Upgrade Digs Up Productivity With Takeuchi Fleet

Wed August 18, 2004 - Southeast Edition

When Upgrade Landscaping President Chris Cox went on a quest last fall to update his equipment fleet, he was on the lookout for machines that wouldn’t get stuck in the mud –– literally.

What Cox and the staff of his Cumming, GA-based landscaping firm found in its newly purchased fleet of Takeuchi equipment were machines that not only got the job done but got it done nearly 20 more days a year than the old fleet.

Over the last few months, Cox has purchased seven Takeuchi TL140 track machines and one TB53FR mini-excavator from Cobb County Tractor, based in Marietta, GA.

What drew Cox to these products was “the way they’re made, the quality and the fact that they look like they’re going to hold up for a long time,” he said. This is “as opposed to ’disposal machines,’ which I had used over the last 10 to 12 years.”

Upgrade uses its Takeuchi machines for landscaping installation, cutting swells, grading, prep for sod and small grading for backfill.

“Because of the power and traction of the Takeuchis, these machines allow us to work an additional 10 to 20 more days out of the year compared to the rubber tired machines with the metal tracks,” Cox noted. “We’ve found that in severe mud, the rubber tire slips inside the metal track, and that doesn’t happen with our Takeuchis. The way the machine works on slopes and wet ground is very impressive.

“The machines allow us to get into places that the rubber tire machine would not let us, even the rubber tire with the metal tracks,” he said.

Juggling seven to eight jobs everyday five days a week, Upgrade may have eight crews installing with the mini-excavator on one job and a track loader on seven other jobs every day.

Virtually in continuous use, the Takeuchis also are used at the company’s headquarters, which houses a nursery, and are used on the weekends to keep things clean. The machines are serviced every week at the shop.

But, Cox, who started Upgrade Landscaping in 1985 at age 13 and incorporated in 1988, did not always feel the Takeuchi product met his company’s diverse needs.

“I demoed a Takeuchi 26 10 years ago, when they first came out and it was too small for my needs. Then they came out with the 50 –– it was too large. When they came out with the TL140s, it was the machine I needed.”

Cox invested hours of his time researching the Takeuchi products, going as far as visiting the manufacturer’s headquarters in Buford, GA. He also stopped in at Cobb County Tractor to look at and test several machines.

“The reason I went with the Takeuchi TL140 was for a bigger, more fuel efficient engine than what I had in my previous machines,” he said. “This machine uses less fuel than anything on the market in this size and weight. The Takeuchis I have are getting 3.2 hours to one gallon of fuel, and everything else seems to be getting around 2.2 to 2.5 hours per gallon.

“The TL 140 actually has more horsepower, but it uses less fuel with the Isuzu engine. That was a big thing that helped me to make my decision for these machines. I’m saving an hour per gallon per machine and am saving 7 gallons per hour, which is a lot of fuel throughout the year,” explained Cox.

Cox said that Cobb County Tractor “was extremely helpful” in his research process.

“They allowed me to look the machines over thoroughly, provided any information I needed and were helpful in taking care of my trades,” he noted. “I’ve been buying machines from them for a long time. I’ve known John [Davis] and Randy [Shavor] and the other folks there for a long time. They are good people to work with.”

Cox looked at other manufacturers of track machines and found that the others didn’t match up in regards to weight and horsepower to the TL140s.

“My return on investment is good for my Takeuchis. I probably will want to buy some more on the first of next year,” he said.

Cox, who started out with only two people on his staff, has been in business now for 19 years and has more than 70 employees. He also has diversified into real-estate rental properties, an on site nursery that is for company use and public sales and also does grading, and clearing with some larger machines in the company’s fleet.

For more information, call 770/887-1344.