Craning for more
Every day brings something new at RB Welding. “You never know what you’re going to be working on, or who you’ll be working for or even how far away you’ll be working,” said Ronnie Bass, owner of RB Welding in Chowchilla, California.
What started as an agriculture and dairy farm repair welding operation in 1989 is now a robust welding business with an emphasis on heavy equipment repair. “It all started with a farmer calling and asking, ‘hey, can you come fix this?’” said Bass. “Then one thing led to another, and here we are 30 years later. I’ve been very blessed.”
While still sometimes working in the ag and dairy space, Bass and his team of five now primarily repair heavy equipment, such as excavators, paddle scrapers and dozers, on construction job sites. “Whether it’s repair or add-ons or maintenance, we can handle it,” said Bass. Everything from changing out fans and electric motors to welding dozer blades falls in RB Welding’s wheelhouse.
The quality work of Bass and his team, as well as their willingness to be available at any hour, keeps the work flowing in. “Customers know that we’ll help them out no matter the time,” said Bass. 24/7 availability is yet another factor that’s indicative of the company’s dedication.
While Bass was always willing to take on any project, he realized in the early 2000s that the same might not be true for his service truck. “I didn’t have a crane on any of the trucks, and we were just fighting it by using a long reach forklift or using someone’s backhoe,” said Bass.
At the time, Bass and his team were handling a lot of plumbing applications in almond orchards and grape vineyards where they needed to install fan separation systems. And using a crane would make installing the booster pumps significantly easier.
So, he turned to a trusted friend who also worked in the welding industry — and happened to have a service truck with a crane — for advice. “He had an IMT truck, and he just swore by it,” said Bass. “He told me, ‘this is the one you want, and once you get it, you’ll regret that you didn’t buy it sooner.’”
As someone who takes recommendations seriously, Bass mulled over his friend’s advice. “The manufacturer is always going to tell you their product is superior,” he said. “But if you talk to the person who uses it in the field day in and day out, you get a true take on its durability.”
Bass made the drive to Lodi Equipment in Sacramento, California, to inquire about an IMT service truck and crane package. That was in 2004. Now, RB Welding is home to five IMT Dominator service trucks, each equipped with a crane.
Red is for RB Welding
Purchasing that first service truck changed Bass’ entire operation. “I’m not sure how we ever made it without a service truck and crane package before,” he said. So when IMT launched its 11-foot Dominator III service truck available with its new 12000-lb telescopic crane, Bass was one of the first in line.
But as someone who believes in investing in a good product and making it their own, the stock model wasn’t going to cut it. “You only have one opportunity to make a first impression,” said Bass. “When I show up, I want things to look on point.”
Driven by that philosophy, Bass customized his Dom III by adding optional features and extras before painting the entire package a bright cherry red for RB Welding. And while the paint job might not make too much of a difference on the job site, the brilliant red finish is in line with Bass’ unofficial business model — don’t just do what’s expected of you, do extra.