Business profile: Look4Fill

By: The Ed


Business profile: Look4Fill Business profile: Look4Fill
Business profile: Look4Fill Business profile: Look4Fill

Looking for fill? Then you’re looking for Look4Fill.

"Adapt or die." Well, if you take Charles Darwin’s quote in its entirety, he actually said: "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change".

That quote should make sense to all of us, no matter what age you finished school. So if we carry the meaning of this across from the evolutionary scale to our slice of the construction industry, then I’m sure most will be able to recall some well-established businesses that have failed to adapt; being now just memories in photo albums.

Some businesses have failed after trying to adapt, which even though they were doomed nonetheless, I think is still commendable as they were actually doing something to try and keep pace with competitors. What I believe is a sure thing though, is that a business will ultimately fail if it does not adapt to changing conditions.

So, what is a changing condition you ask? A couple of easy ones are health and safety, as well as technology. Another easy one which has been there way before most others is price competition.

One way to ensure more money stays in the back pocket is securing better prices from suppliers in the form of discounts. While this pretty much comes with the territory for bigger companies, a smaller operator can find it difficult to cut real deals that make a substantial difference.

This is where I believe a website such as look4fill.co.nz provides an opportunity for businesses to adapt, as it provides what I believe is a changing condition in the form of price competition.

For urban contractors one of the biggest costs is the payment of tip fees for excavated material, and on the other side of the coin; a major cost being the importation of fill.
This is where contractor Carl Sorenson saw a gap in the marketplace.

"I’d spent a week looking for a couple of hundred truckloads of fill for a Remuera site we were working on but ended up having to import it all," he says.

"On the last day, I took a different route home and came across another contractor working two streets away who had just finished excavating and dumping almost the exact amount we needed."

Look 4Fill3

Now it doesn’t take an accountant with a sharp pencil to work out that Sorenson’s story would have saved both contractors a sizeable amount of money and we now know that the experience was a catalyst for the website.

Since its establishment in 2014, the free-to-use site has become a regular go-to place for contractors disposing of, or requiring fill or all types. The quantities available online can vary from one to thousands of cubic metres and consist of everything you’d expect such as topsoil, clay, rock, sand, gravel and mixed spoil.

Pretty much everything listed is free for pick up and almost always loaded. There is the odd instance where product is for sale, such as a listing I spotted that had screened soil for sale at prices I had not seen since the 90s. As most businesses need to get the material off their sites, Sorenson says that they are pretty cooperative.

Alternatively, fill can be requested which essentially provides free tipping for contractors that need to dispose of material quickly.

"The website pretty much runs itself, and gets a lot of traffic," says Sorenson.

Thanks to smartphone technology people can access the site anywhere in the country where a connection to the internet is available, so is ideal for contractors who are constantly on the move.

For people who know the value of a dollar, Sorenson says that the website can offer a good alternative for developers, landscapers and contractors; especially if they can reduce transport, material supply and tipping costs.

Yet another benefit I see with the site is that it helps contractors extend their network of those in the industry as they get the opportunity to meet others when collecting fill or disposing of material. Surely this on its own will have benefits, especially for those who are new to the game.

Sorenson isn’t what I’d call your ‘usual’ contractor with his easy-going demeanour along with slightly skewiff baseball cap, somewhat camouflaging what I perceive to be a strong business acumen. This in itself presents the next generation of contractor who is well aware that it’s not the strongest that survive, but the ones that are most adaptable to change.

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