Vic operator backs himself

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  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

Three years ago, 32-year-old BRG Drainage and Civil Earthworks owner Ben Gleeson sold his house, gathered up his limited equity and set out to start his own drainage and earth moving business.

Komatsu-PC138US-8-excavator
Ben Gleeson and his PC138US-8 machine

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Based about 20-minutes’ drive from Ballarat in Clarendon, Victoria — Gleeson decided he was going to buy a new excavator and start his own business while in his late 20’s.

In three years, Gleeson and his wife and business partner Rachael have bought four Komatsu machines; employed six people full-time and developed a group of key customers.

BRG Drainage and Civil Earthworks has delivered projects across all areas of earthworks in a range of industries including civil, commercial, residential, government and agriculture and many more.

"We have two Komatsu PC 138s; a PC 228 and a PC55 for more intricate jobs, along with a Kenworth prime mover and a tri-axle float," Gleeson says.

It's a huge leap of faith when you're the parents of two pre-school daughters to leave your job and sell your house to raise working capital.

"I was always going to back myself to have a go and you learn quickly when it's your own money involved," he explains.

"I wanted to buy new machinery, because I couldn't take the risk of owning something that could break down or lose value in those first few years."

Ben's employer of seven years, Cooke and Dowsett, one of the country's largest plumbing solutions companies also helped by sending contract jobs his way in and around Ballarat.

His first PC138US-8 ticked the boxes. "A thirteen tonner was the right machine for the variety of work I wanted and buying it new provided me with certainty, even free service for the first 2,000 hours.

"I specified it with an offset boom so I could work up against the sides of buildings - increasing my ability to get jobs."

Now he has a small fleet of Komatsu’s supported by Komtrax technology, which has already prevented one theft and provides him with useful operating information on his machines.

Gleeson employs only top operators rather than use contractors, and to buy machines outright rather than rent them insists on personally overseeing each job.

"I may not be able to work on every job, but I'm always there supporting and making sure the work has been done right," Ben said. "I don't want to grow so big that I can't do that."

About to celebrate their third business anniversary Ben and Rachael have bought a new home, out of Ballarat, which accesses land housing their depot, and their family has been joined by their first son, now six months.

"As the business grows we can already see that we can handle somewhere between three or four times our current size and still stay true to our goal of always offering personal service."

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