Conner Grading & Landscaping: Growing a Business from the Ground Up
Mike Conner started his own company, Conner Grading & Landscaping, in 2000 as a one-man operation with only himself and a Takeuchi track loader. With an eye for landscaping, hard work and a lot of sweat, word about Conner’s company quickly spread throughout Grayson, Georgia.
Slowly and steadily, Conner’s business has grown to 25 employees and a large fleet of machinery. The company focuses its operations on hardscape and landscape applications, providing professional landscape design and installation of all phases. Their services include grading, installation of sod, plants and trees, landscape lighting, water features, and hardscapes. Conner Grading & Landscaping also works with builders by providing hauling services, lot clearing, machine and flat work, and installation of landscaping on new home construction.
When Mike started his business, he went looking for a track loader. That’s when he turned to Jimi Martin, who was just beginning his career at Perimeter Takeuchi. After talking to Martin, Conner bought his first track loader (a Takeuchi TL130) — and Martin made his first professional sale that day. For Martin, it was only the start of great things ahead. He has since been recognized and awarded by Takeuchi in back-to-back years as the 2013 and 2014 Salesman of the Year in the U.S.
“Jimi and I grew up together and knew each other since we were little kids – he is just a fantastic, standup guy,” Conner said. “He recommended the Takeuchi TL130 track loader to fit my needs. I quickly discovered Takeuchi offers the best machine out there for the price, reliability, and performance it delivers, hands down.”
The Takeuchi TL130 is a machine that Conner continues to utilize to this day. In fact, in the 12 years that he has had the Takeuchi in his lineup, he has not suffered one major breakdown or setback with the machine. Down the line, that reliability led him to purchase two more Takeuchi TL130 track loaders as well as a TL230 Series 2 and TL10.
Today Takeuchi no longer offers the TL130. It has now been replaced by the powerful and capable TL8 in their lineup. Takeuchi track loaders are designed and engineered with superior power, strength and maneuverability. These key design features enable customers like Conner to get the job done quickly and reliably. The undercarriage on a compact track loader takes the most punishment throughout the life of the machine. That is why Takeuchi designs their loaders with a machine-specific undercarriage that features larger components and steel-to-steel contact between the track and rollers for greater durability when working in extreme conditions.
For a landscaping company, dependability is crucial to both the company’s bottom line and the potential for earning more business. The days are jam-packed for Conner and his crew, who landscape and hardscape anywhere from two to four houses a day. Despite having 25 full time employees, they have limited manpower for the many jobs that they work on each day. Time is money, so they can’t afford any downtime because a machine is not running properly or efficiently.
“We can turn around projects rather quickly, thanks in part to a knowledgeable team, as well as great equipment on the job,” Conner said. “We have projects going on everywhere, all the time. So when I look for machines I always look for the most reliable ones that offer solid performance. I found that a while ago with Takeuchi, and we have strictly purchased their track loaders ever since.”
While Conner Grading & Excavating has made several changes since Mike started the business, one thing has remained consistent and stood the test of time: Mike Conner’s trusty TL130 track loader. While it is tough to figure the amount of jobs he has completed with the track loader over the years, its reliability and performance helped grow his business from the ground up.