There is an old adage, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” Those are words that Martin Van Der Zwan of Valley Custom Jackhammer in Langley, British Columbia, Canada, lives by – at least with his machines. Van Der Zwan lives by his own rules and calls all the shots because his company is a team of one: himself. And once he found out about Takeuchi, he never looked back.
Van Der Zwan started Valley Custom Jackhammer in 1982 from the ground up and is his own one-man wrecking machine. His primary work revolves around jackhammering concrete, digging perimeter drains, and septic fields. He is known in the region for getting into areas that were once thought unimaginable.
In the early years, the site preparation contractor was like any new business with some trials and tribulations. He started out jackhammering concrete by hand, which can be a long, tedious task that’s tough on the body. After doing this for six years, he ran into a salesperson from a rental company in the area, who talked to him about Takeuchi.
“Jackhammering by hand is not always the most efficient way to get the job done, so I talked to a salesperson who had two Takeuchi excavators in his company’s fleet with breakers attached to them,” Van Der Zwan said. “I tried them out and I really cannot say enough about the Takeuchi brand. They are awesome. I have run other brands too, but they produced results that were not up to my standards. That’s why I have stayed with Takeuchi for so many years.”
After a demonstration, Van Der Zwan knew it felt right and wound up buying his first Takeuchi compact excavator, the TB014, in 1988. Since then, he has owned 14 excavators, working primarily with his local dealership, Top Lift Enterprises. He has run his Takeuchi machines for about 2,500 hours each. The Valley Custom Jackhammer owner keeps diligent records, and figures he has spent nearly 25,000 hours operating a Takeuchi over the years, or over 1,000 straight days’ worth.
While speed is a big factor in why Van Der Zwan likes his Takeuchi machines, it is not the only thing he appreciates about them. “They have good speed and there has only been one other brand that I have operated that could compare – but only for speed, nothing else,” Van Der Zwan said. “Takeuchi excavators are fast, but they never have any breakdowns whatsoever and have never been a problem for me. They just keep going. I use my excavator every day, but I have never misused it and that makes a big difference. In all the years operating a Takeuchi, I’ve only needed to replace one fan belt and one alternator.”
His most recent purchase was a TB216 this past January, and he has had great success with it, including digging 4000’ of 16”x 24” trench in 10.5 hours. The TB216 is one of the newest models from Takeuchi and replaced the TB016 in their compact excavator lineup, from which Van Der Zwan has had 11 different units throughout his career. It is the second smallest excavator in the Takeuchi lineup, delivering power, operator comfort, and improved serviceability.
Owning your own company where you are the only employee has its benefits, but it also means productivity is critical. Any downtime is killer to the bottom line for any company, but especially for a one-man operation. That’s why Van Der Zwan found reliable machines with Takeuchi, and he has never looked back over the 27 years since his first machine. For Valley Custom Jackhammer, productivity is high and business is good.