Wed December 14, 2022
Like many successful businesses, Performance Grading in Fresno, Calif., was feeling growing pains.
Ken Sherwood, who oversees vehicle maintenance, said, "Performance Grading started out with two scrapers and a couple water trucks. Now we're up to nine scrapers, two graders, three dozers and three water trucks. He's up to about 25 pieces now from what he had four to five years ago." Although Sherwood chuckles when he adds "I feel good about job security."
Since the company was making such large leaps in its equipment fleet, there needed to be new efficiency in its field service and fleet management activities. They needed capacity for waste oil, but also needed the flexibility to carry oils of numerous different weights and uses. Eventually, it discovered Thunder Creek Equipment and the Service & Lube Trailer (SLT).
Initially, Performance Grading had looked at purchasing a full-blown service truck, but after understanding the benefits of the Thunder Creek SLT — and weighing it against the disadvantages of a larger service truck — Performance Grading made its choice.
"At the time, the owner was considering a truck," said Sherwood. "If you go that route, you're paying wages to a guy you don't need every day. Plus, the insurance and liability on the truck is another real cost. Also, you need a guy that's got a hazmat and a CDL. The costs increase when you have a truck."
The Thunder Creek SLT features a modular tank design that is capable of holding 440 gal. of fluid in up to eight tanks with combinations of 25, 55 and 110 gal. This can include tanks for diesel fuel, oil delivery (engine or hydraulic), used oil reclamation, grease delivery, antifreeze, DEF and other fluids based on field maintenance needs. This design allows it to be hauled without a HAZMAT endorsement and, in some configurations, without a CDL.
"We needed something that would carry enough waste oil to be able to service the equipment, all of them, all the way down to 90, 50 weight — having all those different tanks is what we were looking for," he said.
In addition to the owning and operating cost benefits of the trailer, and the variety of oil capacities and varieties, it's also helped Sherwood complete service activities faster — such as knocking 15 min. off of each scraper service.
"The trailer made everything more efficient," he said. "I've been able to knock off significant time from most jobs. I look at the cost of everything, but I mean 15 minutes of my time that I can spend welding or doing something else is just more cost effective."
The capacities made possible with the SLT also have proven just right for the work Sherwood does.
"With the SLT, I can do everything on a scraper and still have engine oil left over," he said. "Enough oil to where I can go do a 500- or a 250-hour service on another piece of equipment. That's why we went with this trailer."
The team at Thunder Creek helped Performance Grading outfit its trailer and work with each SLT buyer to fully understand their needs and how it will be used.
"With the SLT, you put PT tags on it and you're good," he said. "It's a lot cheaper than [other solutions] plus it's a well-built trailer. It's a hefty trailer with its construction and the way it pulls. I mean you can tell just by the amount of weight you're putting in it and then hauling it down the highway that it's not bouncing and jumping from lane to lane. It's a well-built trailer. It's sturdy, real sturdy."