California fleet reporting ensues

As Jerry Reed’s infamous East Bound and Down lyrics proclaim, “We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there.” As of April 1, California contractors and those working in the state classified as large off-road fleets – or overall horsepower of 5,001 and up – must report fleet data to California ARB’s Diesel Off-road On-line Reporting System (DOORS), as required by the In-Use Off-Road Diesel Vehicle regulation.

Medium fleets, or those with 2,501 to 5,000 horsepower, and small fleets, with 2,500 horsepower or less, have until June 1 and August 1, respectively.

The regulation requires California fleets and those working in the state with 25-horsepower engines or greater to either meet fleet average targets for specific emissions, apply exhaust retrofits and/or turnover a percentage of the fleets’ horsepower per year. Large fleets’ must meet emissions compliance by March 1, 2010, while medium and small fleets have until 2013 and 2015.

For support, California Caterpillar dealers, such as Hawthorne Cat, based in San Diego, California, offer emissions compliance counseling and in-house retrofitting services.

Hawthorne Cat, for example, has hosted free awareness seminars for the past four years.
“People are still sticking their heads in the sand not believing this regulation is going to happen,” says Mike Carcioppolo, corporate manager, product support sales, Hawthorne Cat. “The reality is, a lot of contractors will feel the financial effects of the regulation, including possibly closing their doors.”

The cost for an emissions-free state is high for contractors: up to $25,000 per verified retrofit device, not including servicing costs.

At a seminar last month, Hawthorne detailed ways contractors can meet or get ahead of requirements, in addition to showing attendees how to enter fleet data into DOORS. “First, report all equipment information (including any retrofitting, repowering or retiring) you’ve done in the past three years to help attain early extra credits,” explains Jeff Wood, emissions/technology specialist with Hawthorne. “Also, report every piece of equipment now. Then if you have to later, you can sell it or repower/retrofit it.”

To help contractors get organized, Hawthorne uses Cat’s Fleet Compliance Software for its customers free of charge, which compiles fleet data into a spreadsheet-like database. The software alerts users when a machine falls out of compliance and calculates annual emissions reduction targets according to fleet make up.

So far, Hawthorne has helped approximately 70 companies prepare for the regulation.
Phil Kolarik, corporate equipment superintendent, Traylor Equipment, has worked to ready his company’s large fleet since the early stages. “We’ve been repowering since 2003, and we now have Tier 3 engines on almost 50 percent of our fleet, with close to 200 major pieces total,” Kolarik says.

The rule has ignited concern in both long-time contractors and those new to the business. “I don’t want to grow my company because of this,” says Scott Bolle, president of Code 3 Electrical, based in El Cajon, California. “It’s better for me not to purchase equipment and instead subcontract some work out, because there’s no way to take on all these costs.”

While Hawthorne expects more state- and government-funded projects to take off due to the California ARB rule, the dealer told seminar attendees to think about options for continuing their businesses, including rental. Hawthorne alone outfitted more than 650 of its rental fleet since last August, according to Kerri Toepfer, emissions specialist, rental fleet, Hawthorne.

For more information on fleet reporting or the California ARB regulation, visit
– Barbara Cox

L.E. Davis named 2009 Contractor of the Year

This Harrison, Arkansas contractor learned how to run a successful business in homebuilding and then applied those same skills when he diversified into heavy construction. And he’s pretty good at restoring muscle cars, too.

Granite Construction doubles profits
Proof that even in California, even in these difficult times, if you run a tight ship you can still make it work.

Buyers Market

The Kissimmee, Florida auctions each February are always a haven for used equipment buyers. This year’s sales revealed a buyer’s market, with significant drops in used equipment prices from last year’s Florida events.
-Jennifer Taylor, Top Bid

Top Bid, a division of Randall-Reilly Publishing, provides auction price reference materials and serial number guides. For more information go to

Vermeer founder dies
Gary Vermeer, founder and chairman emeritus of Vermeer, died February 2, in Pella, Iowa, at the age of 90. Vermeer founded the company, which now manufactures more than 100 products, with a cousin in 1948.

Vermeer is survived by his wife, Matilda, and three children and their spouses. Two of Vermeer’s children, Robert Vermeer and Mary Vermeer Andringa, serve as co-chief executive officers of the company.

Case, New Holland tap rental markets
Two brands of CNH Global are taking different approaches to attract segments of the rental market. A Case Construction Equipment agreement with the True Value hardware cooperative targets True Values’ appeal to the homeowner and small contractor market. And New Holland Construction’s Rental Partner Program takes aim at smaller independent rental dealers.

Now more than 1,000 True Value network locations, including True Value Rental, Taylor Rental, Just Ask Rental and Grand Rental Station, can order Case equipment, backed by the local Case dealer. While each cooperative determines individual fleet needs, Case sees the agreement “as a big opportunity for our skid steers, compact excavators and crawler track loaders,” says Mike Kickhofel, national account manager.

New Holland’s Rental Partner program is designed to help their dealers form supply partnerships with local, independent rental companies. New Holland thinks the leasing offered in these credit crunch times will be especially attractive, says Edgar Chavez, director of marketing. “They’ll have immediate access to financing, training, customer support, parts and service,” he says.
-Marcia Gruver