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02/10/2017

Feature Article

Canters on the Coast

The only question on Tim Mikkelsen’s mind after test-driving a Canter 616 City Tipper was how many to buy for his business – Kapiti Hire.

    “I didn’t realise how highly-specced these trucks are – disc brakes, ABS, Bluetooth, full air con, heated mirrors –  I was blown away by how quiet and responsive they are on the road,” says Tim, who picked up two five-speed manual models at the special offer price that’s been running through 2017.

    “You just don’t think about a truck being $39,900! With that level of spec, plus a Limited Slip Diff, they pretty much sold themselves. Another benefit of the low purchase cost is that we’ve been able to price our hire rate very attractively, which is fantastic for our customers.”

    Tim knew there was a market in the hire industry for light trucks that can be driven on a Class 1 licence, and he’s been proved right over the five months he’s had the two Canters. One is on a long-term hire helping out with local contract work, while the other is being used by “all sorts of people, from landscapers and contractors to home handymen”.

    “In my mind, these new trucks are the perfect addition to our fleet; they bring the ride and comfort of a modern utility with the power and load capability of a truck,” says Tim. “Our niche is plant and equipment up to 2 tonne. The tipper bin can take 3m3, which makes it ideal to hire with a 1.8T digger.” To facilitate this package, Tim fitted both trucks with certified 3500kg tow bars.   

    “A lot of hire companies won’t fit tow bars to their trucks, as it can lead to increased clutch wear with people riding the clutch when taking off on hills. The Canter 616 Tipper has Hill Start Assist which completely removes that problem. The [110kW/370Nm] engine also has plenty of grunt, so there’s really nothing to worry about if you’re pulling a full load and trailer up a steep drive.”

    As well as the tow bars, Tim added sun visors, stone guards and custom embroidered seat covers.

      “It has been my experience over the years that a modern, well-presented fleet commands greater respect among your customer base and people will generally take more care with it. Customer feedback has been awesome. Having well-presented vehicles and kit driving around town is also a massive billboard for your business – and I think these trucks look really smart.”

      LOCAL BUSINESS, NATIONAL OUTLOOK

      Over the past 18 years since he took ownership, Tim and the team have evolved Kapiti Hire into a flourishing local business with around 600 individual pieces of plant and five full-time staff. 

      A veteran of the trade, he is also the current president of the Hire Industry Association of New Zealand.

      “My dad started a hire company in Palmerston North in 1969, so I’ve basically grown up in the industry,” he says. “The opportunity in Kapiti came along at the right time, and it has been a good challenge developing the business into what it is now.”

      With the business constantly looking to diversify into new markets, the purchase of two versatile and highly specced Canter 616 Tippers has meant that Kapiti Hire is breaking new ground with confidence – and cementing its reputation as the ‘one stop hire shop’ on the Kapiti Coast!

       
      CANTER 616 CITY TIPPER
      • Tare weight: 2,630kg
      • Power/Torque: 110kW / 370Nm
      • Transmission: 5-speed manual
      • Service intervals: 30,000km
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