Clennett Hire has made the decision to expand into Victoria, with Haulotte’s EWPs at the forefront of its product range. Co-founder Saar Alfasi discusses the company’s journey to date.
Starting an equipment hire business in July 2019 seemed like a great idea. With investment in construction and infrastructure projects on the rise, the time was ripe to flood the market with new, environmentally conscious, efficient access machines.
But, by March 2020, the world had been flipped on its head and every business was thrown into a level of precarity not seen for a long time. As Saar Alfasi acknowledges: “it was quite a scary experience”.
Founded in Kingston, Tasmania, Clennett Hire was founded by co-owners Will Clennett and Saar Alfasi in a time where business was booming all around them. The company has aimed to consistently provide a high-quality range of different earthmoving, material handling and access construction machines since its inception, but the pandemic threw everything into chaos.
“It was difficult because on top of learning about a new industry and adapting to the market we had entered in Tasmania, we needed to adapt quickly to survive throughout the pandemic,” he says.
Part of that adaptation process did include riding the tough times out; however, Clennett Hire’s strategy revolved around more than luck. Making the decision to expand their client base, Clennett Hire moved up north from Kingston to explore the markets available in Launceston, Devonport, and Burnie.
Additional to their intra-state expansion, Saar highlights the important role that acquiring experienced heads played in ensuring the Tasmanian company’s head stayed above water. Being able to rely on that wealth of experience and market ‘know-how’ allowed Clennett Hire to not only provide their range of access products to the Tasmanian market but provide a fulfilling post-sale service to their customers.
“We didn’t give up,” says Saar. “We decided to expand our client base because we wanted to protect ourselves from any downturn in specific markets.”
“Eventually things started to open up again with the Tasmanian Government pushing a lot of smaller jobs that allowed us to win over some clients,” he continues. “We made sure we provided a good quality service with good quality products because, ultimately, that’s what customers want.”
One of Clennett Hire’s most defining strategies, however, was the decision to purchase products that, as Saar says, it knew its competitors “didn’t necessarily have”.
The company purchased a wide range of equipment and models spanning high-capacity boom lifts, scissor lifts and spider lifts to be its point of difference. At the forefront of the new range of products was French manufacturer Haulotte, which provided a large quantity of Clennett Hire’s elevated work platforms for its access range.
“Haulotte was advocated for quite well by its sales and national managers,” says Saar. “Keith Clarke, in particular, highlighted the advantages of Haulotte’s equipment which really convinced us to come over to them.”
“Over the last 10 years, they’ve updated a lot of their equipment and consistently brought out new technologies to stay ahead of the market,” he continues. “They possess an outstanding design, the equipment is of a high quality, and our clients are always using them.”
Among those technological developments, Saar highlights the developments Haulotte made on its telescopic boom lifts. Citing productivity features such as high capacity baskets and Active Lighting, Sherpal Telematics, four wheels steering and “great” ground clearance, he also notes Haulotte’s “accommodating” approach when it came to tailor-making product modifications for Clennett Hire’s “particular specification”.
It’s because of this level of high-quality service that, in light of Clennett Hire’s expansion into a new purpose-built facility in Victoria, the company has chosen to continue using Haulotte’s products at the forefront of its access range. With the Victorian Government setting aside $85.3 billion for general construction and infrastructure over the next four years, the team in Tasmania believed the time was right to expand its operations.
“We always wanted to expand into Victoria,” says Saar. “We think the next few years will revolve around stabilising ourselves in the Victorian and Tasmanian markets before considering looking North to some of the other markets such as Sydney or Brisbane.”
“Our aim is to provide leading customer experience and understand our customer needs while offering the best technology available,” he continues. “We have chosen equipment by leading suppliers like Haulotte who are able to support us with a strong maintenance, spare parts and service offering.”
The new branch in Laverton North – Melbourne’s west – features a range of Haulotte machines including diesel and electric scissor lifts, vertical masts, push arounds, as well as articulating and telescopic booms. All machines feature leading diagnostic and safety features such as EQSS Overwatch fitted to all machines as well as telematics and machine tracking technology.
Ultimately though, just supplying a high-level quality of product isn’t enough in today’s market. With a growing awareness and emphasis on post-sale service and support, the team at Clennett Hire says Haulotte does not fall short in this category. Enjoying a relationship with the French manufacturers before his latest venture, Saar is effusive in his praise for the relationship-focused approach from Haulotte.
“For me, out of every manufacturer that we work with, Haulotte are the best at investing in relationships,” he says.