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Fall 2013

Compact equipment makes a splash for pool builder

A pool and spa construction company no longer has to call for emergency help thanks to the right equipment combination

Joe Butler, Butler Pool and Spa

Joe Butler, Butler Pool and Spa

Today, Joe Butler can laugh about the so-called “911 call” he made to Williams Equipment, a Bobcat compact equipment dealer in Memphis, Tenn., a decade ago. But at the time it wasn’t funny. That’s because as he was backfilling a pool, his compact loader (of another brand) got stuck in the mud. The exasperated pool builder had to be rescued by a Bobcat® T250 compact track loader.

“The Bobcat machine pulled out my other brand of loader. I said, ‘leave the T250 here and take the other one away,’” says the owner of Butler Pool and Spa, Olive Branch, Miss. “I’ve had Bobcat equipment ever since and never had to call for help again.”

Full-service pool building

His lineup of Bobcat compact equipment — three compact track loaders, a compact excavator and an MT55 mini track loader — is one of the main selling points he uses for his successful full-service pool building business. His newest Bobcat purchase is a T750 compact track loader.

“We could not do this work without
our Bobcat machines and attachments,”
he says, “especially because in most
cases we do the entire project from
digging the hole in the ground to
finishing the landscaping.”

“We could not do this work without our Bobcat machines and attachments,” he says, “especially because in most cases we do the entire project from digging the hole in the ground to finishing the landscaping.”

“By having our own equipment and crews, our customers know we are going to show up on time and our equipment is not going to break down,” Butler says. “We typically finish a pool in 10 days or less while a lot of contractors take 30 days or more because they have to rely on subcontractors. We do the entire job ourselves.

“Then there is the impact on my bids. I know I don’t have to call someone else or rent another piece of equipment. With Bobcat equipment, I’ve got just what I need to get things done efficiently.”

Butler, who has been in business 25 years, installs about 50 pools a year in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas. They include fiberglass, vinyl and Gunite pool types. Gunite is a building material consisting of a mixture of cement, sand and water that is sprayed onto a mold. His company also specializes in custom spa and hot tub design and construction, vinyl liner replacement, custom decks, rock waterfalls and fountains, as well as pool maintenance services.

Dependable equipment

“We could not do this work without our Bobcat machines and attachments,” he says, “especially because in most cases we do the entire project from digging the hole in the ground to finishing the landscaping.”

One of Butler's completed pool projects

One of Butler's completed pool projects

Before he had his Bobcat equipment, Butler was limited to pool installation only. Customers had to hire others to do the landscaping, sod work and fencing, often causing the project to drag on for weeks and sometimes months.

“These days, customers like one-stop shopping,” he says. “They like to know that the person they are hiring can complete the entire project, and they do not have to deal with other contractors.

“At the same time, customers like the fact that we bring top-of-the-line equipment to their homes. In the initial conversation, I tell them the machines are all track models that are not going to tear up their yard. Then they see the equipment is well maintained and clean, and that means a lot to people. It makes a big difference.”

Butler uses his Bobcat compact excavator and bucket to dig the hole for the pool. It doesn’t damage the ground as it moves around the yard, thanks to its rubber track undercarriage. He says the Hydra-Tilt swing accessory — mounted between the excavator’s bucket and dipper — is ideal for pool installers because it allows the operator to angle the bucket 30 degrees to the left or right without moving the excavator.

Butler’s Bobcat compact track loaders are also kept busy. They provide the hydraulic power for the Bobcat concrete pump attachment, trench for new water lines, backfill around the pool, haul off the extra soil and prepare the yard for new sod with a soil conditioner.

MT55 replaces hand-digging

His Bobcat MT55 mini track loader is a very popular addition with his 15 employees.

“We usually put in fencing around our pools,” says Butler, “and for a long time the digging was done by hand. Now that back-breaking job has been turned over to the MT55. We save 4 to 6 hours a day when installing fencing. Everyone — me, the crew and the customer — is very pleased.”

He says that about half of today’s pools go into small backyards, and the Bobcat compact equipment he uses enables his company to get more of these jobs.

“People say they have seen our work and how easy our equipment is on yards, so they just turn us loose in their backyards knowing the job will be done right,” Butler says.