Victorian contractor Ashley Gunn, who has been buying Komatsu equipment for the past 10 years
Recently celebrated what he calls "a bit of a mid-life crisis" by buying a new PC300-8 excavator and a GD555-5 grader and downsizing to an owner-operator business.
Ashley's company Timboon Earthmoving today mainly concentrates on working for local farmers and the council, including building dams, cattle tracks, drainage systems, roadworks and final trim.
Currently he is building a trotting track for a local farmer who breaks in horses for trainers from around the district and interstate.
Ashley's first Komatsu was a PC270-7, followed by a PC160-7, then a PC220-7, and now the latest two machines.
"I bought a secondhand dozer off Komatsu about 10 years ago, and then went and bought a brand-new 27 tonner, then the other machines over the years, until these latest two," said Ashley.
"I've been in the business 20 years and in the industry for 30 years. Along the way we have achieved a number of local and regional business awards.
"I'm in a bit of a midlife crisis I suppose; I can't find decent operators anymore, and no amount of money seems to keep them around," he said.
"We don't lose them locally, it's always to WA or some major construction job. So we decided that we would sell everything and start over with new equipment.
"Apart from the new machines, I've only got the dozer and one dump truck to go and then it's all gone, and I'll just hire in and use subbies when needed.
"Now I just operate the grader and the excavator myself to keep the business going, but I won't take as much on."
"At the same time as buying the new Komatsu machines, I also bought a new Landcruiser,and my long-term aim is to work locally during the summer months, and in winter, head off interstate on a working holiday."
Ashley said a large part of his sticking with Komatsu has been due to the service and support he's received which has been far better than what he's had from other suppliers.
"On the service and support side, everything is great; I haven't got a problem. The only time I had one, it was all fixed up very quickly with a couple of phone calls and emails."
He's also very impressed with the machine performance from his Komatsu units.
"Again, not a problem; they are really good.
"This new Komatsu is my third grader; I've traditionally driven another make but the price was a bit dear and I just didn't want to deal with them again," he said.
"When the new Komatsu grader was delivered to Corangamite Shire, I saw it come off the float there, then a couple of weeks later I went up to Skipton where it was working and I jumped on it for half an hour and I fell in love with it.
"It's a great machine; it's absolutely terrific."