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Contractor chooses smaller machines, increases work volume

Matt Weinert, Owner, High Demand Earth Work & Vineyard Development

As a big iron guy and formally trained technician, Matt Weinert spent years in the ag business moving dirt with his beloved giant dozers. But once he recognized the market shift to smaller machines, he jumped aboard the wave and his work volume has gone through the roof.

Founded by Weinert in 2006, High Demand Earth Work & Vineyard Development, headquartered in Napa Valley, Calif. has transitioned from heavy earthmoving, to almost half of its work being culverts, drainage systems and installing smaller infrastructure irrigation systems in the Napa vineyards.

Agricultural land values in the exclusive Napa Valley remain the highest in California, and can top $350,000 per acre. Property owners want to protect their valuable vineyards’ precious volcanic loam soil that creates the perfect growing conditions for vineyards.

Weinert applies his extremely versatile, environmentally friendly, Tier 4 teammates—a new Cat® 308 CR Mini Excavator with rubber tracks and a low-ground-pressure Cat 289D CTL—to cleanly and cost-efficiently perform landclearing, cut drainage ditches, rip out and rake old vineyard root systems and handle general land-prep chores.

These versatile, right-size machines enable me to do more work and therefore bid on more jobs,” Weinert says. “Plus, Caterpillar’s killer financing offer of 0 percent for 60 months is really free money at 0 percent interest.

“Just two hours and it’s financed and done,” he continues. “Paul Smith at Peterson sends over the paperwork and makes it easy—it’s beyond easy. You can’t beat the service at Peterson. I mean, there’s a parts drop right here. So, if something breaks on that machine, by tomorrow or the next day we have all the parts.”

High Demand’s compressed nine-month work season begins April 1 in Napa County. To beat the rainy season, the company works an average of six days a week in season.

“I love the big iron, but I’ll tell you what, I’m a fan of the revenue the small machines generate—big time. These Cat compacts keep working, and we keep making money. And the other thing is—it’s been easier to find guys, good guys, that want to operate compact machines. Labor has been the biggest challenge for me—and these quality Cat machines draw operators like flowers attract bees.

“They’re quiet, and they’re fast,” Weinert says. Oh, man, they’re scary fast. “The 308 CR came with the new stick steer feature, and that is the slickest set up yet. I just push that joystick in any direction and the machine stays right online. And safety-wise, the cameras on all the new equipment have just been huge for us.”

As for the parts and service he receives from Peterson, Weinert can’t do without it.

“I can tell you, if didn’t have Peterson Cat, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today,” Weinert says. “Paul’s been doing business with me for 16 years. They’ve watched me grow, and they’ve helped me grow, and I’ve been able to benefit tremendously on my end.”

“I’ll tell you what, I’m a fan of the revenue the small machines generate.”