Contractor profile: Maxted Contracting

By: Randall Johnston, Photography by: Randall Johnston

Nelson is buzzing with construction and Maxted Contracting owner Ben Maxted is upping the ante by investing in new machinery

With something of a housing and renovation boom occurring in the Nelson area, Maxted Contracting owner Ben Maxted is upping the ante, investing in a new Kubota U35-4 with quick hitch and a trio of locally manufactured G3 buckets with Hardox wear plates.

Ben’s mate, Alan Gare of G3 Engineering, installed a more powerful turbo engine in his truck for him in his workshop in Motueka before putting it to serious work, and Ben is more than pleased with the results.

Nelson-based contractor Ben Maxted is chuffed with his new Kubota

"Alan has done a bit of diesel work on my truck. G3 Engineering are a great support for me and are pretty much a one-stop shop for earthmoving contractors in this area. He’s a really helpful guy and is just up the road. If you do break something, he stocks the cylinders and teeth for the buckets on the shelf so that’s ideal."

When Deals on Wheels visited Ben, he was waiting for an electrician to complete the electrical work in a trench, the job being to connect power to a formerly powerless site in the stunning Upper Moutere, a sunny hop and grape plantation-covered valley between Nelson and Motueka. Ben, clearly chuffed with his new earner, purchased the orange workhorse from Kubota dealers, Norwoods in Christchurch, trading in his 2.5-tonne, 2015 Kubota U25.

"I’ve done some dig outs for driveways, retaining walls and quite a bit of landscaping," he says.

"This new one is slightly bigger, has more reach and just works better with the haul truck that I have. The old machine was 1500mm wide, this is only 1700mm wide, but is quite a lot bigger. It’s really nice to be using something so modern, it makes quite a big difference," Ben says. He, like most operators in the Nelson area at the time I caught up with him, was ‘flat out’ completing jobs in the lead-up to Christmas.

The latest job is in Upper Moutere, a sunny hop between Nelson and Motueka

So, the arrival of his new Kubota mini excavator couldn’t be better, with reliability key when solidly booked back-to-back and working to reasonably tight timeframes. He’s been getting calls for everything from driveways to carport dig outs and quite a bit of drainage work.

"Things have been really going ahead in this area over the last few years, with people not able to travel, it seems like everyone has some kind of project on the go," Ben says.

Speaking of travel, Ben and his partner have done their fair share, living in Rotterdam in Holland – returning from Europe to settle back home in Nelson and having a daughter surrounded by family.

"We had planned on going back but then COVID hit and that’s when we really settled in and I decided to just go for it here," he says.

The new Kubota U-35-4 is earning its keep

Prior to heading overseas, Ben did a drain laying apprenticeship and worked for a decade honing his skills, working for a local company. On his return to New Zealand, he worked for a good mate’s construction company, mainly installing subdivision services.

The plan was to subcontract back to them, but the Nelson branch was bought out not long after by a local company and that’s when Ben went fully independent as a contractor.

"That’s what gave me the final push to go and do my own thing really."

Ben then went out on his own, establishing Maxted Contracting about two years ago, and hasn’t looked back since.

"It has its challenges, but it’s pretty satisfying especially completing jobs that are slightly different or unique and just overcoming little complications that you can encounter," he says.

Can’t go wrong with NZ-made G3 buckets made of Hardox steel

Ben has an offsider, Donald McConochie, who he worked alongside in a previous role. Having another experienced operator helps Ben on jobs, or they divide up the work, depending on what’s required and the location.

There is potential to scale up the business, Ben says, potentially adding operators and machines in the future, but for now he is happy and grateful for the spot that he has carved out for himself in the midst of all the construction activity that the Nelson area is experiencing.

For more information, contact or 02041607966.

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