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Summer 2013

Empowering entrepreneurs

Bobcat attachments expand opportunities and revenue sources for compact equipment owners

Auger on S590 skid-steer loader

Auger on S590 skid-steer loader

You’ve heard the old investment adage: “It takes money to make money.” There’s a similar truism with construction equipment: It takes the right tools and attachments to grow a business.

If your company has already invested in Bobcat® compact equipment, then you’re already strategically positioned to expand your operation. A well-paired attachment for Bobcat machines can improve versatility, create more project control, delay the purchase of a dedicated, single-purpose machine and — more important — generate new revenue sources.

Attachments can allow contractors to maximize existing Bobcat equipment for more than one purpose in a wide variety of applications. Further, by using equipment you already have, they can reduce the time needed to learn how to operate the attachment.

“By simply adding new and different Bobcat attachments, contractors can increase their duties, time and profits on any particular job,” says Mike Fitzgerald, Bobcat loader product specialist. “They will enhance utilization of capital pieces that they already own, without large additional cash investments.”

Specialists to generalists

During the economic boom when work was more plentiful, it was common practice for some contractors to specialize within specific construction applications. Today, many of those same businesses are finding success shifting away from specialization and capturing more work by repurposing their compact equipment for related projects within a market segment. With some well-chosen attachments, they’re able to expand their capabilities to compete for work ranging from utilities, excavation, demolition and paving to concrete work, land clearing, site preparation, erosion control and even seasonal snow removal.

For instance, an additional Bobcat attachment or two could allow a contractor to complete a task that was previously subcontracted. According to Justin Odegaard, Bobcat loader product specialist, an attachment can provide compact equipment owners the ability to do work that may be scheduled one or two weeks ahead or after a contractor’s standard portion of the project. “If you select the right attachments, you’re using your equipment longer to complete more work on a project before hauling it to the next jobsite,” he says.

He also points out that as contractors expand their capabilities, they can gain more control on a specific job. “If a concrete contractor only does finish concrete work, he may be at the mercy of others who do all the prep work. If the prep contractor is behind and can’t get to your job, there is no way you will finish up on time,” Odegaard adds.

Getting the edge in competitive markets

High-flow planer on S570 skid-steer loader

High-flow planer on S570 skid-steer loader

While augers and hydraulic breakers are two of the most highly demanded attachments for construction contractors, Bobcat offers more than 80 unique attachments and hundreds of models for compact equipment that can create distinct advantages in today’s competitive market.

An excavation contractor who only digs the basement or footings of a residential construction project may be missing some profitable expansion opportunities, Fitzgerald says. “Contractors can easily perform soil preparation from rough through final grades with attachments such as a box blade or soil conditioner. They can continue working into the seeding or sodding phases with seeder and sod layer attachments.”

A utility contracting firm with a Bobcat skid-steer or compact track loader likely already owns a trencher attachment and may complement its fleet with a planer, hydraulic breaker or wheel saw to assist with installations through concrete or asphalt.

An asphalt paving contractor who focuses on the installation of streets, highways, bridge approaches and parking lots can complement his planer and wheel saw attachments with cleanup tools. An angle broom is useful for windrow millings in one direction so the material can either be picked up with a bucket or removed by a sweeper attachment.

Multi-carrier versatility

When considering whether to take on new work, attachments can provide more versatility and profitability for the dollar compared to some other equipment acquisitions. Most Bobcat attachments are compatible across multiple carrier types (loaders, excavators, Toolcat utility work machines, etc.) for greater utilization of both the carrier and the attachment.

Bobcat attachments have been designed to integrate with the machine’s controls — the electronics and hydraulics. This makes the controls intuitive and work line one might expect from a single-purpose machine. While each type of compact equipment has its own set of performance benefits in certain conditions, some of today’s attachments are interchangeable to provide flexibility and convenience for an equipment fleet that needs to be responsive to multiple jobsites.

“If a company’s excavator with an auger attachment is located on one jobsite, but the auger attachment is needed somewhere else, you don’t have to move the excavator just to be able to use an auger at a different jobsite. Your skid-steer loader or compact track loader can do the job,” Odegaard says.

It’s also easier to take a business into different directions when attachment changes in the field or shop are fast and simple. For example, instead of just using an excavator to dig trenches, demolition contractors find that they can use the machine’s reach to break up concrete in tight places that only an excavator’s arm can access. By attaching a hydraulic breaker to a compact excavator, it’s transformed from a digging machine into a concrete demolition machine.

With the ability to tailor your capital investments to secure a greater share of construction work, attachments can empower even the most conservative entrepreneurs to explore new revenue sources. That makes good financial sense in any competitive market.