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Soil Designs Turns to Thunder Creek Multi-Tank Trailers to Keep Upscale California Residential Projects Moving

February 2016

By Jeremy Scott, territory sales manager, Thunder Creek Equipment

Soil Designs Inc. is a fourth-generation, family-owned contractor that develops custom pads for luxury homes in southern California. The company’s projects range from $5 million to $100 million homes, which require precision grading services including rough and finished grading, utility work, pool footings, and placing landscape elements like trees and boulders.

At any given time, Duane Hale, whose grandfather and great grandfather started the company in the 1950s, has up to eight job sites operating simultaneously. That breadth, and a fleet of nearly three dozen pieces of equipment, requires a nimble approach to fueling and equipment service. Additionally, with all of their work being conducted in California, having a turnkey diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) solution to comply with state and EPA standards is also critical, Hale said.

Over the years, Soil Designs utilized a 100-gallon tank in the back of a pickup truck that required multiple refueling trips throughout the day and night. Eventually, the downtime, operating costs and multiple trips to the gas station became a hurdle Hale wanted to turn into an efficiency.

A New Way of Handling Diesel

After doing some research on alternative fueling methods and fuel handling practices, Hale and the Soil Designs team turned to Thunder Creek Equipment’s Multi-Tank Trailers (MTT) to solve their fueling and DEF needs. Now, for the last 18 months, the company has utilized the MTT to move from site-to-site during the course of a day, providing the company the fuel and resource mobilization it needs.

It was also important for Hale to be able to transport the trailer legally under California standards. That’s possible with the Thunder Creek MTT’s individual 115-gallon tanks that are connected to a manifold system that completely segregates each tank during transport, mitigating the need for a HAZMAT endorsement and in most cases a CDL (local regulations may apply).

In addition, Hale and his team now have ultimate control over their fueling and DEF schedules and availability.

For example, if industry indicators suggest fuel prices are going to increase, they’re able to purchase their fuel in advance and fill their Thunder Creek MTT to save on costs. Hale and his team also utilize fuel meters and fuel-powered pumps to track fuel consumption and speed-up the fueling process.

The strides Soil Designs has made in the area of DEF handling are another major advantage of the MTT, Hale said. Today, instead of inefficiently lugging five-gallon jugs of DEF from job site to job site, risking the possibility of contamination, they are now able to utilize a 100-gallon, DEF system that ensures minimal exposure to airborne contaminants and other elements, even when working in off-road/outdoor applications.

Hale sees the mobility of the unit, combined with the ability to properly store, filter and handle fluids, as a major boost to his business.

The Importance of Fit and Finish

Hale and his father Gene, who are very methodical when making equipment purchases, were extremely encouraged when their Thunder Creek MTT first arrived.

“My dad and I have always been disappointed with how things are built, and when we would receive [new equipment], we were always disappointed with the overall quality control,” Hale said. “Whether it was the paint, or one of a million other things that you can be disappointed with.

“With Thunder Creek, as soon as we saw the trailer, we knew the quality and we could tell that the paint was show quality.”

Soil Designs’ Multi-Tank Trailer came complete with a custom yellow paint scheme that matched the color of Soil Designs’ CAT equipment. The high-end fit and finish integrated seamlessly with the rest of the company’s fleet.

“We were blown away by the quality of this product,” Hale said of he and his father’s reaction to the MTT. “I can’t say enough about it.”

Updates That Grow with You

Customers have the option to pick from a variety of Thunder Creek options and accessories to fully-customize their Multi-Tank Trailer based on the application. Some options include a rear utility box that can come equipped with a welding system, air compressors and generators, a work bench, various tool chests, and a grease kit.

Additionally, some popular pump upgrades include a gas engine pump upgrade, an electric valve manifold, two-stage filter systems, digital and analog fuel meters, spill containment kit. Other accessories include a light tower for low light conditions, an electric/hydraulic jack and a solar panel to maintain trailer battery levels.

“The trailer is very customizable to meet certain needs, and Thunder Creek is very good at accommodating those needs and giving you what you need for your specific job site,” Hale said. “The company stays in regular contact with us, and if there’s any updates or any new parts, accessories or additions we want to make to our trailer, they can send them right to us.”

Future Expansion

As Soil Designs’ business grows, the company is already planning on adding additional Multi-Tank Trailers to its fleet. Just having the trailer on-site serves as a statement of quality, Hale said.

“We’re already thinking about getting another one, a polished stainless steel model,” he said. “We’re definitely going to have more because of the larger jobs we’re seeing, and the longer duration of jobs. We need more of them.”