Walk-Behind Floor Removal Machines Vs. Ride-Ons: Which is Right For You?

In the industry of floor demolition, thanks to advancements in floor scraping technology, there are many tools at your disposal. You are able to use battery, propane, or electric versions of equipment to accommodate all types of job sites. There are two main types of removal machines that are most popular for contractors and rental companies; Walk-Behind floor scrapers and Ride-On machines.

When you are looking into these units, it can be challenging to determine which model would be best suited for your business. At the end of the day, your business needs to be profitable, which means you need to be mindful of the up-front costs and potential production rates you will get out of each potential piece of equipment.

So, how to choose?

Here are a few items to keep in mind when doing your research on floor scrapers.




This is probably the main element to pay attention to because of the unique differences each unit has to offer. If you are mainly a flooring demolition contractor who is doing medium-large jobs on a regular basis, a RIDE-ON machine would be essential, as the higher production rates will reduce labor costs, resulting in a higher profit margin per job, justifying the investment in the bigger machine.

Depending on the type of projects you are working in, you may still need to invest in a Walk-Behind Floor Removal Machine due to the size constraints that some offices and other job sites might have.

If you are just starting out, working mainly on small jobs, or are a rental company, a smaller WALK-BEHIND scraper would be the best option, for now. These units are smaller, easier to transport, and are an ideal solution for a wide range of sites and applications. When it comes to rental companies, these units will be used by contractors and DIY customers who need an easy-to-use tool to take up flooring in their houses or properties – so these smaller units are essential to have in your fleet.

Also, a smaller unit is a great place to start if you are hoping to break into the wider floor demolition market. Ride-On Floor Scrapers are extremely good for renting as well, but you need to have the market demand in order to make the up-front investment worthwhile.

The bigger floor demolition units can be extremely lucrative, as they are able to be rented at great rates because not everyone has them. Plus, many of these jobs last for weeks, resulting in consistent rentals rather than a day here and there.


terminator-1UP-FRONT COST

The amount you have to invest in a unit can determine which type you gravitate towards. Obviously, you need to balance the cost with your true business needs. If you need a ride-on unit but don’t have the up-front capital for it, many companies offer financing options to help you make the leap.

Cash flow is a crucial component in any business! Don’t feel like you always have to go for the Cadillac for your first purchase. If you are working on small-med job sites, a Walk-Behind floor removal machine would be the best option.

This will give you the ability to get the job done properly while saving the bank in the up-front purchase. This will lead to bigger ROI for your company in the long run. If you end up growing and winning bigger jobs, you can always buy or rent a Ride-On unit. A walk-behind scraper will never be a waste because you can always use it in smaller areas and for smaller jobs.



This factor will vary, depending on which brand you are looking into.

Warning! Many manufacturers report that their walk-behind units can take up ceramic tile, while this is just NOT TRUE in the real world.

Here's why:

When you are trying to remove tile that has been in place for many years — which is almost always the case — remember that the base material gets extremely tough over time. This makes the tile very difficult to remove.

Many marketing videos you see from manufacturers are shot using floors that were installed for demonstration purposes only, which means we are seeing machines working on flooring shortly after it has been put down, which will always be very easy to pop off. In reality, if you took the same walk-behind scraper to a job site to remove tile that has been down for 20 years, it will likely fail miserably! In this case, you would need to invest in purchasing or renting a Ride-On Floor Scraper that is capable of the job.

There are a select few Walk-Behind removal units that are able to handle durable flooring like ceramic and wood floors. Make sure you do your research and watch those videos closely. But know that if you plan on doing a lot of ceramic, wood, mortar, and difficult surfaces, it makes the most sense for you to consider investing in a Ride-On unit. It will remove these tough surfaces much more effectively and will exponentially increase your production.

For carpet, VCT and other soft materials, walk behind scrapers will take those up with ease, depending on the unit you buy. Almost any tool will get the job done, but ones with more down pressure and better drive technology will do a much better job.

If you are a rental company with customers who are doing all types of floor removal, I would still start with a walk-behind removal machine. However, make sure that you buy a top-of-the-line unit that can still handle some tough materials. It won’t be as productive as the Ride-On scrapers, but it will still keep your customers happy. If you cheap-out on a lower range unit, you may risk the chance of customers bringing it back because it won’t actually remove the floor properly.



It’s really that simple! Evaluate your business and remember these 3 points and you will be on your way to getting a unit that will fit your needs.


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