Andrew Tranter, the owner of Between Fences in Esperance, WA, talks with THE FENCE about his fencing contractor business.
How did you get into the fencing industry?
I was in the shearing sheds for 19, almost 20 years. I came to Esperance for shearing and went back to Victoria, my wife wanted to go back home to her parents. In the shearing industry here we had to get into buses every day and I wasn’t keen on that.
I was talking to a bloke who was keen to get out of fencing, so I thought I would have a crack at that. I had been doing a fair bit of fencing over the years when shearing was a bit quiet. I liked the idea of travelling around from farm to farm.
What is most rewarding about your job; what makes it all worthwhile?
Meeting new people all the time, employing people, travelling, through yard work building cattle and sheep yards seeing them working in the end makes it all worthwhile.
Standing back and looking at big, long straight runs of 2 and 3 kilometers, that’s pretty cool.
What is the most interesting fencing job you have worked on?
40k of feral fencing north of Esperance, that was interesting as that was the first time I tackled a feral job. I learnt a few things pretty quickly.
Even fencing on the beach, access to beach ways which was interesting. People cruising past going for a swim and we are chucking posts in and running wire.
What is the one tool or product that you couldn’t do without in your work?
One tool you couldn’t do without is the people that work for you.
As far as product goes the one you could not do without is Waratah. They are always coming up with new things easy to use.
What challenges have you found?
A lot of challenges, changes with old farmers is probably one of the biggest. Things like “My grandfather put that gate there and it has always been there,” but if you moved it up 100m it would make a lot more sense.
Getting the farmers to clean up the fence lines before we get there.
Change would be the biggest. If you can talk them through it and let them have their say it makes a big difference and that’s where you get your good ideas from and getting the job to be a one man job not a three man job.
What are the new ideas you are bringing to fencing?
You make a lot of tools with a beer in hand and you think that did not quite work and then every now and again you will fluke something.
The products that Waratah are coming out with makes our job a lot easier and quicker.
Different ideas of running wire out, pulling wire up to trying to automotive post drop offs little cores to strain up, short strains. A few different bits and pieces.
One day I might come up with some real good ideas and patent it and make millions!
Where do you see the fencing industry heading?
Onwards and upwards. I see a pretty bright future for fencing contractors. We have had a couple of young ones start up in the area and they ring me all the time, sort of work things out, we can’t do it all.
I can see a big future in fencing with the way stock are going, from feral fencing to save crops, to fencing for animals.
The increase in Australian exports has gone ballistic. It’s a good industry to be in working for farmers. Now farmers know they have to have their fences right.
Who has been the most influential person in your work?
In the early days as a kid working with my grandfather on his farm and with my uncle, who showed me how to fence and shear. Showed me the work ethic and dad as well.
How do you relax outside of the job?
I play a bit of golf, not enough, probably play half a dozen to ten games a year, which is good, or get into a boat with a few mates and go fishing, kick back and yarn.
What’s your favourite funny story about a fencing job?
Playing tricks on each other with electric fencing, setting up the fence I would grab the fence and they would say is that fence on and I would say no, then they would go through the fence and get a shock. They don’t trust me for long. The odd one gets me too.
What’s the best thing about FENCiT?
The magazine, the contractor stories from all over Australia, the products are interesting and I like the general fencing and business information.
This story was first published in The Fence magazine.