Customers in Action

Paul Toth Excavation


February 25, 2015

Long-lasting, efficient Komatsu equipment

Paul Toth Excavation

Not long ago, Paul Toth Excavation, Inc. General Manager Greg Godfrey met with a new customer on Staten Island. He said that after nearly 30 years of business, that’s become rare.

“Nearly everything we do is for repeat customers,” said Godfrey, who is Toth’s nephew. “Every now and then we come across someone new, but even then it’s likely they’ve heard of Paul Toth Excavation. That was the case with this customer. He knew our reputation and wanted us to do his project.”

In 1986, Paul Toth began building a reputation for quality work done on time and on budget, starting with one truck and an excavator, moving dirt. He’s since completed countless excavation projects on Staten Island, as well as in Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey.

“I don’t think anyone has worked as hard as my uncle Paul,” said Godfrey. “He started out by himself, and when he worked on a job, he jumped back and forth from the machine to the truck. Whatever it took to make it work, he was determined to do it. That determination paid off, as he now has a successful business.”

Paul Toth Excavating maintains its roots as an excavation company, providing services such as land clearing and leveling for residential, commercial and industrial sites and digging foundations, pools, basements and utility lines. If sheeting and shoring is necessary, Paul Toth Excavation can handle that as well.

Working in and around the city of New York often calls for excavation and sheeting or shoring on the same project, such as the commercial job the company completed about two years ago on Bay Parkway in Brooklyn.

“It’s probably the largest job we’ve ever done,” said Godfrey. “Within a couple of months, we moved about 10,000 yards of material and installed full sheeting and shoring for a new building with commercial space, as well as hundreds of condos. One nice aspect was that all the dirt was used to build a park, so we hauled it away and gave the city a machine it could use to spread it out.”

Added services

Paul Toth Excavation

In addition to excavation work, Paul Toth Excavation performs demolition, tackling everything from simple garage tear downs to razing large industrial buildings. The company’s largest demolition project to date involved removing four buildings and concrete pads at the decommissioned Homeport Naval Base on Staten Island.

“They were massive, old government buildings that were over-built to withstand any type of attack, so the concrete in some places was 5- to 6-feet thick and reinforced with rebar,” recalled Godfrey. “We took out thousands of yards of concrete, as well as construction and demolition debris, and crushed much of it on site for reuse. A few months ago, we went back in for another company and removed a couple thousand yards of dirt to prepare the site for a new building.

“No two demo jobs are ever the same,” he added. “It’s become more complex on the residential side too. For instance, because many neighborhoods have houses very close together, machinery isn’t always an option. During the past few years, we’ve increasingly had to do more work by hand, which adds time. It’s just part of working in a large city, and fortunately, we have the expertise to do it.”

Paul Toth Excavation also handles C&D and other types of waste for itself and outside customers, with a container-service division. The company has about 100, 10- to 40-cubic-foot containers available to rent. Paul Toth Excavation can drop them off to customers and will pick up the containers and haul away the trash as needed.

“We’re the only company on the island that offers the 10-, 15- and short 20-yard containers,” said Godfrey. “Those will get into the tightest spots imaginable, so that’s something that really sets us apart from the competition. Trash is taken to a transfer station, but we have the ability to recycle concrete, rock and other materials.”

Little turnover

The company’s original employee, Wayne Debach, is still on staff, along with several other longtime employees. Family members in the business include Greg’s mother, Deborah, who does bookkeeping and his cousin Nancy, who works part-time on the container-service side.

“We have very little turnover,” said Godfrey. “Paul treats the staff well, and we respond by giving an honest, hard-day’s work. We have a great group of trustworthy people who are dedicated to the company’s success. You couldn’t ask for better employees.”

Long-lasting Komatsu equipment

Paul Toth Excavation

Throughout the years, Paul Toth Excavation has had very little turnover in its equipment fleet. The company began buying Komatsu equipment about 20 years ago, purchasing a used PC300 hydraulic excavator that’s still in use.

“The serial number says it was manufactured in 1986, and it runs great and maintains good power,” said Godfrey, noting the company also owns a Hamm roller. “We use the PC300 for excavation, demolition, working with boulders and other tasks, and it has no issues handling even the toughest work. That’s a testament to Komatsu’s quality, and one reason why we’ve continued to add Komatsu to our fleet.”

More recent acquisitions include a Tier 4 Interim PC240LC-10 excavator and a WA380-7 wheel loader. “Every Komatsu machine we own has given us excellent production, and they last, which is big for us because we like to keep machinery a long time,” said Godfrey. “Each new model has added technology that makes it more efficient, and Komatsu adds value with features like KOMTRAX. I really like that I can be on one jobsite and have the ability to check on a machine on another with my smart phone or from the office with my computer.”

While Paul Toth Excavation handles service on its older machines, scheduled maintenance on Tier 4 models is covered complimentary by Edward Ehrbar, Inc. under the Komatsu CARE program. “They call me when service is due and schedule it at our jobsite, at our convenience,” said Godfrey. “Service like that goes above and beyond, but we’ve come to expect it from Komatsu and Ehrbar. We have built a solid relationship with them, and our Sales Rep Steve Gambutti is great to work with, as is Ehrbar in general. Anything we need, they’re right on it.”

Get your hands dirty

Godfrey is relatively young at 25 but has plenty of experience working for Paul Toth Excavation. He took on the general manager role not long ago and hopes someday in the distant future to take over the business.

“Since I was 10, I’ve hung around and observed how the business works, and I truly enjoy being a part of it,” he said. “What I’ve learned from Paul is invaluable, and I hope to be able to take on more and more responsibility as time goes on. Paul’s a great teacher and has taught me about estimating, bidding and running jobs. But more than that, he’s taught me how hard work pays off. You can’t run a business like this sitting in an office or riding around in a pickup all day checking on jobsites. You have to get your hands dirty, and Paul leads by example. That’s why the company is successful and customers continue to call us.”