For someone who says he quit learning in seventh grade, Ronald Cline certainly knows plenty about being a successful utility contractor. After 28 years in the business, he’s figured out what’s important — and what makes his customers continue to hire his company.
“There is nothing more critical than having good employees,” says the owner of Ronald Cline Trenching Service Inc., of Bono, Arkansas. “My philosophy has always been to treat them like family, and provide good benefits and the best equipment available.”
Employees appreciate good equipment
Cline places a high value on having state-of-the-art equipment.
“A lot of these guys were with me at the beginning, when I had to purchase used machines,” he says. “They remember those experiences, and that’s why they appreciate what we have today. The work we do is hard enough, but if you have to repair equipment while you are trying to do your job, that makes it much more difficult. Our Bobcat® equipment makes their jobs easier and more productive. Plus, they pull up to a job with a sense of pride because of the tools they have to work with. The equipment has been great for morale.”
Cline owns seven Bobcat® machines purchased from Hugg & Hall equipment in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Three are M-Series E-32 excavators and four are older 331 models.
“About 15 years ago, I rented a Bobcat compact excavator to complete a job in very muddy conditions,” he says. “After finishing the work, I purchased the machine because I decided I couldn’t do without it. For a while, I demoed other brands of excavators, but I always bought Bobcat excavators. Now when I need another machine, I just call my Bobcat dealer to bring one out. The excavators have been productive and reliable, rarely giving me any problems.”
Excavators are practical choice
At one time, his equipment of choice was made up of large, dedicated trenchers with backhoes and full-size loader backhoes.
Today, he still has three of the loader backhoes, which are often sitting at the back of his equipment lot.
“With smaller yards and houses closer together, the old way of utility installation is no longer practical,” Cline says. “All the utilities are frequently packed together — you may have to navigate two phone lines, cable TV, gas, water, sewer and storm drains. There is no place for a trencher; you can’t go very far without crossing something. That’s why compact excavators and directional boring are taking over.”
Cline says his operators have nothing but good comments about their Bobcat excavators, especially the M-Series models. He especially likes their significant fuel economy and reliable performance.
“The Bobcat brand of excavators is simply the best,” he says. “That’s why I continue to buy them. The other machines that I have looked at over the years just don’t match up to Bobcat.”