Supplier Insider – A-Plus Contracting
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Andrew Hughes (Hughesy) and I’m the Owner of A-Plus Contracting & Poly Welding. We specialise in Poly Welding and Contract Hire. We have the most up to date Poly Welding machines on the market along with Earthmoving Equipment such Excavators, Water Carts, Possi Trac loads, Rollers and more.
Where did you start and how did you end up where you are now?
My wife Debbie and I started the business in 2005 in Greta. We had a strong background in earthmoving and civil works, so we began the company with a view to servicing the mining industry by offering a professional, cost-effective and comprehensive contracting service. We are now the preferred supplier of contracting services to a wide variety of industries. We thought let’s give it a crack and it has grown into a trusted and respected company. How did I get to where I am now? Hard work and long hours 7 days a week. No one is going to do it for you, and they sure as hell aren’t going to give it to you.
Describe a typical day at ‘The office’.
I’m generally the first one to arrive at 5.30am. Some staff go straight to the job onsite where others may need to drop into the yard, so I like to be there for them. Because we do so many different jobs for so many different clients no day is ever the same. I guess that’s why I enjoy it so much, you never know what’s going to be thrown at you.
What’s the best thing about your business?
Being able to work with the clients who trust us and especially our staff who really go beyond the call of duty to get the results the client needs at short notice. I’ve often said the employee’s work with the company not for it.
What is the big news in your part of the mining industry right now?
It would have to be the current market place. There’s certainly a lot happening in the Valley which is also good for businesses not directly linked to mining so it’s a win for everyone.
What is the biggest opportunity for your business right now?
There is a great opportunity to expand but we are very mindful not to overcommit as it could affect our clients and we don’t want to let them down. That said there are areas within A-Plus we are building back up such as our Traffic division. We are G10 RMS accredited. If anyone needs Traffic Management plans drawn and submitted to Council or RMS we can do it.
What are the biggest challenges facing your business?
Changing trends in the market place, the changing requirements the client implements and just staying on top of a fast-moving environment. You just embrace it, learn from it and get on with it with little fuss.
Community or other causes close to its heart and values?
We are very active in the community and I have sat on many committees over the years. At present we are helping in a small way to get a Memorial Cycleway built to link the two towns of Greta and Branxton to recognise the miners who went to war and never came home.
We are also proud supporters of the A-Plus Contracting Mines Rugby League Charity Knockout. All the proceeds of the day go to the Westpac Helicopter and over the last 4 years it has raised over $200,000.
We also do Cancer Council, Special Children Christmas party, wow there are just too many to name. If any business people are reading this and you would like to get on board a charity I’d be happy to help you help others!
How big is the crew in the Hunter Valley?
Approximately 38 in the Valley and 10 on the coast.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The challenges of running a business. I truly believe I learn from it every day. The employees for sure. I have got some guys who started work with A-Plus as Traffic Controllers who now can do just about any job asked of them. From poly welding to driving excavators to Tipper Trucks. Teaching them different skills is rewarding.
The worst thing?
Long hours but that goes with owning the business.
What’s a funny story about work that you can tell?
Grab me at the A-Plus Contracting Charity League Day on October 13th and have a beer and I’ll tell you some clangers.