As a result, “we are customizing,” she reveals. ”‘What you see is what you get’ is what they’re not looking for anymore because what they’re trying to do is get the biggest bang for their buck. They want to be able to buy one unit that does everything,” she continues. “We have always custom-built, and we’re mainly known for that. We build to our customers’ specifications, not ours. We give them the equipment they’re looking for, the options they’re looking for, and we combine all this into one rig.”
Agreeing with Anderson’s assertion that contractors seek the biggest bang for their buck, Bill Acker of Acker Drill reveals that customers are looking for “big discounts.” He goes on to say, “But right now, they aren’t buying. Between the war and the economy, everybody’s sitting on their hands, I think. Business is lousy. We had a good fall and winter, and early 2003 was good,” he recalls, but indicates that with the spring of the year, things shifted.
Despite the troubled economy, very little by way of rigs and accessories in the realm of smaller direct-push rigs and probes have fallen out of favor. “I haven’t seen a lot of change there,” Acker replies, when asked which rigs and equipment lost popularity. There have been some developments in what has gained popularity, but nothing has been pushed to the wayside. “Of course, we have items that don’t sell as well as others,” Anderson states, “but the ones that do sell well have always sold well. They have not dropped.”
The bigger hammers for the bigger jobs are more popular now than they were a few years ago, Anderson tells us, and more down force and pull-up force. “Most of the options for rig mounts are still in demand, and we have seen the addition of auto-drop hammer for geotechnical needs,” Anderson explains. She continues, describing how AMS’ policy of customization enables the company to meet customers’ needs when trends shift. “We have built and designed our own auto-drop hammer to be mounted to rigs, so they can have their environmental consulting work plus their geotechnical work.”
Acker also recognizes geotechnical projects as an area with increasing possibilities. When considering where he sees the industry headed, though, his focus shifts more to what impacts growth. In light of the current climate in the U.S., Acker captures very well the sentiments of many with regard to the economy and the drilling industry: “It’s tricky. You’ve got to sit and watch what you’re doing today.” All is not without hope, however. “If this war gets over,” Acker anticipates, “I think we’d be looking at growth and new building — highways, bridges, runways, that stuff.