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Summer 2011

Compact tractor increases company's versatility

Ideal complement to skid-steer loader and excavator

Duane Silvia knows that versatility is one of the best ways to increase business.

"My experience demonstrates that the greater the variety of jobs you can do, the busier you will be."

Duane Silvia and his daughter Paige

Duane Silvia and his daughter Paige. Silvia says his Bobcat compact tractor has been a nice addition to his Bobcat compact loader and excavator, for minimal ground disturbance.

Silvia, who owns D. E. Silvia and Daughter Construction in Taunton, Mass., built his company around Bobcat® loaders, excavators and attachments. You can't get much more versatile than that, right?

Actually you can, as Silvia discovered when he added a Bobcat CT235 compact tractor. "The compact tractor complements my larger equipment — an S220 loader and a 331 compact excavator," he says. "Every machine has a purpose. I use the compact tractor with the backhoe attachment on jobs where ground disturbance could be a problem.

"The CT235 allows me to do this type of work without damaging lawns," he says. "And to do it much faster."

As a certified Title V inspector, Silvia has found the compact tractor very valuable. In Massachusetts, if you are selling or putting an addition on your home, and you do not have city sewer service, you need your septic system inspected.

Title V inspection involves digging down as deep as 4 feet to expose the D (distribution) box. Silvia often had to dig by hand because his excavator was too big to get into a backyard or his loader posed a risk of crushing a pipe.

"Using the compact tractor makes the work a breeze," Silvia says. "No more repairing pipes or yards. I am saving many man hours, moving more quickly onto the next job and expanding my services. While the CT235 may not be as fast as the other equipment (on large projects), the time I save on Title V inspections has paid for the tractor."

Silvia also does sewer connections — during the 1990s, he and his father did more than 1,000 — typically using the excavator to dig and the loader to backfill.

Other jobs require his loader and excavator to work together. When he got a smaller project, Silvia previously had to take one of those machines off another job. "Now I can use my tractor and don't have to take the S220 or 331 away from a money-making assignment to do something that I can do with the tractor," he says.

When Silvia decided he needed a compact tractor, he lined up the specs and financial information from several manufacturers. Even though he had a two-decade relationship with Bobcat of Boston, he wanted to make sure he purchased the most practical machine for his type of work. "Bobcat was by far the best value," he notes. "The next best one was 6 horsepower less and thousands more."

In addition to the Title V inspections and sewer connections, Silvia uses the CT235 for laying out property boundary markers, mowing around retention ponds, applying loam and seed, tilling gardens and sidewalk snow removal.

Since he purchased the CT235, Silvia says he has received many calls from people who were unhappy with what someone else with larger equipment had done to their property. "When I tell them I have a compact tractor, they tell me to come over. I have acquired at least 25 jobs solely because I have a Bobcat compact tractor."

The value of checking back with customers

After every job is completed, Duane Silvia calls the customer a week later to see if everything is okay.

"A divot in the lawn might not seem like a big deal, but it becomes important when the customer looks at it every day for six months," he says. "That doesn't do me any good, especially if the customer complains about it to friends and neighbors. So I call to make sure a small problem doesn't turn into a big headache."