Compact tractor takes its place in landscaping fleets
A Bobcat CT440 compact tractor’s big power in a small footprint makes the grade
A Bobcat compact tractor complements Wade Velten’s skid-steer loader and compact track loader for landscaping assignments.
Like any savvy entrepreneur, Wade Velten started out small and discovered that preparation, experience and networking can lead to bigger opportunities.
When he completed dual associate degrees in horticulture and business management, he already had a staff of eight. In 1995, the business leapfrogged when a friend tipped him off to an opportunity to purchase Buckley’s Prairie Landscaping, a local contracting firm and popular century-old garden center in Springfield, Ill.
The acquisition led to expanding his equipment fleet, including a Bobcat® skid-steer loader and a compact track loader, to manage residential and commercial landscape maintenance and irrigation services. With a staff numbering 45, Velten recently added a Bobcat CT440 compact tractor from Bobcat of Springfield, dedicated primarily to performing finish grade work for customers, as well as loading chores at the garden center.
Velten points out that the 41-hp tractor’s compact size and 3-point lift capacity is an ideal fit to his customers’ residential properties, which typically average 8,000 to 10,000 square feet of turf, but it’s also often used on 3 to 5-acre sites.
“If you’re grading 10 yards in a week with a small tractor, you’re really going to beat a little unit up,” he says. “Even though the CT440’s footprint is compact, you don’t have to run it full throttle and you get longer life out of the machine,” Velten says.
Prior to owning Bobcat, Velten owned other brands, but prefers the Bobcat tractor and its hydrostatic transmission for preparing seed beds. “It has a low profile and is very powerful,” he says. “When you’re in a higher gear where you need to move a little quicker, it works very efficiently.”
Velten likes the productivity he gets from his compact tractor for high-volume lawn work. “The tractor finishes grades on yards much quicker than putting attachments on a loader, because the grading’s done behind you and you’re not driving over it again,” Velten says.
Versatility is another key factor. The CT440 often helps out mowing brush, and its 2,030-pound loader lift capacity provides the strength to load delivery trucks and customer vehicles at the busy 4-acre retail division.
A visit to the company’s website shows a prospective customer that Velten has the horsepower and hands-on expertise to construct everything from hardscapes and landscapes to water features and entire lawns — much of it with the Bobcat compact tractor, loaders and attachments. The loaders also contribute to the company’s reputation as one of the capital city’s top snow removal operations. The loaders are typically equipped with a snow blade or snow pusher to help clear commercial parking lots.
Back in college, Velten only imagined how diverse his operation could become. “I couldn’t do what I do now without dedicated staff and Bobcat equipment. The versatility of the machines and the power they have for their footprint is very good, and the compact tractor’s always going to have its place.” Velten says.