When Stephen Toose decided to expand his hire and rental inventory 12 months ago, he didn't foresee that the popularity of his new Kobelco mini excavator would lead him to buy another seven Kobelco machines in the months since.
Stephen owns and runs Regional Contractors, a Ballarat, Victoria, hire and rental business he established almost 15 years ago to address a gap in the market.
"I was doing mechanical repairs in the Ballarat area and needed a scissor lift, but Ballarat didn't have one," Stephen says.
"I bought the scissor lift and then there was a rush of demand to hire it out, so I did, and that soon turned into demand for more construction and building equipment. Before long I was hiring out everything from skid steers to water trucks to site offices. It was only a matter of time before I added excavators to the list."
A long-standing relationship with local machinery dealership Ballarat Tractors led Stephen to consider Kobelco excavators.
"I hadn't worked with Kobelco machinery before but I'd heard good things from people in the area and I needed something reliable. Whatever I bought was going to be hired out straight away, so it needed to hit the ground running," he says.
Stephen purchased his first Kobelco SK17SR in June 2016, and has since gone on to purchase another three Kobelco mini excavators and four Kobelco midi excavators. He says that the first mini set the standard for his rapidly expanding excavator hire fleet.
"Sometimes these mini excavators can get into some tough situations. I couldn't afford to have any issues with them because I was just getting this part of my business started. The first client who hired it raved about it, so it was an easy decision to go back to Ballarat Tractors for more."
Ballarat Tractors has recently hired an on-site machine service technician who specialises in Kobelco excavators.
"Servicing and after-sales support is a strength of Ballarat Tractors; that was a big reason why I trusted their recommendation to try Kobelco excavators. This addition to their servicing team is great news, especially as our machinery fleet expands."
Regional Contractors hires largely to clients working on local building projects and road maintenance operations, and also includes contractors working on projects by the South West Alliance of VicRoads and Fulton Hogan. Regional Contractors also incorporates a satellite operation in Apollo Bay in southern Victoria, and subsidiary transporting, traffic control and training businesses.