Lunch with a WBA Legend

Wanneroo Business Association (WBA) General Manager, Lauren Bell, recently caught up with founding member, ex WBA Vice President and local business legend, Bill Meredith, Owner of Bill’s Machinery.  Having been a member of the Association for 22 years and counting, Bill is a huge advocate of the WBA and was more than happy to share a few memories and business tips in the recent catch up.

Starting his business 66 years ago in Northbridge, Bill recollected fond memories of horses being used in the streets, and rabbits running around the properties.  Starting out in business as a licenced Electrical Engineer, after a short period, Bill saw the need to gradually change the business direction and concentrated on dealing and refurbishing Machinery from his very own workshop. 

After running out of space at the original location, Bill’s Machinery is now situated on a huge 15 acre premises in Landsdale, just north of Perth, where it has cemented itself as one of the oldest, largest, and most reliable dealers in new and used machinery in Australia.  You might recognise this local business as ‘the one with the big red plane out the front,’ (pictured below), Bill explained how there is no history attached to the plane, and it was simply used as a landmark and marketing tool, which in an online world, still works today!

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Bill’s Machinery is the best place to look for your next piece of machinery.  They buy, sell, and trade just about any type of machinery and equipment, and their unit in Landsdale is like Aladdin’s cave!  From small items, like tools and spare parts, to enormous items, like earthmovers and mining machinery, if you’re looking for something unusual or unique your likely to find it at Bills Machinery Yard.  They now have a museum-like area, dedicated to unique items of Wanneroo’s history which they have accquired along the way.

Bill can’t remember how many mistakes he has made over the 66 years in business, and although he has learnt from every single one of them, he has lost count of the number of times he has asked himself ‘what on earth did I do that for?’ or ‘that was stupid, why did I make that decision?’

Keeping up with evolving technology has been a continuous challenge for Bill.  From learning how to send a fax, to attending courses at UWA on how to use a computer, to launching a website, he is seeing the pace in which technology is evolving get quicker as the years go by.  But this hasn’t stopped him.  Bill has always been aware that to keep up in business, you have to learn new skills and keep up to date with developments not just in technology, but in all aspects of business.

When asked about a highlight of being in business, Bill recalled a fond memory of joining an International Trade Mission to Penang, Malaysia in 2002, with the Chamber of Commerce.  Introductions were set up and local business connections were made, but no sales were generated.  Bill went on to explain that on his return he was contacted by the owner of a tannery in Northam, who needed assistance with the business.  As one of many business accquisitions, Bill ended up purchasing the tannery, which is no longer in operation but which he still owns today!

Bill was encouraged to share some tips which he thinks local business owners could benefit from, so here they are for you to follow:

  1. Succession Planning – Having a plan, and thinking about what might happen in the future, is something that all business owners should address as soon as possible.
  2. Never Stop Learning – Business owners have to keep up to date, especially in such a fast evolving world.
  3. Networking – This has played a huge role in Bill’s business journey, and he sees the relevance of Association’s becoming more prominent in the coming years.
  4. Embrace technology – Keep up to date with the latest technology, or face getting left behind.

Read more about our Coffee Catch Up at Bill’s Machinery in October 2020 here.

Visit the Bill’s Machinery website here https://billsmachinery.com.au/

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