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Spring 2014

Out with the old and in with the new

13 years ago Leroy McQuay acquired a Bobcat excavator to replace his tractor loader backhoe. Today he generates 90 percent of his income from it

Leroy McQuay, LCM Construction

Leroy McQuay, LCM Construction

As someone who has spent 35 years digging in the dirt, Leroy McQuay has a formula that equals success: equipment that is versatile, fast, durable and fuel-efficient.

“For years I operated a 14-foot backhoe, both during my previous career and after I started my own business in 1997,” McQuay says. “Once I discovered all the profit-producing and jobsite benefits of a compact excavator, I decided I would never buy another backhoe.”

During the first four years he operated his company, LCM Construction of Jonesboro, Ark., McQuay hauled his backhoe with a semi-truck and a 24,000-pound capacity trailer. He figures the overall length of his truck and trailer was approximately 40 feet.

“I was working in residential construction, and as houses filled up the empty lots, parking became more difficult,” McQuay recalls. “Sometimes I had to park and unload a block or two away from the jobsite. One day, I saw a guy pull up with a one-ton flatbed truck hauling a Bobcat excavator. He had no trouble parking, while I continued to struggle.”

In April 2001, McQuay sold his backhoe and replaced it with the first of the three Bobcat® compact excavators he has owned. At that time he was mostly digging house footings. When he began expanding into septic systems, he moved up to a bigger Bobcat excavator that provided the necessary bucket breakout force. Along the way, McQuay added a Bobcat compact track loader and, with the excavator, he could do everything a backhoe could do, and do it more efficiently and economically.

Reduced expenses

When he purchased his first Bobcat excavator, he hauled it on a 10,000-pound capacity trailer. He has now moved up to a trailer that can handle a 14,000-pound load and is capable of transporting both his excavator and compact track loader. He pulls the trailer behind a one-ton truck. “The initial purchase price of the Bobcat excavator and loader, along with the smaller truck and trailer, was less than the backhoe, larger trailer and truck,” McQuay says. “Even more important over time is the amount my operating expenses, mainly fuel, decreased — $4,000 to $6,000 less a year. The fuel efficiency is an important factor in the success of my one-person business.”

Productive power

The productivity of his M-Series E32 excavator, purchased from Hugg & Hall Equipment, the Bobcat dealer in Jonesboro, surpasses what he could do with his backhoe. “Much of my work these days is digging house footings 14 to 16 inches deep,” McQuay says. “The quickness of the excavator’s hydraulics allows me to dig more than 100 feet per hour — a rate I could never accomplish with the backhoe, especially when factoring in all the time wasted setting and lifting the stabilizers and repositioning.”

He also digs footings for a company throughout the Mid-South. The E32 works much faster than the previous backhoe the firm was using. “The excavator allows me to get right up against the forms, dig and deposit the soil 10 to 12 feet away from the building,” McQuay says.