheaper. Now these are generalizations based on numbers I have researched locally and elsewhere.
Don't forget about the learning curve too. Assume you will spend the first half of the day trying not to be nervous and teaching the brain how to operate the controls while learning to observe all safety hazards around you.
If you can't tell yet, I don't think renting a machine for a day is worth it. It simply doesn't make financial sense compared to hiring a mulching company for a day who is experienced, carry there own liability insurance, and are capable of moving that machine much faster than a newbie.
Now where the cost savings begin to amount are in multiple weeks to monthly rentals. But with these rental terms, you have to remember to grease the machine, sharpen the teeth regularly (unless carbide teeth are on the head) or the machine will simply not perform as expected.
We have taken on jobs from customers who rented a machine and simply underestimated the cost and the time needed to make the rental worthwhile. Unfortunately they paid for the rental machine and for a company to come in and finish the job, costing them sometimes thousands more than it could have. If you are an expert equipment driver and know your way around maintaining these machines and have the time of day to run it to get your monies worth, then renting may be the way to go.
Hiring a Mulcher Company
As you set out to retrieve bids from mulcher companies consider these factors:
There time in the business. Do they have the experience to do the job and finish it completely?
Do they know their stuff? Ask them about environmental hazards such as wetlands, and in our area, gopher tortoises. There are some big no no's when it comes to clearing land, and your company should have the knowledge to guide you in order to keep you both safe.
What size machine do they run and what type of head? A company who is running a rotary mulcher may be cheaper than a company running a drum mulcher. The rotary mulcher will leave large sticks and more of a mess, as the drum mulcher has the capabilities of fine tuning the mulch. Also, what size machine are they running; 60hp , 75hp, 100hp, 110hp? Size does matter simply because the larger machine, the more it can accomplish in a day.
Cost: Cost is relative but should be considered with the above factors in mind. A company running a rotary mulcher on a 75hp mulching machine should cost less than the company running a larger mulcher with a drum head. At the end of the day, you need to know about how much land you will get cleared, what types of vegetation will be cleared, what will be the finished result and from there compare costs from different companies.
Remember not all mulching companies are the same as you set out to retrieve bids.
No matter the path you choose, we wish you the best of luck, and as always if you live in Central Florida, we would be happy to give you a free consultation on your mulching needs.