Homebuilder Thrives with Bobcat Equipment
Customer pairs a new M-Series loader with a 329 excavator for continued success
Homebuilder Travis Albang backfills around a new foundation with his S650 skid-steer loader and bucket. Albang does much of the work himself rather than hiring subcontractors.
Homebuilder Travis Albang celebrated another successful year in 2009, despite the nationwide recession and homebuilding crisis. He attributes his company's success to understanding the local market and having dependable Bobcat® equipment to complete projects, rather than hiring subcontractors to do it for him.
For 20 years Albang has been involved in the construction industry. Today he and his business partner, Curt Cope, run LTC Homes Inc. with a 70-acre residential development outside of Marion, Iowa. The development is called Linn Meadows, with single-family homes priced between $142,000 and $180,000. "We're building smaller, more affordable homes, with an emphasis on quality rather than quantity," Albang says.
In 2009, Albang upgraded from his current Bobcat loader to a new M-Series vertical-lift-path S650. The S650 is the third Bobcat machine that Albang has owned, going back six years to his first Bobcat loader purchase. While other manufacturers have tempted him, he's sticking with the Bobcat brand.
"I got into the new S650 and ‘wow,' it was like a Cadillac," he says. "It's so much more luxurious than the previous Bobcat loaders that I've owned. It feels like there is 10 times as much room.
"I've never had anything other than a Bobcat loader. We've tried other brands — tested them — but overall, we're big on Bobcat. We stick with them because of the quality and customer service, especially from our local Bobcat dealership (Bobcat of Cedar Rapids)."
The new M-Series skid-steer loader cab.
The biggest differences from his previous loader to the new M-Series have been the cab, less noise when operating the machine, more power when digging and more lift capacity. "I can have a conversation with my guys when they're standing outside of the machine, even with the radio on," he says, "and the seat is much more comfortable and easier to adjust. That's important to us because sometimes we're operating for three- or four-hour stretches."
When winter arrives the loader is assigned to snow removal with a high-capacity snow bucket. "Most of my operators are spoiled when they operate this machine, because when they push snow for 12 to 14 hours, they're using the hand controls instead of their legs, and it's much more comfortable inside the heated cab," he explains.
"The new lights are much brighter than the previous model, which is helpful when clearing snow at 3 a.m., and the two-speed helps us get from point A to point B that much quicker."
329 on assignment
In addition to the S650, Albang owns a 329 excavator to dig trenches for underground utilities, clean up foundations after a rainfall, or create footings for decks with the auger attachment. "I can sit in one spot and dig multiple holes with the auger," he says. "I am not moving around and disturbing the soil, thanks to the excavator's reach and the auger."
Four M-Series loaders are available today with additional models coming in 2010. Click here to learn more about the new generation of Bobcat loaders.