With a fierce focus on customer service and all things to do with high pressure cleaning, Australian distributor BAR Group has established itself as a national expert in the field of high pressure cleaning. Since its beginning in 2004, the company has expanded its reach in Australia, with offices based in Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland, NSW, and more recently, in New Zealand. BAR Group’s national product manager Dominic Robert spoke to INCLEAN assistant editor Lizzie Hunter about the company’s recent growth and plans for the near future.
The ability to bring together some of the world’s best suppliers through their experience in the industry meant Daryl Baihn, Nigel Ayres and Dominic Robert hit the Australian cleaning market running when they decided to launch BAR Group in 2004.
“Some people ask us where the name came from,” said Dominic. “Our surnames spell BAR, which is also an acronym for a measurement of pressure.”
Since then, the small business has grown to more than 30 staff members, with offices based in Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland, and a head office in Sydney, and more recently, in New Zealand.
“When we first started, our aim was to provide our customers with a wide range of products that were in stock and catalogued,” said Dominic. “From that came the ‘BAR Bible’, also known as the BAR price book.
“This idea behind the book – which is currently 700 pages thick and still growing – was to catalogue all the products we sell to help the customer know what’s available. Some people complain that it is too big and heavy, but now it’s not only used by our customers, but our competitors as well.”
A strong focus on high pressure cleaning is at the core of BAR Group’s mission, with the company supplying electric, petrol and diesel pressure washers for domestic use to larger custom-built industrial units.
“Our range of pressure cleaning equipment comes with a large range off accessories and speciality cleaning parts. In 2014, BAR Group became the sole Australian distributor for BE Pressure, which added a new range of equipment to our ever expanding range. The BE range includes generators, water pumps, air compressors, spraying equipment and many peripheral accessories and parts.
“With the bulk of our buying power, we have been able to offer products at a more competitive price while at the same time, continuing to expand our range and offer new items. With the growth of our core range, we also added key personal in purchasing, category management, logistics and production and development.”
BAR Group’s extensive dealer network in Australia also expands to New Zealand, with equipment distributor, BE Pressure (a division of BAR Group) opening two new offices in Wellington and Christchurch this year.
Dominic says the opening of the offices means the business will be able to offer “even better customer service to its dealer network”.
“Our New Zealand team is led by John Lahman, who has a background in the power equipment/pressure cleaning industry, bringing a wealth of knowledge to the company,” he said.
“In Hamilton, John is backed by sales and service team who have many years’ experience in our range of products.
“Now in 2017, our footprint has increased with the opening of new offices in Wellington and Christchurch to offer even better customer service to our dealer network. Our new staff members come with over 40 years’ experience in the industry.”
Dominic added that the growth the company is experiencing in New Zealand has already been quite rapid, and he expects to have more offices and larger facilities set up in the country in the next 18 to 24 months.
“We’re flying by the seat of our pants if I’m honest,” he laughed. “The two new staff members in New Zealand have met with many new clients, so at the moment we’re working towards achieving where we want to be now and where we are going to be. We’ll have a better idea in about six months’ time.”
BAR Group has also worked hard to keep ahead of industry changes, trends and market requirements.
“This requires us to continually add more resources so we can remain one step ahead of the competition. Listening to our customers to determine their needs also aids us in developing new products.”
Demand for specialty equipment, such as made-to-order and custom-made products has seen BAR Group engage in some very unique projects outside of the cleaning industry.
“We are now approached by customers who require custom made products that fit a certain criteria, or need to meet a certain performance level. For example, we are currently building back-up high pressure fire suppression units for a major project. We’ve also completed projects for a fire protection company and a museum in Perth.”
To remain competitive in a highly competitive industry, Dominic says BAR Group’s customer service, range of products and of course, the company’s bible, is what keeps them ahead of competitors.
“While we do quite a lot of different things, we do try to make it easy for people to buy from us. Our mission is to help our customers with whatever they need, to ship products on time, and to do so at a competitive price.”