Off-Duty Job Becomes Full-Time Occupation
Former NYC police officer is his own boss with help from a Bobcat loader and E80 excavator
Once a New York City police officer, now a professional contractor on Long Island, N.Y., Chris Hembury went from renting Bobcat® 442 excavators to buying a new E80 for his grading and excavating business.
Bulldog Contracting Inc. owner Chris Hembury purchased a new Bobcat E80 excavator to expand his company's grading and excavating business. Hembury combines the M-Series E80 with his 863 skid-steer loader to complete jobs where larger machines would not fit.
Hembury is a 20-year veteran for the New York City police department. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Hembury worked at ground zero for three consecutive months. When he wasn't on duty as a police officer, he worked for construction companies as an equipment operator. He worked part-time until he retired from the police department, and then made construction a full-time occupation.
A Bobcat 863 skid-steer loader was Hembury's first compact equipment purchase. He bought the machine in 2003 and took a leap of faith when the country was still recovering from the uncertainty of 9/11. "I told myself, if I don't take a chance and try it, I'll never know if I'm going to fail or succeed," Hembury says. "I saw the potential to be in business for myself and be profitable."
From renting to purchasing
Demand for Hembury and his Bobcat equipment continued to grow. Rather than continue renting excavators from the Bobcat dealership, he decided to buy a new M-Series E80 from Bobcat of Long Island.
"The longer arm on the E80 allows me to place more material without having to relocate it for a second time," he says. "If I'm sitting on the jobsite longer, I'm losing money."
Hembury's Bobcat E80 excavator working at a construction site in Long Island, N.Y.
In addition to the extra reach of the E80's work group, the extra space in the cab has been a plus for Hembury and his operators.
"The cab is very roomy for me; it's a good fit," he says. "The visibility is phenomenal, and the new air conditioning vents make a world of difference. It's quiet, too. I have a Bluetooth in the machine, so all I do is shut the windows and doors, and I can have a perfect conversation with someone."
Services keep growing
The types of jobs performed by Hembury continue to grow as customers see the potential of his machines. One area where his business is taking off is swimming pool excavation and demolition.
"A few people that I know are firemen who have their own swimming pool companies," he says. "They call me to dig the pools for them. Additionally, a lot of older couples with in-ground swimming pools will call me to remove them. Local towns are forcing residents to either utilize their pool or remove it because of West Nile.
"There's minimal access to people's swimming pools, so you can only work on one side. With a 442, I would never be able to reach the other side, because of the limited access around the pool. Now I can grab the concrete with the clamp and pull down the walls. I crush the walls with the clamp, pick up the pieces and place them in a container."
Other services like house demolition are keeping Hembury busy even while the national economy is still in a recession. "It took me less than four hours to demolish a 1,200-square-foot house with the E80," he says. "I have two more plans for house demolition on my desk.
"The E80 has worked out better than I could have imagined."