Zeigler Tree and Timber Company in Louisiana recently faced a business-defining dilemma. The surgical tree removal company needed a more efficient way to meet its residential customers’ rapidly growing demand of their arborist and disposal services, while continuing to ensure the well-being of employees faced with one of America’s most challenging jobs.
“Back in the day, it was a climber-based industry,” says Korey Zeigler, vice president of Zeigler Tree. “It was hard to continually grow when freelance climbers really determined what they were going to charge you and when they would show up.”
With independent climber unavailability causing scheduling delays and ultimately lost revenue, Zeigler Tree introduced an innovative approach. One that would ultimately help them triple their production while protecting their ascending staff.
“We were probably one of the first companies in our area that had both climbers and cranes,” says Korey, who became a licensed arborist when he was 19 years old. “The crane really played a big role in us advancing the industry and just being able to move forward in general.”
While Zeigler Tree’s cranes facilitated the cutting of more trees in a more efficient manner, the company needed to find a suitable debris removal solution that kept pace with its rapid cutting and pruning service.
Ditching towable chippers for workhorse loaders
Instead of traditional large-scale tree removal that may use dedicated, towable brush chippers onsite at customers’ homes and businesses, Zeigler Tree required a more intentional way to load and transport debris from a customer’s yard – especially when trucks cannot access confined work areas.
Enter the Bobcat® T740 compact track loader.
“Our whole fleet is nothing but Bobcat loaders. They do all of our loading and cleanup of debris,” says Korey. “If we have to do any kind of push cutting or pull cutting, they’re the anchor for what we need to get done.” The company’s seven Bobcat T740s make quick, easy work of debris, which the compact track loaders move and dump into trucks for hauling away to an offsite location for chipping. “We had one dedicated brush chipper on-site last year, and it’s so much slower compared to the production the Bobcat loaders can provide,” states Korey. “We have so many debris trucks, we can afford to float another truck to a job site to keep loading and going.
“And, we can do triple the production because the T740s are the most efficient machine you can put your hands on. I watch other loaders on jobs for other companies and they can’t match the weight these Bobcat machines are picking up.”
The removal of large, dedicated brush chippers from customer sites brought an even more important benefit: elevated safety. The change removed a potential hazard for both staff and customers alike, because there is no risk of thrown debris, and crew members remain in the Bobcat machines. Combined with the switch to cranes, Zeigler Tree’s innovative new approach to surgical tree pruning and removal set new standards in employee well-being. “Safety is the number-one thing we’re concerned about in general,” states Korey.
Korey purchased Bobcat grapples in 2013 and hasn’t looked back since. “You get a 3,000-pound log and other companies are cutting it into two and three sections,” says Korey. “As we’re taking down these trees, they’re right there, johnny-on-the-spot, to pick that debris up to load our trucks.”
Unlike other equipment and his old towable brush chippers that required ongoing maintenance and repair, Zeigler Tree’s Bobcat T740s perform beautifully over the long haul. “A brand-new Bobcat loader will have close to 1,000 hours operating non-stop within the first three, four months. They run six days a week … non-stop. Even the attachments,” proclaims Korey. “They’re the toughest of the tough.”
The long hours are vital to his business, which Korey reports is incredible. “Our area is growing insanely right now. We’re definitely not a seasonal company anymore. We’re rocking and rolling year-round.”
People power fuels productivity
While this innovative surgical tree removal was new for the industry, Zeigler Tree’s success ultimately depends on its most valuable asset – dedicated, experienced staff. But that’s what you’d expect from a family-owned and operated company whose father is the founder, a mother who manages payroll, a daughter who serves as CFO and son who works as vice president.
With several employees bringing 25 years’ experience to their jobsites, Zeigler Tree’s combination of human talent and Bobcat machinery provides the necessary tools to effectively meet the demands of almost any job.“These guys who hop in for us, they’ve been doing this stuff for a long time, and they make it look like a robot,” says Korey. “They don’t just run a Bobcat machine. They operate it.”
Another example of people power supporting Zeigler Tree’s success is their local Louisiana Bobcat dealer, Duhon Machinery. Sales representative Eric Mitternight and his team are “fantastic,” according to Korey. “They are johnny-on-the-spot with whatever we need – parts, maintenance. Duhon has been pivotal in our success.”
Korey and his crew depend on Bobcat loaders so much that they keep a backup machine on the ready for those just-in-case moments. “We’ll have a brand-new Bobcat T740 sitting there in the shade with zero hours on it for the day where we have to get maintenance done or if there is any kind of warranty work.” Korey believes the cost of operating without even just one Bobcat loader would be too much for his company to bear.
“Without that, you’re out of business. That’s how important they are to us.”
Contact the Dealer:
Bobcat® Duhon Machinery Louisiana
Sales Contact: Eric Mitternight
1 (888) 427-6408