In Tom Hogan’s line of work, he never knows what he is going to find.
There have been a few risqué items that may have made him blush, but he was quite impressed with the pair of javelins once found in a skip ready for pick up.
“For the most part it’s pretty boring off-cuts and things like that,” he says. “The javelins were pretty cool though.”
Tom is co-owner of Albury-based North East Bin Hire which offers services to southern New South Wales and north-east Victoria.
It has 15 trucks in its fleet and 900 bins available. Tom is convinced that skip trucks are the hardest working trucks on the road, which makes him very fussy about what he purchases.
“Skip trucks are unique little animals,” he says. “We are bouncing into construction sites, going from no load to a maximum load and sometimes we’re up a hill sideways. You just never know where you are going to end up.”
For his latest truck, he decided to go for an Isuzu MY22 FRR 110-240, a medium-duty truck and a popular choice for commercial applications, including construction, distribution, and waste management.
Tom, who is formerly from Canada, has been in Australia for more than 25 years now. He still isn’t quite sure exactly how he fell into the bin hire trade.
“It was probably the craziest thing I’ve ever done in a pub,” he says, explaining that, in said pub, he agreed to go into business with his mate, Shannon Miles, who brings a construction background to the partnership.
“It’s been a great journey over the last three years, and we have been kicking goals,” adds Tom. North East Bin Hire was first introduced to Isuzu through the Blacklocks Wodonga dealership when the company found itself in dire need of a vehicle.
“We had a fossil of a skip truck that unfortunately came to its demise on a hot summer’s day, so we had to replace that,” Tom says. “It was at the height of COVID and everything was in short supply.”
Essentially, they measured up the new chassis on the FRR knowing it would accommodate the refurbished old skip lifting equipment.
It was then put on a new cab chassis. From there that relationship grew as Tom realised it was the little things Isuzu could offer that make life as an operator a lot easier.
Fitting with existing equipment without extensive modifications was just one. He also appreciated the fact that Isuzu was consistent with its spare parts, which he is often losing.
“The fact, for example, that Isuzu has one mirror for all trucks means it’s quickly replaced, and we’re done,” he says.
“Even composite panels are so easy to replace, and it keep the trucks looking presentable.”
Having a relatively old fleet, drivability and safety features were also a factor for Tom when it came to choosing a vehicle.
Today, North East Bin Hire have five Isuzu trucks in their fleet, including its latest purchase, the Isuzu FRR 110-240. This model is powered by a 4HK1-TCH engine that produces 177 kW (237hp) and 765Nm of torque.
Tom’s is a 4 cylinder, 6-speed manual with a gross vehicle mass of 11,000 kg and a gross combination mass of 16,000 kg.
He purchased the cab chassis, but with a wheelbase of 4006 mm, it’s perfect for carrying a skip. A lot of Tom’s work comes from building sites and because of his growing fleet, he has had the opportunity to be on the frontline of moving away from landfill as a first resort.
The company often works with builders who are consciously getting involved and taking part in recycling and reusing projects.
“By no means are we eco-warriors, but there are just so many sustainability opportunities available where we can divert waste from landfill and even do some waste separation on site,” he says, recalling recently salvaging timber from a heritage building that was reused by a cabinet maker.
“Even just being able to divert steel off-cuts from roofing sheets and other construction waste is such a good thing,” Tom says. “It’s good for the environment and a win for everyone.”
Meanwhile, Tom is pleased to know that in the unlikely event something goes wrong with one of the Isuzu trucks, the service at the Blacklock dealership does everything to ensure it isn’t off the road for very long.
With one of his trucks in need of a coolant overflow tank cap, Tom was offered a loan from another truck until the delivery arrived, so there was no downtime.
“That’s the kind of customer service that makes you know that you are being looked after,” he said, adding that his next purchase will be an Isuzu. “It is just well planted on the road, and even with a load it is a great driving experience.”