PPG Imaging Awards

 
From unremarkable …to unmissable

From unremarkable …to unmissable

PPG Imaging Awards

 February 2020   

Masterton earthmoving contractor Kieran Oliver started out with plain white trucks to support his machines.

And he would have been happy to continue with the hum-drum colour scheme...until local spraypainter Rob Walker called him out on it.

It happened seven or eight years ago, when Oliver took a secondhand truck he’d just bought to Walker for a respray – white, of course. 

“It was a really faint orange – just a not very nice colour,” Oliver recalls.

When Oliver ordered-up the white, Walker “said to me: ‘Well everyone’s got a white bloody Mitsi don’t they!’ 

“He said ‘why don’t we do something different.’ And I thought yeah, nah, that’s right: Rob summed it up – everybody HAS got a bloody white Mitsi!”


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Masterton earthmoving contractor Kieran Oliver started out with plain white trucks to support his machines.
And he would have been happy to continue with the hum-drum colour scheme...until local spraypainter Rob Walker called him out on it.
It happened seven or eight years ago, when Oliver took a secondhand truck he’d just bought to Walker for a respray – white, of course. 
“It was a really faint orange – just a not very nice colour,” Oliver recalls.
When Oliver ordered-up the white, Walker “said to me: ‘Well everyone’s got a white bloody Mitsi don’t they!’ 
“He said ‘why don’t we do something different.’ And I thought yeah, nah, that’s right: Rob summed it up – everybody HAS got a bloody white Mitsi!”
So he left Rob Walker Spraypainters to come up with an alternative – and was rapt when they delivered a vivid orange paint job, with black stripes…
Still with the same yellow and black Kieran Oliver Contracting signwriting that The Sign Factory in Masterton had designed for him a couple of years earlier, when he started the business back in 2008.
Says Oliver now: “I thought it was a cool colour and I’ve been with that ever since. I think it really stands out.”
Others agree, he reckons: “People say like ‘oh your trucks are all over the place.’ ” 
Oliver says that there are no other fleets around the Wairarapa with bright orange trucks – making his trucks distinctive: “You don’t have to see the signwriting now to know that they’re my trucks – you can just bloody see the truck coming in the distance. 
“Yeah I like it – it looks sharp with the chrome bits and pieces and the bloody silver bins…It’s just a point of difference.
“Yeah, we definitely get good feedback. I haven’t heard one bad thing really.”
He’s proud of the way they look – and, very importantly, the drivers also like them: “The guys take real pride in them too – yeah, they’re always down there in the weekends cleaning them and getting them ready for the next week’s work. And it’s not always easy, keeping trucks clean in this line of work.”
The livery is completed by large Kieran Oliver Contracting signwriting on the taildoors of the bins and the sides of the trailers.
Oliver believes that having a good-looking livery helps with getting and keeping good drivers too: “We’ve got a good company name for having nice gear, so it attracts good drivers I think.
“I’ve got bloody good guys – and I wouldn’t put shit drivers in my gear. I wouldn’t want to get to a stage where you just had to take what was given to you, you know. 
“Like, my drivers are excellent really – treat the trucks like they’re their own, you know.”
The Oliver operation currently runs to five tippers and 15 or 16 earthmoving machines – about half of them diggers, with the balance bulldozers, graders and rollers.
Kieran, now 32, started work as a shepherd before buying a three-tonne Kobelco digger and a little five-tonne Nissan Condor truck 11 years ago (painted white, of course).
The Nissan has now gone – the Oliver fleet currently comprising a 2019 DAF CF85, a 2018 480 horsepower 700 Series Hino, a 2017 460hp Isuzu, an older 430hp FUSO Shogun and a four-wheeler 2019 Hino 500. All but the 4x2 are truck and trailer units. 
The Masterton-based company, which works all around the Wairarapa, started out “doing a lot of farm excavations and land drainage – right through to horse arenas and even down to residential siteworks (they have a 3t digger and small Bobcat specially for that work).
“So we do really do a bit of everything, but we’re sort of now mainly doing the farm excavations and the drainage….” And, he adds, “we are sort of branching into more of the forestry roading side of things…that’s really starting to take over.”
Oliver says that “I sort of chipped away by myself for quite a few years and got that client base – and then probably in the last few years it’s really expanded.”
He started out operating a digger fulltime, but the size of the current operation is such that “I don’t get to drive trucks or operate machines much now – not as much as I’d like to. Most of the stuff I get to do is in the weekends now.”
That’s unlikely to change, given that he sees a likely need for more trucks and staff soon: “There’s 11 of us now and I guess we’ll just sort of see what happens, going forward. I mean it’s all going pretty good.
“If we keep going like we’re going there’ll soon be another one on the road and I’ll definitely go for Transport & General trailer and bins” – which already feature on two of the units: “Their stuff’s bloody awesome eh. I can’t fault them at all.”
Transport & General completes a suite of suppliers that Oliver’s happy with: Rob Walker Spraypainters continues to do all the paint work on the trucks – including the airbrushed striping: “We just work with the lines on the trucks – they’re all just slightly different, you know.” 
The Sign Factory also still does “all my signwriting.” And he pretty much sticks to Sumitomo and Bobcat diggers, Komatsu bulldozers and Volvo graders – with Carterton’s Olszewski Transport doing all the shifts for the machinery over 15 tonnes.
The Oliver machines haven’t been treated to the same colour scheme as the trucks: “There was talk about it, but I haven’t gone down that road.”  

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