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Guettler Brothers Purchases 10 Cat Trucks From Ring Power

One company finds that while buying 10 trucks is not an easy thing to do, where to get them is an easy choice.

Mon January 19, 2015 - Southeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

Guettler Brothers Construction of Fort Pierce, Fla., recently purchased 10 Caterpillar trucks from Ring Power Corporation of St. Augustine, Fla.

In the past, the company utilized broker trucks for most of its jobs like many other construction businesses. But as work picked up, Guettler Brothers Construction started investing in creating its own fleet.

"We were awarded the SR70 project back in 2010," Matthew Guettler said. "It was a nice size job for us; a four-lane, six mile roadway stretching from west St. Lucie County to the Okeechobee County line. We initially bought five trucks to supply the material for the project from a nearby pit, and then we bought one more truck a year later. We started to realize the benefit of self-performing trucking on our own jobs. It wasn't long before six trucks became eight trucks and they were working amongst all of our jobs. The decision to buy 10 more trucks was made after we were awarded a beach renourishment project in Indian River County. Just with that job alone, we are able to keep our trucks busy for the next six months."

Guettler said that he was first led to Caterpillar trucks by their good reviews.

"Traditionally, my father and the company a generation before us primarily other brands," Guettler said. "As our current fleet has started to age, and the new DEF regulations were leading to some problems with the trucks that no one had encountered before. So we started shopping around and saw that Caterpillar had rolled out a new truck a few years ago, and we went through and got some feedback from some people who were running it. Then we contacted Ring Power and had them come in and show us what the trucks are and how they're different. That's where we made the decision, especially since their financing allowed us to purchase the trucks with minimal risk. It was a good opportunity for us to take advantage of that. Obviously, Ring Power's reputation speaks for itself, but my father's dealt with them throughout the years, and we have a good working relationship with them and are familiar with their staff up there. They did really well, and just made it very easy. Buying 10 trucks is not an easy thing to do."

According to Guettler, he didn't trade in the old trucks because he wanted to run them side-by-side in the same conditions so the drivers cold test how the Caterpillars held up against them.

"All the drivers have said that they can pull just as much coming in and out of job sites and going through the soft stuff," Guettler said. "Their first impression was that they're not as powerful, but it's because they run a lot quieter with the automatic transmissions."

Leonard Taylor serves as the company's truck foreman, and he is pleased that the trucks are designed around the operator.

"We had to hire 10 new drivers all at one time, and with these trucks they make a low or below average driver into an experienced driver," Taylor said. "They have three speed jake brakes, six speed automatic transmissions and plenty of power so they are very easy to drive. They also have built in Bluetooth so our drivers and the company aren't getting fined for the drivers using their cell phones. The Vision Link is a good system. We are getting location information, and I have each site set up with an entrance and exit so we can tell when they are in and out. The system also provides me with maintenance schedules and fuel burns."

Guettler agreed that one of the selling points was the Vision Link system that is available as part of owning the trucks.

"It helps us for job costing and being able to know when trucks are entering a job site or leaving the pit," Guettler said. "Being able to see idle time vs. working time has helped us a lot because it's helped us make adjustments. Our truck foreman can make adjustments daily based on codes that come up, and he can see how long they're taking from to run from the pit to the job site. It's a lot of information that we get to take back in to the job site. It used to take days to gather hauling information from tickets and timesheets, now we get to see that information in real-time."

The company chose to purchase the total maintenance and repair package.

"We're contractors… we're not mechanics," Guettler said. "We have mechanics to service our heavy equipment — but we are not fit to service an additional 10 trucks. So to be able to hand that off to Ring Power has been a tremendous saving to us, especially at the price they were able to offer it. They're very quick about getting it in there and getting it out. We haven't had any issues where they don't know what's going on."

At this time, Guettler has 18 trucks running at one time, rotating based on the needs of the job and the location.

Guettler Brothers Construction is currently in its third generation of ownership. The company primarily does dirt work, but has expanded over the past 10 years to do a bit more underground drainage, utilities and sewer work.

The business was founded in Ft. Pierce, but recently opened an office in Orlando. This made sense because the company primarily operates from Martin County to Orlando and the Melbourne Palm Bay area.

Guettler Brothers was started by Matthew's father Philip, who is known by everyone as "Pudge." Other family members in the business include brothers Ben, Frank and Darren Guettler. Gary Morris serves as shop manager. The company employs about 100 people.

"I just came on board probably three years ago," Guettler said. "But I grew up in this office with my dad and his brothers back when they used to all run it with my grandfather, so I'm very familiar with the company. It really is a family company that was born in this area, raised in this area and now is excelling in this area. There are a lot of people that we get to work with on a daily basis and support locally that make it a good thing to get up and go to work for every day."

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