[Customer Story] When Dirt Becomes Gold
Mick Gore from Gore Earthmoving in Goondiwindi shared the Gore Earthmoving story, along with some advice for those looking at going out on their own and why he chooses Kobelco Excavators and Brisvegas Machinery to get the job done!
Gore Earthmoving is an earthmoving business predominantly operating in the agricultural sector but also has a list of completed jobs including some in civil and mining. They are a diverse business which all started back in 1982 when Mick Gore’s father hired a dozer from his next-door neighbour in Toowoomba.
How did Gore Earthmoving come about?
My father was share farming at the time but was looking for a change. His neighbour had a Dozer for hire. Dad took it on for a short-term lease and marketed himself out for jobs here and there. From there the business grew slowly and steadily. After a little while dad ended up purchasing the dozer off his neighbour. More and more work continued to come dad’s way where he saw the need to purchase another dozer and so began Gore Earthmoving.
How did you come to work for the business?
I left school in year 10 to start a Boiler Makers apprenticeship. Mum and Dad had a rule that we could leave school early but only if we had an apprenticeship. My brother (also involved in the business) wasted no time, looking for any apprenticeship to take on. I went on to complete my boiler makers apprenticeship at Gessner’s while my brother completed a Saddlery apprenticeship. I worked in Toowoomba at Gessner’s for 7 years before Dad asked me to come back and give him a hand. He had grown the business to be quite a sizeable family business. The plan was to help him out for 12 months or so but here I am, still here today.
How did you work your way up in the business?
I started out helping with maintenance and repair work, after a while I began to operate the machines and partly managed jobs until before I knew it, I was doing less operating and more managing. It was a slow progression but it allowed me to learn all aspects of the business and how dad’s employees worked and what was needed to complete the work.
Did you have any goals for the business?
I had ideas of where I wanted the business to end up, which aligned with my father’s thankfully. We are a family-based business and we knew we didn’t want to grow the business to an unmanageable level for a family. We always wanted to personally manage our projects, so that we could keep a close eye on what was happening and ensure our quality of work was always delivered. We never wanted to be the biggest in the game but we still wanted to be able to tackle the bigger jobs. Working alongside my father and brother, we can proudly say that is exactly what we are today.
Has it been easy taking the business from one bull dozer to what it is today?
When I started with the company dad had 5 employees, I made it 6. Gore Earthmoving now have 30 employees. We grew steadily over the years and that is the way we wanted to do it. We saw times of boom and other times where it would go very quiet. Working in the agriculture industry can be very up and down. Like now for example, we are going through one of the driest times in 100 years and we definitely feel the effect of that. But we have also seen times when it has been booming. When the irrigation development started in the Macintyre Valley, it was a huge growth period. Gore Earthmoving played a big part in developing the irrigation dams and channels. Today there is still some new infrastructure and redevelopment of irrigation farms but now it’s mainly assisting those farming businesses with maintenance and repairs of those irrigation dams and channels.
How has the business diversified over the years?
When the business first started we were doing a lot of bull dozer and timber work. It was all clearing and scrub pulling, stick raking which helped the business win contracts for the irrigation development. We did a lot of the clearing and stick raking but then went on to do the complete development; laser levelling and building the channels and dams. We now see the business doing more and more of this type of work.These day’s its not so much building but more repair and maintenance work on the irrigation dams which keeps us busy. We are also doing more and more work in livestock feedlots; building of new feedlots and maintenance.
What machinery does Gore Earthmoving run and why?
It all comes down to reliability, reliability of the machine and reliability of the backup service and sales. All up we have about 24 major bits of plant including excavators and skidsteers. We have a mix of different brands which we have hand selected over the years. When we find a brand we like, we stick with it and for good reasons.We bought a second hand Kobelco excavator from Brisvegas Machinery in 2015 and since then I can count on 1 hand how many issues we have had with that machine. Any issues we had Brisvegas sorted out quickly and efficiently. It is service like that, that makes us stay with certain brands and dealers I guess.
What keeps you motivated?
When you go to a job or start a job and you can see a vision of what you are wanting to build or what the client wants. You start with a blank canvas and by the time you have finished your vision has come to life. I find it very satisfying to see the finished product and that keeps me motivated and driven for the next project.
What advice do you have for new businesses in earthmoving?
Take small steps at a time, don’t rush into everything. Don’t think you have to be the biggest and best in the industry to succeed. People will generally pay a little more for quality, rather than you doing it in a record time. And be prepared to change with the times, with agriculture it can be very challenging, for main reasons. If you are open to altering plans, you will be able to handle difficult times and situations more easily and hopefully come out on top.