CLD Civil Contractors is a South East Queensland based company on the up, with 6 contracts in their current portfolio, made up of civil, subdivision and housing development projects. Managing Director, Chris Coxhead started the company about 6 years ago as a sideline business when his wife, Leah, fell pregnant. “We were looking for something that could supplement Leah’s wage when she went on maternity leave. We bought a 5 tonne excavator, hiring it out with an operator on an hourly basis. Leah managed it, while I continued to work for another contractor,” says Chris.
When Chris graduated he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, “my father was working as a foreman on a construction site and got me a foot in as a general labourer. It was meant to just be something to do, make a bit of money until I worked out the ‘future plan’... turns out, it was the future plan. From day one on the job I fell in love with machinery! All those years as a young fella in the sand pit must have played a part. I knew I’d have to work hard to get myself in one of the machines on site, which I did.
“I worked as a foreman on several construction sites and somewhere along the way we took the leap to buying our own excavator and hired it out on the side. I loved civil and knew that’s where my strength was so we started pricing little jobs here and there. We would price up driveways and slowly the work grew,” says Chris. After the realisation that having a business was almost a full-time job in itself, Chris quit his job and with Leah, they took over the reins full-time, with Chris driving the digger. Now the company has a staff of 50.
As CLD won more contracts, their need for more equipment grew. Today, their excavator fleet stands at 14, 11 of which are Kobelco. “Having purchased a lot of machines, it comes down to back-up service and fuel efficiency. To us, they are the biggest contributors to our running costs, especially now with the current price of fuel. If we can keep our running costs down, we can compete on a better level against other contractors. So many times, fuel has given us our competitive advantage. It has really paid off for our business running certain machine brands that are known for their low fuel consumption, like Kobelco excavators. Kobelco is also competitive on price; they provide good product support, with good components,” Chris adds.
Chris purchased his first Kobelco excavator from BrisVegas Machinery, “it was a 26T second hand machine with 8,000 hours on it, which we ran to 12,000. We then brought another brand from a different dealer and didn’t have the best experience. We went back to BrisVegas as they made us feel special, what it should be when you are buying an excavator."