TYRO, VA – There are two things you absolutely must know about Virginia-based Chipper Pro LLC. One: it’s a dealership run by loggers, for loggers. And two: the names behind the company – J.H. Fitzgerald and the Tapscott brothers – are among the best known and trusted names in Virginia’s logging and forest products industry.
Based in the small community of Tyro, Chipper Pro LLC opened in 2013 to cater specifically to Virginia loggers. As the name suggests, Chipper Pro focuses on Bandit whole tree chippers, including sales, parts and service. Co-owner J.H. Fitzgerald knows a thing or two about such things; he’s been a logger for over 30 years and runs a large logging operation out of Tyro, not to mention a farming operation with over 400 head of cattle. The Tapscott brothers have even more time in the logging business, and in addition to co-owning Chipper Pro with Fitzgerald, they also own Forest Pro LLC with locations in Scottsville and Ashland.
With Chipper Pro serving as the primary Bandit dealership and Forest Pro providing support as branch locations, logging professionals in Virginia have some of the best Bandit representation in North America. With that kind of experience and dedication it’s easy to see why Chipper Pro has sold nearly 30 Bandit whole tree chippers to very satisfied customers in the last two years.
This is even more impressive when you talk to Larry Britton, Chipper Pro’s top employee for sales, parts, and service. That’s because Larry is also the only Chipper Pro employee, but like Fitzgerald and the Tapscott crew, he’s not what you would call inexperienced.
“I started with Chipper Pro in January 2014,” said Britton. “Prior to that I’d spent 28 years at a CAT dealer, worked my way up from mechanic to supervisor in the engine shop. I have a very diversified background; I handled repairs, warranty claims, was a supervisor, so I knew my way around equipment and I understood how to treat people with respect. I was a good fit for Chipper Pro.”
In his one-size-fits-all role, Larry works from his home and is on the road constantly for sales visits and service calls. He also handles parts orders, warranty issues, and he works very close with Bandit factory representatives to make sure his customers stay happy.
“I get really good support from the factory,” he said. “I can handle much of the repairs, but if I run into a technical situation where I’m unsure, I just pick up the phone and someone is there at Bandit to answer. If they don’t have an answer right away, they get one and call me back. I didn’t have that kind of support even with a big company like CAT when I was working for them.”
Larry is technically the sole Chipper Pro employee, but he isn’t completely on his own. Forest Pro’s mechanics are there to keep customers up and running, and Fitzgerald also has mechanics from his own logging operation that jump into repairs as well. Forest Pro staff also assist with sales inquiries and equipment deliveries, and since Larry is extremely knowledgeable on the mechanical side, he always goes along on demos to answer questions. When they make a purchase, he’s always there for startup to make sure customers know the equipment, and that they’re happy.
“I dispatch myself right out of my house,” said Britton. “I follow up with customers regularly, especially ones that I sold chippers to, just to make sure things are going good and if they need anything. Reports we get back from customers say they really like that. Some told me that, with purchases from other manufacturers they felt like they were abandoned after the sale. To me, following up is just basic, good customer service.”
Having good equipment to work with certainly helps. Larry’s extensive experience with large equipment has given him a good eye for designs, and he likes what he sees from Bandit.
“I think some manufacturers really overcomplicate things,” he said. “Bandit keeps it simpler, more suited to the working environment. Logging is a hostile environment, and because these chippers are fairly straightforward, I see fewer electrical and hydraulic issues compared to other machines. Even the gauge of metal is better – it’s quite a bit heavier than a lot of the competition.”
Bandit has always been about customer service and support. The Bandit Backbone™ spells out that commitment, and Larry says it’s one of the things his customers appreciate most.
“Along with sales and start-ups, I actually do most of the repairs too,” said Britton. “If it’s a big repair I have support from either J.H. Fitzgerald’s shop or the Forest Pro shop. When it comes to parts, if I need something we don’t have in stock I can almost always get it the next day from Bandit. And I don’t go around bad-mouthing the competition either. Bandit has some attributes the other guys don’t have. Maybe they have some attributes we don’t have. I’ll point out the areas that I feel we’re better; I believe Bandit has more to offer in equipment, and especially with service and support. But I don’t trash talk, I don’t lower myself to that level. I give customers the information they need to make a decision, and they really appreciate that. Of all the customers that have bought a Bandit from me so far, every one of them is satisfied.”
Chipper Pro LLC is one of the newer Bandit dealers on the block, but with decades of experience in logging and heavy equipment, they have all the knowledge and expertise to match customers with the best Bandit whole tree chipper for their needs. More importantly, they understand the importance of sticking with customers for the long haul to ensure the equipment works as hard as they do.
“Chipper Pro is owned by loggers, so we feel the same pain our customers do,” said Britton. “We’ll be here for them; I’m not going to make a sale then leave them hanging. If customers give us a shot, we’ll stand behind the equipment, and I know Bandit will stand behind it too. I’ll make sure our customers get what they need, today and in the years to come.”
Chipper Pro LLC serves Bandit whole tree chipper customers throughout Virginia with sales, parts, and service support. Contact Larry Britton at 540-874-5662 for information or to schedule a demo.