By Lori Lovely
Service has always been the backbone of JT Equipment, but they’re moving into sales.
“Most dealers start with sales and move into service; we did the opposite,” said Matt Cox, vice president of JT Equipment.
The Calgary, Alberta-based construction equipment service and supply company, originally named JT Repair when it was founded in 2011, now has six mobile service trucks equipped with laptops for diagnostics and custom specialty tools that allow service technicians the ability to perform field maintenance for their customers.
“There’s not anybody like us. Most customers go to an OEM or a guy in a truck for smaller repairs and service. We fill a void,” Cox said.
Their technicians work on both construction equipment and attachments.
“Very rarely can we not get to the bottom of the problem,” Cox brags, explaining that they have a wide knowledge base, enabling them to work on a diverse list of types and brands of equipment.
As Cox and the other two co-owners — Josh Arnold, president, and Josh Thue, founder — once worked in a John Deere dealership, they still have that “do whatever it takes to get the customer up and running” mentality.
This has allowed JT Equipment to build one of the largest rosters of service trucks in the region.
JT Equipment diversifies
It’s precisely that attitude of helping the customer that inspired JT Equipment to diversify from a service-based business to add sales and rentals.
“We were getting calls for parts from our customers,” Cox said.
At first, they tried sourcing parts from different vendors and contacting other dealers for aftermarket options at less cost than original parts, but some suppliers have lead times as long as eight weeks. They knew they could do better.
“We can build things ourselves in less than a week,” Cox said.
He added they don’t want to compete with their vendors, but since they “don’t keep a lot on the ground,” and their customers need options, they began fabricating parts.
In addition, they sell new and used equipment, as well as their own line consisting of top plates for attachments, rippers, gravel scoops, concrete moulds and custom-fabricated pieces like tar kettles.
“We don’t shy away from making any kind of equipment,” Cox explained.
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While Cox’s background is in parts, service and sales support, the other two owners are former mechanics.
As well, JT Equipment was funded solely by its three owners.
“There’s no rich person with an open cheque book,” Cox said. “It’s just the three of us growing this company.”
The absence of investors led to JT Equipment working harder to retain customers, according to Cox. Two years ago, they had fewer than 100 customers. Today, they have more than 400.
They hope to continue growing JT Equipment, with plans to open more locations in western Canada.
“We want to expand to another location — probably Red Deer — next year. Maybe Vancouver someday if our product line takes off,” Cox said.
Expansion will provide value for the customer by cutting down on the technicians’ travel time, a tribute, Cox points out, to their service roots