Tips on Controlling Operating Costs in Construction and Landscaping

19.09.18 10:41 AM Comment(s) By Cratos

More efficiency. Less fuel and manpower needed

At the risk of sounding like “Business Rules 101,” your profit margin has two main moving parts: revenue and expense. If you want greater profits, increase revenue or reduce expense. Revenue increases run the risk of employee overload or sacrificing quality if you don’t have the pieces in place to handle new work. What can you do about expense?

Cost-cutting is generally the easiest way to improve profitability. What are some of the most dramatic changes you can make that allow you to see measurable change? The answer is often finding ways to operate more efficiently. You use less money, but you’ll maintain – or even increase – quality. Here are a few tips:

Make it a core value

People who’ve lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off will tell you that their secret to success is the understanding that going on a diet isn’t an intermittent or temporary state of being. Maintaining optimal weight and health is an ongoing process that starts … with the understanding that it’s an ongoing process.

Organizations that shift into cost-cutting mode only when it’s necessary to meet budget goals often set themselves up to experience the same yo-yo effect that people experience when they only think about crash dieting. There’s a tendency to overcompensate, and then there’s the consequence of regaining even more weight than what was lost.

Choose the mindset of continuous operational efficiency – rather than intermittent cost-cutting – and skip the profit margin roller coaster ride. The sacrifices are less drastic and the rewards are greater when you and your team constantly strive to find ways of lowering operational costs.

Chopping away at big operational expenses

Construction and landscaping companies see a large percentage of their operating costs go toward fuel and maintenance for equipment. It’s the case even when fuel costs are low. Let’s stay with the analogy of better eating to maintain weight, rather than crash dieting.

What can you feed your diesel-, gasoline-, and profit-gobbling equipment instead? A better approach would be to invest in construction and landscaping equipment that doesn’t consume gasoline or diesel fuel. Companies that have invested in battery-powered construction or landscaping equipment see an immediate decrease in operating costs from fuel alone.

Meet the electric Sherpa

Triple E offers a battery-powered electric mini skid-steer called the Sherpa 100 ECO.  The space that normally would have housed an internal combustion engine now features a 360-ampere battery pack. It powers this mini skid-steer for up to eight hours of continuous use.

There’s nothing diminished about this rugged piece of construction equipment. You’ve got 450 foot-pounds of hydraulic impact energy when you use the hammer attachment, and you can add a bucket to convert it into a mini dozer. Will, it cost you upfront to invest in equipment like this? The answer is yes. However, let’s take the cost to run a Sherpa vs. its combustion-powered competitors into consideration.

  • The estimated weekly cost to recharge a Sherpa is just $8.25.
  • The current average cost of a single gallon of diesel fuel is above $3.

Potentially bigger savings are found when comparing what a Sherpa can do – indoors and out – instead of relying on equivalent manual labor. If it’s used in place of 5 manual laborers, it could save $6,800 per week.

Plus, with its narrow width, it can easily maneuver through standard doorways. The electric motor offers almost silent operation, with zero emissions – so it’s OSHA-compliant for indoor operation.

The bottom line for your bottom line

The switch to environmentally friendly construction and landscaping equipment can make a dramatic impact on your operating costs. Fuel savings aren’t the only break your operating budget gets. Electric equipment has fewer moving parts, so there’s less that can go wrong. You’ll save on general maintenance costs, as well.

Forbes recently looked at electric vehicles versus their traditional counterparts. The article cites a study by Michigan-based Transportation Research Institute. The investigation concluded that electric vehicles cost less than half the cost to operate than a vehicle with a motor powered by gasoline or diesel fuel. The study found maintenance costs to be less for electric vehicles because they have no exhaust system, fewer moving parts overall, and no need to change things like oil, fan belts, air filters, or spark plugs.

Controlling operating costs can be a lot like successful dieting. Doing it right means it’s not temporary, and it often involves discarding outmoded approaches that have built-in expenses. Will you pay more up front? Yes. But you’ll also quickly see the return on your investment.

Use this cost savings calculatorto find out what your net profit would be after just a year with the Sherpa on the job.


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