Business profile: One Recovery

By: The Editor, Photography by: Supplied

Deals on Wheels caught up with a Wairarapa-based company that’s well-located to service the two main islands of NZ with their specialised digger-based winching gear

Winching equipment from awkward sites is a specialty for One Recovery

Getting a machine or vehicle bogged—or worse yet, flipping one down a bank—may cost the operator a box of beers at their very luckiest. For the owner of the machine, however, things are more complicated and there are a bunch of decisions to be made that will ensure the piece of plant is recovered safely and cost-effectively.

Whatever the outcome of all those decisions, someone is going to need to retrieve the piece of plant and get it in position for on-site repair or transportation to a workshop. That’s where salvage business One Recovery will step in and take the headache away from the machine owner, but more about them shortly.

The first solution

Recovering bogged machines can be dangerous

For anyone looking at a bogged or flipped machine or vehicle, often the first solution will involve an attempt at retrieval with another machine on-site. If unsuccessful, the next solution will involve a call to a mate ‘who has done a few of these before’.

The problem is these methods can often be unsafe, take personnel away from other duties—such as making money for the business—and usually requires taking machinery off other paying jobs to attempt the retrieval task. It can quickly become costly, complicated, and dangerous.

Not all jobs are suited to a heavy salvage truck

Failing at all of the above, the next step will be to call in a heavy vehicle towing company, who always do an excellent job, providing they can get good access and are able to anchor their truck to prevent slippage. Unfortunately, not all recovery situations are suited for big trucks used to plying the highways.

Simplifying the task

One Recovery have completed more than 30 jobs

Simplifying the off-road salvage process is what prompted Wairarapa-based contractor James Sokalski to set up One Recovery as a division of his JPS Earthmoving Ltd business.
Now, with some 30 outside recoveries under their belt, James and his team are ready to offer their services to the wider industry.

"I thought there must be a better way to recover rolled equipment or pull machines and vehicles out of the mud," says James. "Often, owners will waste a lot of time—sometimes days—trying to recover a machine and the whole time their business can be at a standstill, while they try and do something that is outside their scope of capability."

Purpose-made equipment

One Recovery have certified winches that can pull a ute or machinery up to 108T

To undertake the recovery work, James and his crew use a selection of purpose-made certified winches that are fitted to a range of different-sized excavators, depending on the type of job requirements.

All machines can fit through a 2.6m gate

"We had our range of winches and anchor blades made specifically for this type of work; all the machines are set up to fit through a 2.6-metre gate. We can recover small machines and utes, right up to our large winches that can pull 108-tonnes when anchored with our custom blade attachment," says James.

Digger advantage

Another advantage of using excavators for the type of work One Recovery does is that the machine can cut its own access into the worksite and form benches or areas from which to work from.

"Thanks to the winch and custom-blade attachments system, the whole unit can secure itself to the ground, providing a stable base to operate from. A dozer with a winch is good, but once it loses traction, you’ve lost the battle, and that’s where our equipment will outshine a dozer every time," says James.

Recovery specialists

One Recovery can supply recovery plans and their winches are fully certified (AS-NZS141A-2002 AS3990:1993), with all salvage equipment regularly tested and tagged. The type of work carried out varies, James says, but often it’s in areas that are difficult for large salvage trucks to reach and where anchor points to maintain traction for the recovery are limited.

"You could say that we’re becoming highly specialised in this type of work," says James. "Being based in Wairarapa, we’re in a central New Zealand location, so can be at most recovery sites in a relatively short space of time."

Other services

One Recovery can also organise other services to assist with the salvage operation, such as traffic control, transportation, or cranes if necessary. The customer only needs to deal with one business.

"With us, the customer has one contact for the job from beginning to the end. It’s better for a machine owner or insurance company to spend a few grands calling us in as experts and knowing that we will successfully retrieve their machine, than worrying about how they will go about things. "It’s all about having peace of mind that experienced operators will sort it out."

For more information, contact James Sokalski 0800 577 327, e-mail

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