Winter and spring are the seasons to put the pedal to metal for businesses in the pool excavation industry, like Shane Bugeja from SBH Civil, to ensure their customers’ pools are complete for the summer with sparkling water and stunning landscapes. When you are excavating the number of pools that Shane and SBH Civil are handling, jumping up to the new (in 2020) Cat® 306CR-6 tonne excavator, which has translated into significantly reduced dig times and quicker pool installations off the back of the impressive power and capabilities of the 306CR. Needless to say, Shane’s new investment is something his clients and operators are very happy with.
Focusing mostly on the Northern Suburbs from the Northern Beaches to the Hills/ Nepean/Hawkesbury areas and working for pool companies like Narellan Pools, efficient earthmoving turnaround times are the backbone of Shane’s business. Shane is a dedicated Caterpillar customer due to their impressive performance, precision, efficiency and operator comfort. Shane and SBH Civil have built a great relationship with WesTrac and his sales rep Michael De Angelis. This relationship has seen Shane’s fleet grow to include a brand new Cat® 306CR as well as a 5 tonne, 3.5 tonne, 1 tonne, 15 tonne, a few 1.7 tonnes, and a Compact Track Loader.
Perfect Mix Of Size And Power
When discussing why the Cat machines have served Shane so well over the years, he shared, “A lot of the time we are working in backyards of residential homes, which can be narrow and tight. Therefore, access is always a big factor for us. We don’t just rely on our Cat machines to efficiently excavate the site, we also rely on their lifting power, especially when it’s time to lift the fibreglass pool shell into position. This is also a big part of our role, with some shells weighing well over a tonne – the lifting/rotating power of our Cat machines is critical for us.”
Shane continued, “In the pool digging business you need to ensure your positioning, set out and depth are all spot on. Clean edges, which are often battered, are very important for the pool to sit exactly in position. This precision heavily relies on the fact that our Cat machines are great to operate on multiple levels. Having plenty of power and precise controls give my team another level of expertise in this area.”
I was impressed with the speed of the operation after watching Shane at work in his new Cat® 306 CR in a relatively tight space, where the boom had to lift and swing very close to a property fence before unloading into a truck that was sitting on a higher platform. There has been an increase in the multi-functioning performance, which is perfect for operators like Shane and his team. The 306CR delivering maximum power and performance in a mini size for SBH Civil means a faster turnaround getting more and larger pools excavated in a single day. One thing that also stood out from filming Shane at work was how important the great visibility in the 306CR was, allowing extremely precise cutting in.
When I asked Shane about his favourite features on his new purchase, the obvious ones like the suspension seat, improved air-conditioning and the sealed and pressurised cab were all quickly mentioned, but closely followed was the after-sales service from WesTrac. Relying day in day out on Caterpillar products and being a small business where if one of Shane’s Cat machines goes down on any day it can cause big headaches for timing and scheduling – Shane was very quick to highlight the value of his relationship with Michael from WesTrac, and the impressive turnaround on the very few issues he has had with machines over the last three or four years.
“The very few issues we have had were dealt with on the day and we were back up and running that afternoon, which is exactly the result you hope to receive,” said Shane.
It’s All About The Relationship
Catching up with Michael De Angelis (WesTrac) and Shane together onsite, the banter flowed and it was obvious they are a good team with a solid appreciation for each other.
Michael shared, “As a sales rep I’ve been looking after the North West area of Sydney at WesTrac for almost three years, and in that time I’ve been working with Shane for two years. The benefits of the Next Gen Series that Shane has gotten used to with his 301.7CRs are now in his bigger machines, with stick steer, cruise control, smoothness of operation and operator comfort being appreciated features. Shane previously had a 305, but he can now fit the stronger 306 into the same width entrances he could previously fit into, and get the job done quicker.”
Michael continued, “Shane and I have built a lot of trust over the years. It has been one of the highlights of my time at WesTrac – watching how Shane has grown his business and how we can continually improve how we support him. With the instant tax write-off our industry has been boosted with encouragement. COVID-19 has provided us an opportunity to assist our customers in times of need that could never really be planned for. Particularly Cat Finance offering deferrable payments to keep businesses using their machines midway through their loans.”
A Busy Time With Pool Sales Soaring
It has been a challenging time for many businesses this year because of international overseas travel and holidays being put on hold for the foreseeable future. Instead, many families have decided to invest that money back into their own homes, which has seen an increase in the pool industry around Australia. Companies like SBH Civil are busier than ever excavating with an even higher demand on their fleet. This means less downtime is allowed for maintenance and servicing, which is where the impressive numbers the Next Gen range have achieved to reduce areas like maintenance makes them an even more valuable option. A great relationship with WesTrac means SBH Civil are more than confident to push themselves and their fleet harder to exceed their client’s expectations.