Cumbria based construction equipment dealer, Taylor & Braithwaite is celebrating 50-years of trading this year! Founder Harold Taylor is still a director of Taylor & Braithwaite today.
Initially focused on agricultural machinery, Taylor recalls the first machine Taylor & Braithwaite sold; a Massey Ferguson 135 tractor for the sum of £805 in 1968. However Cumbria based farming company Soulsby & Sons were their first big customer and went on to purchase their entire fleet.
In 1971 Harold Taylor purchased a farm at Flitholme Cumbria for £5,100 which included 25 acres. A workshop was created and the company began carrying out repairs to 2nd hand agricultural machines.
In the early days, Taylor and Braithwaite were looking after both sales and service, but after they both sold the same machine to different customers this had to be reviewed. In 1984 Taylor took over the running of the office and stores and Braithwaite looked after the sales side of the business.
In 1992 talks began with agricultural machinery giant John Deere and in 1993 Taylor & Braithwaite signed the John Deere franchise deal. This same year the company invested in new premises in Sandford to enable the business to work more efficiently in line with undertaking the new John Deere franchise. The additional land enabled customers to demo new machinery.
In 2002 T&B began selling both new and used plant as more contractors began operating and the demand for machinery was high.
The company remained focused on agricultural machinery until director, Ian Burton joined the company back in 2005. Burton looks after the sales side of the business and Paul Taylor, Harold Taylor’s son, is responsible for aftersales.
Today the company’s business is more than 95% dedicated to construction machinery. Ian Burton contacted Hyundai in 2009, which was at the height of the economic recession.
“Not many people were jumping up and down at this point to sell excavators, but I saw it as a great opportunity to enter into this industry whilst it was still quiet to build ourselves up for when the market recovered,” says Burton.
“…we chose Hyundai as a brand was because they manufactured a comprehensive range of machinery which included both heavy-line machines alongside the midi and mini ranges. They didn’t have any dealer representation in the area that we covered so it was a good move on behalf of both companies.”
In 2009 Burton met with the Hyundai team in Belgium to discuss taking on the dealership. Taylor & Braithwaite officially began trading in Hyundai in January 2010. “We really have kept Hyundai as our main franchise and that’s where most our turnover is generated from,” says Burton.
“We forecast to sell 12 Hyundai’s in the first year of trading and we managed to sell double that with 24 machines going out in 2010. The following year we sold 49 machines and then 60 – we in fact doubled what we set out to do! We thought selling 50 tractors and 50 excavators per year was a very nice and profitable little business – we well exceeded this. We are now selling around 100 Hyundai machines a year on average – we predict we will continue to in the treble figures each year. Last year we celebrated selling our 500th Hyundai machine.” says Burton.
In 2011 Taylor & Braithwaite let the John Deere franchise go as they did not agree with the way John Deere was changing the way it worked with its dealers. “In 2011 the construction equipment side of the business really took off – we put all of our efforts into this side of the business. Giving up John Deere was not an easy decision to make – we had a lot of sleepless nights over it.”
“Since the arrival of the -7A machines the Hyundai brand has improved massively! The machines were always very reliable but they lacked finesse and were a tad old fashioned in comparison to competitors’ brands,” says Taylor & Braithwaite director Paul Taylor. “Hyundai needed to up their game to keep up with the other brands in the market. They have succeeded with this ten-fold – Hyundai It is now a well received and recognised brand.”
“Our biggest achievement I believe is successfully changing from 100% agricultural machinery to over 95% construction machinery – completely changing industry,” says Burton. “We have worked hard since the decision was made to change industries and are now able to offer a really strong and complimentary range of products and equipment that offers something for the smallest to the biggest customer.”
As part of Taylor & Braithwaite’s 50th anniversary celebrations the company is hosting a ‘50th Anniversary Charity Celebration Ball’ which will take place on 6th October 2017 at the prestigious Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa located on Lake Windermere in the Lake District. The company is hoping to raise between 25 – 30K for Cancer Research UK. “Cancer Research UK is a very appropriate charity to choose as unfortunately we have all been affected by this disease either directly or indirectly so we delighted we are able to host a ball to raise funds at the same time as celebrating our 50th anniversary,” says Burton.
240 guests have been invited from Taylor & Braithwaite’s customer base and industry contacts. There are 24 tables available and already 21 have been snapped up by supporters. There will also be an Auction of Promises at the event to raise further funds for the Cancer charity.