ACT-based Vast Earthworks and Civil has enjoyed huge growth over a short period, thanks to a focus on quality work and a positive work culture. EEM catches up with Directors Jon Lorenz and Jayden Kraft to learn what sets their business apart, and how equipment finance specialists Finlease have helped the team expand their potential.
If you ask the team at Canberra’s Vast Earthworks and Civil what sets the business apart from the crowd, the answer is straightforward: doing jobs right, and treating people well. On the surface, it’s a simple equation – but Directors Jon Lorenz and Jayden Kraft have put a lot of thought into how to make it all add up.
Executing jobs to a high standard using the latest technology is what the customers see – but as Jon says, none of that can happen without the right people on board.
“Building a team of passionate, driven, and highly skilled individuals is a major factor in Vast’s success,” he says.
Jayden adds that providing machinery that operators are excited to use goes a long way for worker satisfaction, but that this is just the tip of the iceberg for Vast.
“From company facilities such as a workers’ social lounge, company gym and recreational facilities, to quarterly team-building exercises and monthly toolbox catch ups – it’s our aim to provide a really high standard of work environment for our team to enjoy both on and off site,” he says.
And then there’s the work itself. Jon and Jayden take pride in the variety of work that makes “Vast” more than just a business name.
“We can deliver anything from basement excavations through to complete ground-up asphalt carparks, commercial slabs, landscaping, hydraulics, and more,” Jon says. “We offer a comprehensive range of services in-house, tailored to meet the unique needs of our clients – no matter the job.
“In recent years our company has grown quickly, which we owe to how we deliver on projects – both in terms of quality, as well as meeting deadlines and budgets. Our clients know when they need a job done, they can count on us to deliver a quality job on time, every time. This has helped develop support from repeat clients, which in turn has helped us grow our team.”
Jon began his construction career as a commercial electrician. An appetite for new skills led him to work on the gas fields before he was drawn into the world of earthmoving.
“I purchased a second-hand farm excavator, and from there earthmoving quickly became more than just a hobby,” he says. “I soon made the switch to earthmoving full-time, and I haven’t looked back since.”
Jon started Vast Earthworks and Civil, and was soon joined by Jayden – a man destined for earthmoving long before he was born.
“Coming from an earthmoving family, dirt has been in my blood since I was a little kid,” Jayden says. “I was operating machines before I could touch the pedals properly, and could competently operate basically any and every machine by the time I finished school.”
Jayden joined Vast as a full-time operator three years ago, with a view to start his own earthmoving business in the near future. But fate had other ideas.
“After a few discussions with Jon, we figured out that both our plans and ideas for the future aligned,” Jayden says, “so it just made sense to partner up and take the business to the next level.”
Now with more than 60 pieces of plant and equipment and 19 staff members on the books, the growth of the Vast business over the past three years indicates that Jon and Jayden were onto something.
“Currently in our fleet we have 22 pieces of top-of-the-line Cat Next Gen machinery ranging from excavators, dozers, loaders, skid steers, compact track loaders, and rollers,” Jayden says. “We also have trucks ranging from medium rigid up to heavy combination, dog trailers, and watercarts. And we have Landcruiser and Hilux work vehicles fitted out with all the kit to help our crew take on their jobs.”
One recent milestone for the Vast team has been the purchase of their first commercial property.
“This has been a massive achievement for us, as it allows a permanent base for us to work out of,” Jon says. “It gives us the opportunity to provide good facilities for our staff, as well as enough room for all our gear and workshop requirements.”
The right support
Jon says that another crucial element in Vast’s rapid growth has been keeping on top of finances – something made hassle-free thanks to a trusted partnership with equipment finance and leasing experts Finlease.
Jon says Finlease broker Andrew Chisolm reached out to him at just the right time.
“Andrew got in contact just after he’d started his role at Finlease,” Jon says. “We had been struggling to find a quality broker at the time who was interested in building a long-lasting working relationship, as opposed to a one-off deal.”
Jon says the service offered by Andrew and his team made the decision to stick with Finlease from that point onwards an easy one.
“It was seamless enough that using another broker was not even in question,” he says. “Andrew takes care of everything in the background which allows us to focus on running the business. He pre-empts our requirements for growth and always has options available for us should we require spontaneous purchases.”
Jon says Andrew has also helped build relationships with Vast’s banking managers, insurance brokers, and accountants, which has proven invaluable as the business has grown.
“With the support from Finlease helping to manage these relationships, we feel comfortable knowing that regardless of the ever-changing nature of our industry, we’ll be in a position to capitalise and update our fleet to meet the requirements of any future job, big or small.
“We have big goals in the future for Vast Earthworks, and our partnership with Finlease will play a big role in helping bring these goals to life.”
To find out how Finlease can help grow your business, check out: www.finlease.com.au