Customers in Action

Horsepower Site Services

QUALITY WORK AND ROUTINELY BEATING SCHEDULES HAS HELPED THIS CHARLOTTE FIRM GROW RAPIDLY

October 26, 2015

“Komatsu’s iMC dozers are truly state-of-the-art machines”

Horsepower Site Services

Ryan Hamrick grew up working in his family’s concrete contracting business, earned a civil engineering degree from North Carolina State and, upon graduation, got into real estate development. He managed projects and eventually became a partner in the development business, but the timing – the start of the Great Recession – wasn’t the best. His partners decided to mothball projects that were on the board and take a break from the business. Hamrick, however, needed a job and saw an opportunity.

“I started my own company, Horsepower Site Services, to complete the projects our development company had begun,” he recalled. “As the recession deepened and banks started foreclosing on troubled projects, they were often looking for somebody to complete those jobs, or at least bring the sites into erosion-control compliance. Since I already had relationships with many of those lenders, we did a lot of that in 2009 and 2010. As the economy has improved, we’ve established a good rapport with homebuilders and general contractors, and we’ve grown steadily.”

Today, Charlotte-based Horsepower Site Services has about 70 employees. It is a heavy civil firm that does a wide range of residential, commercial and industrial sites – from subdivisions and retail stores, to schools and hospitals. The company provides a full slate of site construction services, including grading, utilities, and curb and gutter.

“We work within about a 50-mile radius of Charlotte and offer customers a turnkey site package,” said Hamrick. “Except for clearing and asphalt paving, which we sub out, we do everything in-house with our own crews. We believe that helps us maximize productivity, which allows us to meet and beat schedules. That’s one of our calling cards. We do quality work and get it done fast.

“An example is a temporary storage facility for Metrolina Builders,” he explained. “We did grading, water, sewer and storm drain and delivered all the pads weeks ahead of schedule – even before they had building permits. That’s how we approach all of our jobs. We realize that for the project owner, time is money, so we work accordingly. It’s probably the main reason our regular customers come to us. We negotiate a fair price and bring added value to the job by doing it well and doing it fast.”

Utility Superintendent Randy Reynolds says speed is definitely important to Horsepower’s customers, but it’s not the only thing. “We work fast but we also keep our jobsites clean. They look nice while we’re doing the work, which customers appreciate. Ryan emphasizes professionalism and productivity and wants our reputation as a company to be top-notch, so that’s what we strive for.”

Talented, experienced workforce

Horsepower Site Services

One of the reasons Horsepower is able to routinely complete projects on time or early is due to a talented and dedicated workforce. Helping Hamrick lead the team are Grading Superintendent Eric Bonds, Senior Project Manager Miles Hedrick and Reynolds.

“I tried to bring on people who had a lot of knowledge, experience and great attitudes,” said Hamrick. “That describes not just top management but all of our employees. We’ve experienced a lot of success in a short amount of time. I attribute that to our employees, especially those in the field doing the work.”

Hamrick also credits his wife, Scarlet, who in the early days helped him do erosion control and “anything else necessary to make ends meet.” Today, she runs a separate company that owns Horsepower Site Services’ equipment.

iMC dozers: “A better way to grade”

Horsepower Site Services has owned Komatsu excavators for many years. The company currently has 10 Komatsu trackhoes, ranging from tight-tail-swing PC138s to a PC300HD. It’s also leasing a new PC490LC-11 from Linder Industrial Machinery that Hamrick says has helped a motivated crew “increase production levels significantly.”

Horsepower Site Services

Earlier this year, at the urging of Senior Project Manager Miles Hedrick, the company also added two new Komatsu D61PXi intelligent Machine Control dozers.

“I had worked with GPS and knew we needed to embrace the technology or risk being left behind,” said Hedrick. “Komatsu’s iMC dozers are truly state-of-the-art machines with superior GPS and automated blade control features. They are the only dozers with GPS built into the machines at the factory. Combined with a base station and rover, they are revolutionizing grading.”

“The D61i dozers have exceeded my expectations,” said Grading Superintendent Eric Bonds. “They have basically eliminated surveying on our jobs, which saves time and money. The iMC dozers have also improved our productivity. Our grades are now virtually always right the first time, so there’s little-to-no rework. I’m old school – but this is a better way to grade.”

“Bottom line, our Komatsu D61i dozers have helped us do our jobs faster, better and more cost-effectively,” said Hamrick. “On a recent job, I estimate we saved as much as $25,000 in surveying costs alone. We’re very pleased with the units and firmly believe they’ve helped make us a better company.”

In addition to the equipment itself, Hamrick says he appreciates the support Horsepower receives from Linder Industrial Machinery Sales Rep Bill Cross and Customer Support Manager John Suggs. “Bill, John and everybody at the Linder Concord branch have been great to work with. As an equipment user, I need dealer support and Linder has always been there for us.”

A progressive industry leader

Horsepower Site Services has experienced remarkable growth, as much as 70 percent per year, since opening its doors six years ago.

“Of course, 70 percent annual growth can’t continue, but we do want to always be moving forward,” said Hamrick. “We don’t have to be the biggest. In fact, I like that we’re small enough to add a personal touch so our customers don’t get lost in the shuffle. But I do want us to be a progressive industry leader in this area, and be recognized as a high-character, high-integrity firm. I think we’re well on our way to reaching those goals. As long as we keep doing what we’re doing – hiring top people and putting customers first – I’m optimistic we’ll get there in the not-too-distant future.”