Thriving in Challenging Economic TimesBy Mary Sedor
Article Date: 07-01-2009
Copyright(C) 2009 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
A credit card and a handshake were the humble beginnings of now-successful concrete crushing company, Komplet North America, proving that opportunities still exist - even in a tough economy.
As more and more companies go out of business, starting one in today’s current economic climate would appear a daunting if not impossible feat. With tight credit markets, fierce competition and longstanding companies filing for bankruptcy, success is tough for anyone – for newcomers, a long shot.
Owner of a decorative concrete business, Nick Baker and partner Darren Becan decided to start offering a crushing service as an offshoot to their concrete business. They purchased a crusher from Komplet (pronounced “Complete”) Italia Sept. 25, 2007 by putting a down payment on Baker’s credit card.
Komplet Italia, founded by Tonino and Paola Filonzi in 1993, manufactures rock crushing and recycling equipment, including mini crushers, screens and conveyor belts.
When Baker and Becan started using the crusher, it attracted a lot of attention.
“Every time we took the machine out, some construction company would stop and ask us where we got it,” said Baker.
As the popularity of the crusher grew, Baker says they started renting it out and eventually starting selling the crushers. They set up a meeting with Komplet Italia in March 2008 at Conexpo-Con/Agg in Las Vegas.
“With Komplet’s endorsement, they turned over the entire North American market to us,” said Baker. “And so we started our company, Compact Concrete Crushers.”
In less than a year as Compact Concrete Crushers, Baker and Becan were able to sell 27 machines and establish a network of 14 dealers – and counting. Due to their high rate of success, as of Jan. 1, 2009, Baker and Becan became partners with Komplet Italia, and today the company is known as Komplet North America.
“We started when the Euro was at its highest, and we did it without a bank loan,” said Baker.
In fact, the company is still struggling to get a bank loan because they have been in business less than three years, said Baker. That didn’t stop Komplet Italia from taking a chance on the small operation.
“We did it all on a handshake,” said Baker. “They sent us machines without money upfront. And they just kept sending them to us. We were nothing, we were small guys, but the next thing I knew they gave us an opportunity and we ran with it.”
Baker says that another reason they’ve been so successful is because he believes in the products.
“There is nothing like them on the market,” he said. “They practically sell themselves.”
Komplet recycling products crush a variety of materials, including glass, porcelain, marble, granite, bricks, blocks, asphalt and reinforced concrete, and transform them into reusable crushed stone. Transported on a standard equipment trailer, these crushers can be fed by a mini excavator or skid-steer.
Komplet manufactures several models of crushers, including the LEM 48-25, a 3.5-ton model, and the LEM 60-40, a 13-ton crusher. Both models are available with track screens that easily hook up to the crushers, and they can be controlled remotely, allowing equipment operators to run both the machine and the crusher simultaneously. Komplet introduced the new Kompatto 221 remote-controlled, tracked screening unit at Intermat in April.
The company also manufactures a crushing bucket, vibrating screens and the M2000 crushing system fitted with a rocking hammer mill.
Komplet crushers are at work all over the country. The Mississippi Power Authority is using Komplet’s crushers to crush coal. It’s being used in Hawaii to crush lava. A block and brick company in Massachusetts uses the crushers to break up broken bricks, and then they reuse the bricks as decorative stone. In addition, the Department of Defense is using a Komplet crusher to dispose of landmines.
“Contractors in East Rutherford, N.J. tore down a 15-story building and ran it through my machine,” said Baker.
Among the many benefits of the machines are their compact size and powerful output. Using Komplet’s crushers, end users save on fuel costs and can work more efficiently.
“The U.S. has always been fixed on large machines,” said Baker. “But the problem is that you have to transport them to the jobsite, and for that you need a CDL driver and a large truck. Then, by the time you’ve assembled the equipment, you’ve wasted two days.”
Baker says that his machines can crush 15 to 18 tons of concrete an hour and use between five and eight gallons of diesel fuel a day.
“Our machines do the same job as large machines for a lot less money,” he said. “We enable contractors to go out on the jobsite and work the entire day. They don’t have to pay another carting fee. They bring the machines on site, crush the material. They don’t have to pay for crushed stone, and they don’t lose a man for an hour transporting the machine.”
Baker says he’s finding that his products give small contractors a chance to compete against bigger contractors – and win.
“Contractors don’t have to rent those big $4,500-a-day machines, because you can just break out our machine, crush up the material, put it in a dump truck and take it back to the yard or use it again as base,” he said. “The money you spend on operating this machine is what it costs to start some machines.”
Dealer Inquiries Welcome
Komplet North America currently has 14 dealers with five more in the works, and Baker says they’re still looking to add more dealers to their network.
Komplet North America has all parts in stock ready to ship, and the company will respond immediately to any issues should they arise, says Baker. In addition, they have established financing for those dealers who require it.
“With our machines, if you buy them the customers will come,” he said. “All you have to do is put the machine out there and let people see it – it’s as easy as showing people the product.”
For example, Baker flew to Boise, Idaho, for what he thought was a simple demo. It turned into a two-day demo with people flying in from several neighboring states. Even the local news videotaped the crusher at work – visit www.kivitv.com and search for Komplet to view a video.
“There is nothing out there like it, so the dealers who have our products get to sell something that no one else has to sell or rent,” said Baker.
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