Bob Peters, owner of R.A. Peters Construction Co. Inc. in Social Circle, GA, grew up in the grading business.
The son of a grading contractor, he started operating a 2U series D8, a 1952 model, at just 6 years old.
Peters still owns the D8 to this day.
He took his early experience in earthmoving and built a thriving grading business.
Recently, Peters decided it was time to replace his existing fleet of excavators with Link-Belts.
He was not a complete stranger to the line. Approximately seven years ago, he purchased a used 1996 Link-Belt 2800 Quantum. To date, this machine has more than 19,000 hours on it, the original undercarriage, no major rebuilds, the original radio and an air conditioning unit that still blows cold air. The only recent replacements were a water pump and the seat. The 2800 has had an oversized 3.25-yd., 54 in. bucket hanging on it for almost the entire time Peters has owned the machine and is still working extremely well. The particle counts in oil samples have come out identical for the engine and hydraulics as the first day Peters changed the oil.
“We never dreamed we could get this kind of service from this machine,” Peters said. “I hope to get at least another 15,000 hours out of it, and when it finally gives up, we’ll paint it and put it in the showroom at the shop.”
Surely his experience with his old 2800 came into play when he purchased three new Link-Belt excavators — a 210LX, a 330LX and a 460LX — approximately three months ago. These machines have already been on eight jobsites since he purchased them new from Stafford Tractor Company in Lawrenceville, GA.
At any given time, R.A. Peters Construction is running four to five jobsites with an equipment fleet of approximately 40 machines. One of his most recent dirt moving jobs was a “breeze” with the addition of these new machines, he said.
Peters subcontracted for an earthmoving job for construction of a new phase of Tara Condominiums in Loganville, GA, which is adjacent to the Tara Mansion, formerly owned by Burt Reynolds. Peters portion of the job was strictly grading and moving roughly 65,000 cu. yds. (49,700 cu m) of material on a 9-acre parcel of land just off Hwy. 81 South.
10 Weeks? How About Six Days?
The contract was given a completion period of 10 weeks. He figured he could get it done in two weeks. When all was said and done, the company completed the job in just six days, even with the extra 10,000 cu. yds. (7,600 cu m) of extra dirt to be moved that was not in the original estimate.
“Because of our recent machine purchases, as well as the quality or our larger machines, including some dozer purchases, we’re now doubling our production. We’ve always been fast and with good people running the equipment and a good foreman, we’re more productive than ever,” Peters said.
“There’s a big difference between the previous excavators we used and our new fleet of Link-Belt excavators. When we purchased them, price figured into it. They, of course, are not the cheapest on the market, but the product, in my mind, is the superior product to the rest that are out there. We have no troubles out of them.”
He said his company is known for doing work on marshy ground and the Link-Belt drive systems will “pull” in marshy grounds.
“We’ve found that they do a better job in these conditions than other machines we’ve used in the past,” Peters said.
“The Isuzu motors in the Link-Belts are quiet and very fuel efficient. The cabs are extremely comfortable. Actually, the cabs have more room in them than any other machines out there,” he added.
“Our Stafford Tractor sales representative, Brian Collins, has done a real good job of making sure we have the machines when we need them. This business is fast paced. We have to have the machines immediately. They’ve done a very good job of getting them to us. We had one incident where we had a warranty item issue on one of the machines, and they were out immediately and the sales department worked well with the service department. They fixed us up and we were back running. The machines we bought were in stock when we needed them. In fact, they were more than willing to bring them out on a demo. Of course we never sent them back,” he said.
Peters said the people at Stafford were very cordial and extremely customer oriented.
“Some of the other dealers we’ve worked with, we just didn’t feel like we were tops on their list. In fact, sometimes we felt like we were on the bottom. With Stafford, no matter if you buy one machine or 100, they make you feel like you’re the top on their list,” he said.
Peters received assistance with trades and financing and even with selling some of his older machines he wasn’t going to replace.
“They put us in touch with the people we needed to talk to,” added Peters.
All warranty work on these machines is performed by Stafford Tractor, who offered to help out on some of the non-warranty work when Peters Construction’s staff mechanics are covered up.
“Stafford’s service work is one of the main things that we’ve been real happy with. With other machines we’ve owned in the past, it seemed like we couldn’t get the service work done. With Stafford, normally when we call early enough, we get same day service, which is unheard of anywhere else. Anytime they need to order parts, they’ll do whatever needed to get the parts in a timely manner and their mechanics come out and do a good job,” Peters said.
Other R.A. Peters Construction Co. operators give high marks to the Link-Belt excavator that they operate. Dave Wilcox said, “It’s a great machine, I love it. I’ve worked a lot of other excavators, this one is stronger, faster.”
Johnny Durden said the machine has more power compared to other machines and enjoys the spacious cab.
Project Foreman Randy Ellis primarily runs the dozers in the company’s equipment fleet, but stated that, based on the time he has spent in the Link-Belt excavators, he feels that they do not have an equal.
“They’re strong machines that do very good work,” he said. CEG Staff