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Leave It To (Little) Beaver: Culligan Dealer Saves Big with Horizontal Boring Attachments

Tue February 13, 2018 - National Edition
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Easily bore under sidewalks or driveways by simply adding a horizontal boring attachment to a mechanical earth drill, like this one from Little Beaver.
Easily bore under sidewalks or driveways by simply adding a horizontal boring attachment to a mechanical earth drill, like this one from Little Beaver.
Easily bore under sidewalks or driveways by simply adding a horizontal boring attachment to a mechanical earth drill, like this one from Little Beaver.  Culligan’s San Antonio dealership saves roughly $75,000 annually with the help of Little Beaver’s mechanical earth drills and horizontal boring attachments. After growing tired of hiring subcontractors for horizontal boring, Culligan’s San Antonio dealership decided to do the work in-house.

We've all had those moments when, after experiencing setbacks and frustrations, we decide to take matters into our own hands. In San Antonio, Texas, a dealer for Culligan, a worldwide leader in water treatment services, had its “aha moment” 10 years ago.

“When installing water softeners, many of the homes we work on aren't pre-plumbed,” said Derrick Barrows, Culligan San Antonio service manager. “Because of this, we had to hire guys to come in and bore under driveways or sidewalks so we could run waterlines into our customers' garages.”

After growing tired of the expenses associated with hiring subcontractors for these horizontal boring projects, the dealership's management team sought a solution to do the work themselves.

Unearth Possibilities

It didn't take long for the team to unearth an answer. By combining a mechanical earth drill with a horizontal boring attachment, the Culligan team discovered that they could easily create a highly productive horizontal boring machine. By adding a simple attachment, Culligan's crew gained the ability to quickly bore under paved surfaces, including sidewalks and driveways.

“We typically dig a trench and run waterlines into the homes that aren't pre-plumbed,” Barrows said. “I would say 40 percent of the time we have to go under a garage or sidewalk to run a line through, so this type of machine and attachment was essential to our business success.”

Barrows says there's virtually no other way to get under a driveway, especially with the types of soils in San Antonio. While some areas might get away with the cheap, although time-consuming, method of forcing a pipe through the ground with mere muscle power and a sledgehammer, that simply wasn't an option.

“We tried doing all the digging ourselves and then would subcontract with someone to do the boring or dig around the entire house to make it into the garage,” Barrows said. “From a labor standpoint, we knew having our own drills and attachment would save time and money. Rather than digging all the way around the house, we would bore under the driveway and complete the project in half the time, saving the customer money and allowing us to move on to the next job.”

Leave it to the Beaver

The only unanswered question was where to turn to for the right earth drill and attachment. Online research quickly led Culligan to Livingston, Texas-based earth drill company Little Beaver. With more than 50 years of manufacturing earth drills and accessories and an experienced staff ready to provide guidance, Little Beaver did not disappoint.

Culligan first purchased two Little Beaver mechanical earth drills with flexible drive shafts, which allows the drills to reach the desired angle for horizontal boring. In addition to the drills, they purchased a wet boring kit attachment for each drill, which includes a water swivel that enables two men to easily bore under a 30-foot driveway in 10 to 15 minutes.

Additionally, the attachment's lightweight and easy-to-maneuver design keeps projects moving quickly. Figuring two to three jobs a month that require horizontal boring, the company saves roughly $75,000 per year by completing the boring with in-house labor rather than hiring a subcontractor.

“The savings are phenomenal, and it was extremely easy to learn how to use the equipment,” Barrows said. “The only challenge we face is the hard rock common in our Texas terrain, but the drills power through.”

A variety of drill tip options help Culligan's crew break through the toughest soil conditions. Optional heavy-duty rock tips tackle hard rock and carbide-blade tips work for hard clay and asphalt. Culligan can also choose the boring diameter — 2, 3 or 4 inches — and bore as far as 50 feet, if needed.

“We've been very impressed with the quality of the drills,” Barrows said. “Other than replacing drill bits on a regular basis due to the condition of the rock we're facing, we haven't had any maintenance issues.”

The drills feature heavy-duty transmissions with cooling fins for machine longevity and quick heat dissipation — a necessity in the hot San Antonio summers. Additionally, the powder-coated steel enhances durability while preventing corrosion.

Within the last couple of years, Barrows says Culligan's San Antonio dealership purchased two new Little Beaver mechanical earth drills with smaller engines.

“They originally were using an 8-horsepower engine, and I recommended they switch to 5.5 horsepower,” said Mike Hale, Little Beaver's sales manager. “The 8 horsepower was a bit overkill for the type of work they do, and we always want to match our customers with the perfect drill for the job. The smaller engine size on the new models gives them all the power they need to get the job done while cutting their fuel costs.”

Barrows says he plans to run the drills for as long as possible, while keeping his two original Little Beaver drills in storage as backup. Not only that, but Hale is only a phone call away for support.

Now, rather than deal with the headache of subbing the work out, the San Antonio Culligan dealership's motto is simple: leave it to the beaver.

About Little Beaver Inc.

Little Beaver has been proudly manufacturing quality, safe and productive drilling equipment for three generations. With a full line of easy-to-operate equipment, along with a complete offering of accessories, including augers, extensions, points and blades, Little Beaver effectively serves the needs of end-users from professional contractors to rental centers. For more information: Little Beaver, 2009 South Houston, Livingston, TX 77351; 800-227-7515; fax 936-327-4025; sales@littlebeaver.com; www.littlebeaver.com.