A winning combo
Pairing a Bobcat compact track loader and excavator allows two contractors to get more work completed than operating a traditional tractor loader backhoe
Tractor loader backhoes (TLBs) have had their day in the sun (and on the jobsite), but are now more frequently being replaced by a combination of Bobcat® loaders and excavators. This combination of two powerful machines is referred to as the Bobcat System. Learn how two companies have improved their business as a result of implementing the system approach.
DK Manufacturing Construction and Culverts, Michie, Tenn.
Jed and Lynn Baker, DK Manufacturing Construction and Culverts
Father-and-son team Lynn and Jed Baker have a winning formula for their construction business, one that allows them to take on more work and do it more efficiently. And it’s a strategy they are willing to share. Their customers see it every day at jobsites and others learn about it during the holiday season when the Bakers send out a couple of hundred holiday cards.
“For a half dozen years, we’ve featured a photo of our newest Bobcat machine on the cards,” Lynn says. “That generates a lot of positive feedback, goodwill and additional work.”
Lynn has operated DK Manufacturing Construction and Culverts, Michie, Tenn. (pop. 647), for two decades. Son Jed joined the company full-time a dozen years ago. Lynn’s father, David, helps out as well. They provide a variety of construction services, including utility installation, excavation and septic systems.
“This Bobcat System allows us to get more work done and do it in a much better work environment,” says Lynn Baker.
“At the present time, we are doing a considerable amount of underground work for utility companies,” Lynn says. “Our main goal is to get in, do a good job and quickly move on to the next one. To succeed, we need equipment that is fast, versatile and reliable. We have invested in good machines that allow us to get more done.”
As a result, the 10-metric-ton bulldozer and 14-foot tractor loader backhoe they used for several years now stay back at the shop 85 percent of the time. Their jobsite replacements: a Bobcat T770 compact track loader and an E80 excavator. These two M-Series models and several attachments (soil conditioner, hydraulic breaker, auger, industrial grapple and buckets), purchased from Williams Equipment in Jackson, Tenn., have allowed the Bakers to take their business to a new level of success.
“Our customers really notice when we pull in with this equipment,” Lynn says. “The first impression is a good one and makes a big difference. These machines make me feel great, too, because I know we will be completing jobs more efficiently. This Bobcat System allows us to get more work done and do it in a much better work environment.”
The T770 has a 92-horsepower engine, 3,475 pounds of rated operating capacity and up to 11 feet of vertical lift.
“The T770 will do just about the same work as our dozer, but is three times faster and a lot easier to move from one jobsite to another,” Lynn says. “The ride control option produces a very smooth ride over rough ground and reduces the chance of spilling loose material from the bucket. It’s a great feature.”
The E80 is a minimal tail swing model that delivers 15 feet, 6 inches of digging depth. “There is no comparison between the E80 and any other excavator we have ever tried,” Lynn says.
Jed is the main operator of both machines, often sitting in them for six or seven hours a day.
“The comfort features added to the M-Series machines make it a whole lot easier to keep working as the day goes on,” he says. “The bigger cabs with more glass have improved visibility significantly. Noise levels are much lower, too.”
Jed says they did not know how valuable the Bobcat System would turn out to be until they used both machines on the same job. “Now we take them everywhere together and continue to be pleased with how much we get done.”
L & M Construction, Statesville, N.C.
Lyle Rader, L & M Construction
The company may be called L & M Construction, but the 11-year-old firm is hardly limited to traditional commercial and residential construction projects. In fact, the services it offers range from landscaping to highway mowing to fire and storm damage cleanup and even snow removal — plus, dozens of other applications.
“When one type of business slows down, we are always looking to diversify,” says Lyle Rader, who started the Statesville, N.C., company with his wife, Melody, in 2003. “Having the right type of equipment allows us to move into something new quite easily.”
The two-person construction business grew into a multi-faceted organization with 65 employees and a knack for taking on work that at times sends the company in unexpected directions.
A powerful combination
When the firm is hired for a project, Rader is ready with his M-Series Bobcat System — a T770 compact track loader and an E55 excavator — along with several valuable Bobcat attachments, purchased from R S Braswell, Kannapolis, N.C.
Lyle Rader mows with his Bobcat T770 and Brushcat rotary cutter attachment.
“We use them every day,” he says, “in all types of applications. The versatility is so amazing that they allow us to be prepared for whatever jobsite challenges we encounter. Plus, they are very easy to move around.”
As a contractor regularly hired by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT), L & M has come to expect the unexpected. One assignment is mowing along the interstate highways around Charlotte. The company does a portion every three months with the T770 and Brushcat™ rotary cutter.
“The high-flow (hydraulic) loader and the mower are really efficient,” he says, “especially when working on the banks on the sides of highways. The cutting deck floats over the often uneven ground and does an excellent job of not only mowing thick grass but cutting brush and even small trees. Visibility from the M-Series loader cab is unmatched.”
That work is fairly routine compared to other times the DOT calls. The company has been hired to repair washouts, fix damaged pipes and other emergency work, often with little time to spare.
“Every time we get an assignment that has some unknown elements, there are always things we do not anticipate,” Rader says. “I get surprised every day on the job.”
His team is ready because of the equipment they typically bring to the job — the T770, E55 and attachments such as the Bobcat combination bucket.
“That is one very valuable attachment,” Rader says. The combination bucket can be used as a bucket, a grapple or for dozing, leveling and spreading material. “We use it all the time for loading trucks.”
Rader has a long history as the general contractor for a major auto parts retailer.
“We’ve built about 150 stores over the last 10 years, working in 15 different states,” he says. “We use our Bobcat loader and excavator in tandem for rough and finish grading, and installing sewer and water lines. They have helped us build a strong relationship with this company.”
Rader has relied on Bobcat equipment for nine years. He prefers the track machines, having owned previous models of Bobcat compact track loaders before purchasing the 92-horsepower, 10,237-pound T770, and three older compact excavators prior to the 48-horsepower E55, which features a maximum digging depth of 12 feet, 11 inches.
“I have been sold on the Bobcat track system for many years,” he says, “and it keeps improving. Bobcat machines have the most reliable tracks available. Rubber tracks minimize damage to established surfaces and prevent downtime.”
He’s found the economics of operating Bobcat compact equipment to be valuable.
“I’ve always made money with them, both on the job and when it came time to sell,” Rader says. “I’ve sold several machines on my own and have always done real well financially. They are real profit-producers.”