NOT A DOLLAR TO WASTE: BUDGET WASTE SERVICES PULLS OUT THE STOPS WITH ISUZU TRUCKS
What do international soccer players, a Melbourne waste business and Australia’s favourite truck brand have in common?
Lev is the CEO and founding member of Budget Waste Services, which offers waste and recycling collection services across Melbourne and down through the Mornington Peninsula.
From left: Budget Waste Services operations manager Glenn McBean, CEO Lev Osman, frontlift driver Kieran O’Dowd.
While the business is relatively fresh on the scene (being founded in 2017), it came out of the gate fast, picking up a book of clients primarily in the industrial sector but also taking care of commercial and retail customers, with a few schools thrown into the mix.
They’ve just taken order of their sixth FYJ 300-350—Isuzu’s heavy-duty hero for punishing applications.
Smartly outfitted with a Superior Pak front-hook body, each of Budget Waste’s trucks features load-sharing, twin-steer front axles supported by a suspension system with unique dampeners (Hendrickson airbags in the rear and taper leaf springs in front).
Matched with a high-torque 9.8 litre common rail turbo diesel engine and indomitable Allison HD4430 auto transmission, the FYJ 300-350s can handle the demands of a grueling roster, while also “simplifying” the application for Budget Waste’s driving team—and Lev’s a big fan.
He’s expecting their seventh Isuzu truck to hit the road by December this year.
“You’ll never catch me saying a waste truck is easy to drive,” Lev said.
“There’s a lot of things going on at once operating the controls and driving conditions like overhead cables, traffic, tight spaces and working in the dark.
“When you look at an Isuzu truck’s safety suite combined with its operating environment, you feel safe driving it and sending your staff out in it too.”
If you’re wondering how a former athlete knows one end of a waste truck from the other, it’s because Lev also spent 13 years and change working for one of the world’s largest waste companies, Veolia.
Having access to some of the best performance and cost analytics systems in the industry in his role at Veolia, Lev knew Isuzu wouldn’t let him down when it was time to outfit his own venture at Budget Waste.
“I’ve been very fortunate with a 13-year apprenticeship of sorts with Veolia,” he recalled.
“We had every truck under the sun working for us, hundreds of trucks, and during my last two years there as the general manager for Queensland, I was only buying Isuzu.
“Down here in Melbourne, Jim McKinnon at Patterson Cheney Isuzu has been fantastic for me… it’s been a really good decision to go Isuzu all round.
“When we looked at value for money and all the indicators within that such as cost, performance, longevity and maintenance, Isuzu always comes out on top,” he continued.
“Isuzu offered a solution at $50,000 less than similar competitors, including their Priority service agreement.
“Some brands may have different strengths, a bigger engine for example, but as a small business owner looking at entry point costs, you have to ask yourself, ‘What do I get for that extra $50,000, if the truck ticks all the boxes and can get the job done well?’
“We simply need a truck that’s reliable, consistent and that won’t break down with the constant stop-start operation and long distances (up to 1,500 kilometres per week)… and that won’t let us down in the transmission, I can’t stress that enough.”
During those first critical years of business growth with new clients to impress and the trucks running a full roster without a spare on hand, Budget Waste were keen to keep downtime to a minimum.
Lev signed up for Isuzu Essentials Plus (formerly Isuzu Priority One) at point of purchase, meaning all his new trucks’ scheduled services are covered for the first 60 months of ownership, with roadside assist and priority after-hours servicing (and a host of additional inclusions such as fuses, fan belts and filter replacements), for a known, fixed price per month.
While taking care of the fleet’s on-road performance, from a planning perspective Lev says having a service agreement in place is invaluable, assisting him to manage the company’s balance sheet.
“We pay roughly one to two per cent out of our revenue per month to cover maintenance for the whole fleet,” he detailed.
“Without a workshop or service staff on site it makes a lot of sense to outsource the work and it means I have someone to take on the stress of servicing the fleet, so I can focus on the business.
“A service agreement just helps you manage the financials, so you know exactly where you stand,” Lev continued.
“Ben Jinnette, our Leading Hand, ensures our trucks align with Isuzu’s service programs without impacting the daily flow of operations with our drivers.”
In concert with their own meticulous records, having a pre-planned maintenance schedule handled by OEM-trained technicians also helps Budget Waste stay on top of compliance, including Chain of Responsibility (CoR) obligations.
This makes them one of the approximately 37 per cent of road transport businesses in Victoria who have developed policies to ensure compliance with CoR.
“You can always find ways to cut corners, do things at a lower cost, but in the long run it’s going to backfire… you put the care into the truck and it’ll pay you back,” Lev said.
“Driving an eight-tonne truck, any incidents can be catastrophic, so CoR is a very, very important component for our business and a big issue for any fleet owner.
“Our Operations Manager, Glenn McBean, has been instrumental in applying process and procedures to ensure our business operates within all legal frameworks and that our drivers are safe at all times.”
Summing up his truck ownership and aftercare experience, Lev said, “We’re growing organically and Isuzu is helping us along the way. Six trucks in three years has been a great achievement for us.
“But when you’re in small business, everything has to be efficient, everything has to run profitably.
“It’s those one per cents that can make a big difference to a business like mine.
“Without a doubt in our waste application, Isuzu offers us the best vehicle and care combination… they’ve really aligned with our business, so I’m very happy with the decision to go with them.”