A cool mist hangs in the air as Anthony Guadagno lifts rock after rock with his mini track loader bucket. Gripping the wet, sandy earth, the mini loader tracks navigate up the lakeshore slope to deposit the boulders into a truck before returning down the incline for more.
Adjacent to the jobsite, a lake rests silently, reflecting New England’s signature fall foliage in its glass-like water. It’s a familiar scene for Anthony and the rest of the Our Town Landscaping crew; about 25% of the Hancock, New Hampshire-based company’s work takes place on lakefront properties.
“The most exciting projects are the waterfront shoreline projects because they have to be approved by the state,” says Anthony, general manager at Our Town Landscaping. “Then, when we do the job, we have to follow some pretty strict guidelines. You have to get creative in what you want to accomplish for the customer within the guidelines of the state.”
When it comes to waterfront work, Anthony says Our Town Landscaping has a leg up on its competition because of its state certification and dedication to staying on top of the latest erosion and water protection regulations. The company’s current project – creating a shoreside patio and retaining walls for a lake cabin property – will not only beautify the lakeside home’s outdoor space, but also halt any erosion issues.
“We don’t want erosion going into our waters, and we want to preserve them,” Anthony says. “A lot of people are concerned with that, so we’ve been getting a lot of jobs.”
Filling labor gaps with the MT85 mini track loader
Launched in 1969, Our Town Landscaping focused on landscaping installations, maintenance and lawn care during its infancy. Eventually, owner and founder George Lohmiller added sitework and stonework to the company’s repertoire, and today the business serves a variety of commercial, industrial and residential clients.
In need of extra hands, Our Town Landscaping was finding it difficult to hire reliable help due to a labor shortage, so they began researching landscaping equipment, specifically Bobcat mini track loaders, to fill in the gap. Their local Bobcat dealer, Bobcat of New Hampshire, dropped off an MT85 for the crew to test, and they decided to purchase the machine.
“It’s hard to find help around our area,” Anthony says. “So we got a machine that would help with labor, could fit in tight places and could pick up heavy things that would take a few people to move. Its usefulness has vastly exceeded our expectations. Frankly, we’ve never had so much fun with a machine, and in a year, it has proven to be the best equipment investment we have ever made.”
Anthony points to the machine’s compact size and ability to work in small spaces with minimal ground disturbance as key features in their line of work.
“What is impressive is how much muscle the machine has despite its size,” Anthony says. “Last summer, we had several pallets of blueberry sod which needed to be planted in a location where the access was too small for a truck or a conventional tractor. Using the MT85, we were able to transport in less than a day what would otherwise have been a three- or four-day wheelbarrow job.”
Our Town Landscaping often brings a trailer filled with Bobcat attachments to each jobsite to make switching tasks simple throughout the day. The company pairs their mini track loader with a digger to remove shrubs and small trees when updating a customer’s existing landscaping. Pallet forks make easy work of transporting plants from the truck or staging area to the planting location – especially in tight backyards. Swapping in a bucket lets the crew move soil and mulch or haul away debris.
“Reminiscent of Volkswagen Bugs, the MT85 has a personality – something our customers notice and comment on,” Anthony says. “One of our customers snapped a photo [of the machine] and mailed it to us along with a nice note about our work and how impressive the machine was.”
Anthony says the mini track loader allows the company to complete clean, professional work.
“They’re just a lot more gentle on the ground, and they enable us to work in sensitive areas,” Anthony says. “If we’re moving heavy stuff back and forth all day with a machine that doesn’t cause damage, at the end it helps us clean up, get out and make it look like we were never there. We can install a whole landscape within a couple of days, and it helps our backs big time.”
Old and new compact equipment
When the MT85 arrived at Our Town Landscaping, it joined a trusty 751 skid-steer loader – the company’s first Bobcat machine purchase back in 1998.
“Except for routine maintenance and worn parts replacements, we have never had to have a major repair done on this machine,” Anthony says. “We use it just about daily. I think the reason why George chose it was its reputation of being rugged, and they have dealerships locally so we can get parts and service. That first skid-steer set the trend for us to buy more Bobcat equipment.”
Working alongside the mini track loader, the crew uses the skid-steer loader to dig holes and trenches, grade walkways and patios, and help with wall construction.
“Good-running equipment is really important because you depend on it every day to be able to go and do what you need,” Anthony says. “If you don’t have the right pieces of equipment, you may cost more than your competitors. The machine has become an indispensable part of our crew.”
Anthony says many new customers will hire Our Town Landscaping for a small project but will expand the scope of the work once they see the company’s capabilities and equipment.
“They might start off with something small, and then we come in with our equipment and they say, ‘Oh, boy you could do this, you could do that, and you could work on this,’” Anthony says. “So we’ll get repeat customers a lot of times, and the relationship grows over time.”
Our Town Landscaping keeps a mechanical supervisor on staff to take care of basic machine maintenance and repairs, but they rely on Bobcat of New Hampshire for more complex needs.
“When we needed service, they came and picked up the machine, serviced it, and brought it back for us, so downtime was very minimal,” Anthony says. “They’ve helped us get right back to work. The service departments have been really helpful. Same with the sales. Our sales specialist has called a few times now to make sure that we’re happy with the MT85 and to see if there’s anything he can help us with.”
Reliable service and reliable equipment let Our Town Landscaping focus on what really matters: the work.
“When you’re working in someone’s yard, you’re planting trees and shrubs that will be there, hopefully, past your own lifetime,” Anthony says. “It’s a pretty rewarding thing to look back at something that went from an idea to a design to an estimate and then to making it happen. It’s very rewarding.”
Thinking of adding a mini track loader to your fleet? Learn the benefits of this nimble machine.