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Summer 2013

Attachments help landscaping firm outperform competition

Memphis-based landscaper achieves award-winning results with versatile Bobcat compact equipment

Jeff Peterman, Landscape Construction Manager, Michael Hatcher and Associates

Jeff Peterman, Landscape Construction Manager, Michael Hatcher and Associates

For an award-winning landscape company that has been in business for 26 years — with a blue ribbon list of both commercial and residential clients — Michael Hatcher and Associates, Inc. encounters competitive bidding on nearly every project, from installing irrigation to building pools and patios.

“The market has become much more competitive the last three to five years,” says Jeff Peterman, landscape construction manager for the Memphis, Tenn., firm, which also does landscape maintenance. “We are consistently bidding against other firms to get work. Some customers even get more than one design to help determine who they want to hire.”

Every little edge helps, and the employee-owned Hatcher company brings some key advantages to the marketplace: a top-notch staff, including landscape architects and designers, and an equipment lineup that delivers industry-leading results. Four Bobcat® loaders, along with a group of high-performance attachments, allow the firm to win bids and work productively in a variety of landscape applications.

“The versatility of Bobcat attachments is fantastic,” Peterman says. “We have found that by using attachments, we can get much more production out of our loaders and, as a result, make us that much more competitive.”

The Bobcat machines — purchased from Williams Equipment, the local dealer in Memphis — include T750 and T320 compact track loaders, an S205 skid-steer loader and an MT55 mini track loader. They work most often with these Bobcat attachments:

Trencher

The Bobcat trencher attachment is paired with the MT55 for digging in limited-access areas, replacing manual labor with shovels. “I especially like the auger feature that moves soil away from the trench, leaving a clean trench bottom,” Peterman says. “We don’t need someone to follow with a shovel to clean out the trench.”

Auger

With auger bits ranging in size from 9 inches to 36 inches, the company uses them for digging holes for fence posts and trees. “On large commercial jobs, the capabilities of the Bobcat augers make a ton of difference in completing work quickly,” Peterman notes.

Soil conditioner

“This is a very valuable attachment for soil preparation,” Peterman says. “We use it all the time when we need to make quick work of field grading.” Bobcat soil conditioners separate rocks and debris, grade, level, fill and pulverize clumps of dirt.

Tiller

Frequently used with the T750, the Bobcat tiller has double-edge tines that rip through hardened soil, giving the company a key component in fast, productive ground preparation.

“Having the ability to bring multiple attachments to a jobsite makes all the difference in the world,” Peterman says. “With the Bob-Tach® system, switching from a soil conditioner to trencher to tiller is easy and gives us a huge advantage. It means we don’t have to bring three different pieces of equipment with us. All we need is a Bobcat loader and whatever attachment the job dictates.”

No doctor needed

Michael Hatcher, founder and president of the 100-plus-employee company, has what he calls “iron disease.” He says that if his employees need equipment that can make their jobs easier, make them more productive and make him money, he’s all for it. At first he believed a mini track loader was a glorified wheelbarrow, but now values the productivity his Bobcat MT55 provides.

“Last year I replaced a 10-year-old Bobcat loader with the T750,” he says, noting that as the still-working older machine was leaving, “I got my money’s worth three times over out of that loader.

“All our equipment has to produce every day or it’s gone,” Hatcher says. “Any machine that isn’t tough enough won’t last long around here. Our Bobcat equipment is a valuable asset that has proven reliable and durable, and that’s why it stays.”