Sixty homes in 30 days. That’s the challenge for Kling Construction, Inc., each spring. The residential excavation company based in Littleton, Colorado, contracts with national homebuilders in large subdivisions. When spring rolls around, the company shifts into high gear to accommodate fourth-quarter home closings.
“Construction has to begin on new homes by the end of June in order to close sales before the end of the year,” says Dave Kling, owner of Kling Construction. “April, May and June are the busiest months for sure, but we’re always busy.”
Once fourth-quarter-closing jobs are complete, the company continues to average 30 to 40 lots a month. In the winter months, work shifts from moving dirt to pushing snow. It’s year-round work for the 22-person crew and the 20 Bobcat machines in their construction equipment fleet.
All Bobcat Equipment, All the Time
Kling Construction has been a Bobcat equipment customer for more than 25 years. Dave Kling started renting Bobcat equipment for his landscaping business right out of high school. As the business grew into excavating and grading work, so too did the need for more compact equipment. Finding an equipment dealer willing to take the young business owner seriously proved to be difficult.
“A lot of dealers just kind of laughed me off like ‘there’s no way he’s going to actually want to buy a machine,’” Dave says. “Bobcat of the Rockies brought machines and attachments to one of my jobs so I could try them out.”
After that, it was Bobcat equipment or bust – so to speak.
“We bought our first machine from Bobcat of the Rockies in 1995, and we’ve been buying from them ever since,” he continues. “If Bobcat makes a machine, we buy it from Bobcat.”
Machine by Design
The newest addition to the company’s fleet is an R-Series E85 mini excavator. Not only is the excavator one of the latest models on the market, but it’s also a model that Dave had a hand in designing.
Dave was part of a customer group invited to provide feedback on the new R-Series E85 prototype to improve the design from the owner-operator perspective. After nearly 25 years of working with Bobcat equipment, Dave was well-suited for the job.
“We had one of the original E80s, and it just wasn’t ideal for the higher altitudes,” he says. “We got to run the [E85 prototype] and give feedback of what we liked and didn’t like, so now the machine is designed to work up to altitude. It’s exactly what it needs to be.”
“All the controls are in the same spot, and everything is common knowledge,” Dave says. “Part of operating is muscle memory, so that’s a big part of having the machines the same.”
Kling Construction added the E85 as soon as it was available. They use the excavator specifically for digging sewer and water lines from the street to the foundation – where dig depth is critical.
“Most of the sewer stubs are 12 to 14 feet deep, so we needed something bigger than our E55s to reach that depth,” Dave says. “The E85 gives us more reach and weight capabilities. We’re able to do larger lifts with the E85, which means getting the job done faster.”
The E85 doesn’t just outwork smaller machines. Dave says it does more work in less time than machines twice its size. Time is something Kling Construction can’t afford to lose when faced with completing 60 lots in 30 days.
“With the capability of spinning with the excavator, you don’t have to maneuver, and you just line up and you’re ready to work,” Dave says. “We can get a lot more done in a day with the E85 than we can with a backhoe loader.”
The compact frame, minimal tail swing and backfill blade also make it possible to cut down setup time and complete work faster by accessing spaces where comparable machines would require frequent repositioning – or simply can’t fit.
“We have a lot of infill lots, so there’s a finished house on either side. We have five- to eight-foot side property lines we’ve got to work in. That’s where the Bobcat excavators come in handy.”
Dave’s crew also operates a variety of Bobcat loaders to move dirt and load piles into dump trucks to haul away while the Bobcat excavators continue to dig sewer lines and foundations.
Performance and Support
Now that Kling Construction has been in business for more than two decades, other construction equipment dealers have tried to woo the business that they shooed away years ago. But Dave and his crew agree that nothing compares to the performance of Bobcat equipment.
“We’ve had machines brought out that were brand new, and our guys will run them for 10 minutes, stop and just hop back in their Bobcat [machine],” he says.
The other mainstay in the 25-year relationship with Bobcat equipment is the support received from Bobcat of the Rockies.
“Dealer support is huge to keep our jobs going,” Dave says. “There’s always a service truck available to come out and help us keep running. If we need an additional machine or parts, they seem to always have it in inventory. Dealer support is everything.”
With the ideal E85 machine in its fleet and a year-round busy season, Kling Construction is set for another 25 years of business success.
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