Buying a tractopelle/backhoe 'digger'

Does anyone happen to have one for sale or clues where I might find one? Hoping to start work on land soon to build house - and husband wants to buy one.

Any thoughts gratefully appreciated!


Thanks Andrew - have given the husband those details. My french in-laws are hardy folk and as my sister-in-law is living in a caravan in the Pyrénées while they (they being a family of 3 children, plus wife and husband) undertake a similar project - the pressure is on. There is just no way I would even contemplate it. I know diva is being muttered behind my back - but ugh, ugh, ugh.


Oooooh on-board computer, that sounds scary. I’m not sure our budget will extend to that - if it has windscreen wipers I think we’ll be lucky! Will post as and when we get one and where from. It seems to be a buyers market right now, a lot of people advertising are calling frequently (which of course worries me when we come to re-sell it…).


Hi Samantha

People are starting to hire more and more, knowing the risks and costs of repairs, agree what you say for self build etc where it"s handy to have one for the time you’re building (I was going to build but there was a problem with the initial CU issued… i had planned to buy too) Where are you in the Lot - there’s a big locavente in Capdenac/Figeac that has just about everything, local BTP companies always seem to hire their stuff now as well - even they are coming round to that way of thinking!

As for living in a caravan on site - you must be joking! quite agree with you and besides renting is so cheap in france compared to the UK that it’s not worth it - well you do save money in a caravan but winter in the Lot in a caravan…!!!

Bonne chance !


I sold mine because it had a onboard computer that required a visit to the local Komatsu dealer to diagnose any problems and reset ant panel warnings. That’s one of the reasons I sold it, when I get another later this year I’ll be looking for a machine that doesn’t have this level of sophistication.

Sounds like you’re quite savy too :wink:


Hi Andrew, Hi Kevin,

Thanks a lot for the feedback. My husband is in the trade - interestingly his French colleagues have advised him to look at the UK, Belgium and Germany. Everyone - certainly French artisans - recognise such items are expensive (sometimes excessively so) in France. There are a few on Le Bon Coin, and I forget which other sites that have been there for a while - suggesting they are a wee bit over priced.
I would also suggest hiring, but it’s not in the French mentality to do that!! In the case of auto-construction/self-builds artisans prefer to buy such items and sell them on afterwards. The same with mobile homes that they live in on site (I have put my foot down- we are not living on site in a caravan for years on end!).

Thanks again


Thanks Andrew nice to c someone has got some savy

If you’re prepared to buy second hand everyone uses leboncoin, i sold a car, a house, bought a car and another house, no two houses using it - the modernday french exchange and mart

But i would hire one unless you’ve got loads and loads of work… as Kevin says, repairs can be excessively expensive!

have fun

As a builder some advise
how deep would you be digging the footings = the length of the arm
how big is the area you will be clearing prier to digging your footings = a desent size bucket
the ground type ,if it is rocky or thick clay a small 1.5 ton machine will be too small you should be looking at a 3-5ton machine at least
Buckets 0.600 , 0.300 wide and a gradeing bucket is required
Some times it maybe cheaper to hire a machine as brakedowns can be expensive

Thanks James - will give them a try too.

Thanks Peter - I’ll definitely drop you an email later on today.

Sam, I’ve just recently sold mine. However, if Pete’s isn’t what your looking for you could try John Appleton at TP Materiels in Bordeaux

What do you have by the way Pete?

Kind regards


I’ve got one, I have one more big job to do with it and then its free, well available for sale, - sometime in June, also got a dumper that you can have along with it if you are moving stuff about, bought them to sort out my terraces and only one last big job. My e-mail is peter . shield (at) naturalchoicesmedia . com (sorry don’t want the e-mail picked up by spam bots)