In the previous edition of our Master Magazine, we shared the story of Contractor G. Bunnik. We spoke to René Bunnik, owner of the family business in Bodegraven. He talks about his family business, his experiences with SVgroup's machines and the future vision he has with his company.
Contracting company G. Bunnik: Over 40 years in contracting and earthmoving business
Near Utrecht lies the village of Bodegraven, home to the G. Bunnik contracting and earthmoving company. The contracting company has been a user of Schuitemaker and Veenhuis machines for many years. René Bunnik took over from his father in 2019 and has been in daily charge of the company ever since. Together with his wife and 20 employees, they are ready to serve their customers day and night.
Over 40 years in the industry
Founded in 1980 by René Bunnik's father, the company celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2020. 'We used to be mainly focused on agriculture, in the last 20 years it has become 50/50. 50% agricultural and 50% earthmoving,' says René. The passion for the contracting profession crept in early on. René took over the contracting and earthmoving business from his father in 2019. 'My father is 71 and still helps out on the farm almost every day, he just happens to be on the manure trailer again today,' laughs Bunnik. René's wife also helps out within the company, doing the financial administration. 'We are a real family business,' says René proudly.
Like father, like son
Rene's father as well as himself live at the company. Together with his wife, René has four sons aged 4, 7, 10 & 12, to whom he passes on his love of the trade. They can therefore regularly be found on site helping out. 'Occasionally, they sit on the forklift truck, on a crane or sit with me on the tractor. I try to get them involved,' says Bunnik. 'They are still young, we will see if they want to become contractors in the future,' he continues.
The Schuitemaker, Veenhuis & Jan Veenhuis machines
Several machines from Schuitemaker, Veenhuis and Jan Veenhuis can be found on the company. Loonbedrijf G. Bunnik has the longest relationship with Schuitemaker. For over 25 years, they have been working with the brand's loader wagons, silage wagons and manure tanks. Through their dealer Kraakman, the company came into contact with Schuitemaker at the time. They came into contact with Veenhuis after the merger.
They currently operate with three Rapide 660s with calibrated weighing, a Siwa 200, a Siwa 720, a 4-axle Robusta 340, a 12 cubic metre Veenhuis Profiline and a Jan Veenhuis sand tipper. Bunnik also has a Veenhuis Quanta pumping unit. 'The machines are solid, have a low maintenance requirement and are strong and fast. The work always goes on, so it is nice to work with machines you can rely on,' says René.
All machines on the farm have the same colour: red. The loader wagons, silage wagons, the manure tanks behind the tractor and the manure tanks on the truck are all red in colour. 'I like it when everything is sleek and therefore matches,' laughs René. So by special request, a Veenhuis tank was made with red stripes instead of yellow. 'This allows the tank to fit nicely with the rest of it,' says Bunnik. The company uses John Deere tractors, which of course have green and yellow colours. Even the logo of Loon- en grondverzet bedrijf G. Bunnik consists of those same colours.
Being a contract worker, the greatest thing out there
When asked what gives René energy, he replies; 'The great thing about the job is that you get to meet all kinds of customers. No two days are the same'. He continues: 'If everything then fits together technically and we can run at full capacity, that does give me energy'. He himself jumps in wherever necessary, sometimes in the office and often in the field. 'I like to jump in for assistance, just wherever it's needed, that's where I am!', says René. 'It's just mighty fine work driving manure, grass and maize.'
He can also enjoy working with people. 'In February we had a jubilee, an employee had been with the business for 25 years. Those are just the nice things,' laughs Bunnik. 'When we work with all the employees to get all the work done for the customers and hear that the customers are satisfied. That's just great,' says René. 'We do it together,' he adds.
The grass season
We are now in the middle of the grass season. On the farm, they are busy baling, driving grass and ensiling. 'The grass harvesting is always a special moment,' says René. The boys also like it when grass can be driven again,' he continues. During the grass harvest, the Rapide and Siwa are driven a lot.
Perspectives towards the future
'These are turbulent times in the Netherlands, agriculturally speaking,' says René. 'We just try to hold on to what we have. With the laws and regulations in the Netherlands you can't look six months ahead at the moment, it changes before you know it,' Bunnik points out. 'We try to see what we are going to do every five years, including in terms of investments. For now, at least, we think we are in the right corner and that we can continue with this. Just keep going!', says René.
René wants to continue working with SVgroup's innovative solutions. 'SVgroup delivers high-quality products and have a good after-sales service, which is important for a customer,' he points out. 'If something is good, why change,' René adds. Contacts with SVgroup's aftersales are good, he indicates. 'There are short lines of communication and that just works nicely'. René hopes that SVgroup will continue to innovate and come up with great new products in the future. ■