ATX met one of Wes’ key needs: “It doesn’t destroy jobsites. “
Function or form? This is a question we all face, both in professional and personal life. Basically, should something be useful or look good?
Wes Alseth said, “Why can’t you have both? “
Alseth and his wife, Steph, own Red Oak Landscape and Design, where the idea of having both function and form is key to how they serve clients. While those outside the company might think that the landscape is all about form – pretty shrubs, attractive cobblestone patios, attractive retaining walls – any professional landscaper would likely agree with Wes.
“Good landscaping is as much about function as it is form,” he said. “From drainage issues to privacy needs, we use landscaping as a solution to guest problems, while adding visual beauty to their home.”
Landscape and red oak design
Red Oak Landscape and Design is based in Big Lake, Minnesota, just outside of the Twin Cities metro area. During the first years that the Alseths were business owners, they saw their business increase steadily, in line with the growing suburban area they serve.
Wes and Steph found a good balance between sharing time between the office and the job site. Wes does most of the sales and design work and manages the equipment on site. Steph manages the calendar and the accounts and takes care more of the manual and detailed work.
By choice, Red Oak Landscape and Design does not have a large fleet of equipment.
“When we started our business, we bought the only machine we could afford, a compact tractor,” Wes said.
The company offers a full range of services including demonstration, removal, edging, tree and shrub planting, patios, retaining walls, and mulch and stone installation. With a diverse lineup of offerings, coupled with steady growth, Wes recently realized he needed to consider upgrading to a more versatile machine.
“Our compact tractor wasn’t cutting it anymore, so my first thought was to need a skid-steer loader,” he said.
However, he quickly took the skid steer out of the controversy, not because it couldn’t provide the versatility he was looking for, but because of two challenges.
First challenge: bring equipment and materials to where they need to be.
“The houses are so close to each other, sometimes there are fences and gates, and it gets pretty narrow. It’s pretty common,” Wes said, noting that he would need a machine with a even more compact design than a skid steer loader. Another layer of this problem was something more unique to his business: often having multiple clients in the same neighborhood.
“A machine designed to move quickly from house to house would be a plus,” he said.
Second challenge: delicate residential lawns.
“Skid steer loaders are heavy and I’ve had direct experience with them damaging lawns,” Wes said. “I remember it would add at least another day and cost us to go back and fix the damage done by the machine.”
With his specific criteria, Wes feared it would be a long way to find exactly what he wanted. Then he came across the Vermeer ATX compact articulated loader.
Find the right equipment
“When I’m looking for something, I’m looking for it to death,” Wes said, laughing.
His extensive research led to the Vermeer ATX.
“It sounded like exactly what I needed. It had tons of specific accessories and it doesn’t destroy jobsites.”
Digging deeper, Wes found a video of RDO Equipment Co. this gave him a better understanding of how the ATX moved and worked. He was pleasantly surprised to learn that the nearest RDO store was only 20 minutes from Big Lake, just off Interstate 94 in the city of Dayton.
Wes toured the store and met two members of the Vermeer-focused team: Mark Rieckhoff, RDO Regional Sales Manager, and Pat Arnold, Account Manager. The ATX was brand new to the market in 2021, but Rieckhoff and Arnold were able to give Wes the full rundown and roundup.
Wanting to start the relationship off right and give Wes complete confidence in his purchase, Arnold also gave him the opportunity to try the ATX. That sealed the deal for Wes.
“As soon as I demonstrated it, I bought it,” he said.
In the same way that Wes and Steph approach their clients with a problem-solving mind, the RDO team is also committed to meeting challenges for clients. Arnold wanted to help Wes get the most out of his investment in the machine and really solve his number one problem, the need for more versatility. Enter the attachments.
Get the right accessories
Upon learning about Wes’ business and challenge, Arnold realized that the ATX would be the only machine in Red Oak’s fleet, as Wes planned to sell the compact tractor and use the proceeds from his new investment. . He and Wes discussed all of the applications the ATX would need to perform, and Arnold knew the right accessories would be the key to solving Wes’ challenge.
Arnold outlined the options available, pointing out a handful that he believed would accomplish what Wes needed. Based on typical compact equipment sales, Arnold expected Wes to invest in two, maybe three attachments from the start.
“Wes stepped up this game and ordered seven,” said Arnold.
Wes was quick to point out that he actually wanted even more attachments to get started, but initially settled on three different types of bucket, two types of forks, a grapple, and an auger.
Almost immediately after taking it out to the job site, Wes was happy with the machine, saying, “It didn’t live up to my expectations. She exceeded my expectations.
Due to its weight and turf tires, the ATX causes minimal disturbance to the ground. It achieved Wes’s goal of eliminating costly lawn damage and tedious touch-ups. Plus, the machine’s design allows Wes to get where he needs to go, quickly, which includes going house to house and through narrow doors and access points.
The other game changer for Wes returns to work.
“Attachments are what I love the most about the ATX,” he said. “If there is a specific task I need to accomplish, I just exchange the attachment I need.”
The features and possibilities offered by the attachments offered the added benefit of saving Wes time and money in another area – and, more importantly, solving another major problem.
“Renting is a great option, but it doesn’t always make the most sense for us,” he said. “There is a cost, but it also adds time to the process: driving to the rental center, getting settled, bringing back the equipment. With our small team, we don’t always have time for this.
With limited equipment, Wes often turns to short-term rentals when he needs to complete a specific task. But now, with the ATX, Wes said, “I can keep adding attachments instead of renting.”
With demolition being one of Red Oak’s key services, Wes is considering a jackhammer as the next accessory he plans to purchase.
He and Steph appreciate how the function and shape of the machine saves real job site savings, both in time and labor.
“The mulch dress is a common spring project,” Wes said. “A job that required 30 meters, we would do it with four workers and a wheelbarrow, and it would take us at least two days. Now we’re doing the same job with two people and the ATX, and it only takes a day. . “
As well as the machine has worked, the equipment is nothing without a backup service. For the RDO team, it was important to demonstrate their parts and service support capabilities to show Wes how they approach the partnership long after a machine has been sold and work towards their goal of creating a customer at life in Red Oak Landscape and Design.
“At some point, every machine will need service,” said Arnold.
Whether it’s during routine maintenance or a breakdown, he shares that RDO customers have the confidence that they will get the parts and service they need, when they need them.
Wes can attest to this, seeing this timely promise of service in action early on.
“RDO saved my life the first time I used the grapple,” he said. “Long story short, I made a mistake and the coupler broke. RDO dispatched a service technician within an hour. He was able to take the part back to the shop and fix it, then get the part back. repaired part and install it on the machine the same day. “
It’s still quite early in Wes’ use of the ATX Vermeer, but he appreciates knowing the RDO team is backing him up with any issues or issues.
“It’s like auto or home insurance,” Rieckhoff said, referring to equipment service support. “You hope you never need it, but you absolutely have to know it’s there.
All in one working day
The Vermeer ATX has helped Red Oak Landscape and Design continue to deliver on its promise of delivering both function and form to customers. The versatility and speed of the machine allowed the team to meet the growing demand. Wes was able to continue to divide his time between being in the office, meeting clients and getting down to business.
“As we grow it is absolutely crucial for Steph and I that we continue to work on site, to do the work for our customers,” he said. “We don’t want to spend all day in the office. We like to get dirty,
For more information, visit RDOequipment.com.
(This article is courtesy of RDO Equipment.)