A Favor with Bobcat Loader Launches Family Business

Published on April 22, 2024

It all started as a favor for a friend. But Ken Cavendish was hooked on Bobcat machines from the very first job. He turned that passion into a booming business in New York City.

The phone call itself was an ordinary one. It was the kind of simple request that one friend makes of another any given day. Can you do me a favor? But when Ken Cavendish picked up his phone that morning in the fall of 2009, he could not have imagined that his helping hand would be the seedling of a thriving new construction business of his own.  

“A buddy of mine, Kenny Spencer, needed help,” Ken says. “He was injured and couldn’t work, so he asked if I would clear some trees, shrubs and dirt at his house.” 

Ken’s only apprehension was stepping into a different machine, his friend’s Bobcat® 773 skid-steer loader. At the time, Ken had spent decades in a family construction business, so he knew his way around a jobsite. But his friend’s loader was new to him, and he wanted to do the job well.   

Love at First Site 

If there were any jitters, they quickly vanished as he got acquainted with the loader. “It was so simple,” Ken remembers about the hand and foot controls and the overall handling. “A couple of hours in, I felt like someone who had been doing the job for 20 years. I loved it!”  

His friend paid him for the work, but Ken soon realized that he was the one who turned out to be the true beneficiary of the favor. 

The one-time favor lit a spark, and Ken thought about the project constantly in the days that followed. This is not a bad side business. I can do this, he thought. Only one week after helping his friend, he decided to pursue a new business opportunity. For that, he would need to invest in equipment of his own. He had already made up his mind where to look. 

You did me a favor, and you built an empire out of a favor!

Kenny Spencer

Equipped for the Job 

Demonstrating his ingenuity and motivation, Ken looked for a package deal on machines to get started. Once he found what he needed, he bought two pieces of equipment: a Bobcat 334 compact excavator and a T300 compact track loader. They had 118 hours and 1,800 hours on them, respectively, and they provided the capabilities he needed to get to work.  

“It was a major score, and it worked out great for my new business,” Ken says. “And it’s silly how busy I got.”  

Constructing the Family Business 

Sledgehammer Construction opened for business in 2010. Some of the early work came through a local connection, a situation familiar to many in the industry. A man who ran a stone and stucco business knew Ken through their sons, who were best friends. The dads connected, and Ken started doing rip-outs to prepare for the installation of new pavement.  

Since he had built up a lot of vacation time at his full-time job, he could take Fridays off to give himself three-day weekends to complete projects for his new side business. As the work picked up, Sledgehammer Construction became a family business that included Ken’s son, Christopher, and cousin, Nick.  

“We’ll meet on a big job, and we get on the radios to talk to each other,” Ken says. “My son has become my saving grace. He’s my left arm — and my right arm!”  

The projects over the years have given Ken and Christopher a lot of quality time together. For Christopher, the business that started before he was in high school has turned into his full-time job.  

Built on Reliability 

The family business offers construction, demolition, landscaping and snow removal in Staten Island and occasionally in New York City’s other boroughs. A key component of its success is trust. Ken doesn’t worry about the dependability or capability of the employees; he knows he can expect quality work.  

“I have a bunch of friends in the business who have had issues because they hired people to do snow removal who didn’t have the experience,” he says. “We have some thousand-car parking lots. I want to work with people who I know can do the job right.” 

The priority he places on reliability is why he returns to Bobcat dealers such as Garden State Bobcat, Inc. for his machines, attachments and parts.  

“Those guys are great. Fantastic!” Ken says. “Once they have the serial number, you have your parts by the end of the week.”  

To illustrate his loyalty, the Sledgehammer fleet of machines consists of a single brand.  

Property of Cavendish 

Ken envisions the next step in the business’ growth will be purchasing properties to renovate and resell or lease. He and Christopher recently finished a project at a home that was so comprehensive, a future in flipping houses seemed like the prudent move to make. The job included ripping out and replacing all the pavement, opening the back of the house, putting on a new roof and renovating the interior. 

Remarkably, the business still uses the compact excavator and compact track loader Ken purchased in 2010, which now have about 1,000 hours and 4,000 hours on them, respectively. More recent additions include an S510 skid-steer loader and the T180 compact track loader. Sledgehammer Construction handles its variety of jobs with buckets, rock buckets, a trenching bucket, a hydraulic breaker, an industrial grapple and two booms.  

“The reliability and quality of the Bobcat machines are amazing,” Ken says. “There’s so much versatility.” 

A Friend Indeed 

What started as a favor in 2009 continues with good-natured joking. Ken and his friend Kenny still talk about that request for help on a single job. “Kenny laughs and says, ‘It’s too funny. You did me a favor, and you built an empire out of a favor,’” Ken recounts of their conversations. “And it’s the truth.” 

Sledgehammer Construction carries on the legacy of that favor by using Bobcat loaders like the first one that captured Ken’s imagination. The machines remain the backbone of the family business for taking on projects in New York.  

More Recent Stories

View All Stories
Shades of Green Nursery Unites Community with Bobcat Equipment Shades of Green Nursery Assistant Manager Julie Holland Uses a Bobcat MT100 Mini Track Loader to Transport Bags of Mulch

Shades of Green Nursery Unites Community with Bobcat Equipment

At Shades of Green Nursery, founder Julie Holland uses Bobcat equipment to unite the community in Celina, Texas with inclusive gardening practices that support the local ecosystem.
JJC Tree Services LLC Grows with Bobcat Equipment A Bobcat Compact Track Loader With Grapple Works Near a Lineup of Tall Trees

JJC Tree Services LLC Grows with Bobcat Equipment

John Shreaves of JJC Tree Services LLC launched and grew his business with his Bobcat compact track loaders and attachments to help him accomplish more.
Bobcat and RADshare Partner for Youth BMX Opportunities Children on BMX Bikes Line Up on a Dirt Track Built by Bobcat and RADshare

Bobcat and RADshare Partner for Youth BMX Opportunities

Bobcat Company is supporting co-founders Steve Crandall and Nate Hanger of RADshare with Bobcat Equipment to provide opportunities for the youth to dive into the world of BMX.
Julie Rummer – Bobcat $25k Backyard Makeover Winner Julie and Rich Rummer in Their Newly Renovated Backyard

Julie Rummer – Bobcat $25k Backyard Makeover Winner

After a tragic accident Julie Rummer's backyard was inaccessible and now thanks to Bobcat’s backyard makeover contest, it is an oasis, reigniting her outdoor passion.
Bobcat Leasing Program Provides Reliability for GBH Enterprises Brad and Giovanna Hull Pose for Selfie at Sunset

Bobcat Leasing Program Provides Reliability for GBH Enterprises

Reliability and appearances are important on high-profile jobs. That’s why GBH Enterprises chooses two-year leases to ensure a modern fleet for every project.
A Favor with Bobcat Loader Launches Family Business Bobcat S510 Skid-Steer Loader Being Delivered to Jobsite

A Favor with Bobcat Loader Launches Family Business

Discover how a favor for a friend, hooked Ken Cavendish on Bobcat machines and he turned that passion into a booming business in New York City.
Bobcat Joystick Controls Enable Mario Coss’ Dream Mario Coss Operates a Bobcat E42 Compact Excavator on a Jobsite

Bobcat Joystick Controls Enable Mario Coss’ Dream

Bobcat machines with joystick controls enabled Mario Coss to fulfill his dream to be a business owner, even after a crash that changed his life in an instant.
Bobcat Equipment Powers Regenerative Farming at Blufftop Farm Check Family Standing in Front of Cattle on Blufftop Farm

Bobcat Equipment Powers Regenerative Farming at Blufftop Farm

Discover how a single Bobcat skid-steer loader provides all the power needed for regenerative farming practices by the Check Family at Blufftop Farm in Wisconsin.
Bobcat Toolcat Purchase Inspires Bobcat-Style Bed Dash on His Bobcat Skid-Steer Inspired Bed

Bobcat Toolcat Purchase Inspires Bobcat-Style Bed

When the Kowalonek family purchased their Bobcat Toolcat utility work machine, it created inspiration for a Bobcat-style bed to overcome a bedtime challenge.
Bobcat Equipment Grows Indiana Couple’s Outdoor Business Andrea & Ben Mohr with Bobcat T595 Compact Track Loader at Jobsite

Bobcat Equipment Grows Indiana Couple’s Outdoor Business

Discover how a Bobcat compact track loader helped Andrea and Benjamin Mohr grow their business from small landscaping projects to a full-service outdoor business.

What’s Your Bobcat Story?

Taking on big, ambitious challenges is what being One Tough Animal® is all about. Tell us how Bobcat empowers or inspires you to accomplish more. Whether it’s at work, at play or in life, share your story with us.

Share Your Story