In 2002, agricultural engineer Mark Brown left his position at a large machinery dealership to set up his own agricultural and groundcare machinery mechanics company.
His focus on good old-fashion service; making sure that customers are treated as individuals and not just another job in the system, quickly helped him to carve a solid reputation in the local area. From the simple ‘man with a van’ set up, the business bloomed, and five engineers now work alongside Mark at M & A Brown & Sons Ltd’ workshop in Goudhurst, Kent.
In 2012 Mark’s wife Amanda (who has worked at the business since day one) became a director and the family run business, which has grown exclusively through word of mouth recommendations, now looks after a range of farmers, groundcare and amenity professionals, local authorities and private customers across the South East.
While the customer base and geographical area may have expanded, Mark, who has over 30 years’ experience in the agricultural and grounds care machinery sector, remains as passionate about service and is also dedicated to keeping downtime to a minimum.
“We know all our customers and when people ring us it will always be myself or Amanda answering the phone because we believe in offering a personal service no matter how big we get,” said Mark Brown. “We have three service vans on the road and keep a good stock of spare parts because we understand how important these machines are to our customers’ livelihoods and how crucial it is that they are back up and running as soon as possible.”
Priding themselves on an “if it has an engine, we’ll fix it” approach, M & A Brown & Sons treat all customers the same regardless of where the tractor, lawnmower, or chainsaw, was bought and will carry out warranty work too if the machine is one of the brands, they are a dealer for.
Providing the right products
Servicing has always been the backbone of Mark and Amanda’s business and having built up an army of loyal customers, it was not long before those with aging equipment started to ask Mark for his advice on upgrading and replacing their machines. Confident that the servicing standards were well established, the couple decided to expand into sales back in 2015.
“We don’t have targets and simply try to meet our customers’ wider needs,” said Amanda Brown. “Instead of pressuring people, we are here to guide them through the purchasing process.”
The couple now sell a wide range of agricultural and groundcare machinery, from Ariens, Countax, Echo, Hayter, Ventrac and have recently become a dealer for Branson Tractors. Mark explained that he has spent a vast amount of time deciding on the brands that he wants to represent and those that will be well received by their customers.
New tractor range
As well as groundcare customers, the Browns look after a mix of arable, livestock and fruit farmers with varying requirements for smaller tractors. The Branson range provides a wide choice of models from 19 horsepower (hp) up to 75hp, and from 1.1 metres to 1.8 metres wide. Mark explains “Branson Tractors were the only manufacturer who could provide something for everyone”.
“The tractors have a solid reputation behind them and they come with two-year warranty” said Mark. “They are well built, robust and ideal for the fruit market and our smaller farming customers who don’t want, or need, to spend over the odds on a new tractor.”
While Mark and Amanda have only been working with the brand for a few months, they have received a lot of attention from the fruit industry and the couple have already sold a 2900h with a front mounted snow plough and 1.5 tonne tipping trailer.
“We have been demonstrating the tractors in a number of different applications,” said Mark. “From table top strawberry growers, to vineyards and orchards, we have had a lot of interest and are really busy booking demonstrations at the moment.”
As well as the tractors, M & A Brown & Sons also supply Branson attachments, such as mid mounted mower decks and loaders. They are also able to supply a range of flail and rotary mowers, toppers, rotary cultivators, chain harrows, rollers and trailers, to complete the package.
Taking the new range on the road, Mark and Amanda will be attending several shows and machinery exhibitions over the coming year including Farm Expo, Vine Expo, Weald of Kent Ploughing Match and the National Fruit Show to name a few.