Today we are introducing you to Col and Libby, the small business owners of Col Finlay Earthmoving in Toowoomba QLD.
We checked in with Col earlier in his business journey in 2019 and heard about some of the experiences and challenges he had getting Col Finlay Earthmoving started. Today, they have three large excavators and a handful of casual employees. Col and Libby don’t need to check in with their Many Rivers business coach, Jamie as regularly as they did when they were starting up their business. They have streamlined a lot of the office work and reach out to Jamie to be pointed in the right direction when they have ideas for growing their business. Next, they would like to continue to grow their business so that they can hire more employees.
“The most useful assistance from Many Rivers is just the support at no cost to us and our business.”
Hear more about Col’s journey so far.
Col Finlay Earthmoving
Our business, Col Finlay Earthmoving is an earthmoving and landscaping business. Most of our work is private work for a few builders, plumbers, and electricians. I build trenches for them. We also build a lot of rock and sandstone retaining walls.
That makes up about 95% of our work but we did do some work on a school as well. We started on April 1st 2019. We employ a couple of casual employees now to help us out whereas back then when we started, we only had one.
I left school early and worked as a rigger all over the top end of Australia at stock stations. I did that for nine years and then I did tyre fittings for cars, trucks and heavy machinery. Then I worked in a sawmill. It took me about 5 years to get into the earthmoving industry because no one wanted to give me a break into the industry without experience. They want experienced people. So, I had to practice in the afternoons to get my experience up. I have done the hard yard to get to where I am now.
It met Jamie, my Many Rivers business coach, at one of the Black Coffee meetings. It is an event where Indigenous businesses go to meet other businesses and clients. Many Rivers was the best thing that we got out of going to Black Coffee.
I wanted to go into business because I was sick of working for someone else and I knew that I have the ability and experience to do it myself. I was sick of making money for everyone else and wanted to set ourselves up.
Working with Many Rivers
He has helped us structure a few things and point us in the right direction for how our business should grow. We now have three excavators that dig trenches and move dirt. We started for a 1.8 tonner machine and then we got a 5.5 tonne and then we got 17-tonne excavator brand new.
The most useful assistance from Many Rivers is just the support at no cost to us and our business. It is great. Its been a while now since Jamie was regularly helping us out because everything is going smoothly but he will help Libby streamline the office work.
When you start a business, you don’t know anything about operating a business and no one tells you much. You just stumble and you fall until you find yourself. But now with a good client base and through recommendation and word of mouth, we are really well known in our region. In this industry, this type of earth moving business is really for about 7 years. It is hard because we were paying a lot of debt off because of all the heavy machinery we had to invest in.
The biggest success has been successfully working for myself. Both I and my partner Libby have been able to work in the business and rely on ourselves. Having a look at how much gear we have and how much we have accumulated shows how far we have come in 3 years since we started Col Finaly Earthmoving.
Being a business owner just means longer hours at work. We have to be more committed to doing the hard yards to get the result of working for ourselves and ultimately have a better lifestyle.
We would like to be able to buy a bit more gear and have more employees. We just want to keep going and get a little bit bigger, but not too big. Then we hope to be able to step back a bit.
Thanks Col and Libby
Thanks, Col and Libby for sharing the story of Col Finlay Earthmoving with us. We can’t wait to support you on this journey to achieving your business goals. Follow Col Finlay Earthmoving on Facebook to stay updated with their business journey.
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