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Fall 2008

Mighty minis produce big results

Bobcat mini track loaders and attachments drive landscaper’s success

Mike Haunton

Owner Mike Haunton recently added Bobcat mini track loaders to his equipment fleet for enhanced productivity.

Mike Haunton, Burlington, Ontario, is a premier landscape design specialist and the owner of Let’s Landscape Together, specializing in residential landscaping projects with budgets that range from $10,000 to as much as $300,000.

“My crews perform full-service landscaping services, from removing existing landscape features to installing swimming pools and everything in between,” Haunton says. “We also complete hardscape projects, such as walkways, driveways and patios.” Haunton depends on his Bobcat® machines and attachments to complete all of these tasks.

Most of Haunton’s projects are in restricted areas, and operating compact equipment is the only way he can successfully complete his jobs. In 1996 Haunton purchased his first piece of compact equipment — a Bobcat 553 skid-steer loader from Bobcat of Hamilton — to access space-restricted jobsites. “It was my favorite machine for years because it was small and versatile,” he says. Since 1996 his Bobcat lineup has grown to include three skid-steer loaders, a compact excavator and three Bobcat mini track loaders. “If you go to my yard on any given day, all the small Bobcat machines will be gone and the big machines will still be sitting there,” he says.

Haunton has been particularly impressed with the performance that he gets from his Bobcat mini track loaders. “The mini track loaders are very maneuverable,” he says. “Homes are built so close together, you’re lucky to have 8 feet between them. That means you only have 4 feet between the house and the lot line before you’re disrupting the neighbor’s property.”

Mini track loaders are labor-saving addition

Tasks previously done by Haunton’s crews with shovels and wheelbarrows are finished faster with a Bobcat MT52 and attachment. “A mini track loader will easily outperform four men,” Haunton says. He says the mini track loaders remove old landscaping features, carry pallets of building materials, trench for underground utilities and dig holes for new plantings.

A mini track loader will easily outperform four men.

Mini track loaders have been instrumental in Haunton’s success. “The landscaping industry is facing a skilled labor shortage,” Haunton says. “That’s why we try to utilize machinery more and keep the skilled people off the grunt work with a shovel or wheelbarrow. My skilled laborers are in charge of more complicated endeavors, like waterfalls that require an artist’s touch.”

Minimal disruption to the area is another major concern for Haunton. The tracked undercarriage on the mini track loaders means crews spend less time repairing established surfaces, such as lawns and brick patios, when a project is done. He says the minimal ground disturbance of the mini track loaders enables his crews to finish projects faster, with less worry from customers and their neighbors about the appearance of their property.

Without compact equipment, Haunton says he doubts he’d be in the landscaping industry. “Landscaping is all about material handling — materials coming out of the jobsite and new materials going in,” he says. Although that may seem overly simple, it’s a smart way to think about the landscaping business and how compact equipment helps him complete his many landscape construction projects. That kind of common sense is why Haunton remains a leader in the landscaping industry.

Continue reading about the many advantages of Bobcat mini track loaders at www.bobcat.com/MTL.