Customers in Action

Bencardino Contractors


March 02, 2016

Komatsu equipment and Midlantic Machinery support - a winning combination

Bencardino Contractors

Lou Bencardino bought his first backhoe in 1988. He was 22 and was determined to start his own business, no matter what it took. He had to park his backhoe in his mother’s driveway between odd jobs that included filling in neighbors’ pools and pulling stumps, and he would ask for tires and other service items as birthday and Christmas presents. He even drove the backhoe 20 miles – through Philadelphia morning traffic – to the site of his first big job. And he loved every second of it.

“Working has never been a problem for me, it doesn’t matter when or where it is, if a job needs to be done, I’ll be there,” said Bencardino. “If you work hard and hustle, usually things pan out for you.”

That’s exactly what has happened for Bencardino, who is the President of Bencardino Contractors in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. After months of small jobs and using his mother’s house as an office/garage, he finally caught a big break.

“My neighbor came over and asked about my backhoe in the driveway,” said Bencardino. “He worked for AT Chadwick Company, a big mechanical contractor in Philadelphia, and told me to write a letter to his boss to let him know I had a backhoe. So I sat down and wrote a letter. Two months later, they called back and said they had a job for me the next morning in South Philadelphia.”

Bencardino didn’t have a trailer for his backhoe, so he did the only thing that made sense to him: He woke up at 1 a.m. and jumped in his backhoe – lunch pail in hand – and drove it to the jobsite. That led to steady work with AT Chadwick for the next couple of years. In that time, he learned the business and built his reputation.

“During my first year working with AT Chadwick, they had a water main break on Christmas Eve,” recalled Bencardino. “It was 10 p.m. and they needed someone to fix it, so I did. The very next year, the same thing happened – but on New Year’s Eve, and it was 11 p.m. Again, I went down and helped out. They never forgot that, and to this day they use us all the time. Little things pay off in the long run.”

Diversification, employees lead to success

From its humble beginnings, Bencardino Contractors has grown to employ more than 80 people and has as many as 15 jobs going each day.

But as much as things change, they seem to remain the same. Twenty-eight years later, Bencardino’s mother, Pat, is still working in the office. While he no longer parks a backhoe in her driveway, the company maintains the anytime-anywhere mentality that led to its initial success.

“I think what has made us successful is that we are reliable, and if someone is in a jam, we take care of them,” said Bencardino. “People know, no matter if its Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, we’ll be there.”

Bencardino handles the estimating and dayto- day operations of running the company, which covers a 50-mile radius that includes Philadelphia and parts of Delaware and New Jersey. He says the company is almost back to the size it was before the recession, and credits his company’s diversification and reliable employees as the reason.

“We are a medium-sized site contractor, and we are very versatile,” he said. “We do a lot of utility excavation; we’ve added milling and paving; we are getting more public work; and we do a lot of rentals as well. We also have some very dedicated employees who have been here for a long time. All those things have helped us grow and make it through the tough times.”

Midlantic, Komatsu earn way into fleet

Bencardino Contractors

Bencardino began adding Komatsu equipment about 10 years ago. At the time, his fleet didn’t include Komatsu, but a competition-style demo quickly changed that.

“We brought in some machines, including a Komatsu PC300HD excavator, to demo them,” said Bencardino. “We tested digging, speed, cycle time – everything. Komatsu won it walking away.”

That performance convinced Bencardino to purchase Komatsu equipment. Today, Bencardino Contractors’ fleet includes 15 Komatsu machines, ranging from a PC55 to a PC490LC-10 excavator.

The service and support he receives from Midlantic Machinery, Inc. and Territory Manager Barry Talley is another reason why he continues to buy Komatsu. In addition to excellent customer service, Bencardino highlights Midlantic’s maintenance and warranties.

“We’ve had great success with Komatsu,” said Bencardino. “We appreciate Komatsu CARE on the newer machines we purchased. It’s been great. Also, Komatsu’s warranties are second-to-none, and we know Midlantic will go the extra mile to help us out.”

Fortunately for Bencardino, he hasn’t had to call on those warranties very often.

“We rarely buy parts for the Komatsu machines,” he said. “Our Komatsus have held up well. We have a 1996 PC220 that’s still running, and the 300HD that won the demo competition is also still producing for us.”

Staying ahead of the curve

While a strong work ethic has no doubt helped Bencardino Contractors grow and become successful, the company was also one of the first in the area to embrace GPS technology. Bencardino said it was a decision that has paid great dividends.

“We’ve been using GPS for probably 12 years now,” he said. “We were one of the first medium-sized contractors that used the technology. Some of the bigger companies didn’t even have it. It put us ahead of the curve, that’s for sure, but people have caught on to the benefits of GPS technology. We want to make sure we are continuing to stay up to date.”

In order to do that, Bencardino Contractors has recently turned to Midlantic for Komatsu intelligent Machine Control (iMC) products, specifically the D61PXi dozer.

“We wanted an iMC machine so we didn’t have to use the masts and cables,” said Bencardino. “We also wanted to stay up with the latest-and-greatest technology, and the Komatsu machines are just that. The D61i is the ‘cat’s meow’ of dozers. No one else has anything like it. Other manufacturers are trying to match it, but they have a lot of catching up to do.”

Bencardino says the best thing about the technology is that it’s easy to use. “You don’t need any fancy computer to work on our Komatsu machines – everything’s on-board. If one of our operators can’t figure something out, help is just a phone call away. One call, Midlantic walks us through how to do it on the monitor, and it’s done.”

Future generation on-deck

When he looks at the past and toward the future, Bencardino both can’t believe what his company has become and can’t pinpoint where it will go. However, he hopes that the next generation will continue the business.

“I never thought this company would turn into what it is today,” he said. “We are growing at a good pace now. Hopefully in 10 years or so my kids, or some of our employees’ kids, will come back and keep it going.”