Dave Kinnison has a reputation for working hard—so hard that his wife Cheryl suggested he start his own company rather that put in so much effort for someone else.
He started Kinnison Excavating Inc. in 1994, bringing on six guys from the sewer crew of his former employer. Ultimately, the former employer went out of business and Kinnison took over the work they could no longer perform.
“The TB290 is twice as fast as any other small excavator we have, so we can get the work done faster.” Dave Kinnison; President, Kinnison Excavating Inc.
A few years later, Kinnison Excavating became a union shop to get better projects subcontracting for bigger companies. The company has contracted with many of the biggest names in Ohio construction, including R.B. Jergens, John R. Jurgensen, The Ruhlin Company and Miller Brothers out of Archbold.
Kinnison Excavating is a water and sewer contractor that installs about 50,000 feet of pipe each year, usually working within 100 miles of Dayton. The company specializes in deep pipes, generally those that are at least 20 feet deep. “That specialty gets us a lot of contracts. If the pipe is very large or very deep, people call us,” Kinnison said.
For example, the company recently completed a $2-million contract to replace sanitary sewer pumping stations in Piqua, Ohio, putting in four new sewage pump stations. “The shallowest was 16 feet deep and the deepest was 35 feet. It also included a 24-foot deep gravity flow sewer,” he noted. The project took about 10 months.
Kinnison has been a Columbus Equipment Company customer since he opened his business, but he didn’t have any experience with Takeuchi equipment until a few years ago. At that time, he had a water and sewer job in Miami County, laying 15,000 feet of 8-inch sanitary main, 15,000 feet of 8-inch water main and hooking up 350 houses to the system. “We had to go into the back yards to hook the houses up to the sewer,” he explained, so he needed some compact equipment.
He purchased a Takeuchi TL8 compact track loader and a TB260 excavator for that project. They performed so well, he soon bought a TB290 excavator, too. All three pieces are fast and versatile, he said.
“We use the TL8 to feed backfill in tight areas and to feed gravel to the sewer bedding box,” Kinnison said. “It’s an extremely efficient machine.” He also likes the design of the front window in the TL8, which retracts back, allowing the operator to run the machine with or without the window.
The compact excavators are also fast. “The TB290 is twice as fast as any other small excavator we have, so we can get the work done faster,” the contractor said.
“When the injection pump on an excavator failed, Columbus Equipment was here within two hours to look at it.” Dave Kinnison; President, Kinnison Excavating Inc.
He and his crew members also like the roomy cab in the Takeuchi excavators. “Takeuchi has the biggest cabs of any small excavator on the market, and it’s easy for us to get in and out of them.” Kinnison estimates the average size of his crew members is 6 feet tall and 225 pounds, which can make the typical compact excavator seem confining.
In addition to their excellent performance on the job, the Takeuchis are easy to maintain, which cuts the cost of ownership. From the hydraulics to the filters, everything is easily accessible and easy to work on, Kinnison said. “Because of that, our service mechanics like working on the Takeuchi machines.”
Other than routine maintenance, however, there hasn’t been much need for repair work on the machines. “The Taks perform great,” Kinnison said. “We haven’t had any problems since we purchased them.”
Kinnison has purchased about 25 pieces of equipment from Columbus Equipment Company since he started his business, and he has been happy with the service he gets from Mike Early, his sales representative, and from the parts and service departments.
For instance, “when the injection pump on an excavator failed, Columbus Equipment was here within two hours to look at it.” When technicians realized they’d have to replace the pump, Columbus Equipment Company arranged for a loaner excavator and fixed Kinnison’s machine under warranty.
“Mike Early makes sure you get what you need to prevent downtime,” Kinnison added. “If we need a loaner, he just says come and get it and we’ll worry about it later. Other dealers don’t have that kind of service ability and equipment on hand.”
“Parts availability is excellent, too,” he observed. “I can’t remember the last time I had to wait for a part.”
After suggesting Dave start his own company, Cheryl Kinnison has done her part by handling the company’s books and helping manage company operations. Their four children also work in the family business. Son Dylan is an operator and daughters Megan, Amber and Sieria are laborers.
“Columbus Equipment Company really helped me to get where I am today,” Kinnison said.
Thanks, Dave, but we think Kinnison Excavating is a perfect example of how hard work—and hard-working equipment—can pay off.