John’s vision stands test of time – 25 years, in fact
What started as a humble operation in a small home office in Bassendean has transformed into one of WA’s best known water-related businesses, with 18 staff and its founder still firmly at the helm.
John Warne took a punt when he founded Pumps Australia with son Gareth and their cattle dog Tyson, but their brave venture proved successful, with the business celebrating 25 years this year.
It was a bold venture for the service engineer, who grew up in Devon and spent years working across the world before moving to Australia in 1981 to spearhead the launch of McGraw Edison Down Under. He previously completed a four and a half year apprenticeship in the 1960s as a mechanical and electrical fitter trades person.
Throughout his career, John has worked for large global companies including in Iran, Israel, Libya, Algeria, Nigeria, Norway and Sweden, installing pumps, compressors and steam turbines.
While he loved those roles, he was convinced he could do pumps and pressure cleaners better. In 1988, armed with nothing but a blank sheet of paper and a vision, John established Pumps Australia in a bedroom within a quadruplex in Bassendean.
He started manufacturing high quality pressure washers and
transfer pumps, starting from a humble carport before purchasing a plot of land in Bayswater to build a 500sqm warehouse.
“We have always had a solid base of farming customers since the 1990s, and aimed to develop a good product for farmers,” John said.
“The stainless steel flex in our pumps lasts a long time, and our products have been hugely successful for farmers. Our hot and cold pressure cleaners are used widely to clean headers, piggeries and other large machinery.”
The tireless nights spent painting roof structure beams by hand, while working on the premises during the day are still front of John’s mind, even two decades on. These humble beginnings at Bayswater — where the business was based for 15 years — laid the foundation for enduring relationships with high-quality Italian manufacturers.
John said the business had experienced steady growth since its inception, prompting a relocation to a bigger facility in Welshpool with aims to become a market leader in pumps and pressure cleaners.
These days, John runs the business with one of his other sons Ben, with Gareth now running his own business in Indonesia.
The high-profile site spanning 4300sqm houses a huge showroom, an administration centre, manufacturing area, and adjacent warehouse facilities.
John attributes the business’ success to its exceptional range of high-pressure washers, both hot and cold, as well as transfer and trash pumps powered by well known engine suppliers Honda, Vanguard, Yanmar and Kohler.
It also sells hydraulic and electric-driven items.
All these years on, Pumps Australia stands on six main pillars: petrol, diesel and electric driven products, hydraulically driven products, trailer mounted products — all of which are designed and custom-built — and an excellent service division.
A big part of the business’ growth has been its focus on research and development, with innovation at the fore and patenting the Pumps Australia product range: the smart Drive Px15-280 Honda IGX390.
“If something hasn’t been made, we invent it,” John laughed. “We machine our own special fittings, and our products are unique.”
These days, customers can walk in and request products with up to 30 horsepower driven by petrol, diesel, electric or hydraulic systems. Each can be mounted in frames, skids, buggies, trailers, with the ability to be 100 per cent, custom-designed and built to specifications, fast.
The company has also developed a service division catering to all makes of pumps and pressure cleaners, offering comprehensive testing and reporting.
Looking for the future, Pumps Australia is developing a new range of EXD explosion-proof pressure cleaners for the oil and gas industry and is eyeing a range of export markets for its products.
It has previously exported to Singapore, Thailand, Dubai, Batam, South Africa, Dakar, Kenya, Denmark and the UK.
With years of international experience already notched up, John regards the world as the company’s oyster and has his sights set on becoming a market leader — with a network of distributor partners already in place around Australia. “We take great pride in our excellent team and talented individuals in the workshop and customer support staff,” John said.
“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Australian market for
its unwavering support throughout this period.”