GARDEN CITY, Ga. - When Robert Baker made the decision in 2002 to buy Volvo's very first B-Series excavator, he knew he was getting a machine that would provide power and performance. What he didn't know was the purchase of that machine would lead to 24 additional units and that R.B. Baker Construction would become one of the largest Volvo excavator customers in North America.
Baker's firm, R.B. Baker Construction, Inc., specializes in site and road development in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Founded in 1990, the company now has offices in Garden City, Ga., and St. Augustine, Fla., and employs 350 people.
Of the company's fleet of 28 full-sized crawler excavators, 25 are now Volvo. According to Cleveland Foskey, R.B. Baker's equipment manager, the decision to go with Volvo was based on a number of factors.
"We like Volvo because of the service we receive, the durability of the machine, its fuel economy and the fact that it's operator friendly," Foskey said. "Volvo's an all-around good machine."
Baker, the firm's president, agrees that Volvo has been a solid performer.
"R.B. Baker Construction has been very pleased with the productivity and reliability of our Volvo excavators," Baker said. "Even when we have put the machines in the toughest of conditions, they have continued to meet or exceed our expectations."
Still, at the end of the day, making a profit is what is most important. It's there, Foskey said, that Volvo excavators have a decided edge over the competition.
Foskey says he thought that the Volvo fleet would save him money over the long haul in maintenance and fuel costs. What he didn't anticipate was just how much.
Impressive maintenance cost savings
Taking into consideration all service and maintenance expenses, Foskey estimates that the average per hour cost to run his Volvo excavators is about half that of the costliest of the three non-Volvo machines the firm has in its excavator fleet.
"That adds up to real dollars," Foskey said, referring to potential maintenance and service cost savings he anticipates during the lifetime of R.B. Baker's 25 Volvo excavators.
He projects that the firm will run each of the Volvo units for 8,000 hours over a four-year period, which translates into thousands of dollars in cost savings on routine service and maintenance.
Sam Wyant, Volvo product manager, said the service and maintenance cost savings are due in great part to Volvo's well thought-out design.
"We believe that a low-maintenance machine is a valuable investment," Wyant said. "It means more up-time, greater productivity and fewer jobsite hassles. That's why the B-series has features to make routine maintenance fast and easy."
Every B-series unit includes features such as a long-life hydraulic filter; improved air filter efficiency and serviceability; a quick and common oil drain with valve; high filter capacities for longer service intervals; and a hinged-type undercover for easy access to the engine oil filter.
The Volvo dealer providing service to R.B. Baker is L.B. Smith, Savannah, Ga., which is represented by Frank Dabbs.