At the crack of dawn, Cameron McDonald and the team at Outdoor Residential are already out on the road in Sydney’s North Shore, ready for a full day of landscaping and garden care. With a dual-axle tandem trailer hooked up to their NPR 55-155 Tipper (upgraded from Isuzu’s 4.5-tonne model for extra oomph), Cameron says the crew are ready to get down to business before the sun gets too high in the sky.
“I’m up at 5.30am on the computer organising our runs for the day and getting the crew scheduled in. “We look after around 250 gardens and properties around here on the North Shore, from lawns to landscaping and horticultural maintenance for places like a retirement village over in Chatswood. We’re also licensed to do structural landscaping.
“It’s so rewarding putting the time into a business like this, doing something I’m passionate about. Some of my clients have been with me for almost 25 years.”
As a guy who is still under 40 years old, this might give you the mental image of Cameron as toddler in training, mowing the backyard while Dad cheers on from the back step. It’s not too far a stretch of the imagination.
“I was probably 10 or 11 years old when I started working in gardens,” Cameron recalled. “Dad used to drive me around after school and on the weekends and I’d push the mower around for a bit of pocket money for my dirt bike. “This developed into working for a local landscaper after school and it just flowed on from there.”
After getting a degree in building construction management and working in construction for over a decade, Cameron turned those early years of experience into a thriving business at Outdoor Residential, which now has ten employees.
Purchasing two utes and trailers, Cameron set the business up for a successful first few years in trading, with the pandemic bringing in even more work due to a slew of home garden and landscaping projects. With a growing customer base came the issue of more materials needing to be moved around the suburbs and Cameron soon found himself faced with a well-known dilemma: buy another ute and trailer combo, or upgrade to a truck?
Cameron and his Dad explored a few brands around town, checking in with Gilbert and Roach Isuzu in Huntingwood for a look at the NPR 55-155 Tipper. It was the professional dealership staff at Gilbert & Roach who sealed the deal, following up their initial visit with a live video demonstration showing them a range of fit-for-purpose options and tipper features in action.
“I wasn’t too sure about what size truck I needed, wanting something that was big enough to haul our equipment and tow a trailer, but small enough to get around town and park in our client’s driveways,” Cameron recalled.
“One of the guys at Gilbert & Roach, Chris Bloor, recorded a video showing me the different tippers, running through the features and options… and that just made it for me. “One of the key things we needed was the space to have an all-in-one unit where we could turn up to a job with all the essential tools on hand,” he continued. “The dealership organised a tray roll back to fit an extra-large toolbox between the cab and tray, they put on a bulbar for me, a reverse camera and organised a cover to put over the top of loads.
“The great thing about this NPR is that you can fit a big load of materials, but you’ll have no problem manoeuvring around tight streets in residential areas,” he added.
The NPR Tipper is packed with features that Outdoor Residential’s team are finding extremely handy and comfortable to work with. “The auto-release tailgate and drop sides are a real time saver,” Cameron said.
“We’re constantly at the tip, so being able to just reverse back and release is great."
“One of our recent jobs, we moved 45-tonnes of material in one day due to a supplier not making the delivery… so you can imagine the time savings there having this truck. “The reverse camera and motor mirrors on either side mean visibility is good, especially when you’re hooking up a trailer,” Cameron continued.
“It’s got decent storage behind the centre console, plus the extra width in the NPR cabin makes it easier for three big guys with bags and all our day-to-day stuff to fit in.
“It’s just a no-dramas type of truck. And with the wrap on, it’s got some presence on the road, generating a bit of business for us.”
On the clock for a full six days per week, Outdoor Residential are keen to keep downtime to a minimum with their new workhorse. “I was pretty stoked with a free first service and the dealership were helpful fitting us in on a Saturday morning,” Cameron said with a smile.
“Owning a business, I just need to make sure I get the right gear, the right tools and the right vehicles on the road with good support, so we can get on with the job. “I can’t allow sub-standard equipment to get in the way… the downtime is just too costly,” he noted.
“I guess the truck is a bit of a symbol for us now—hard work and success over the last couple of years and now we’re moving to the next level with more capability. “I definitely hope to have another Isuzu truck on the road fairly soon, helping us move forward.”
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