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19/10/2017

Feature Article

Branching out

Willco Tree Services owners John and Maggie Williamson tend not to go against the grain when it comes to buying new equipment. From the trucks in their fleet, to the chainsaws they carry and the chippers they tow, they stick with equipment they can rely on to get the job done – which is why they’ve just invested in a new Fighter FK1025 to help grow their business.

Willco provides local tree services to residential and commercial properties in the Wellington region – a focus it has maintained while a number of competitors tender for business on the Kapiti Expressway and Transmission Gully road projects.

“A lot of the bigger companies have been chasing those contracts, which has left a bigger gap in the local market that we have been able to fill,” says John, whose business is thriving on the back of sticking to what it does best.

One new opportunity John is keen to explore is expanding Willco’s service area to include neighbouring Wairarapa – to do so, he has added a new 10,600kg Fighter FK1025 to his fleet of three Fuso Canters.

“We’ve had the Canters since 2004. They still do the job for us, but I wanted something more powerful to go over the hill to the Wairarapa. I prefer to stick to the same brand for all our equipment – Stihl chainsaws, Vermeer chippers, Fuso trucks. After speaking to Martin [Zammit] from Upper Hutt Bin Hire, who’s got around 15 or so Fighters, I made the call.”

‘The hill’ John refers to is the Rimutaka Hill Road, a 6.6km, winding ascent that climbs 336m at an average grade of 5%; he says the Fighter’s 250hp/761Nm engine handles it with ease with a team of three and all their gear onboard, and a 2.3-tonne chipper in-tow.

John’s brother Michael drives the Fighter every day; “we can’t get him out of it!”

 

“It’s a fantastic truck,” says Michael. “It has impressive power across the rev range, especially in the lower gears, which makes it nice and smooth and easy to drive – especially going over the hill.

“It gets up to speed very quickly and just sails along the highway. The cab is really comfortable and there are a number of useful features like Hill Start Assist, which gives you greater control, and heated mirrors, which make a big difference on frosty mornings.

“It also has a big 200L fuel tank, and it’s running efficiently, so we’re only filling up every other week as opposed to every other day. The fact that we can do more jobs in a day with just the one truck is also more economical for us.”

With a 12m3 chip bin on the back and the entire unit painted bright green, Willco’s new Fuso can’t be missed when it’s out and about. John jokes that the reason there’s a sticker of Shrek on the front is because “they’re both big, green and ugly”!

“We’re certainly easily recognised,” he says. “Our trucks are a moving billboard for our business, and it’s nice to have a smart new unit out on the road. The Fighter has also allowed us to grow our business. It’s been a good investment.”

Fighter FK1025
  • Wheelbase – 4,270mm (H)

  • Tare weight – 3,510kg

  • Power/Torque – 250hp / 761Nm

  • Transmission – 6spd manual

  • Service intervals – 30,000km

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