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Spring 2006

Loaders Help Landscaping Business Grow in New Directions

Contractor Travis Gudgeon, Mount Horeb, Wis., can attest to the ability of Bobcat® equipment to spur business growth. He owns Dependable Landscaping and Lawn Care. Not too long after starting the business 10 years ago, he bought a Bobcat 763 skid-steer loader to replace hand labor and borrowed equipment.

"It got to the point where I had to have my own skid-steer loader," he says. "Once you have one, you soon realize all the jobs you can do."

Since then, his Bobcat equipment has enabled him to branch beyond landscape construction to supplying landscaping materials, removing snow for several municipalities and providing other services for homeowners, farmers and other contractors.

Today Gudgeon owns three Bobcat skid-steer loaders — a S130, S220 and S250-and an angle broom, several types of buckets (smooth, tooth and grapple), and a landscape rake along with a snow blade, snowblower and trench-er. He uses them for rough grading and backfilling, building retaining walls, cleaning out ditches, loading trucks and clearing snow from city sidewalks.

"Bobcat skid-steer loaders are handy machines," he says. "They've helped my business grow." He notes several reasons for this growth:

Increased efficiency. "My snow removal business has doubled in the last two years, not because I've added any equipment, but because of how efficiently we can work with our Bobcat equipment," Gudgeon says.

That efficiency reflects the compact size of his Bobcat machines. With inset (offset) wheel rims, his snowblower-equipped S130 measures only 54-in.-wide and is just right for clearing snow from sidewalks. Also, the two-speed transmission of his S220 and S250 loaders gives them a top speed of 12 mph. "We plow snow in high range and that saves us a lot of time," he says.

Versatility. The ability to use his Bobcat loaders for a wide range of tasks has helped grow all aspects of Gudgeon's business. For example, in addition to digging trenches for irrigation lines, his trencher has enabled him to earn money digging trenches for anchoring silt fences. His S250 has the power, lift height and reach to make easy work of truck loading work at his quarry and at construction sites. Using his loaders to fill a tub grinder with tree materials has enabled him to begin producing mulch for his landscape supply operation.

Dealer backup. The strong support from his Bobcat dealer, Mid-State Equipment, Sauk Prairie, Wis., has also figured into Gudgeon's satisfaction and success with his Bobcat loaders. "If a dealer won't stand behind what they sell, why buy it?" he asks. "My dealer has been good about taking care of any problems, including the little stuff."