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Housing : March 2009
Left: Beaver Building Group’s co-directors, Nathan Wilson (left) and Gary McMahon. plus – and I’ve heard all the excuses from subcontractors that you’ll ever hear.’ At the moment the bulk of Beaver’s work is in the Adelaide metropolitan area and nearby centres. However, Gary says that they will eventually work interstate (probably in Victoria and NSW) because both he and Nathan have the necessary contacts. The company has a very comprehensive website detailing all its many and varied services (beaverbuilding.com.au). Another remarkable feature of Beaver is that there are no office staff – Gary currently does all the admin work, and Nathan makes it clear that he’s perfectly happy with that arrangement. Both recognise that there’ll be a need for admin assistance as the group expands. They’re a breezy pair, quite happy to tradesmen by providing quality work and service and are very selective about the subcontractors they engage for their business. Remarkably, Beaver Building has only two employees – Nathan and Gary. That speaks volumes for the depth of their wider contacts and their organising skills. ‘All our trades are independent operators like us, but they can come under our umbrella and promote their business as part of the Beaver Group. ‘I always say that as an individual you can do a lot, but as a group you can do anything’ ‘It’s not a franchise arrangement, or anything like that. I always say that as an individual you can do a lot, but as a group you can do anything. We’ve got gutter cleaners, general maintenance, plumbers, electricians, aircon, tilers, painters, gardeners, etc.’ Gary stresses that Beaver is not a franchise so much as a cooperative arrangement between a large and diverse group of like-minded tradesmen. HOUSING MARCH 2009 ‘They’re all independents like us with the same philosophy as us. They want to do a good job, and get fair pay for a good day’s work.’ Nathan says that their slogan Leave it to Beaver – one call does it all takes the stress out for customers who are waiting for four or five people to quote, having only one turn up and that one overpriced. ‘Once we’d developed the idea it just snowballed. A lot of people said it wouldn’t work, but now they’re trying to jump on the bandwagon.’ The group’s business is divided roughly between commercial work (about 20 per cent), industrial (25 per cent), and the balance, domestic. ‘We had a client who was maintenance manager for a big property in Adelaide. A hot water service burst in the ceiling of a heritage-listed house over 100 years old. We were able to fix the system, put a new ceiling and carpets in, and restore everything to near-original condition in a week. ‘Because Nathan and I are tradesmen ourselves, we know a fair bit about all the trades – certainly more than customers know. ‘I was a project manager for 10 years, looking after jobs worth $10 million joke about themselves and each other – but they’re deadly serious about the Beaver reputation. H Focus on quality ‘We have a focus on quality,’ says Gary McMahon of Beaver Building. ‘We’re trying to put the word trade back into tradesman. ‘For a number of years we had both felt we were fighting a general perception or misperception of tradesmen as overpriced, unreliable and delivering shoddy work. ‘Back when I was doing my apprenticeship you looked up to tradesmen, and they took responsibility for their work. Today there sometimes seems to be an attitude that “she’ll be right” and that somebody else will fix it. ‘Part of our philosophy is to get back to the basics. We’re very selective about who we have on board in the group. They go through a screening process. Both Nathan and I are still on the tools, not back in an office. We’re out and about in the real world. It’s very satisfying to offer clients a number of trades and services.’ 83