News, Trucks

Entrepreneur builds Isuzu FRR 500 to service pleasure boat industry

all-aboard-the-marine-doctor-tmknsmflFor Sonny Tilbury, his new Isuzu FRR 500 is just what the doctor ordered to service the popular multi-million dollar pleasure boat industry.

The keen entrepreneur has transformed his Isuzu truck into a mobile mechanical workshop on wheels for his company, the Marine Doctor.

The FRR 500 allows Sonny to make house calls to service and repair pleasure boat engines, trailers and electrical wiring in the Perth and Karratha areas – a facility that larger boat repair companies don’t offer.

The opportunity for a mobile boat mechanic became apparent to Sonny after watching numerous customers wasting time and money towing their boat to a workshop for simple servicing, which could easily be conducted without the boat leaving the owner’s home.

His idea came to life in 2000 when he purchased a Toyota Hiace van as the workhorse for the first Marine Doctor mobile workshop.  The variety of work Sonny found himself undertaking quickly outgrew the van’s capacity; the Isuzu FRR 500 is the third reincarnation.

With more than 17 years’ experience as a fully qualified mechanic, it’s no surprise that Sonny experiences strong demand for his expertise in this niche industry.

He grew up with boats and was able to maintain his first very own dingy at the young age of 13.

According to Sonny, the FRR 500 helps him get the job done quickly and efficiently.

“I’ve always wanted my own Isuzu truck. My father used to have one when I was growing up,” he said.

“When I was looking for a replacement vehicle, I only looked at Isuzus.

“The only issue was trying to decide which model I should go for!

“Isuzu’s quality and reliability comes second to none – I can’t fault it at all.

“The heavy duty non-slip entry steps are also ideal for wet shoes.

The body of the truck is a custom-made design based on the Snap-on Tools trucks, built by Empire Film Services located in Haberfield, New South Wales. The body has specialised holding shelves, air conditioning, toolboxes and a generator.

In order to work on the go, Sonny has also fitted an office area and a toilet inside the truck body.

Helping approximately 15 customers a week on boats up to 40 feet long, Sonny prefers to work alone as he can’t find anyone he can rely on to work to his standards.

Most of his work comes by word-of-mouth or as a result of people seeing the bright signage on his truck which acts like a mobile billboard.

“It’s a great looking truck, ideal for helping me spread the word about the business.”

According to Sonny, it is important to have a truck that can easily accommodate the eight tonne load of the workshop body as well as heavy loads of boat parts and repair equipment.

“The FRR 500 is definitely durable and powerful enough to survive driving down gravel roads while towing a boat at the same time,” he said.

“It gets up hills surprisingly easily, almost effortlessly.  I rate the FRR 500’s performance 10 out of 10.”

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