McCloskey technologies helps Groundhog Landscaping expand its operations
When Todd Bahan decided to startup his own landscaping company, Groundhog Landscaping in Londonderry, N.H., little did the 20-year-old know how much expansion his company would undertake over the next 27 years.
“We started out as a lawn maintenance company, then we started to do walls, walkways, patios, hydro seeding,” Bahan recalls. “Then we started getting into the delivery business – delivering sand, compost, loam and mulch that homeowners and business owners were using.”
Once Groundhog Landscaping’s delivery trucks began hauling loads locally, that part of Bahan’s business quickly grew.
“We work relatively close to our operation. Between 90 to 95 per cent of our work is within a 15- to 20-mile radius. We don’t get out too far and have multiple vehicles in all weather,” Bahan says. “Our name just kind of got out there.”
As demand grew for the company’s delivery service and products, its equipment fleet expanded. Bahan’s business slowly migrated into screening and crushing aggregates, as well as producing its own loam. Groundhog Landscaping originally got into the business of producing its own loam (and later crushing and screening aggregates) out of necessity.
“We were probably buying around 20,000 yards a year. About nine years ago we went to our supplier, and they didn’t have any loam,” Bahan recalls. “We kind of got thrown into the screening business because we had to supply our customers. We couldn’t find someone who could source us 20,000 yards a year at a consistent quality.”
In 2015, Bahan decided to test the waters of screening his own loam by renting out a McCloskey International 516 trommel screener for one year (the same trommel their supplier was using). It worked well, but Bahan wanted a larger machine to meet future demand. So, he reached out to McCloskey International equipment dealer Rock & Recycling Equipment in Sutton, Mass.
“It made nice products. But it got to a point where we were moving a lot of cubic yards, so we decided to go with a McCloskey 621 trommel,” Bahan recalls. “We figured we would grow into it. That was the first machine I bought from Rock and Recycling.”
Fast-forward five years, and the McCloskey 621 trommel is still running smoothly for Groundhog Landscaping.
“We haven’t had any real major breakdowns – nothing wrong with the engine or hydraulic system,” Bahan says. “We’ve had common things like flashing maintenance or ripping a belt from usage or a sharp rock. The actual machine has done really well. In my opinion, McCloskey has the best name for trommels.”
After purchasing the McCloskey 621 trommel, Groundhog Landscaping’s loam business began growing at a fast pace.
“Then we started making connections with other contractors. We’d screen them some materials and take their excess,” Bahan says.
Although the 621 trommel was operating smoothly, the increasing demand for product made him consider purchasing a smaller secondary unit.
“A year later, we demoed a McCloskey R105 Screener. We could load it with a smaller excavator that we had, and it was easier to transport. We ended up buying that machine from Rock & Recycling and using it a lot,” Bahan says.
After purchasing the R105, opportunities began to pop up for screening aggregates working with a crushing contractor. The R105 was good for screening loom and sand, but Bahan found it too small for the crushing operation.
“We ended up trading that machine back to Rock & Recycling and bought a McCloskey R155 Screener. It was a night and day different machine,” he says.
From there, Groundhog Landscaping got heavily involved in crushing operations.
“I had the opportunity to open my own gravel pit, so we ended up buying a McCloskey J50 Jaw Crusher,” Bahan says.
Last year was very busy for the company. So busy that they ended renting another McCloskey R155 Screener to keep up with demand.
“At one point this past spring, we were using the 516 trommel and two R155s,” Bahan says. “Now we’ve opened our own gravel pit we’re looking at buying a McCloskey S190 three-deck screener.”
Bahan says he keeps going back to McCloskey International equipment for his crushing and screening needs because of the reliability of the company’s equipment and the great service he receives from Rock & Recycling Equipment.
“I’m a people person. When I feel I can trust someone and they do right by us, sometimes I become one of their biggest customers,” Bahan says. “When I met the owners of Rock & Recycling (managing partners Shane Fleming and Brendan Fox), they seemed like honest guys. One has a real business sense and the other has a real machine sense. They’ve done everything we’ve wanted. I like the guys at Rock & Recycling.”
No matter the equipment, parts will inevitably fail. When that happens, producers need a dealer that can respond immediately and have parts ready to go as soon as possible. That’s a big part of why Groundhog Landscaping likes working with Rock & Recycling and McCloskey International.
“You need a company with the ability and staff to fix the equipment,” Bahan says.
Despite the rapid growth of the company’s aggregate business, Groundhog Landscaping is still very active in the landscaping industry.
“Usually, you have a company that just does crushing and screening or lawn maintenance. We still have all the services,” Bahan says. “Right now, we have 78 people on payroll and will did about US$10 million last year.”
This year is no less busy for Bahan, who is planning on purchasing additional McCloskey equipment to expand his aggregate operations.
“What I’ve paid for these items I think is fair value. I don’t have any reason to want to leave Rock & Recycling or McCloskey International,” Bahan says.
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