Leon Brunt and Jack Ash rely on Ritchie Bros. auctions to buy and sell equipment for their Darwin, Australia-based contracting company.

In 2010, Leon and Jack turned to Ritchie Bros. once again – in Japan.

Trust is a huge factor when you're making a decision of that magnitude.

Leon Brunt and Jack Ash

Leon Brunt and Jack Ash are co-owners of Brash Contracting, a general contractor based in Darwin, Australia. They manage an average of six contract jobs at a time. When they need equipment for a mining, road building or forestry project, one of the first places they look is a Ritchie Bros. unreserved auction.

"We do buy from dealers too, but if Ritchie Bros. has the equipment we are in the market for we go to them first," says Leon. "They have a history with us and they know us."

Leon and Jack have purchased hydraulic excavators, crawler tractors, a motor grader, a vibratory smooth roller and much more at Ritchie Bros. auctions. But it's not just the big pieces they buy.

"We always go to look at machinery but the auctions are also a good opportunity to find the smaller items and ancillary stuff you often need for contract jobs," Leon adds.

The frequency of Ritchie Bros. auctions in Geelong and Brisbane enable Leon and Jack to buy and sell equipment as they need it. In 2008, they sold a fleet of hydraulic excavators in Brisbane at the end of a forestry project on Melville Island.

When Jack and Leon were in the market for a wheel loader for a mining operation on the island in May 2010, Brash Contracting decided to look beyond just the Australian market.

"We did our homework and looked at the cost of wheel loaders here in Australia and pretty much had a fixed cost in our head we were willing

Leon Brunt and Jack Ash

to pay," Leon says.

Jack attended a live simulcast of the Narita auction at the Brisbane site and ended up purchasing a 2007 Caterpillar 980H wheel loader with 5000 hours.

"It was actually our first time purchasing a piece of equipment outside the country," Leon adds. "Once Jack purchased the machine he went around to some of the shipping companies at the site to get quotes. It was a little bit of work to get everything organized but we probably saved ourselves $100,000 and the wheel loader only took a month to ship."

He admits that they were initially nervous about buying equipment from an overseas market, but their history of buying and selling at Ritchie Bros. auctions gave them the confidence they needed.

"Trust is a huge factor when you're making a decision of that magnitude. Ritchie Bros. made it very easy and accessible for us to buy the wheel loader from a new market like Japan," concludes Leon. "We would definitely purchase another item from Japan again."

Written and published: 2010

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