AusIndustry supporting... Alphacool


By organising their business and staff management systems, Queensland air conditioning company Alphacool has grown its business and diversified services. Founder and director Marty Wittebol worked with AusIndustry to steer the company to their current success with plans further expansion.

Alphacool was a team of just 2 when it first started in Cairns in 2011. At the time, it specialised in the design, installation and repair of refrigeration and cooling systems. In 2022, the business has grown to a team of 65, with a second office in Port Douglas. It operates across Far North Queensland, also providing electrical and fire safety services. The company’s main markets are in the retail, commercial, hospitality and defence sectors, along with residential customers.

In the early days of the business, Marty found himself working 16-hour days. He was “on the tools” during the day and “on the paperwork” at night. He needed far more efficient business management systems to keep track of the work, both to keep pace with the business’s growth and to expand.

The biggest challenges for a growing business like us is keeping up with everything as far as your systems go; not just operating systems, but also your industrial relations systems and occupational health and safety systems.

The systems behind the work are a constant challenge that many small businesses like his face, and it can be expensive.

Marty reached out to the AusIndustry Entrepreneurs’ Programme in 2015 to access specialist advice and support to improve the back-end operations of the business.

Along with mentoring through the program, he was introduced to other skilled business facilitators and technology facilitators, who provided ideas about different ways to improve the company systems. “We also gained IT and technical advice which opened up quite a few doors that we never knew existed.”

Initiatives like the program’s Growth Roadmap service has helped Marty to set the strategic direction for the company. Alphacool also received a $22,000 Growth Grant to improve its business systems and to develop new strategies for growth in a competitive sector.

Marty says the advanced management systems now in place have opened up more opportunities for Alphacool. He has become much more comfortable recruiting staff because the new systems help manage all the regulatory requirements that govern employment.

As you grow it gets too hard to follow all the rules and regulations without systems and structures in place. Knowing we are doing everything by the book makes us feel more secure and that makes the business easier to manage.

Marty believes the support from AusIndustry has given Alphacool a sound foundation that is helping it to keep growing. Since completing the Growth Roadmap service, Alphacool has increased its revenue by 57%.

He sees the company’s ambitions to become a national or even multi-national operation are within reach. “The first step is to develop a plumbing division. But it’s baby steps at the moment; we’re still growing the electrical and mechanical side of the business.” With this expanding capacity he also hopes to secure more defence contracts as the region’s defence hub expands.