The Mini Excavator: Suburban Landscaping Contractors’ New Best Friend

by Visitor GregWorley ‎03-03-2017 03:31 PM - edited ‎03-07-2017 11:43 AM



In the landscaping industry, it’s becoming evident that the closer you are to the city, the size of the machine becomes more critical. As more and more people move to the suburbs, subdivision lots tend to shrink. For instance, what may have been a 1.5 acre lot ten years ago, is now a tenth of an acre. Transporting machines into these condensed subdivisions has become an additional challenge, as the roads and driveways are not built to accommodate large trucks and trailers.


Therefore, landscapers are looking for equipment and/or machines in the smallest package possible that can still meet the needs of their application. Mini excavators are becoming a common solution to this dilemma—especially as machine capabilities continue to improve since they were first introduced into the market 15 years ago.


If you are considering purchasing or renting a mini excavator to help in suburban landscaping projects, there are several factors to keep in mind as you select the right machine for your needs, including:

  • Craning/lifting capacity: Applications that traditionally required the use of large excavators, such as tree removal and debris clean-up, can now be accomplished with mini excavators due to increased lifting capacity and machine stability.
  • Transportability: Consider your equipment transportation resources, and what machine size they are able to haul or tow. For instance, some mini excavators can be easily towed on a trailer, while others need to be transported on a flatbed truck.
  • Dig depth: Check to see if the machine’s reach and dig depth meet the requirements of your application. Many mini excavators come with two stick options, so it’s also important to check the configuration.
  • Width of the machine: Some mini excavators are now manufactured with extendable undercarriage. This feature is especially helpful when the machine must fit through narrow pathways or operate on tight project sites.

Along with serving as a solution to completing landscaping projects in increasingly tighter work spaces, mini excavators are time and labor saving devices. Paired with the right couplers and attachments, these machines can help you signicantly increase efficiency on projects. And completing projects faster equals more projects you can take on throughout the year.


To learn more about how mini excavators can help you with your upcoming landscaping projects, contact your local Cat® dealer or visit us online


We’d like to hear about the challenges you face in landscaping projects and the solutions that have helped you overcome those obstacles.

  • Are you currently working on landscaping projects in suburban areas? If so, are you experiencing difficulty operating on smaller job sites?
  • Which type of machines and/or equipment are you using to complete projects in tight work spaces?
  • Have you ever considered renting or purchasing a mini excavator to help you with suburban landscaping projects? If so, why?
  • How are you currently transporting your landscaping equipment? Are you facing any challenges with your modes of equipment transportation?
  • Which type of machines and/or machine features do you think would help with any of your transportability or maneuverability issues?

by Parkway
on ‎04-12-2017 02:41 PM
I run many 257s and 277s in my fleet and would love a more compact version similar to the terex pt30.
by AlfredoJaime
on ‎04-16-2017 01:29 AM

Me encanta esa máquina

by Moderator
on ‎04-18-2017 12:23 PM

Parkway - Thank you for your comments. We always love to receive feedback from our customers on new features or machines that can help their business. We have passed your input along to our product engineering team.

by Brent Pope
on ‎05-23-2017 04:38 PM

My company digs a lot of footings and I'd like to see grade control on the mini-ex so my operators can dig faster without concern about overdigging. 

by Visitor GregWorley
on ‎05-24-2017 02:21 PM

Hi Brent,


At this time Caterpillar does offer any Grade Control Systems from the factory on mini hydraulic excavators. However, most of our Cat Dealers can supply Trimble Flex Systems that can easily be fitted to any mini hydraulic excavator.


Below are some videos to check out that provide more information:


Trimble GCS Flex 2D System Walk-Around - Cat 305.5e2 - Part 1


Trimble GCS Flex 2D System Walk-Around - Cat 305.5e2 - Part 2


The Dirt Ninja On Trimble Products/ SITECH Northeast




Greg W.

by New member acelawn
on ‎01-30-2018 08:50 AM

I started with the ASV RC-30, (same as pt-30), I wanted something bigger, I was warned many times about the undercarrage on the 257, I ignored the warning, I have had no issues, I am a owner operator, so that helps. After getting the 257, my wife suggested I should sell the Rc-30, my comeback was we didn't sell the oldest son when we had a second, I could not sell the 30. it is so handy to get into tight spaces, the biggest drawback is it can not use same attachments. I know vermeer and bobcat are making and selling the compact walkbehinds, and folks swear by them. I want to be closer to the attachment, so I can see.

by New member dessconbuilder
on ‎07-16-2018 05:06 AM

Awesome post! Mini excavators are becoming a common solution. I think you know the construction & Building industry very strongly. Thanks for sharing such detailed post. The stuff is very beneficial to me. You can head to Desscon Builders-Dental Office Designers & Builders for more building/construction work.

by New member anarcdevelopers
on ‎07-19-2018 02:31 AM

Anarc Builders and Developers is a leading construction company in Calicut, Kerala that has executed prestigious construction work for residential, commercial, Institutional and industrial space as well. Our success stems from the steely resolve of our young, passionate and dedicated team of qualified and experienced engineers, supervisors, technicians and administrative staff.


With several years of industry experience and in-depth knowledge about construction needs, Anarc builders and developers have evolved as one of the leading construction companies in Calicut, Kerala. Our forte lies in strategizing, planning and building infrastructure developmental projects.


About the Author
  • I’m an Attachments Product Application & Sales Support Specialist for Caterpillar in North America. I have been with Caterpillar for five years including roles in the field as a dealer sales support representative and marketing support in the skid steer and small wheel loader product groups. I graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in Agricultural Business and Economics. Our goal is to provide a full portfolio of attachments for our customers to be more productive and versatile with their machines.
  • I am an Industry and Application Rep for Caterpillar. I graduated from NC State with a dual degree in Agriculture Business Management and Agriculture Science, concentrating in Leadership and Environmental Technologies. I focus primarily on the relationships between customers, dealers, and the product specialists for the Building Construction Products division. Growing up on a tobacco and beef cattle farm, I have several years of machine operation experience and agricultural knowledge. Thomas Jefferson said it best in that, "Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness."
  • My passion is in storytelling and thought leadership, helping people connect with the brands they love and helping brands connect with their audiences. At Caterpillar, I get to work with a variety of industries and customer solutions, supporting our customers who are making huge impacts in our world every day. It's not just about the yellow iron - it's about understanding the problems our customers face, and being a part of the total solution.
  • I’m a Compact Wheel Loader Product Application Specialist for Caterpillar in North America. I have 11 years of experience, including roles in the field as a dealer technical support representative, and as a distributor business model consultant.  I graduated from North Carolina State University with a Mechanical Engineering Degree, and wanted a job where I didn't have to sit in front of a computer all day.  This job allows me to get out and get my hands dirty, with the goal of providing solutions to customers’ machine needs.
  • I am a Marketing Communications Specialist for Caterpillar with over twelve years of experience marketing the Cat brand to customers in Latin and North America. My goal is to arm customers with the information needed to make well informed purchase decisions; to maximize the value of Cat machines by using an array of Cat Work Tool attachments; and to minimize the total cost of ownership by using Cat parts and Cat Dealer service.
  • I am an expert Operator and Application Specialist for Caterpillar concentrating on products used in the construction trades industry. I operate, evaluate and train on Cat machines and Work Tool Attachments worldwide. I have a Degree in Agricultural Engineering, Craftsman Certified and was named Apprentice of the Year 1981 at the University of East Anglia, UK.
  • I am the National Association Manager for Caterpillar and have responsibility for customer associations and partnerships in multiple industries for Caterpillar. I have 12 years of experience at Caterpillar, and have spent most of those years in the field with dealers and customers around North America. I have always had a passion for equipment and find myself fortunate to be able to work with dealers and customers almost every day.
  • I am a Product Application Specialist with 16 years of experience in the industry. As a Building Construction Products Global Trainer, I focus on training dealers and customers on machines, attachments and applications as it relates to the construction, agriculture and landscaping segments.
  • I have been with Caterpillar for more than eight years, working in various roles including a materials engineer, a filters product manager and my current position as a parts consultant. My job allows me the opportunity to work with Cat dealers and customers providing insight on how the use of quality filters and fluids results in better equipment performance and lower owning and operating costs.
  • I am a marketing and sales support professional for Caterpillar. In this role, I work with our marketing and customer service teams to support or dealers and customers, concentrating on our Small Wheel Loader, Skid Steer Loader, Mini Excavator and Dozer product groups. The exchange of ideas, information and opinions about equipment and how it’s used in various industries on forums such as this blog helps me fulfill my role at Caterpillar to the best of my ability.
  • I am the commercial/market consulting expert for all Caterpillar tires and rims with 14 years of experience. I provide guidance in the harsher work environments of mining and industrial/waste applications. Our goal is to turn our dealers and customers into knowledgeable and trusted resources with respect to tires and rims. Our group offers training, technical support and resources to develop a level of expertise within the Caterpillar value stream that is ordinarily reserved for tire companies and local tire service providers. Ultimately, we want to provide our customers with a total Cat solution from the ground up.
  • I am a Sales Support Manager for Cat Financial and have responsibility for ensuring that the right financial products are available to Cat customers who purchase, lease or rent to own. 8 of my 10 years with Caterpillar Financial have allowed customer and/or dealer interaction as part of my daily responsibilities including over 3.5 years as a Territory Manager. I take personal satisfaction in finding financial solutions that work for our customers and CAT dealers.
  • I’m a Telehandler Product Application Specialist for Caterpillar in North and South America. I have 13 years of experience, including roles in the field as a dealer service operations and technical support representative, and as a distributor business model consultant. My telehandler passion and focus is working with dealers and customers to maximize the versatility of the product through machine and operator training.
  • I am a Product and Application Specialist with over 35 years experience at Caterpillar. I focus on helping you to determine the best Cat machines, work tool attachments, and services for you to use in the building and general construction, landscaping, specialty trades, and agricultural industries.
  • I am a Senior Regional Insurance Marketing Manager with 16 years’ experience at Caterpillar Financial Insurance Services. I have the opportunity to work with 18 North American dealers providing risk management products and services that helps the Caterpillar Enterprise ( Caterpillar, Dealers and Customers) manage their business risk. Caterpillar Financial Insurance Services offers Extended Protection Plans for machines and engines, Physical Damage Insurance, Inventory Protection Plans, Dealer Property and Casualty, Risk Management, Marine Transit Insurance and Dealer Bonds.
  • Jeff Brown is a marketing professional for Caterpillar Skid Steer, Multi Terrain and Compact Track Loaders. Over Jeff's 12 years in the industry, he has visited with and studied the needs of customers across landscaping, construction, and agriculture segments. Delivering innovative solutions that solve customer's problems is Jeff's main focus.
  • I am a North American Product and Application Specialist for Caterpillar. In this role, I have had the opportunity to represent Caterpillar at various trade shows and train customers on new Small Wheel Loader content. I graduated from Purdue University in 2001 with a Mechanical Engineering degree and have spent the past 15 years with Caterpillar in various engineering roles. Growing up in the Mid-West, I have always loved the cold and the unique activities winter enables. Unfortunately, I had to give those up when I moved to North Carolina. I don't care what people say, you never get used to a hot climate.
  • I am a Filter and Fluid Marketing Consultant with over 14 years experience working at Caterpillar. My focus is to ensure customers understand the importance of using superior filtration and lubrication products in their equipment.
  • I am a Sales Support Manager with over nine years of experience in a variety of roles with Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to gain experience in matching financial products and tailoring funding strategies to the specific needs of customers. This includes more than three years as a Territory Manager in Seattle partnered with N C Machinery, an authorized Cat dealer covering the states of Washington and Alaska.

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