By Kate Pierson
Let’s face it, when it comes to Accessman, you know it, you see it, you get it. Although if you don’t nod in agreement to each of these things then don’t worry, we’ll touch briefly on that soon to catch you up.
But ultimately, that’s not really what this story is about.
It is, of course, about Accessman, but not so much about what it is doing, more so about what it isn’t doing. Sound ironic? Yes, but stay with us.
What it isn’t doing is profiteering from the devastation of the Canterbury earthquakes, obsessing over bottom-line numbers from an ivory tower, or donning any sort of knight in shining armour get-up in the context of the earthquake recovery.
It is doing what it has always done best – helping people get high with its extensive range of machinery – literally speaking thank you very much, while being actively involved in a beautiful something the world of philanthropy has dubbed, ‘paying it forward’.
This isn’t just paying lip service to what you’re supposed to be seen to be doing. The company’s owner / operator duo of Ross and Anna Pickersgill take this side of company’s operation seriously – but more about that later.
In 2014, Accessman turned 20, but instead of talking its own talk about the road walked and yet to come, it wants to talk ‘you’, actually. You, Christchurch, and how it feels about you both.
In honour of the earlier promise made to bring those out of the loop with Accessman into the know quick smart, we’ll make good on that promise with a historical flashback of sorts.
We will spare you a blow-by-blow regalement of the facts and figures from the last 20 years. Needless to say, that would take quite some time and space. And, in keeping with the style of the man who this all began with – Ross Pickersgill – and his please-get-your-spotlight-off-of-me kind of modesty; it’s more than fitting to cut to the chase.
So here it is – the long encapsulated in the very short.
Accessman had growth spurts of epic proportions right from the outset. It entered the market in March 1994 with just one machine – a single scissor lift, and after Ross let this out to a company called Aotea he was working for at the time, he had to hit the ground running when business started to find him.
A shift to Clarence Street site in 1999 saw Ross add seven machines to the fleet before his now humming little business, Central Rentals – as it was known back then – outgrew that yard and shifted to Wrights Road picking up its first manager along the way.
Fast forward two years and the newly rebranded Accessman was on the move again to Blenheim Road with 27 machines and a delivery driver in tow. Come 2009, the business was still punching hard above its weight, which necessitated a move to Sockburn roundabout and the acquisition of 220 machines (scissor lifts, cherry pickers, knuckle-booms), four delivery trucks and the employment of 11 staff.
Race on to today, 2014, and Accessman is a franchise operation throughout New Zealand, and shows no sign of breaking pace.
Paying it forward
Every city has its hour of need. In greater Christchurch’s case, that hour became days and then weeks, months, and now even years. The physical, social and emotional fallout following the quakes has been unprecedented and it has left residents and businesses scrambling to pick up the pieces.
Accessman’s machinery and manpower has been in hot demand since way back when, and it has risen to this new challenge as it would any other – no pun intended.
The business has been stoic in the face of significant adversity, and it’s dug its heels right into Canterbury’s shaky ground amidst a very tense professional landscape.
There are businesses that have been rendered paralytic from the commercial aftershocks wreaking fiscal havoc on everything in their path, and at the other extreme, there are the businesses that have gone gangbusters from day one of the rebuild effort.
Accessman would fit into the latter category, but there’s no pigeonholing this business. There’s no way it’s hell bent on the commercial imperative and nothing but the commercial imperative.
How could it be when the business thinks so much larger than that? Outside its professional bubble, Accessman has been focussing on altruism – something that has always been the company’s ‘soft spot’, but has been even more of a focus in the last few years.
The team’s commitment to the community isn’t about stroking its corporate ego, sending subliminal messages to the consumerist masses, or stoking its own commercial fire. And nope, there’s absolutely no way Accessman is the kissing babies/pose for pictures type of business either, because the crew aren’t fans of narcissism.
So shut the door on the clichés and bear with us for just a sec – because here’s the story. Is it simple? Yes. Honest? 100 percent. Compelling? For sure. And refreshingly, it’s compelling because it’s all black and white truth mixed with none of the expected hype.
In short, it’s philanthropy as it should be. And that, quite frankly, really is the case when it comes to Accessman. You get what you see, and what you see is what you get.
It’s about community
Accessman isn’t a limelight lover. Sure, it sponsors the odd event that is the glitz and glamour kind of event, but most of what it does, very discretely, is at the grassroots level; working for people, with people, and never at the expense of people.
You only need to meet Ross and his right hand lady Anna Pickersgill to know they’re the real deal. They’re straight talking, and don’t bother with mincing their words.
“Our business covers such a wide range of areas in Christchurch, and instead of taking everything we can get while so much additional work is available, we don’t want to be greedy about it,” Anna says.
“We not only need, but also want to give back. This is our community and this kind of work has been an important part of Accessman even before the earthquakes, but we are now in a position to contribute even more.”
What this contribution looks like is constantly evolving. In 2013, Accessman was a major sponsor of the Fight for Christchurch event with proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald House.
For the 2013 Special Children’s Party it made a financial donation and provided 1600 water bottles. The business’ sponsorship of Selwyn District Council sees it donating to the Selwyn annual fireworks display, and the relationship it has established with Rolleston school means the school gets free repairs through Accessman.
Accessman also donates equipment to a number of Christchurch events including the A & P Show, Classical Sparks & Christmas in the Park. To boot, Ross, Anna and their team also support Harewood School, Rolleston Fire Brigade, and a number of local sports teams including netball, football and the Ruapuna Speedway.
In 2013, it amped up its client giveaways with monthly gifts – tickets to the V8 Supercars on the Gold coast, Sevens Rugby and a Melbourne Cruise. “For us it isn’t about the ‘thanks’ we get in return for these things – it is really about us thanking our clients for their loyalty and consistent business throughout the years.”
On February 1, Accessman hosted 200 of its clients to mark 20 years of being New Zealand’s leading and largest supplier of access equipment, and the fundamental role it plays in Christchurch’s social and cultural communities.
As for the next 20 years?
Watch this space – www.accessman.co.nz
Ten reasons to hire from Accessman
1. You are hiring quality machines
Accessman machines undergo regular maintenance and are serviced and checked thoroughly every six-months to obtain safety clearance certificates. Accessman machines are also checked before every hire by trained staff to ensure that they are in top condition for the customer.
2.Helping you work at height is all it does
Accessman are specialists in access equipment; they understand the issues and challenges that you face and they know the best way to get the job done quickly.
3. Help when you need it
Accessman understands that sometimes you need to work around the clock to get your job done; so it provides a 24/7 breakdown and call out service to keep
Accessman has one of the largest range of access equipment in New Zealand; so when you need a job done, it will have a machine for it.
5. Your safety is their first priority
Accessman’s crew is passionate about ensuring that you have the knowledge and resources to safely use their machines. Safety harnesses are provided free
6. Expert advice
Accessman has been servicing the access hire industry for more than 15 years; so you know that you are dealing with an experienced company that knows how to achieve results.
7. Free training is provided with every hire
To ensure you have the know-how to work safely and efficiently, Accessman provides a free operational and safety induction upon delivery.
8. Minimal downtime guaranteed
The Accessman crew includes service technicians and truck drivers; so in the unlikely event of a breakdown they can quickly respond. Should the service technicians be unable to fix a breakdown onsite, they will immediately swap it for a functioning machine to ensure you have minimal downtime guaranteed.
9. Local knowledge
All Accessman branches are run by local people from your area, they know the environments and conditions in which you need to work so they can provide advice specific to your requirements.
10. There are no hidden charges
An Accessman quote is exactly that; it is not an estimate – what it quotes, is what you pay! Accessman rates also include all environmental charges, so you know what it will cost before you begin.