Kevin and Christine Hausrath thought starting a business was out of reach; the two had never finished high school. Kevin worked at a tool manufacturing plant, and Christine had been laid off from the local Chevrolet factory. With an infant son and growing debt, the couple felt unprepared to chase what appeared to be an impossible dream. A $1,500 loan from Christine’s mother, however, helped the pair purchase a pickup truck with the hope of making some extra cash to pay the bills.
“We started out just plowing snow with our old truck,” Christine remembers. “We only had one or two commercial sites.”
When spring arrived, a snow client desperate for lawn maintenance services approached Kevin. She offered him a deal: If he invested in the necessary equipment, she’d bring in 25 customers to make the expense worthwhile.
One lawnmower and 90 clients later, the Hausraths began to see a future for their business.
As rumors of layoffs began to spread through the manufacturing plant where Kevin worked, he and Christine knew it was time to make a change. The choice seemed clear. With a leap of faith, Kevin left his job and dove headfirst into small business ownership.
Hausrath Landscape Maintenance’s beginning, although humble, focused on delivering high-quality services and creating positive client relationships. As word-of-mouth grew, job requests flooded in and the couple’s workload increased dramatically.
A landscaping business built on Bobcat equipment
With growth top of mind, Kevin and Christine searched for ways to expand their services and outperform the competition. Acquiring Bobcat compact equipment, starting with a 310 skid-steer loader, seemed like the clear next step.
“The right equipment is what makes the job easier,” Christine explains. “Our Bobcat machines make the work go faster and put money back into our pockets.”
Nearly 50 years and approximately 20 Bobcat machines and 30 Bobcat attachments later, the company relies heavily on their Bobcat fleet for landscaping, lawncare and sidewalk snow removal. Kevin and Christine’s sons, Rob and Steve Hausrath, share the majority of the work, managing thousands of clients and a large crew. After growing up with the Bobcat brand, the brothers value the machines’ longevity, versatility and uptime and have no intention of looking elsewhere.
“Bobcat equipment has been so good to me and my family,” Steve says. “I know with my Bobcat machines I’m going to be working, and we’ll meet our clients’ expectations.”
Christine agrees. “Bobcat equipment has helped our company grow by giving us the opportunity to do many different kinds of projects that our clients requested,” she says.
Filling the gaps with their Bobcat fleet
An early spring project requiring a late fall finish enlisted multiple machines from the Hausrath Bobcat fleet to efficiently bridge two of the company’s primary services – landscaping and hydroseeding. Crews worked against the arrival of an early winter to complete the final stages of a large grading job for improving drainage around the perimeter of a shopping center parking lot and to finalize the landscape installation.
After a blacktop overlay project, the bordering lawn lacked proper fill and slope on the edge of a strip measuring 100 feet long by 8 feet wide. In assembly-line fashion, Hausrath crews used an E35 excavator to unload 30 yards of topsoil so a T595 compact track loader with a bucket could then distribute the fill to the unfinished edges.
The next phase of the project called for an MT85 mini track loader, equipped with a soil conditioner, to level the ground, break up the topsoil and prep it for another MT85 to come back in and perform the finish grade.
“The productivity of the Bobcat MT85s is just incredible,” Steve says. “They allow us to work with a machine in areas we would normally have to do by hand.”
With their Bobcat fleet, Steve says they were able to complete the project by using the right tools to prep and condition the soil and rebuild the edges with a better grade for runoff.
“This was a very wet area that hasn’t drained very well in the past,” Steve says. “Now it’s set up for winter, and we’ll come back in the spring to hydroseed.”
Tackling a new business landscape
After the successful growth of their first business, the Hausraths decided to branch out and take on yet another professional challenge.
“Our parents sat Steve and me down to talk about diversifying and trying something different,” Rob says. “Through that, Bison Turf Equipment, our retail and rental outlet, was born.”
Separate from Hausrath Landscape Maintenance, Bison Turf Equipment began as an outdoor equipment company in 1988. Since then, the business has evolved into one of the largest grounds care equipment companies in western New York, focusing mainly on selling and renting lawn maintenance and snow removal equipment.
“We rely on the Bobcat brand to supply our customers with rentals because the equipment is great quality, it’s reliable and it’s very durable,” Rob says. “We have confidence that we can put any piece of Bobcat equipment out there and not expect any problems with performance.”
Since 1973, the Hausrath family has counted on Bobcat equipment and attachments to help them grow their businesses. Almost 50 years later, that partnership remains strong and is essential to their daily operations.
“We rely on Bobcat equipment for both of our companies because we trust the brand,” Rob says. “We always feel like we’re a priority.”
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