It’s a tough life being a farmer and 35-year old Eddy Lumb had always done some building work or relief truck driving to supplement his income when he helped out on his parents’ farm on the edge of Halifax in Yorkshire. One project kept Eddy away from farming for a considerable amount of time – this was when he was converting a barn into his own home. It was during this ‘time-off’ that he realised he needed to generate new income streams for the farm – which at the time had just a small beef herd.
By the time he returned to the farm full-time in 2007 his parents had been renting a neighbouring farm for 2 years and were slowly building up a surplus of hay and haylage. Pretty soon the family had cut down on the beef herd and became more focused on selling produce from the land. Eddy built a website for the business but was restricted on making deliveries of the produce with just the farm’s agricultural tractor. Occasionally he would borrow vans, 4×4 pick-ups and Land Rovers from his friends in order to do so.
Then in 2008 Eddy also started selling logs and at first he would use his car with the seats folded down but by 2011 he was regularly hiring and borrowing vans on evenings and weekends to keep up with the demands from his customers. But he found that most vehicles were just too big to get into many of the driveways.
Eddy decided it was time to buy his own truck. He says; “I was amazed, I asked a few dealers about trying out a demonstration vehicle. Despite being in the depth of recession some companies let me have them but some just completely ignored me. The brand of van that I had hired extensively in the past and was particularly keen to try its new model was one of the franchises that did not respond to me. But ultimately it didn’t matter because I had already begun to think that I needed a narrower vehicle with a shorter wheelbase.
“Eventually I narrowed it down to the Japanese manufacturers – these are the only companies that make forward control vehicles at 3500 kgs GVW. This allows a decent load length but on a shorter wheelbase. They also produce vehicles with narrower cabs than the European manufacturers do. It was difficult trying to arrange a demo with my Toyota dealer and I found the Mitsubishi Canter too big. The Nissan Cabstar and Isuzu Grafter were the finalists but the Nissan didn’t have the power or gross train weight that I was looking for. The Isuzu product has a 3.0 litre 150PS engine and a gross train weight of 7000kgs.
“After having the Isuzu on demonstration I knew I’d found the truck that I needed. The salesman really knew his stuff and put me under no pressure to buy. The factory-fitted body didn’t quite suit my requirements for the types of loads that I deliver. So before ordering the vehicle I shopped around for a custom-built body. I found that Brit-Tipp in Warrington would make one to my design and I ordered my chassis/cab from my local Isuzu truck dealer – Warrington Vehicle Centre.
“All of my delivery work is still relatively local but many of my customers require large loads being delivered into tight spaces. Even with my trailer on I can manoeuvre the Isuzu Grafter far more easily than I could do a van, Land Rover or some of the 4×4 pick-ups that I’ve had to use in the past. Virtually every new customer I get comments on the fact that they can’t believe I get my truck into places that they struggle to get their cars into!
“I definitely made the right choice for me and my business. Having my own little 3.5 tonner has generated new business for me and dispelled any fears that I had of being able to fund the purchase of it. The team at Isuzu has been fantastic too in every way. I cannot recommend Isuzu trucks highly enough.”