Mini-Excavators Have Big Impact On Septic Business

Fayette Drain & Sewer replaced a small backhoe with mini-excavators and the benefits have been huge.
Mini-Excavators Have Big Impact On Septic Business
Josh Jackson of Fayette Drain & Sewer uses a Kubota mini-excavator to replace a waterline at a home in Fayette, Alabama.

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Mark Vice can cite three good reasons why he invested in two Kubota Tractor Corp. mini-excavators: reliability, ease of maintenance and productivity.

“We have very few breakdowns and they’re very low-maintenance machines,” says Vice, owner of Fayette Drain & Sewer Inc. in Fayette, Alabama. “We’re constantly digging in our area, so they’re crucial pieces of equipment. At least 50 percent of what we do is digging to repair or install plumbing and septic systems … and these two machines are the most efficient moneymakers we own.”

Vice says he started out with a small backhoe that was inexpensive – and very slow. In 2006, he bought his first Kubota mini-excavator. Among its advantages are efficient hydraulics and a 360-degree swing radius.

“They can move dirt around so much more efficiently than a backhoe, which can only push dirt to the sides,” he says. “These excavators can get right next to, say, a house very efficiently and do what needs to be done with much less shovel work. And more speed translates into better profitability.”

Another operational advantage: The units can be equipped with a dozer blade that, combined with its small footprint and weight-distributing rubber tracks, enables crews to quickly “dress up” yards after a job with minimal damage to lawns and sidewalks, he says.

“We can have a yard looking nice and neat in half the time it used to take guys with shovels and rakes,” Vice points out. “The rubber tracks don’t leave imprint on grass. Lots of people judge the quality of their plumbing work by how neat the yard looks when we’re through … and people are very happy when we’re finished.”

Maintenance is easy, Vice says. He keeps the machines properly greased and changes the oil regularly. And aside from normal wear and tear on the tracks, the units just keep on running – no engine trouble at all. “They’re very well engineered machines,” he notes. “If the tracks lose tension, for instance, we can adjust it in five minutes. And all the grease fittings are easy to access.”

Vice emphasizes that in his business, profitability stems directly from doing quality work as quickly as possible. “With these units, we do things in one day that used to take 1 1/2 to two days. And we need fewer employees on job sites, too. I’d say that about 75 percent of our jobs now require only two people, where before we required three.”

Read more about Fayette Drain & Sewer in the December issue of Pumper magazine. 



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