Four years ago, Alan and Debra Fenwick started AJ & DL Fenwick Agricultural Contractors. The husband and wife team were property managers when the opportunity to purchase their Woodhouse home led them to look at off-farm income. The contract business took off. Now Alan, with two other staff they cover contract hay, pipelaying and specialise in rural broadacre fencing across South West Victoria, 35kms East of Hamilton.
What was your first tool?
A socket set – from about 1990, I still have it.
Greatest fencing achievement?
I did a post and rail entrance about three years ago and it was a fair challenge. We hadn’t done post and rail before and it was on a slope. It was a matter of working with the lay of the land, a lot of thinking involved!
What advice would you give a newcomer?
Manage where you are going next. That’s something most people wouldn’t really think of. I didn’t. When you have 15 jobs lined up, you have to work in with people when it suits them. And, planning out where you are going next is one of those challenges. We have the hour radius that we travel, you don’t want to be moving tractors and people from your Northern most point to your Southernmost point. You want to be trying to group jobs together if you can.
What’s the sign of a job well done?
The quicker someone pays you is a sure sign that they are very happy with what you have done. I have numerous customers who pay overnight, and what more can you ask for but that?
What do you love about fencing?
The people you meet, the incredible number of customers and friends I have got as a result of it. In the 20 years I was a farm manager, you know your immediate neighbours and friends but don’t meet new people. Since I have been contracting, we are continually traveling around meeting so many different people and a variety of people.
“The ST400i has actually got us work. We have had numerous jobs where people said if we put the posts in they would put the wire up and then we’ve said, ‘well we have got this stapler tool’ and we have given them a bit of a demo and it’s actually got us work.”Alan Fenwick