Nightcaps Contracting gets reliable performance from Komatsu

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Southland-based contractor Nightcaps Contracting switched to Komatsu equipment three years ago when Komatsu NZ set up its own Invercargill branch – and has since bought five machines, all covered by service contracts.

Nightcaps Contracting gets reliable performance from Komatsu
Nightcaps Contracting gets reliable performance from Komatsu

"Having service contracts on the machines ensures they run reliably, because the ball is in Komatsu’s court to keep the machines running," said Tony Philpott, co-owner of Nightcaps Contracting with his wife Nikki.

Based out of Nightcaps, 70km northwest of Invercargill, the company was started on 1 April, 1999 – "a date which made us nervous", said Tony. It was in a 50/50 partnership with the HW Richardson Group.

It started with two excavators, including a Komatsu PC150, a transporter, two full-time employees, one of which was Tony, and a part-timer.

Today, Nightcaps Contracting employs 15 full-time staff and up to 10 part-timers, operating a fleet that includes three Komatsu PC200-7s, a PC200-8 excavator and a D65EX-12 dozer.

The company carries out a wide variety of work throughout Southland, including dairy conversions, farm drainage, coal mining, forestry, roading and all types of land development and civil construction, plus full cultivation and silage services.

Tony Philpott said that until 2004, the company’s excavator fleet consisted of two other brands.

"I was approached by Ron Chilton, Komatsu’s Invercargill branch manager, to see if we would consider buying a machine off them, because they were setting up their own branch," he said.

"Having known Ronnie and Greg Stewart (the Otago/Southland territory manager) for many years, I knew they would make the branch work, so over the next three years we purchased five machines off them. 

"Our operators were keen to give the Komatsu excavators a go, as one of the other brands had been quite uncomfortable and unreliable.

"Since we’ve had them, the machines perform very well, with the PC200s averaging around 22 litres of fuel an hour – which is less than one of our previous brands.

"The odd problem that has occurred was sorted by Ronnie and his team very quickly," said Tony.

In 2005, after the death of Bill Richardson (owner of HW Richardson Group), Broad Acre Farms and Hamish and Liz Wilson brought out the shares.

Tony manages the company with Nikki doing administration, while Hamish Wilson manages the day-to-day running of the agricultural side of the company.

"Nightcaps contracting have no plans for any further expansion, as we can handle most big jobs that come along now – but I have said this before…" said Tony.

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