Mini track loader reduces expenses, creates new opportunities
A Bobcat MT55 complements customer’s M-Series compact track loader and compact excavator
A Bobcat MT55 mini track loader complements Josh Hawkins’ Bobcat compact track loader and compact excavator on landscape installations.
A decade after starting his landscaping firm, Josh Hawkins made an addition to his equipment inventory that not only helped lower his current overhead, but built a solid foundation for moving into a new area of business.
Hawkins, owner of Slope Solutions, works mostly in the mountains north and west of Morganton, N.C., providing landscape design, installation and maintenance in all phases of landscaping, lighting, pavers and walls.
“Recently, the biggest challenge has been to provide customers with a top-of-the-line look for value pricing,” he says. “At first it was difficult because I had to get my overhead and operating costs in line. I think I’ve solved that problem.”
One of his goals was to reduce some labor expenses.
“I was relying on a lot of hand work where my Bobcat® M-Series machines — a T650 compact track loader and an E45 compact excavator — couldn’t fit. At the end of last year, I purchased an MT55 mini track loader from Bobcat of Lenoir and that made a big difference.”
He operates the MT55 for landscaping tasks, including handling and planting trees. Its width is less than 36 inches, and its rubber tracks produce low ground pressure for minimal disruption to established surfaces.
“I previously unloaded trees with my compact track loader, moved them into the backyard with a tree cart if space was tight, and then dug the holes by hand,” Hawkins says. “With the MT55, pallet fork and auger attachments, that job and others have become much easier. The mini track loader has allowed us to get more done in less time and with fewer employees.”
“The MT55 has really been beneficial to our company with our land development clients,” Hawkins says. “The tough housing market makes budgets tight on new developments. This equipment has really helped install silt fences because, without the mini track loader, we would have to clear out a much bigger area to use the T650 or E45. Our clients are looking for the most economical ways to get the projects completed on time and within the budget. The MT55 makes this possible when installing silt fence.”
Along with being a valuable complement to his highly productive Bobcat loader and excavator, the MT55 and dozer blade has enabled Hawkins to expand into the trail-building business through the mountain terrain. Hawkins sees more trail-building in his future now that he has the right combination of equipment. He’s done plenty of hiking trails for developers in subdivisions. He is using that experience to bid on trail work in the surrounding areas.
“Trails are somewhat narrow and you have to make them interesting for the user,” he says. “They often require adjustments in the field, and with the MT55, we will be able to make any needed changes from the original design easier and faster. It’s the perfect machine for this application.”