Erdem Excavating Digging Customized Cat® Skid Steer

Kurt Feltrin with Emreh Erdem owner of Erdem Excavating

“I’ve always had a passion for moving dirt,” says Emreh Erdem, owner and operator of Erdem Excavating located on Vancouver Island in B.C. “There is something so therapeutic about it.” Which is why in his mid-20’s, Emreh left the stability of a decent job to make his living moving dirt. “I started out as a die-hard weekend warrior, working every weekend until it became a full-time job,” says Emreh. “It was pretty obvious that this was what I should be doing.” And that’s how Erdem Excavating was born.

When Emreh started the company in 2008, he was a one-man show with one mini-excavator. Erdem Excavating has since grown to a thriving residential and commercial earth-moving business providing excavation and backfilling services on new construction and demolitions in and around Victoria. “I’ve done everything from driveways to basements,” said Emreh. “I love being hands-on with the equipment.” And he loves sharing his work on Instagram. “My presence on social media sets me apart from other local excavating businesses and it’s an important tool to highlight the work I do,” says Emreh. “It’s one of the key reasons my company continues to grow.”

His first mini-excavator is long gone and he has replaced it with a whole fleet of equipment - all Cat. “My first excavator was a used machine, then I had a competitor’s brand, which I wore out and traded in for a new 303.5 excavator. He has since added another Cat 303.5, as well as a 318 excavator and a 259D skid steer. “When you think of heavy equipment, you think of Cat,” says Emreh. “As soon as I got in the equipment, I just knew it was right for me. I had no idea what I was missing until I got in my 259D skid steer. The quality is there and everything is at your fingertips, joy stick controls, adjustable ride quality, bucket leveling system and the creature comforts like air conditioning, heated seats and air ride…you can spend all day in that thing, it’s the Cadillac of heavy equipment.”

Comfort and quality weren’t the only features that attracted Emreh to the 259D. “As soon as I heard custom colours were available, I put in my order for a black one,” said Emreh. “Not only do I have confidence in the reliability of the machine - I know it will get the job done without letting me down - the custom colour offers me a great way to stand out and differentiate my equipment from competitors. I have customers who ask for the black skid steer on their job site. It’s cool and I think it’s the only one on the Island.”

For Emreh, it is also important that he has Finning service to back him up. “Finning services all of my machines and I rely on the service and expertise they provide. Being a small owner operator, you can’t afford any downtime,” says Emreh. “If a piece of equipment breaks down on site it’s not good for you or your customer. Knowing Finning has technicians who can service my equipment and get me back up and running gives me huge peace of mind. That was one of the main drivers in choosing Cat equipment.” An added bonus is the wealth of knowledge Finning sales rep Kurt Feltrin brings to the role. “Kurt was a heavy-duty mechanic for years before he got into sales,” said Emreh. “He knows the machines inside and out and all the features they have to offer because he used to work on them. I value that expertise and I am super happy with the service he provides.”

It is evident that Emreh truly loves what he does and he is confident in the choice he made to become self-employed at a very young age. “Being self-employed is very fulfilling,” says Emreh. “You have to have passion for what you do, be determined, work hard and look after your customers in the best way possible. And that means having the best equipment - for me, that’s Cat.”

What’s next for Erdem Excavating? According to Emreh, the market in the Victoria area is booming and he foresees bigger machines in his future to keep up with the growth. “I’m looking at a larger mini, a 308 excavator, to stay diverse and continue to look after my customer’s needs,” says Emreh. “One day, I am also hoping to have a 320E reduced radius excavator. It’s a really cool piece of equipment, so versatile and can turn on a dime.” We have no doubt that Emreh will one day have his dream machine, but for now, his black skid steer is still the star in his fleet.