Business profile: Magnum Hire

By: Shannon Williams

Since 2001, Auckland-based Magnum Equipment has been supplying New Zealand with an extensive range of high-quality machinery

The New Zealand-owned and operated company specialises in quality machinery and equipment, including small plant gear and large plant heavy machinery, all serviced on-site. The company is New Zealand’s authorised dealer for Morooka and Hidromek machinery and parts.

Magnum Equipment is NZ’s authorised dealer for Morooka and Hidromek machinery and parts

Growth and expansion

Over the last 18 years, the business has grown with new equipment, new brands, a growing team of dedicated staff, and a redefined business model. Its early beginnings saw the company specialise in excavators but later expanded its range in order to satisfy the increasing demand.

"We started out importing 50 machines a year out of Japan—bulldozers, excavators, trucks, diggers, the works. But by 2004, we had more and more people asking to hire machines instead of buying them, and the rest, as they say, is history," explains founder and director Liam Field.

Magnum now offers roller/compactors, wheeled loaders, graders, bulldozers, rock crushers, trucks, and small equipment to name a few.

"We’ve grown into a trusted supplier of quality equipment to some of the biggest names in construction and earthmoving," he says. Liam says he saw a gap in the market and knew Magnum could fill it with quality machinery that could be hired out to the industry.

The company secured the Morooka NZ distributorship in 2018

"When times are slower, people are more inclined to hire machinery than they are to buy it. Purchasing machinery is expensive and when business is slow, we found companies were quite unsure. For us, it was all about bums on seats and we saw an opportunity to hire out the machines instead of selling them. Some customers end up hiring machines for years," he explains.

Liam says there are a lot of benefits when hiring a piece of equipment as opposed to purchasing outright.

"If you buy a machine there are all sorts of costs associated with it. With hiring you can have it for eight months of the year and give it back when you’re done with it," he says.

"In the middle of winter when nothing is happening, there are no costs. You don’t have a machine sitting around that you’re not using. Hiring equipment is 100% tax-deductible when repayments on a purchased machine aren’t.

"On a site, the requirements of what machine is needed can change each day, and often customers will have one main machine they use and then will hire another for a short period of time, depending on the job. There’s just so much more flexibility when hiring," Liam explains.

The Magnum team has changed with time, too. Starting out with just two staff members, Magnum now employs more than 30 people, including fully qualified mechanics, an operations manager, a parts person, truck drivers, transport movers, and an apprentice.

Liam says most of the staff have been around for a long time, and credits the good culture that has been created within the team for the long, loyal service.

The hard yakka

New Hidromek models are arriving later in 2020

Magnum’s success hasn’t come without its challenges, however, Liam says having big gear and keeping it all going, especially when it gets busy, can be tough.

"Machines get given a hard yakka, and continually having to keep them serviced is one of our biggest challenges. Maintaining the fleet, servicing all the gear, it’s a big job but that’s the nature of our business, and it’s all worth it," he says.

Liam says uncertainty with the current government has also impacted the industry.

"We’ve definitely seen a slow down; people aren’t trusting the government. When you’re a business, you’ve got to have surety and belief in government and council. You’ve got to have confidence and we’ve definitely felt that decrease this year. Business confidence is important and it’s not really there."

Despite the challenges, Liam says taking on the Hidromek and Morooka brands and supplying the machines to customers has been a real highlight for him.

Magnum was named as the distributor for the Turkish-build Hidromek brand in 2017, with the first machines arriving in November that year.

The company secured the Morooka New Zealand distributorship in 2018. The first Morooka machines to arrive were the 1500DVR and 2200VDR model turntable dumpers, which arrived in late October 2018 and were ready to be put into service shortly after.

"The feedback we’ve received from customers, how satisfied they are by the quality, it’s really great," Liam says.

"Hidromeks are European quality machines. We learned that people want to own European quality and we’re glad we’re able to provide this to the industry.

"More and more people are starting to know and hear about the brands, which is exciting for us. We really got behind these machines and we knew Kiwis would love them, so it’s great to see that feedback."

Liam says there’s a bunch of Hidromek models arriving in February and March, and new models are expected later in 2020.

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