Clifford Collins, the Jack-of-All-Trades
Clifford Collins has quietly led a thriving small general contracting business in Mount Vernon, Ky. for over 35 years. His privately owned business dabbles in just about everything; septic tanks, sewer systems, water lines, grave yard work, residential outdoor home improvement projects, parking lots, road building, etc. Whatever outdoor needs you have, Collins and his crew can and will do it. It is what makes him and his company the jack-of-all-trades in the area.
Business start-ups are never easy, but the transition is made a little smoother when you know exactly what you want to do and are very knowledgeable in your field of choice. Clifford took risks on his way to starting his small contracting company. He worked full-time at another job and slowly made headway towards his dream business. 1978 was the year he began working towards that goal and two years later he left his job to make it all come to fruition. In 1980 “Clifford Collins Backhoe LLC Contractor” was born.
The contractor concentrates mostly on small jobs and projects that take a few days up to a week, getting in and out as quickly and efficiently as possible before moving on to the next one. When Clifford is on the job, he is able to focus on the task at hand, because when it comes to doing business, he believes in a more personable approach with a preference of doing things the old fashioned way: with a phone and a pad of paper to jot down whatever notes the next job entails. No computer, no tablet, and no e-mail.
“I know how to run any machine there is from a skid steer to an excavator, but I don’t know how to turn on a computer,” said Collins. “We typically work on small projects that we turn around quickly, so the less distractions I have, the quicker I can turn around the project. It is not only good for our company to finish the job faster, but for the customer as well.”
The family business includes Clifford’s son Michael, who has been working with his dad since he was eight years old. For a company that offers fast turnaround times on projects, they know how crucial their equipment is and can be. Clifford and Michael turn to Wilson Equipment, who recently celebrated their 125th year in business last year, for all of their equipment needs. Charlie Rodes, a territory manager for Wilson Equipment, has worked closely with Clifford for 20 of the 23 years that he has been with the dealership.
It was in mid-1990 when Wilson Equipment partnered with Takeuchi to become a full-line dealer. Over six years ago, Charlie called Michael to have him test drive his new lineup of Takeuchi machines that had come in. Immediately following the test drive, Michael knew he had to talk to his dad about the equipment.
“Clifford is very loyal and was using another manufacturer before Michael talked him into testing out a new Takeuchi compact excavator,” Rodes said. “He ended up selling all of his previous equipment and buying five different Takeuchi’s – two TB138 excavators, and three different track loaders; the TL8, TL130, and TL230. Clifford could not believe that it took himself that long before he went with Takeuchi.”
“We have always trusted Charlie — he has never steered us in the wrong direction, and he was very enthusiastic about Takeuchi,” Collins said. “We really like our Takeuchi machines. They are easy to move around, they have a good distribution, so they are easy to get ahold of, and they don’t tear up everything when you go to work. I use them just about every single day of the week.”
Clifford’s approach to business is something people in the area have grown to appreciate and admire over the years. His customers know that they are in good hands and they will have their project done in a week or less, each and every time. It is rare to meet anyone who doesn’t have an e-mail address today, but Clifford not only makes it work without one, he thrives in his own internet-less world with fewer distractions and a pure appreciation of his own craft.