SJ Earthworks Receives Machine of Many Talents

16 December 2021

SJ Earthworks Receives Machine of Many Talents

The versatility of Cat’s 306 CR mini excavator, and the support of the Hastings Deering team, have a Queensland-based sole operator ready to take on the world

When you are a one-man earthworks operation without the ability to call upon a wide fleet of machines, selecting something reliable and versatile is crucial.

For Queensland-based SJ Earthworks, the answer to that crucial decision is Cat’s 306 CR mini excavator.

It was Cat’s Next Gen technology that convinced SJ Earthworks owner Scott Johnson to upgrade, combined with the relationship he has built with dealer Hastings Deering since taking over an existing earthworks business in 2014.

“I chose the 306 purely because of the Next Gen technology and the features that come with it, like the dust-sealed cab, stick steer mode, Bluetooth hands-free, the LCD touchscreen and that’s what really got me onboard with the Next Gen,” Scott says.

Cat 306 CR Mini Excavator Cab Environment

“The benefit is tenfold. You go for so long without it, then you get it and think ‘how did I go for so long without it?’

“It makes my life easier being an operator and comfortable in the cab sitting in there for 10 hours a day.”

Scott has been a loyal Cat customer since starting the business. While it was the purchase of two second-hand machines that started the affiliation, it was the relationships built with Hastings Deering - specifically with sales representative Tom Whetton - that has guaranteed Scott’s loyalty.

“When I first started, I bought a combo that was already set up from Caterpillar - a 226 wheeled skid steer loader and a 304 mini excavator,” Scott says.

Cat 259 D3 and Cat 306 Next Generation Mini Excavator

“Those machines weren’t very old and were still under the Cat warranty, so Tom came out and introduced himself. 

“He said he had sold them to the guy who I bought them off and just wanted to show his face and touch base.

“He’s a good, genuine bloke who took the time out of his day to meet me and make sure I was happy with the machines that I had purchased, even though I hadn’t purchased them from him.

“He kept in touch throughout the life of those machines and the relationship we’ve had is good – you stay loyal to them, they stay loyal to you and look after you on certain things. 

“I can’t fault them at all and anywhere you go, whether it’s servicing or parts, they’re always there to help. It doesn’t matter if they have seen your face before or not.”

Dealing with an organisation filled with friendly and helpful people is, naturally, going to make life much easier and more enjoyable for a contractor such as SJ Earthworks.

A natural willingness to help is only part of the equation though because it needs to be backed up by a tangible ability to provide whatever is needed in the situation.

Hastings Deering Sales Representative, Tom Whetton, and SJ Earthworks, Scott Johnson

Hastings Deering has always been extremely reliable with having quick access to needed parts, Scott says, and the dealer has taken its commitment further by announcing a ‘your hose in two hours or it’s free’ initiative in recent months.

For a “one-man band” like SJ Earthworks, without several identical excavators to alternate between, quick access to parts to minimise downtime when something does go wrong is imperative.

“You can order parts any time of the day - Saturday, Sunday, midnight – and you can go in there within the next couple of hours and pick your order up to keep the machine going,” Scott says.

“It’s happened a couple of times where I’ve blown a hydraulic hose or whatever, and I’ve just called Hastings Deering up, given the part number and it’s there on the shelf.

“If it isn’t, it’s there on the shelf in a couple of hours and I pick it up, fit it that night and get back to work the next day. 

“With some other machines you can’t really do that, you’ve got to get a hose doctor out and they have to make the hose.”

Cat’s 306 CR mini excavator is one of the manufacturer’s latest releases and Scott only purchased it this August.

Cat says it offers 67 per cent increased lift capacity and 27 per cent more power, compared to the previous 305.5 E2CR model.

It also offers 57.9hp (43.2kW) of power and has a bucket breakout force of 51.5kN. Weighing in at 6,410kg, it is 1.98m wide and has a dig depth of up to 3.71m.

As part of Cat’s Next Gen series, it is also packed with the technology Scott highlighted to make long days inside the cabin more comfortable for the operator.

Cat 306 CR Next Generation Mini Excavator

Scott also says the increased lifting capacity is something he has noticed while using the 306 CR, while praising the “finishing touches” included by Cat.

“I’ve lifted a couple of things which are quite heavy, and it seems to do it with ease,” he says. 

“The lifting power on the 306 is phenomenal for a mini excavator.

“I also think Cat are ahead of the game with the finishing touches on the machines. 

“We sit in these things for 10 to 12 hours a day and you don’t want to be sitting on a crate or something uncomfortable. Their seats, controls and armrests are comfortable for us to sit in all day.

“The 306 is a good machine for a lot of things, from digging to getting into tighter areas. You can put it through its paces, and it performs well to move the cubic metres of dirt.

“It’s still a mini excavator but it’s got a lot to offer.”

-Article written by Earthmovers & Excavators Magazine-


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