Pride in its SANY excavator recently led Brisco Construction to add an eye-catching machine wrap.
Heath Seelbinder has spent his whole life in and around the construction business, and he knows a good deal when he sees one.
Seelbinder struck out on his own nine years ago when he founded Brisco Construction in Riverside, Ala. Since then, then he has devoted a great deal of his valuable time to tracking down the right machines for his small-scale operation and a distributor he can truly call a partner.
That long search bore fruit in February 2018, when he rented a SANY SY215LC excavator from Southland Machinery.
"This is my first machine from Southland Machinery," Seelbinder said. "I have never rented a machine from them except for this SANY, a machine which was eventually converted to a purchase."
Seelbinder had never rented or even demoed the SANY excavator, but he had heard some good buzz from other contractors around the area, who said the machine was comparable to others they were running.
"They said the SANY was really strong, really quick, really fast, very productive, not as hard on fuel. That led me to say OK, we're going to give this machine a try," Seelbinder said. "We tried it. We rented it. We went back and forth on deciding if we are going to buy it or just stay with what we know. We decided to just go for it, and I'm really glad we did because both myself and my operator love that tractor."
Indeed, Brisco's operator, Chris Roll, loves his SANY so much that he goes out of his way to keep it clean, greased and serviced.
"He's been on a lot of excavators and this one is his favorite," Seelbinder said. "It is his baby."
A major selling point, he added, was the five-year, 5,000-hour unlimited warranty, which covers everything, including all the main components, making this machine perfect for today's market, in which every dollar counts. Ultimately, however, what led Brisco Construction to buy the SANY excavator was its speed.
"That machine is one of the fastest I've ever sat on, as far as cycle time," Seelbinder said. "That tractor, I've not found one to rival it. It seems to have a better cycle time than other comparable machines. We ran the SANY side by side with another machine. The first day we ran the competitor's tractor. The second day we ran the SANY. We doubled production the second day. We were moving 22 to 23 loads at the site we were at on day one, and we went to 45 day two with the SANY machine with a 42-inch bucket. The other machine had a 48-inch bucket."
Seelbinder's salesman, Brian Phillips of Southland Machinery's Leeds, Ala., location, also made a big impact on the sale.
"When Heath and I first got together and demoed the machine and he showed some interest in it, we knew that we had to be appealing on the deal so we were very creative to come up with a plan for him," Philips said. "Southland Machinery offered for them to rent it up to three months, with everything getting paid in towards rental, and 80 percent to the purchase price after three months.
"Brisco rented for three months and decided that they did want to go ahead and go with the purchase. With such a tight-knit contractor base in our area, one wrong move by the dealer could influence our entire business. We need to be sure our customers are happy and completely satisfied. I feel like we've done a pretty good job of that."
During the rental process, Seelbinder got to know Phillips well, and the two built a warm professional relationship.
"He helped me get to know the service department guys at his dealership, and that makes a big difference when you go to buy a machine," Seelbinder said. "My overall questions about this machine were completely answered. Questions like, will they support it? Will they back it? Will they come to the table if you need them? All these things factor into your cost-per-hour over the life of that tractor. And so far, I have absolutely no complaints."
As for dealer support, Seelbinder said Southland Machinery "bent over backwards" to resolve the few minor issues he experienced with the tractor.
Fuel economy has been consistent, and Seelbinder said the machine probably consumes 10 percent less than others in his fleet.
"It depends on the material, the job," he said. "Chris found the other day he could back the throttle down two clicks and he was saving almost 20 gallons a day, and the tractor didn't lose any production."
Another strong selling point was that no upgrades to the hydraulic system or anything else were required to meet Brisco Construction's needs. Factory hydraulics were well-suited to the company's jobs, and the machine came preplumbed and ready for any attachments the company plans to use, including hammermill forestry mulchers.
Machine uptime is of utmost importance to Brisco Construction, which operates all over the Southeast, as far west as Texas and as far north as Virginia. The company now has seven pieces of heavy equipment, as well as some trucks. All have to be in top running condition, and daily maintenance of the SANY is a breeze, Seelbinder said.
"Everything is easy to find and easy to get to, there's so much room. A lot of these tractors nowadays you can't squeeze another thing in there," he said. SANY has done a great job of their layout of the components so that it's easy to service. Everything is placed where it needs to be."
To increase productivity further, Seelbinder had a 48-in. ESCO bucket with manual thumb installed on the machine. The thumb is well-designed, he said, and easily folds up inside itself and pins off. One crew member can easily put the thumb up or down.
"So, this area of Alabama is very tight-knit, with contractors that watch what each other does, and we all work together," he added. "We have jobs sometimes where we have six of us contractors come in together to do one job. None of us want to really want to own 50 to 60 pieces of iron. Instead, we all just work together and go tackle the job. All of us watch each other and what we're running, and this SANY is turning some heads right now.
"It's stout enough to pull some pretty heavy stone. We've moved some 1,000-, 1,200-pound shot rock that was blasted on an interstate job. We picked them up, carried them around the job, placed them where they needed to be. It didn't blink."
In a brief time, Brisco's first SANY purchase has led Seelbinder to plan another.
"Oh yeah," he said. "We've got another excavator, a smaller one, a 120 class size, we are going to replace with another SANY. That's going to happen, probably within the year. And going forward, if we need a mini-ex, I know where we're going. I have nothing bad to say about this dealership or their products. They've been great.
"They've done their part as a dealer. We've done our part as the owner and I hope that the relationship continues. There's some very large growth opportunities for us right now, and we plan to jump on with both feet.
"We've had this machine in some pretty bad spots already. We got it swamped in a creek next to another machine that was just like it. We ended up digging the other machine out with the SANY while pulling itself out. All in all, this machine is very efficient. The cycle times are real fast. You can load faster but it's smooth and very efficient. Saves a lot of time. Oh, and the cab is very friendly. It's great for the operator. You can see everything you need to see. Spacious too. Visibility is great. Very comfortable."