A digger, a truck and a bobcat – that was what Steve Orchard, founder and managing director if Sniffers Group started off with as a sole trader back in 1999.
Fast forward 19 years and Sniffers has grown from a one-man show to an organisation of approximately 50 staff, with over 100 pieces of gear—including 5 brand new Isuzu trucks.
“When Sniffers progressed from a sole proprietorship to a company in 2002, we started out just doing landscaping and small builders jobs,” Steve said.
“Then we started on the Inner City Bypass; after that we did more infrastructure-related work, and we just grew from there.”
The organisation takes pride in providing a one-stop-shop solution for its clients. Now a full-service organisation, Sniffers Group offers a wide range of specialist solutions, including plant and equipment hire, subsurface utility engineering, cultural heritage and archaeological remediation, and environmental and geotechnical civil services.
“We do a job from start to finish. We have surveyors, engineers, and we supply our own materials where we can without hiring subcontractors.
“We even go right down to seeding the grass. Anything that needs doing, we’ll do it,” Steve said.
For such a diverse trade business with projects in earthmoving, mining and gas, civil and commercial construction, road infrastructure and maintenance through to waste management, logistics is an unquestionably vital component.
After having trialled several trucks of varying brands, Steve finally decided on Isuzu.
“We have always bought second-hand trucks, so I had a fair idea that we wanted to find a reliable manufacturer to support us. That was when we decided to buy brand new Isuzu ones—which are known to be reliable.
“The Isuzu trucks are straightforward and easy to use, without too many overly complicated functions,” Steve explained.
In recent years Sniffers has evolved from its core focus of plant and equipment hire, which still makes up 50 per cent of its current services and opened a number of new divisions offering specialist services.
This growth has led to a brand new 34,000 m2 site at Stapylton, Queensland operating 24 hours a day and the need to buy more trucks.
Upon purchasing five brand new Isuzu trucks and bumping up their truck fleet to more than ten trucks, Steve said, “I’m pretty happy with the trucks, there’s been no issues. And they drive very nicely, like a luxury car.”
When asked what their Isuzu trucks are used for Steve said, “Everything.”
“The Isuzu FTS 139-260 4×4 acts as our service truck, carrying all our oils and fuel, and everything else we’d need for on-site maintenance, and is great for navigating the rough terrain we find ourselves in.
“On top of oversized loads, we also use our Isuzu trucks to transport skip bins of different sizes, as well as a flat tray and a water tank.”
And when you’re frequently working in tight access areas and rough sites, vehicle manoeuvrability is also a prime consideration.
Steve shared, “The reason I got the eight-wheel twin steer FYH 2000 MWB Auto is because tight manoeuvring is often required.”
Steve also owns three Isuzu tippers—FSR 140-260 LWB Tipper, NPR 75-190 Tipper and the NLR 55-150 Tri-Tipper. While the two regular tippers are indispensable—used to transport gear, materials, an excavator-(Bobcat) combo, among others—Steve particularly enjoys the Isuzu Tri-Tipper.
“The Tri-Tipper is great for our jobs. We are in a lot of tight, one-way spaces where it’s very difficult to turn a truck and tip. But the Tri-Tipper is very versatile and makes this easy—and the fact that it can tip in three directions makes it even better.”
Ironically, trucks had never been much of an interest.
“I went around for many years without a truck; I didn’t really want to buy any more than is required,” said Steve.
But a thriving business changed all of that, of course.
“Trucks support our business. They are a necessary subsidiary, you’ve got to have them,” Steve reflected.