Durability, versatility of Komatsu equipment stands out
For the past three to four years, Daughrity Excavating & Trucking, LLC has been in transition. Originally, the Chapel Hill, Tenn., firm focused mainly on small residential work with occasional commercial projects mixed in.
“We turned that around and are now almost exclusively working on projects for retail stores, schools and other nonresidential markets,” said Joseph Daughrity, who along with his wife, Rebecca, own and operate Daughrity Excavating & Trucking as President and Vice President respectively. “Residential work involves a lot of moving around and one-day or short-term jobs. Commercial allows you to stay at one site for a longer time.
“The increase in commercial work has helped us grow, too,” explained Daughrity. “It allowed us to expand our offerings and become more of a full-service site contractor, so we handle everything from clearing to topsoiling and finish grading. We also install utilities such as storm, water and sewer systems.”
Daughrity Excavating & Trucking runs multiple jobs at a time, depending on their scope and stage of development. Daughrity estimates that assignments range in size from $100,000 to $2.5 million. He prefers to do full site packages, but will perform excavation- or utility-only projects upon request.
‘Take it to the bank’
It’s a long way from Daughrity Excavating & Trucking’s humble beginnings when Daughrity worked alone with a skid steer, a pickup and a gooseneck trailer. He mainly focused on small residential yard jobs in and around Chapel Hill. Today, the company serves all of middle Tennessee, including the Nashville metro area.
“I took whatever work I could get,” Daughrity recalled. “I beat the streets, talking to developers. Fortunately, the early 2000s were pretty good for homebuilders, and they kept me busy. I made connections with some larger general contractors, and that catapulted me into bigger jobs. Eventually, I bought a backhoe as well as a dump truck and started putting in utilities.”
Daughrity’s work ethic and penchant for delivering quality projects on time earned him numerous repeat customers. Today, he still works with several of them.
“If I give them my word, they know they can depend on me,” shared Daughrity. “I’ve always prided myself on that. When I hand them a bid and say we can do the work at the price I give and will start on a certain date, they can take it to the bank.”
The Daughritys also credit their staff of approximately 15 people for the company’s ability to complete jobs in a timely manner. Among them is original employee, Jamie Russell, who has been with the company since its founding 16 years ago. Another key person is General Superintendent Zach Townsend.
“We believe our staff is the best in the business,” said Daughrity. “Our people are experienced, dedicated and put every effort into ensuring customer satisfaction. Like Jamie, several people have been with us long-term. We’re loyal to them; and they are, in turn, loyal to us. They take the company’s success to heart, and we appreciate everything they do.”
Komatsu’s durability stands out
Daughrity Excavating & Trucking recently completed its largest project to date. It cut and removed about 100,000 cubic yards of earth for a new car dealership in Mount Juliet. Existing on-site materials were unstable, so the company hauled in and placed 60,000 tons of shot rock. It also installed a large, underground detention system that included nearly 6,500 feet of storm piping and almost 50 structures.
On another project in Smyrna, a Daughrity crew put in roughly 3,000 feet of water and 2,000 feet of storm-sewer lines, as well as 1,000 feet of sanitary sewer for a new storage facility. The job involved hammering rocky soils in order to open trenches for the underground pipe. The resulting materials were reused on site.
“Rock excavation is common in this area, so we are used to it and know how to effectively deal with it,” said Daughrity. “In some cases, blasting can be done, but on the Smyrna project there were natural gas lines on site, so that was not an option. Instead, we used two Komatsu PC360 excavators with 7,500-pound Montabert hammers that we rented from Power Equipment, and our own PC200 equipped with a 5,000-pound hammer.”
Daughrity acquired all three excavators from Power Equipment Company’s La Vergne branch with the help of Territory Manager Joe Tant. The PC360LCs came from Power Equipment’s Certified Rental fleet, as did a Komatsu D65EX dozer, which Daughrity rented for the same project. Additionally, he has purchased or leased Komatsu PC290LC, PC210LC and PC138USLC excavators and a Komatsu WA200 wheel loader.
“Komatsu excavators became our main production machines after I purchased the PC200 approximately 10 years ago,” recalled Daughrity. “It now has more than 10,000 hours on it, and the only work that’s been done to it, other than routine maintenance, is replacing a hydraulic pump. That’s a testament to Komatsu’s durability, especially considering that it is almost entirely dedicated to hammering, which is a very tough application.”
In addition to durability, the versatility of Komatsu equipment stands out to Daughrity. “That really holds true with the PC210, PC290 and WA200. The excavators can handle virtually any small- to medium-sized job. We use them to load trucks, move mass amounts of dirt, dig utility trenches and more. The WA200 is equipped with a quick coupler to easily change from bucket to forks and back, so we backfill, move pipe and load trucks with it.”
Power Equipment plays a big role
Power Equipment performs maintenance on the rented equipment as well as on newer Tier 4 machines through the Komatsu CARE program. Technicians do the work on site and at a convenient time that minimizes Daughrity Excavating & Trucking’s downtime. Komatsu CARE is complimentary for the first three years or 2,000 hours and includes a 50-point inspection.
“They call ahead of time to let us know a service interval is close, schedule it and get it done,” noted Daughrity. “I like that Power’s technicians take care of it, so we can concentrate more of our time and resources on production. We handle maintenance on most of our other machines with parts from Power. They are good about having them on-hand when we need them. Joe is the reason we started using Komatsu in the first place. The service that he and Power Equipment provide plays a big role in why we continue to purchase and rent from them.”
Back to more residential?
The business could make another shift, according to Daughrity. It recently started its first residential subdivision development that involves performing a package of services.
“We would like to bump up that area a little more, and possibly grow some, too,” he indicated. “What we don’t want is massive growth that takes away the personal touch that we have with our customers. I’m able to be on most jobsites every day, and I still do all the bidding and scheduling of jobs. About the only thing I have given up is running equipment, but I still get in a machine from time to time.
“Expansion will only happen if I believe we can continue to meet customers’ expectations,” Daughrity added. “We built our niche and have remained busy, and that’s how we would like to keep it.”