When your reputation relies on it!
In the equipment hire industry, reliability is critical to your reputation and often to that of your customers. While gear can be meticulously maintained, hire companies have no control over how it gets used and things can ‘age’ quickly, making for high repair and maintenance (R&M) costs and worse still – annoyed customers.
“We used to buy used import Canters but the reliability and R&M costs were just starting to get too much,” says Richmond Hire co-owner Wayne Gardiner.
“Anthony got us into these new units, which give us three years under warranty and means we don’t have to worry as much about R&M or the truck breaking down on a customer.
“Another thing about the used imports is that the air cleaners are mounted underneath, which was a nightmare, because they kept getting ripped off on rough ground. The DPFs [diesel particulate filter] also needed regular cleaning – we had no end of headaches having to explain to customers how to deal with that or having the workshop reset them if they missed a [DPF regeneration] stop.”
Wayne and his business partners Kevin and Alexa Harris established Richmond Hire in 2009 when Wayne’s ex-employer and now competitor, Hire Pool, consolidated its Richmond operations into its Nelson branch.
“We haven’t looked back,” says Wayne. “I reckon we retained most of the old Richmond customers and we’ve picked up a fair few from Nelson too.”
The business has around 200 pieces of hire equipment on its books, including 10 diggers of various sizes and three trucks.
Wayne says there are three key customer groups for the Canters – builders, landscapers and other construction contractors.
“Customer feedback has been really positive,” he says. “The Class 1 licence makes it easy for anyone to drive and being able to get a 3T load on the back is good improvement over the imports, which could only carry 2T.
“Landscapers will almost always want a digger as well, so another big bonus with these NZ Canters is the 3.5T tow rating – they can pull a 2.5T digger no worries.”
A further benefit of new gear not to be overlooked is that, for some customers, old gear is a deal breaker.
“We’re competing with guys down the road, which means we can’t charge much more for the hire, but we can provide new vehicles and make sure our maintenance costs are kept low,” he adds.
However, when damage not covered by the warranty does occur, having authorised FUSO dealer CablePrice’s workshop just down the road also makes life easy.
“We’ve had a few broken lights and bits and pieces,” says Wayne. “It’s good having local service; that’s a big thing for us. If anything does go wrong, they’re there. They also do our servicing, although these trucks have 15,000km service intervals, so they’ve only had one service each.”
With all his trucks equipped with GPS, Wayne has a pretty good idea of how far afield they go. He reckons they’ll do between 20,000-25,000km every 12 months within about a 200km range of the depot. All of which will leave plenty of kms on them for the next owner when the three-year warranty runs out.
“We’ll be looking to roll these over once the warranty ends and I expect they’ll still have strong resale value – they’re well priced new. The other units we’ve sold have been pretty popular with landscapers and builders.”
When you’re a small local business, whose most important marketing is word of mouth, your reputation is everything. When your customers are also small local businesses relying on you to get their job done, offering a reliable, hassle-free solution ensures they keep coming back – and tell their mates.
In its FUSO Canter Tippers, Richmond Hire has discovered that hiring out older second-hand trucks might be a thing of the past.