Jamie Allinson, owner of J & D Rural Fencing in Narrogin Western Australia, talks with THE FENCE magazine about his contractor business.
How did you get into the fencing industry?
I was living in Geelong at the time and worked for a fencing contractor for six years as a labourer.
It was like an apprenticeship. The business grew from two to six employees.
Then I moved back to Narrogin and decided to give contracting a crack.
What is most rewarding about your work; what makes it all worthwhile?
Job satisfaction, sense of achievement. Looking at the job before and after it’s finished.
What advice would you give to someone that wants to get into the industry?
Give it a good go, do a good job, be willing to work hard. Dealing with customers is rewarding.
What is the most interesting fencing job you have worked on?
All jobs have their own challenges with different locations and conditions, no two jobs are the same.
What is the one tool or product that you couldn’t do without in your work?
The Kanga Skid Steer Loader. It digs the holes, carries the compressor for steel posts, mixing bowl, etc. It can do anything.
What challenges do you face being a fencing contractor? How do you deal with those challenges?
Making sure that the work is done on time. Ensuring upcoming clients know their timeline. Being honest if a job is late, keeping customers in the loop.
Keeping everyone happy and keeping your good reputation. Doing a good job. The client must be happy with the job.
Be particular and picky, and don’t take shortcuts.
Where do you see the industry heading in Western Australia?
As long as agriculture is strong, fencing will always be strong. As farms become larger there will be more work.
What are the newest ideas you are bringing to your job?
Keeping up to date with innovation of products from suppliers and spending time everyday thinking of ways to make the job easier.
What’s the next skill set you want to learn to make you a better fencing contractor?
I have been in the industry for eleven years. I want to know everything about fencing.
Who has been the most influential person in your work?
My ex-boss in Geelong, with the way his business was run. I model my business on his model. He was extremely particular and picky.
I learned how to do the job well and maintain a good name and reputation.
How do you relax outside of the job?
Spending time with my wife and young family of three girls on our newly built house on three acres out of town.
Time with friends. Going away on weekends and day trips.
What’s your favourite funny story about yourself?
About 12 months ago, after about 80 ml of rain, I was out on a job with my new ute. It didn’t look that wet.
The Kanga got bogged, which is almost impossible. Then the ute got bogged trying to get the Kanga out.
I had to call a farmer with a tractor to pull out the Kanga, and then the ute. Then the Kanga got bogged again.
Not funny at the time but I can laugh about it now.
What’s the best thing about FENCiT?
It is terrific what FENCiT is doing. The industry did not have a voice as such.
The job is seen as only a fence and we are labourers.
This story was first published in The Fence magazine.