Oldfields pivots and profits with WesTrac - Part 1

Part 1 of 2: The Australian bushfires were a catalyst for change that caused Oldfields Australia to pivot their business to one focused on hazard reduction. To do this effectively, they needed reliable, quality equipment.

Husband and wife team Anthony and Peta Oldfield run the Oldfields Australia land management and earthmoving business near Sydney, which came with a second-hand Cat® 289D Compact Track Loader when they purchased it in 2018.

Living out in the bush on a large rural property with young kids, surrounded by trees, the Oldfields have always been aware of how dangerous a fire could be. However, even they could not have predicted the devastation caused by the Australian bushfires last summer.

Up to one billion animals were killed, more than 10 million hectares were burned, over 3,000 homes were destroyed, and 34 people lost their lives in the catastrophic event. With raging fires in neighbouring areas, the Oldfields were lucky to keep their family and home safe.

The bushfires were a catalyst for change that caused the Oldfields to pivot their business to one focused on saving lives through hazard reduction. To do this effectively, they needed reliable, quality equipment. This meant buying a Cat HM315C Mulcher attachment from WesTrac.

Oldfields is in its own league

Anthony said one of the surprising things they discovered was that the Cat loader and mulcher brought distinction to their business – customers were really impressed when Oldfields arrived for a job with the iconic yellow-coloured equipment on the truck.

“Customers say ‘Wow, I wasn’t expecting that’,” he said.

What particularly stood out was that the loader could quickly mount a mulcher and perform land clearing work with ease.

“It’s a winner... just about every earthmoving business out there has a basic machine with a bucket but having the Cat mulcher really puts us in our own league,” he said. “Customers see yellow and know we’ll get the job done right.”

When good service means everything

At the start of 2020, the second-hand Cat 289D that came with the business was the only thing putting food on the table for the Oldfields family. Things hit a snag when the well-used machine broke down at a critical moment in the aftermath of the bushfires, just as the Oldfields had shifted gears to hazard reduction. This caused significant cash flow issues and stress.

“Our business came to a complete stop... we had nothing,” Anthony said.

Having had positive results from the local WesTrac team in getting parts for the 289D, Oldfields called for help and were extremely impressed by the prompt response.

“On the day of the failure, we called WesTrac at 3pm and they had someone there first thing next morning,” Anthony said.

“They went over it, identified what caused the issue, and helped us load it onto our truck. We delivered it to WesTrac Casula and the team there went over it, leaving no stone unturned. They had reports for everything, and their expert technicians were able to explain it clearly. They definitely had a professional setup.”

The cause of the failure ended up being major, which meant the machine would be out of action for 10 crucial weeks – time Oldfields could not afford – so they ordered a new compact track loader from WesTrac without thinking twice.

They had been impressed with the performance of their well-used 289D up until then, so getting another Cat loader was a no-brainer.

Making the right decisions together

Anthony and Peta work closely together as a team. Anthony looks after the operational side of the business and marketing, with Peta handling the financials and administration. Between the two of them, they decided a Cat 299D3 XE Compact Track Loader would be the best fit for their business.

Cat Compact Track Loader and Mulcher

“Moving fast ended up being easy with Cat Financial. We didn’t think we’d have that option but thought now’s the time to ask – and we’re glad we did,” Anthony said.

Mulching makes money

The decision to pivot the business during the worst bushfire season on record wasn’t one made lightly but it has paid off. The Oldfields landed on the Cat HM315C because it was more fuel efficient, easier to maintain, simpler to operate and safer than other mulchers on the market. The fact that it mounted onto their loader quickly and effortlessly was just a bonus.

“A mulcher by itself isn’t a licence to print money, you still need to have a good operator in the cab and an eye for detail when doing the work,” explains Nina Zeidan, WesTrac Product Advisor for Work Tools.

“Like Cat engineers who use the equipment they build, Peta and Anthony love what they do and have pride in their work,” continues Nina, “They’re making money from the mulcher because they use it to its full potential, knocking it out of the park on jobs every time – which guarantees them repeat business.”

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