Case Study, Cat, Caterpillar, Earthmoving Machinery, Excavators, Reduced-Swing Excavators

The sweet spot: Baden Civil and Caterpillar

Baden Civil’s Cat 325 excavator

Baden Civil has more than 20 Cat® units in its ever-growing fleet. It’s a testament to the strength of the relationship between the successful earthmoving contractor, its Cat equipment, and of course, its Cat dealership Hastings Deering.


Clay Badenoch is owner and director of Baden Civil. He and his wife kicked off Baden Plant Hire in 2002, the business grew, acquiring machinery as needed, and after five years or so, things changed in a hurry.

“We won a large drainage contract on a government job,” remembers Clay. “We had to change the structure a bit with the contract works, and Baden Civil was born.”

(L-R) Steve Rykiert, Hastings Deering; Clay Badenoch, Baden Civil.

From the beginning

Clay’s very first machine wasn’t a Cat.

“I was 24 years old and pretty nervous about what we were trying to do,” he explains. “We were looking for the cheapest machine we could find with the lowest hours.”

Clay had met the local Cat salesman a few times while searching for his first machine, and the pair had naturally shared a few conversations. Those conversations resulted in Clay’s second machine being a Cat excavator, and he discovered some real advantages.

Baden Civil focuses on wet hire plant supply in South East QLD and northern NSW.

“One of the things we love about Cat machines is they hold their value,” Clay says. “The local salesman didn’t have anything in my price range at the time, but he helped me out, and the relationship started before the business even really began. He was open, honest, and helped me out with advice.

“I think the third machine we bought from him we bought brand new. From that moment we never bought used again. We bought brand new, and now everything in the fleet is a Cat machine.”

Close to home

Baden Civil supplies most of its fleet to large scale infrastructure projects, which Clay describes as “challenging and interesting”, toughing it out in southeast Queensland’s highly competitive environment.

The Cat 325’s compact radius design is perfect for Baden Civil’s works.

Wet hire makes up about 99 per cent of Baden Civil’s business, and Clay cites a philosophy of supplying quality machines and operators as integral to the company’s success.

“There’s the odd person who begs for a dry hire,” says Clay, a slight frown crossing his brow, “but we love our machines too much to let them be dry hired.”

A typical day for Baden Civil could include state, federal and local council work, roadworks, infrastructure, and rail work; and the company has been a major supplier for Stages 1 and 2 of the Gold Coast Light Rail project.

Clay says 99 per cent of Baden Civil’s business is made up of wet hire.

“Anything and everything in southeast Queensland,” smiles Clay. “We like to stay local, and I think we get better quality operators because we like to send everyone home at night.

“And the majority of our guys are all very proud of our Cat fleet and of their own machines.”

The big league

Clay cites Baden Civil’s involvement in Gold Coast’s heavy rail, specifically the Robina to Varsity Lakes upgrade, as a project that took his business to the next level.

Baden Civil’s operators enjoy working with the latest Cat equipment.

“We were sort of a mum-and-dad plant business,” recalls Clay, “and the next minute we had around 35 machines there doing the remaining drainage works and all sorts of things.”

Baden Civil works hard at staying ahead of the game, keeping the fleet updated, always thinking of the next job, and financing accordingly. Keeping equity in the machinery so it can be sold, traded, or upgraded as needed is part of the company game plan.

And as Baden Civil’s growth continues, local Cat dealer Hastings Deering has been a welcome constant, these days represented by General Construction Sales Rep, Steve Rykiert.

Clay says the support from Hastings Deering is a huge asset.

Steve has been with Hastings Deering for 15 years. Having started his career in equipment assembly, he’s spent the past seven years in sales, and Clay and Baden Civil are naturally valued customers.

“As soon as I started covering the region, I made it a priority to introduce myself,” says Steve. “Clay is such a gentleman of the industry and so accommodating.”

“We’ve only been dealing with Steve for maybe 12 months,” says Clay, “but he’s been great. His knowledge is really good, especially in the smaller gear.

“And Cat Financial as well. They’re wonderful to deal with.”

All of Baden Civil’s Cat excavators are equipped with Next Gen features.

Right for the job

Clay’s current fleet includes excavators ranging from five-tonners up to 35-tonners, skid-steer loaders, backhoes, and three rubber-tyre excavators.

These last three machines were put into service on the last stage of the GC Light Rail.

“Wheeled excavators are a bit of a niche thing that we got into very early,” explains Clay. “I don’t think there were a lot of them in the country back in the day. They quickly proved their worth, and now there’s one or two on every job.”

Clay says focusing on local jobs and providing quality gear helps keep operators happy.

The latest purchase for the fast-growing, hard-working plant-hire outfit is the Cat 325, and Steve is convinced Clay and the team will find it a huge asset.

According to Steve, the 325 has Cat’s well-known and proven quality, durability, and reliability, but cites it being “a compact radius machine delivering lower ownership costs, integrated technology and more productivity,” as making it ideal for Baden Civil’s needs.

“This purchase of the 325 factory-3D Next Gen excavator was a replacement for a Cat 325F,” says Steve. “Baden has been continuing to unify its fleet to the Next Gen platform, with commonality for the operators, with the same controls, features, and benefits from the 13-tonne Cat 313 through to the 30-tonne Cat 330, along with all the Next Gen features on all the Cat excavators.

“The 325 is our mid-range compact-radius machine fitted with a blade, making it versatile in a large range of applications. It offers up to 25 per cent lower fuel consumption and up to 20 per cent lower maintenance costs, saving the customer money while increased performance is getting more work done.”

Clay says Caterpillar is always open to feedback.


As Baden Civil continues to expand, Clay is sure Cat machinery will remain part of the company’s future.

“There’s a great group of local guys we deal with,” he says, “and their knowledge and expertise is wonderful.”

Clay also appreciates the interest the team at Hastings Deering takes in his business and the value it places on his feedback.

“Multiple times I’ve had Caterpillar guys from America here to talk to me about what I want to see on my new Cat machines,” he smiles, “and to see how their machines are used here.

“Now, these new Next Gen machines have features that I’d given feedback on in the past. That’s pretty cool.”

Clay’s first excavator wasn’t a Cat machine, but it’s been all Caterpillar since.
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