Attachments add versatility, improve efficiency
“Based on advice from people I know in the industry, I started using Cat equipment from day one, and it was the right choice,” says Kaufmann, whose central Texas company does land clearing and grading for real estate developers, home builders and ranch owners.
Working within a 60-mile radius of its home base in New Braunfels, TX, Double K Contractors, Inc. clears raw land before lots are sold. The four-employee company handles brush clearing and site prep for custom home builders before the concrete contractor sets the forms for foundations.
“When the subdivision developers put in the streets, we are hired to clear the lots before they are offered to the public,” Kaufmann says. “These lots are so thick with cedar and underbrush that people can’t walk around and see them. When we mulch most of the cedar and underbrush and expose the oak trees and the views, it helps the developer sell the lots.”
To do the work, Kaufmann’s crew utilizes three Cat 272 XHP Skid Steer Loaders equipped with forestry mulchers, including one C and two D Series. For heavier work on ranches, the company uses a D4G XL dozer.
As someone who has owned the B, C and D Series Skid Steer Loaders, Kaufmann says he has noticed enhancements with each new version.
“Due to the climate in South Texas, we are often forced to work in extreme heat,” Kaufmann says. “Caterpillar has made improvements to the new D Series that has helped with the mulching application. The D Series comes equipped with a vented rear door, a Cat turbine pre-cleaner, reversible fan to keep the radiator clean, and a hydraulic cooler on top,” he says. “It’s all Cat parts, and the dealership installed it, and that helps maintain productivity.”
Another enhancement on the D Series Skid Steer Loaders is the automatic quick coupler, which enables Kaufmann’s operators to change buckets without getting out of the cab.
On a ranch in New Braunfels, the owner asked Kaufmann to thin out thick brush and the plentiful mesquite trees in a wooded area. To accomplish that task, Double K attached a Cat HM315 Forestry Mulching Head to the 272D XHP Skid Steer for mulching up brush and trees with ease.
“The mulching head just adds to the versatility of our Skid Steer Loaders,” he says. “I have been able to demo new forestry mulchers, and like to demo equipment before I buy it, such as the dozer and a few attachments. The ability to try out a piece of equipment before purchasing it is a big help in our business.”
On the occasions where he needs more specialized equipment, Kaufmann has utilized the Cat Rental Store to rent mini excavators.
“I just call my salesman and tell him what I want, and Holt Cat will either deliver it, or I can pick it up the next day,” he says. “There is no waiting when I want a piece of equipment, and it’s always nice and new, and well maintained.”
Double K uses grapple buckets on a daily basis, which help move material when mulching, and also help the crew get underneath oak trees in hard-to-reach areas. Kaufmann uses several auger attachments to dig holes for fence building work.
“The attachments are time savers—with the grapple, we can do the same thing with one guy that would otherwise require two guys on the ground loading that same material, or putting it in a dumpster or moving it to mulch,” Kaufmann says. “We have a root rake with grapple for handling brush, and industrial-sized grapple buckets for trash cleanups on these jobsites to load tandem dump trucks and haul material for disposal.”
Each year, Double K grows incrementally larger in its scope and volume of work. But Kaufmann sees an advantage in remaining a small contractor.
“Being smaller and having the owner on the job on a daily basis and overseeing the few guys that we do have, I am able to give my customers one-on-one attention,” Kaufmann adds. “They like to see the owner on site, and if there’s a question, I am there to answer it.
“Our customers like the fact that we pay attention to detail, and we go above and beyond,” he adds. “We do the job right the first time, and meet or exceed the deadline.”
Because he uses nothing but Cat equipment, he knows it elevates him in the minds of his home builder customers.
“People know that the equipment is more productive, and it has helped me as far as having nice, new equipment, and them knowing that I am going to get the job done with the machine that I show up with,” Kaufmann says. “I have less downtime, and I think people associate that with Cat equipment—that it’s strong and will get the job done.”
Kaufmann also utilizes Cat Financial for his equipment purchases.
“Cat Financial is outstanding,” he says. “They know the business and are more flexible than banks and other financing sources. We’re able to structure rates and terms that make financing easy. It’s just a strong relationship.”
Double K Contractors continues to grow by clearing the way for others to grow their businesses.
WHAT THEY LIKE ABOUT CAT EQUIPMENT
“I like the reliability of Cat equipment,” says Kristofer Kaufmann, owner of Double K Contractors. “Our uptime with the new skid steer series has been outstanding. With these new D Series machines, we have had no downtime at all. We are able to access hard-to-reach areas on our jobsites where larger machines are unable to work.”
WHAT THEY LIKE ABOUT THEIR CAT DEALER
“They give you a lot of one-on-one time. I like being able to call the salesman and ask him a question, and if he doesn’t know the answer, he’s able to get the answer and call me back in a short amount of time,” Kaufmann adds. “Every year, we get a little bigger, but I stay on the small scale. My Cat dealer salesman is able to take care of all my needs, and goes to bat for me when I need him.
“And Holt Cat’s parts department is outstanding,” he says. “If we need a part and they don’t have it, they will have it flown in and available the next day, which is very helpful. If you are going to be down for a longer amount of time, they are good about providing us with a loaner machine.”