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Fall 2012

Doing the math proves that owning a loader pays for itself

A Pennsylvania business professional is saving money by removing snow himself with a Bobcat skid-steer loader and attachments.

Peter Zaphiris purchased a Bobcat skid-steer
loader to remove snow from his commercial
properties rather than pay someone else.

Peter Zaphiris purchased a Bobcat skid-steer loader to remove snow from his commercial properties rather than pay someone else.

For insurance agent Peter Zaphiris, owner of nine commercial buildings, the economics of snow removal have looked a lot better since he purchased his own equipment, including a Bobcat® skid-steer loader with attachments, dump trucks and a dump trailer.

Zaphiris’ company, Great Lakes Insurance Services Group LLC, is in Erie, Pa., where 150 to 200 inches of snow falls in a typical winter. With buildings in other parts of northeast Pennsylvania and southwest New York, he knows what it’s like to write large checks for snow removal. His office in Clymer, N.Y., usually sees 200-plus inches of snow each winter.

“In a normal year, it would cost me at least $25,000 to handle snow around the nine properties I own,” he says. “One year at my headquarters in Erie, I paid almost $16,000 to have the snow plowed and hauled away. I can justify the equipment expense because I have been paying the money to someone else to take care of the snow. Plus, I can do the snow work at my convenience and have the benefit of using the equipment for other projects in the off-season. The money I save in the winter covers the cost of all my equipment.”

A Bobcat S650, purchased almost two years ago from Bobcat of Erie, is kept busy doing snow removal. Zaphiris pairs his S650 with a bucket to load snow onto his trailer and truck, while the Bobcat snowblower attachment helps him clear sidewalks.

“During the winter I use the loader to not only handle snow at my own properties, but to help keep the sidewalks open around two nearby schools, at buildings of non-profit organizations and some insurance clients that may need assistance,” he says. “Three of us operate the machine, and in a normal winter we can put on plenty of hours.”

Excellent visibility

The M-Series loader has features that make it very valuable in snow removal applications.

“The cab-forward design and window size offer excellent visibility, the cab is exceptionally comfortable, the suspension seat is easy on my back and the controls are fast and precise. Compared to my previous Bobcat loader (a 763), the M-Series S650 is vastly superior.”

What advice would Zaphiris give other business owners who face the annual winter challenge of removing snow from their property?

“Do you want to outsource your snow removal or do you want to do it with your own loader that you can use for many other functions throughout the year? Having a loader and other equipment allows you to control costs. Once the equipment is paid for, snow removal gets very inexpensive. I don’t worry about clearing snow anymore.”

Excavator complements loader

In addition to using his S650 skid-steer loader for projects throughout the year, Peter Zaphiris owns a Bobcat® E35 compact excavator that has proven to be a money-saving option for jobs maintaining his nine buildings.

“With a wide range of work — tearing out driveways, digging foundations, installing new drainage — the excavator is perfect for doing these projects myself,” he says. “I don’t have to hire contractors, making it easier to manage my expenses.”

The E35 is an M-Series excavator that provides Zaphiris with more than 10 feet of dig depth, along with superior comfort and visibility.

“Every chance I have to justify a piece of equipment, I consider buying it,” he says. “And since I like doing construction work, whenever I can operate a machine myself, that’s an added fun bonus.”