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Contractor Finds the 'Precise' Machine Needed for the Job

A family comes together to keep their business going during the housing crisis.

Wed January 18, 2017 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Kody Duke, owner/partner of Precision Landscaping, stands in front of the company’s Case TR310 compact track loader.
Kody Duke, owner/partner of Precision Landscaping, stands in front of the company’s Case TR310 compact track loader.
Kody Duke, owner/partner of Precision Landscaping, stands in front of the company’s Case TR310 compact track loader. The company sells a variety of stone products and other material at its retail operation in Lexington, S.C. The operator of a Case TR320 compact track loader equipped with a Bradco trencher is digging the irrigation lines for a newly built home.

Surviving the housing crisis of 2008 was no small feat for many contractors — especially those involved in the residential and commercial development fields. Precision Landscaping of Lexington, S.C., managed to stay afloat through the crisis, and has continued to find success today.

“As a family we stuck together and got through it, said Kody Duke, owner/partner of Precision Landscaping. “Luckily we had our parents to help us through it because they are retired and are well established financially. We also had a good local builder, Great Southern Homes, who stuck with us and still tried to give us business. This builder really kept us going. Everyone had tough times, but Great Southern Homes is probably one of the biggest reasons we are still here. They knew that everyone was struggling while they were struggling but they still wanted to build and still wanted to keep people going.”

Family has always been the driving force behind Precision Landscaping since it was founded in 2000 by his uncle, Michael Duke. Kody said they started small, doing maintenance and cutting grass.

“Later we got into doing big apartments and then we started doing landscaping, installs with trucks and got in touch with builders. It just went from there and that's how we got started — just cutting grass,” said Duke.

Today, the company performs landscaping projects, land development and residential development for all of its builders in the state of South Carolina, usually within a 50 mi. radius of Lexington; from Blythewood to Aiken. A typical project for the company entails new landscaping installs for entrances into neighborhoods and residential houses.

“We go in there, grade it, irrigate it, put the sod, plants in and complete a full install for a new house. We also do pavers, patios, paver driveways and a lot of big retainer walls,” said Duke.

The company recently completed a modern-style condominium development. The four-acre, 20-condo project involved grading, installing retainer walls, irrigating the entire property, putting in privacy trees, building a sizable deck and wooden walkway down to the river walk. The company also fully landscaped the property with plants, mulch and sod.

In addition, Precision Landscaping has maintained its working relationship with many of the local Columbia area homebuilders.

All together we probably have 60 neighborhoods and developments at this time,” said Duke.

The work keeps Precision Landscaping busy, and Duke said that having the right equipment for his numerous projects is essential. The company uses four Case TR310 compact track loaders, two Case TR320 compact track loaders, one Case TR270 compact track loader and recently took delivery on an enclosed cab Case TR340 compact track loader. He said that the company spends about 90 percent of the time in the dirt and the track loaders don't get bogged down.

“For our applications tracks are just what we needed,” said Duke. He also said the support he receives from his dealer, Hills Machinery, works for him as well.

“Hills Machinery and Charlie Mengedoht specifically, stick by us and always check on us, which was one of the main selling points. The Case track loaders are powerful little machines and are holding up well. They lift sod and stone pallets and perform well pushing dirt. Hills Machinery has a great lease program that works for us. We run the machines pretty hard, and after three years, we can turn them in and get another one.

“If there is an issue, Hills Machinery

will send someone right out to fix the issue or pick up the machine and fix it,” said Duke. “They will bring us another machine if necessary when one breaks down. Their response is quick when we need parts, also. Charlie will even bring it to me if I need it. If we buy or rent another machine, they deliver it straight to us.”

Going forward, Duke said that he wants the company to continue to grow, specifically toward the upstate and coastal area. He also said that he is thankful for the opportunities that have allowed him to get this far.

“I would like to thank all of our builders and homeowners who we work for. I always like to keep people happy.” -CEG

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