For Rick Ridenhour, Bobcat compact track loaders have improved the family’s concrete business, replacing hand labor and shortening the time to complete routine excavating and grading tasks.
Ridenhour founded Ridenhour Concrete and Supply in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1983. Shortly thereafter, he recognized a niche in the concrete construction industry and began specializing in multi-family residential complexes in the Southeast. Ridenhour said it’s there that his business “exploded.”
The combination of a booming economy in the 1990s and population surges in Florida and Georgia boosted Ridenhour’s site preparation and concrete pouring business.
For site preparation, Ridenhour’s crews previously drove compact tractors with rear-mounted box blades to complete the final grade before pouring the concrete slabs. The tractor’s size prohibited him from working in some areas, which meant more hand grading.
Hands Off Grading
Ridenhour consulted with some of his colleagues about switching from tractors to compact loaders, specifically Bobcat skid steer loaders, to improve his productivity and accessibility.
“I spoke to several close friends who owned and operated Bobcat loaders,” Ridenhour said. “They told me Bobcat loaders were very reliable machines.”
That was all Ridenhour needed to hear before he bought four 773 skid steer loaders with bucket and pallet fork attachments. Ridenhour’s crews operated skid steer loaders for years until the introduction of compact track loaders.
Compact With Tracks
As compact track loaders emerged in the late 1990s, Ridenhour immediately noticed their advantages, especially in the sandy soil conditions in Florida as well as Tennessee and Georgia.
“We really like the versatility of the Bobcat compact track loaders and their ability to get the grade near perfect,” he said. “We’re probably 30 or 40 percent more productive with our compact track loaders than skid steer loaders because the rubber tracks work better in our job site soil conditions.
“The Bobcat compact track loaders enable us to get into tighter areas,” Ridenhour said. “We’re constantly grading around bathroom and kitchen pipes on our multi-family building projects and the Bobcat loaders are more productive because of their compact size and attachment-carrying abilities.”
As Ridenhour’s business has grown, so has his fleet of Bobcat compact track loaders and attachments. He currently owns 19 Bobcat T180 and T190 compact track loaders and he still owns three of the original four skid steer loaders he purchased from Bobcat of Jacksonville.
“We’ve remained loyal to Bobcat because the loaders are reliable,” he said. “The single biggest reason we’ve stuck with Bobcat loaders is because of their dependability. They allow us to be more competitive, more productive, and most importantly — more profitable.”
This story was reprinted from BobCatalog WorkSaver’s 2009 Buyer’s Guide.
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