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Marching Ants

Written by: Australian Earthmoving Magazine
Posted on: 16 Oct 2018
Topic: General News


There are many factors that determine and shape success when starting out in any new venture. Over the years we have identified similar patterns with the hundreds of contractors we have met. These reoccurring factors are key fundamentals to success within the earthmoving industry. Step 1 Start out by purchasing the best machines you can buy, Step 2 have respect amongst the industry and Step 3 most importantly you need to be a top bloke because nobody is going to give you work if you are not.

We were very fortunate to spend the day with one such contractor, Anthony Yewen from Ants Earthmoving Pty Ltd located in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. Within minutes of meeting Anthony, his magnetic personality had us feeling like we were catching up with an old mate. We instantly identified with his strong family values, quantifying spending time with family to any financial aspirations.

Anthony has grown up around earthmoving equipment. His uncle who has been a big influence throughout his life owns an earthmoving company. After leaving school he spent time finding his feet and completed his trade as a landscaper for four years. About halfway through the third year of his apprenticeship, he bought a little second-hand excavator with 1200 hours on it, no cab and a full set of buckets. He had it for 18 months and would use the machine in between laying bricks and other landscaping jobs. Starting out as a pretty average operator, he quickly developed his skills. Working on the machine and diversifying his role made him start strategizing his future plans.

At the end of his apprenticeship in desperate need of a change, Anthony sold his little excavator and relocated to the Gold Coast to spread his wings. The move was a pivotal moment providing positioning for Anthony to where he is today in many facets, including reuniting with Jess who is now his wife. On the work front, initially he was working for an underground electrical company involving trenching and conduits. From there he branched out to private contractors who were operating 20 and 30 tonne machines on freeways and other large scale projects. These were good times for Anthony as he came to know and work alongside a magnitude of quality people who taught him invaluable lessons.

After a few years, Anthony and Jess took an extreme step, selling up everything to buy a caravan and four-wheel drive to travel around Australia for twelve months. Whilst they were in Perth Anthony's parents phoned advising that they were selling the family home and offered it to him at a really good price. He thought about it for a month and the more he thought the better the idea became so he took them up on their offer, packed up the caravan and drove back to set up in his childhood home. Two kids and five years later, Anthony and Jess couldn't be happier. 

Bobcat

The main difficulty was adjusting back to the climate. The dramatic changes in temperature from minus 12 degrees and up to 42 degrees in the summer was certainly an adjustment. Workwise however he quickly launched himself into the earthmoving game working for various contractors in the area. Working for himself was always the dream and approximately twelve months ago Anthony decided to start working on the business plan to start his own business. Knuckling down at his job, he worked hard and purchased a brand-new Hino truck. From the moment he bought the truck he hired equipment to get started and planned the purchase of his new machine. Anthony is forever grateful to his close mates who assisted setting up his business. The help he received from his mates was instrumental to the success. In a small destination like the Southern Highlands your reputation and word of mouth is key. The majority of Anthony's work comes via word of mouth. He has recently completed his website www.antsearthmoving.com.au.

In the short period that Anthony has been trading by himself, he has certainly been on a steep learning curve and starting up the business presented many unexpected obstacles. One thing that has really stood out is the importance of good customer service when purchasing equipment. He has experienced the very worst service from truck body manufacturers, mediocre service from truck dealerships and exceptional service from machinery manufacturers such as Bobcat Company. This lesson will carry over to how he treats his customers and will influence his buying decisions well into the future. For Anthony, it is really important to listen to his customers and deliver the best service, always communicating and ensuring his clients are happy.

Anthony is proud of his current fleet including his tipper truck and the pride of the fleet is his brand new E35 Bobcat excavator. The E35's incredible reach is possible due to its longer boom arm than standard machines. The cab is extremely comfortable which is important for Anthony who stands at 6' 3" and has size thirteen feet. Anthony appreciates the extra room in the cab when spending a whole day behind the controls as it makes an incredible difference having that extra level of comfort. As well as having an exceptionally comfortable seat and room in the cab it has fantastic vision with two sliding windows.

The Bobcat E35 comes standard with a radio, it has an isolator for the reversing alarms, so you don't have to hear yourself going everywhere and the soundproofing in the cab overall is awesome. Anthony operated various machines before making his decision and the Bobcat stood out on top regarding power and comfort. The machine was purchased from Brad Breen at Clark Equipment in Smithfield, Sydney. Brad was fantastic to deal with, he always returned phone calls and has continued to ensure Anthony's experience is a good one. The follow on service from Clark Equipment has been exceptional.

Bobcat E35

Whilst Anthony has the capability and the skills to work on any project and has spent many years working on larger civil works projects, his core clientele are homeowners. You have a core focus for your business and while some people will say they can do everything, it's better to specialise in a specific area and to be really good at it than hack your way through any job that presents itself. Anthony enjoys dealing with private clients and working on their homes. He enjoys the personal interaction and gets great satisfaction from watching a job from start to finish. With his background in landscaping he likes to think that he has a bit of a creative mind and can work with the owners to manifest their dream. A lot of the time customers don't know exactly what they want so Anthony is able to offer a complete service which is more than simply digging a hole or trench.

This strategy and business plan is working for Anthony. He has an abundance of work in the pipeline and his new Bobcat E35 is quickly paying for itself. He is currently busy working on a retaining wall, rock work and several clients that need concreting. It is fantastic to see that taking a punt on buying a brand-new machine is paying off and it's exciting that the work is coming in. Even though the business is only young it was started by Anthony and Jess with a strong business plan and a clear defined goal. Through their careful planning and strong drive, the future has a clear path of success ahead. Anthony says that he can already see the fleet expanding to include a track loader, which will make life a little bit easier and expand his current services offered. The Southern Highlands region is experiencing a huge amount of growth so it's an excellent time to be building an earthmoving business in the area.

Whilst a skid steer and an excavator go hand in hand, Anthony is quick to point out that his primary motivator for starting the business is to benefit his family. He has no interest in growing the business to a size where he has dozens of operators and machines working for him, which will diminish all of the valuable family time that he enjoys. The balance between work and home is very important. Anthony is committed to running the business like a good small family business, with integrity and by building a strong reputation within the area.

Looking to the immediate future Anthony hopes to be doing the same kind of work and getting around the area with his truck, Bobcat excavator and track loader. Looking twenty years into the future, perhaps his kids will take over the business. His son Harvey is already showing a real passion for anything mechanical especially trucks and excavators but as a five-year-old that may change. His daughter Maddie is equally a huge motivator and Anthony stresses that there is no way that he could do this without the support of his wife and kids.

Outside of work, Anthony loves getting out on his mountain bike with his son and hitting the trails. There is also nothing better than going down the coast or up to Sydney to have a look around with his family on the weekend. One day he would love to eventually build a classic car such as an HQ Monaro or something that the family can go for drives in on the weekend. At just 34 years of age, the future is bright for Anthony. It is not often that you come across someone that is so genuine, down-to-earth and as passionate as Anthony and we were extremely fortunate to spend the day with him. There is no question that this family business is destined for success. They have already shown in so many ways that they have the guts to move new places, try new things and simply have a go. We love people like this and we loved sharing the story of Ant's Earthmoving Pty Ltd with you.

 

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