Maltese Works in Tight Quarters With Hitachi Zaxis 135US

Thu September 09, 2004 - Northeast Edition

Approximately 300,000 residential in-ground pools are built every year. Many are installed in spacious lots with plenty of elbow room for construction. Installing pools in New York/New Jersey area, however, means excavating in an area not much larger than the pool itself.

No one knows this better than Bob Maltese, president of Maltese Pool and Spa, Woodridge, NJ. Driven by a need to improve efficiency and increase profitability, Maltese decided he needed an excavator that could not only work in close, but also had the guts for serious digging for Maltese Pool and Spa as well as M. K. Excavating, an arm of the pool company.

Can You Dig It?

Excavation for in-ground pools — the majority of Maltese’s work — had traditionally been left to a subcontractor because Maltese couldn’t justify the purchase of additional equipment. All that changed, however, when he saw the 135US at a local trade show.

“Access has always been one of the most challenging aspects of my business,” Maltese said. “We’ve worked in areas so small we had to get permission from neighbors to use their yards to get at the site we were trying to excavate. In many cases, even that’s not possible, so we’ve had to resort to a number of different approaches that were hardly efficient. I needed a machine that had enough power and was compact enough to get into tight ares.

“I was afraid the costs of maintaining a used machine would eat away at my bottom line, so I decided to buy a new machine. After talking with my Hitachi dealer [Formula Equipment], I knew the Zaxis 135US was the solution I’d been looking for.”

Maltese wanted to see a Zaxis 135US — US stands for ultrashort — up close. A trip to Conex Metro, a regional construction show, sealed the deal. He bought the show display machine on the spot, and took delivery after the hammer attachment had been replaced by a 36-in., .95-cu.-yd. bucket.

A Site to See

Maltese has been keeping the Zaxis 135US busy ever since, and said the unit’s combination of power and short back profile has paid in bid dividends.

“This is going to make a huge difference in the way we do business,” Maltese stated. “The lot we’re working on now has yard space of roughly 30 by 40 feet and is fenced in on three sides. We’re installing a 16- by 30-foot pool in that space, which is not a lot of room. Not only do we have to excavate and load-out the material, but the driveway we’re using for access is not much wider than a car.

“It’s situations like this that attracted me to this excavator. I’ve really been a tough, tough job. I never would have impressed with what I’ve seen. We are easily getting through what would have been imagined that a machine this compact and maneuverable could be so fast and powerful. It looks and size are deceiving; this is a little monster.”

Additional Opportunities

Maltese said his new Zaxis 135US offers new opportunities for his business. “Many of our limited-space installs will be a heck of a lot easier now, which will make my overall operation more efficient. I’ve already started to get calls for foundation work that I would’ve turned down in the past. The Zaxis 135US has created a whole new profit center for me. There is no doubt in my mind that I made the right choice.”

(This article appears courtesy of “Breakout.”)