WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT THE HEAD OFFICE OF BJ WATERS TRANSPORT, A THRIVING INTERNATIONAL BULK HAULAGE COMPANY, WOULD BE FOUND IN A QUIET VILLAGE ON THE EDGE OF THE PEAK DISTRICT NATIONAL PARK? IN FACT, IT’S THE LOCATION THAT’S THE CLUE TO THE COMPANY’S SUCCESS, AS BULK & TIPPER FINDS OUT TALKING TO DIRECTOR JAMES WATERS.
It’s almost 100 years ago and four generations of the Waters family since a single truck in the livery of BE (Bernard Edmund) Waters first took to the Derbyshire roads, carrying stone from the local quarries to rail heads in the Matlock area. BE Waters became BJ Waters and where there was one truck, there are now some 96 trucks and 75 trailers operating from three UK sites, with Waters liveried vehicles regularly crossing the channel. The small village of South Darley is still the nerve centre of the operation and where most of the fleet is based.
As with most haulage companies, it hasn’t been a story of sure and steady expansion from the word go. BE Waters was the great grandfather of current directors James Waters, his sister Clare and cousins John and Richard. Clare and James’ father Martin also maintains a seat on the board. BE ran his operation successfully until war threw him a curved ball in 1939.
A NEW DEVELOPMENT BY DENNISON TRAILERS OFFERS OPERATORS AN ARTIC THAT MATCHES THE MANOEUVRABILITY AND TRACTION OF AN EIGHT WHEELER. IT CAN DO THE WORK OF A FOUR-AXLE RIGID, BUT CARRY FAR MORE PAYLOAD AND GIVES OPERATORS THE FLEXIBILITY TO ACCESS SITES THAT ARE IMPOSSIBLE FOR CONVENTIONAL ARTICS. BULK & TIPPER REPORTS.
For many tipper operators, the ideal vehicle would be a 44-tonne articulated outfit, that has the manoeuvrability, stability and traction of a four-axle rigid, giving a big uplift in payload, but still able to access collection and delivery points that are normally the sole preserve of rigids. The obvious answer is to have a very short wheelbase trailer, the reduced outer axle spread means far less trailer cut-in and if coupled to a suitable tractor – preferably a tag axle model – it would probably match an eight wheeler in the right hands. The shorter tipping body and axle spread also improves stability, which removes another potential objection to replacing a rigid with an artic.
But the one problem using a shorter trailer, is that if the distance from the kingpin to the rearmost axle is less than 8m, the outfit no longer qualifies for six-axle 44-tonne operation. This section of the regulations has been in force ever since the weight limits were raised to the current level in January 2001.
TRANSFORMING A WELL-ESTABLISHED CONSTRUCTION FIRM INTO A PLANT HIRE, RECYCLING AND HAULAGE OPERATION ISN’T THE MOST OBVIOUS BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY, PERHAPS. BUT FOR BROUGHTON FIRM DROMGOOLE AND SONS, IT HAS TURNED OUT TO BE A PRETTY CANNY MOVE, AS BULK & TIPPER FINDS OUT.
It was once a house-builder, but it hasn’t built a property for over eight years. And there was a time when it didn’t really want to run any more trucks, but it now has a fleet of almost a dozen and growing. Transformation has clearly been something of a constant over recent years at Broughton, North Wales-based Dromgoole and Sons – and managing director Paul Michael Dromgoole has no regrets about it.
Far from it, in fact: ask him what direction the business might be heading in next, and he’ll tell you he wouldn’t mind getting into curtainsider work. “I’d like to see my name in big letters on all the curtainsiders going down the motorway!” he laughs.
FROM ITS MOST HUMBLE OF ORIGINS, MONKS CONTRACTORS HAS EVOLVED INTO ONE OF THE NORTH WEST’S FASTEST GROWING WASTE HAULAGE BUSINESSES. BULK AND TIPPER CAUGHT UP WITH MANAGING DIRECTOR CHRIS MONK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FIRM’S METEORIC RISE.
If hard work is the key to success, it’s no surprise to see the Monk family’s burgeoning business empire continuing to blossom. For the best part of three decades, husband and wife Chris and Louise have built up Blackburn-based Monks Contractors from scratch. “Busy, busy, busy,” chuckles Chris Monk, as Bulk & Tipper dials in for our scheduled interview – squeezed in during a typically hectic day. “We’ve got the farm, where we lamb more than 200 sheep, and we’ve just opened up a holiday letting business on some land near our home in Ribble Valley, which is what Louise’s time is taken up with at the moment. Then, obviously, there’s this place.”
“This place” – or waste haulage firm Monks Contractors as it is more commonly known – has grown exponentially over the past 28 years. It all began when a 16-year-old Chris Monk managed to save up enough money from working at local farms to buy a second hand JCB tractor.
FAMILY RUN ESSEX-BASED G&B FINCH WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1969, STARTING WITH AN ALLIS-CHALMERS CRAWLER, A PLOUGH AND HARD WORK. WITH OVER 50 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE, AND NOW RUN BY ITS THIRD GENERATION, IT HAS GAINED A GREAT REPUTATION WITH ITS BROAD RANGE OF SERVICES. HOWEVER, IT HAS STUCK WITH A SINGLE TRUCK MANUFACTURER. BULK & TIPPER FINDS OUT WHY.
Choosing to source your vehicles from just one manufacturer, especially if you operate a substantial fleet, is less common in the modern marketplace. In the past, local companies dealt with their local dealer – strong relationships were forged. These relationships endured through both good and bad times.
Now most operators tend to play suppliers off against each other, keeping them on their toes when it comes to supplying new vehicles and hopefully showing the customer’s displeasure when they feel that aftermarket support is not up to scratch, by buying a rival make. There are pros and cons for both approaches, but Essex based G&B Finch, prefers to stick with one truck manufacturer and has formed a close relationship with both the manufacturer and the local dealer. The company offers a broad range of associated services, including aggregate and material supply, ready-mix concrete, grab tipper hire, specialist equestrian facility construction along with tipping and extensive recycling services – as a result it operates a fleet of tippers, mixers, low-loaders as well as an eight-wheel plant/Hiab lorry with a PM 38-tonne/metre crane.
NORFOLK HAULIER PHILL CLARK HAS COME A LONG WAY SINCE STARTING OUT WITH A SINGLE AGGREGATE TRUCK BACK IN 2007. THOUGH HE STILL MAJORS ON AGGREGATES, HE NOW RUNS A FLEET OF SEVEN TRUCKS AND SIX TRAILERS AND ALSO TAKES ON BULK, TANK, CURTAINSIDER AND FRIDGE WORK. BULK & TIPPER REPORTS.
Lots of owner-drivers are happy to run a single vehicle, and for many, that works out just fine. But Phill Clark (Contract Haulier) wasn’t destined to follow such a simple path. Based in Norwich, Clark first started working for himself back in 2007 at the age of 40 after some 19 years as an employed driver ended with a redundancy.
“I’d been working for Wincanton on a fuel contract with Q8, collecting fuels from eastern region refineries to bring back to the main plant at Wymondham here in Norfolk, but eventually Q8 decided to take its transport back in-house,” he explains.
MAEN KARNE, BASED IN THE FAR SOUTH WEST, HAS HIGHLIGHTED ITS CORNISH ORIGIN BY PAINTING THE FLEET BLACK – THE BACKGROUND COLOUR OF THE COUNTY’S FLAG. BULK & TIPPER EXPLORES ITS CORNISH ROOTS.
Creating a really positive image for a growing operation is difficult to achieve in any market, linking it to the part of the country where the company is based is even harder. If the company in question runs trucks the best way to get the message across is via the livery applied to the fleet. If it gives a truly memorable image and the trucks are seen by lots of people in many areas, it becomes lodged in the memory.
The Maen Karne Group has emphasised its Cornish roots by painting the fleet black, one of the key colours from the county flag, the white cross on a black background were chosen by St Piran, one of the patron saints of Cornwall and of tin miners in particular. The company name is also steeped in Cornish history, it translates from the old Cornish language as ‘Rock of the Sea, Rock of the Land’ – all very apt considering the company’s activities are based upon aggregate supply, concrete block manufacturing, bagging, ready-mix concrete and specialist screed supply, bulk haulage along with muckaway and site clearance services.