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Spring 2011

Hard Work Becomes Easier with a Bobcat Excavator

Masonry contractor uses an M-Series E35 to add services.

Florim Kabashi

F.K. Masonry owner Florim Kabashi created his own business after coming to the United States as a refugee from the war in Kosovo.

For masonry contractor Florim Kabashi, America became the land of opportunity; later, Bobcat® equipment became the way to achieve ongoing success.

"I am proud to live in a country where if you work hard you will be successful and happy," he says. "At first I did masonry jobs by hand. When I got to the point where I was able to afford equipment, I purchased a Bobcat skid-steer loader and a couple years later added an M-Series compact excavator. Both allowed me to do more work in less time. With the excavator I no longer had to turn down jobs; in fact, it gave me a chance to take my company in a new direction."

Family in a better place

Kabashi and his family were among the 20,000 refugees who came to America after the 1998 – 99 war in Kosovo. He didn't speak a word of English, but was able to hold down three jobs — cutting grass for a landscaper, working as a machinist in a factory and washing dishes in a restaurant — that kept him busy 17 hours a day, seven days a week.

Within two years he started his own company, F. K. Masonry in Cheshire, Conn. Trained in masonry in Germany, Kabashi built his customer base by word of mouth. After initially doing his digging by hand and moving materials with a wheelbarrow, he began renting skid-steer loaders and eventually purchased an S205.

"The skid-steer loader enabled me to take on more projects and get them done faster," says Kabashi, who became a U.S. citizen in 2006. "It was especially helpful in moving materials around jobsites."

While the loader was doing exactly what he wanted, customers were asking him to do more complicated jobs, including building stone walls. Kabashi had to borrow excavators from friends or rent them to do this type of work.

"Toward the end of 2009, I had several stone walls to do at one time and decided I needed my own excavator," he recalls. "I was very pleased with my S205 so I went back to Bobcat of Connecticut in East Hartford, intending to purchase a used excavator. I was very familiar with the models because those were the machines I borrowed or rented.

"At the dealership I discovered the new M-Series excavators and, although I wasn't thinking of a new machine, after trying the E35 for 20 minutes I decided to buy it.


Kabashi's new M-Series Bobcat compact excavator is shown here working on a project in the fall of 2010.

"A number of new features, such as smoother control of machine functions, Auto-Shift travel, an integrated slew brake, reduced machine weight, low fuel consumption and enhanced operator comfort made this purchase the right decision," he says.

When the weather broke in March 2010, Kabashi was ready. "With the E35 I was able to save more than a week's worth of time on the very first job."

Kabashi previously passed up jobs where there was a lot of digging because he did not have the equipment.

"Last year I put a curtain drain around a house, digging down 9 to 10 feet in about two hours," he notes. "That made me realize I can do this type of work. I've added excavation to the list of services I offer. I'm no longer afraid of any size job."

In one year, the E35 significantly changed Kabashi's business. "I used to do 25 to 30 jobs a year without the excavator. With it I can do 40 to 50 jobs. Before I had the excavator I would run out of time in the fall and not be able to finish all the work I had. I would have to reluctantly tell customers I would have to push their project back to spring. In 2010, I finished every job I scheduled — no problem."

These pictures demonstrate the types of projects that Florim Kabashi has completed. Click on the gallery below to view the pictures.