"Every Komatsu machine I buy goes through Komatsu Finance"
When it comes to financing equipment, south Queensland plant hirer Stephen Orchard of Sniffers Plant Hire is a big fan of Komatsu Australia Corporate Finance so much so that he'd like to use it for every piece of gear he has to buy.
Based south of Brisbane, Sniffers Plant Hire carries out jobs throughout Queensland, as well as in NSW down as far as Coffs Harbour, with his fleet of 15 Komatsu excavators, ranging from 13 tonne class PC138s through 45 tonne class PC450-8s delivered in the middle of this year.
These two largest machines are being used on the Toowoomba Range emergency floodworks project.
Since starting as an owner-operator in 2000 with a skidsteer and a small tipper, he's built his company up to a significant plant hiring operation working on some of the largest projects in Queensland.
These have included major Brisbane busway and road projects, such as the Inner City Bypass and the Inner Northern busway, sections of the Ipswich Motorway, Gateway Arterial upgrades, a large rail duplication project in Rockhampton, as well as major water and gas pipelines work.
Stephen aims to ensure his fleet is as flexible and productive as possible, so all excavators below 35 tonnes have tilt hitches, while all excavators under 30 tonnes are zero swing machines.
"There's quite a niche market in us having zero swing machines, because we can work on roadways and just have to shut down one lane, plus in most jobs around town, the construction sites are pretty tight," he said.
He also has all his excavators piped to run hydraulic breakers, and hardwired to take Trimble GPS systems of which he owns 10.
Stephen began using Komatsu Finance when he purchased his first Komatsu machine, a PC138US-2, in 2004.
"Since then every Komatsu machine I buy goes through Komatsu Finance and I would use them for everything if I could," he said.
"Their finance man, Shane Kennedy, is very easy to deal with, and he'll really go the extra mile.
"And because he's dealt with us a lot before, he will even ring our insurance company and tell them we have new machine and arrange the cover note to make sure we are covered.
"He also has all the paperwork organised, so I don't have to muck around, then they'll come out and meet us at a time that suits us, and we will sign it up.
"I have even financed GPS systems, all my attachments and everything; even though I buy them directly, Komatsu will finance them for me. Anything directly related to the machine, they will finance."
Stephen said that Shane and the Komatsu Finance team will also help out if there are cash-flow issues.
"If we are having dramas, they take the time out to listen to your situation whereas the banks, as soon as they hear that you are having dramas, they want to tear your throat out.
"In this game, cash flow is everything, but it doesn't mean you are having trouble it just means you are waiting on money," he said.
"But the banks just seem to have no idea about business; they are just in the game of banking, whereas Komatsu understands a lot more."