This is Heli-Tilt Country

Arrow-white Customer Profile: EarthTech Excavation

Posted by Jacob Hart

Jan 30, 2024

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7 mins read

From fossils to avocados.

Working with local iwi and even archaeologists, no day is the same on site for owner-operator Ben from EarthTech Excavation.


Based in the Tauranga area in the Bay of Plenty, Ben works on a variety of projects - drainage works, house pads, civil earthworks, contouring, and even orchards for one of the Bay of Plenty’s most well-known exports – avocado’s.

Brent from Attach2 catches up with Ben on site where he is an integral subcontractor to CB Civil where together they are working on the earthworks for a housing development here in Tauranga – collaborating with archaeologists as well as the local iwi – Pirirakau/ Te Puna. It’s a pretty big job. The previously farmland site was covered in gorse, and the whole lot had to be cut down and mulched. Before any earthworks could even begin, everything had to be recorded and signed off. With a project this big, Ben can really show off the variety of work his company does, and the strong relationships that are required to successfully complete a project with so many stakeholders involved.


From plumbing to earthworks

Before operating diggers, Ben was a plumber. “You kind of get over unblocking toilets,’ he explains.

Always having a bit of a thing for diggers and heavy machinery, he took the leap 4 years ago to start his own company. Operating diggers in the construction business for around 14 years prior, he credits being a Tauranga local as well as already knowing quite a few people in the industry for paving a smoother path to go out on his own.

“It’s just me, so when I first started it was a bit of a struggle with getting consistent work and getting my name out there. I found that the first year of being out on your own was like a testing period.”

As Ben built up his reputation, the work kept coming in. He could then rely on that consistency to grow his business and take on more and more projects.

Being a one-man-band, Ben will often collaborate with other businesses and contractors, so it was integral to his business model to build solid partnerships on projects, as well as his relationships with clients. He acknowledges the strength of these relationships as well as his reputation for reliability to keep the work flowing in.


Small but mighty

It all started with a Dash 3 Sumitomo. Once Ben got to a point of the business bringing in consistent work, he decided he needed more reliability from his machines. He got himself a newer machine that included warranties; less breakdowns = less stress.

“I wanted to have the faith of knowing that it's not going to break down when I’m busy with jobs in the Summer.” he explains.

Now, Ben drives a 13 tonne Sumitomo, all geared up with an A2 Batter Bucket and A2 Heli-Tilt. He talks to Brent about what he likes about this set up;

“I’ve found the Heli-tilt to be very compact and a lot lighter compared to other branded hitches that are on the market. Not being oversized and over-weighted is a big thing, especially if you've got other attachments like thumbs and stuff added onto your dipper arm. Now that I'm using it, I don't think I would change to any other hitch.”


Keeping the wheels turning

Working so collaboratively with others, Ben understands the importance of having good relationships with key people, not only those who he contracts to but also to his suppliers. He talks to Brent about his experience with the Attach2 Service Team.

“With Attach2, every couple of months you get phone calls, or they just touch base with you. I can't fault the service. They go above and beyond with helping people out. I've been dealing with Brooklyn. He's been wicked, calls every time he's in Tauranga or in the Bay of Plenty. He rings up for a yarn and just wants to check if everything's all good.”

When asked about what his experience was with any warranty claims, Ben tells Brent how he has never personally had any issues or had to use it but knew a local contractor in Tauranga who had some experience with the service after having a small issue with his Tilt-Hitch.

“He was told that it was going to have to be repaired and it was going to take two days. The hitch repair was not that big of an issue, but with the other contractor having only one machine as well, they eliminated his downtime by replacing the whole thing. When you're an owner-operator with one machine, it is a big thing to have a company like that help you and try everything they can to help keep the wheels turning.”


Future growth and partnering with the best

Ben talks about his plans for the future growth of EarthTech Excavation;

“The ultimate goal would be to have a couple more staff members. I don't want to grow massively big, maybe one or two more guys and just have a bit more machinery”.

He is keen to investigate getting a 20 tonner to do further the variety of work he can undertake, such as drainage and sheet piling – work that is a bit more specialized.

Sustaining the relationships he has fostered as a small business is also important to Ben, including the one with Attach 2; “It doesn't really matter if you own one or 20 odd diggers, they treat their customers all equally.”

Customer Profiles

Jacob leads a team of professional marketers who creatively execute Attach2's marketing strategy.

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