Forged on family

JC Balls Customer Story

A special celebration to mark the latest milestone in an intertwined story of two family businesses.

When JCB recently handed a customer the keys to a new 220X tracked excavator, it marked more than just a machine sale.

It was the culmination of 60 years of partnership. 60 years of shared history. 60 years of family values.

Since its formation in 1963, JC Balls & Sons has grown into the East Midlands leading plant hire and contracting business. Specialising in earthmoving and bulk excavations, the company employs over 100 people and operates a fleet of over 50 machines and 30 lorries.

Over that long history, JC Balls & Sons has bought several hundred items of JCB machinery and attributes this loyalty and commitment to the excellent levels of customer service and back-up it has received. That relationship was reinforced in December 2023 when JCB presented JC Balls & Sons with a unique X Series tracked excavator to celebrate its 60th anniversary in business.

The milestone also represents 60 years of the two family-owned businesses working in partnership after founder Jim Balls established JC Balls & Sons with a JCB 3 backhoe loader in 1963. He has bought JCB ever since. 

At 95-years-old Jim is still a director of the company. His sons Kevin and Christopher, Kevin’s children Carly-Ann Balls, Hollie Marriott and Tom Balls and Christopher’s children Jamie Balls and Lisa Freeston also now work in the business. 

We first bought a 220X when it was launched, and we have continued to buy them since. The operators love them. They love the comfort and the size of the cab, and we've had very, very good reliability over the time we've had the X Series models. We would recommend them to anybody."
Diamond celebrations

At the end of 2023, the family and friends gathered with representatives from JCB and dealer TC Harrison JCB at a special anniversary event hosted at JCB Golf & Country Club. At the celebration, JCB handed over JC Balls & Sons’ latest order – a one of a kind 220X tracked excavator. The machine has been decked out in a stunning bespoke livery – with white cab, red bucket and retro sign-writing – in a nod to iconic JCB machines of the past. It has also been christened ‘Mary’ in honour of Jim Balls’ wife – after whom the company’s first ever JCB excavator was also named.

Director, Chris Balls said: “Our family businesses have worked closely together for 60 years, and we are honoured that JCB and TC Harrison JCB have marked the occasion with this event. Our business has grown and expanded over the last 60 years with their help and support along the way, and long may the partnership continue.

“We are absolutely amazed with this special new machine. Our very first JCB excavator was a JCB 6 with red undercarriage, red bucket and white cab and carried my mother’s name - Mary. So, with this styling we’re bringing a little bit of history back. 

“We first bought a 220X when it was launched, and we have continued to buy them since. The operators love them. They love the comfort and the size of the cab, and we've had very, very good reliability over the time we've had X Series models. We would recommend them to anybody.”

A rare vintage

While this bespoke new machine may be the latest, it is certainly not the first. Indeed, JC Balls & Sons boasts a truly unique and eclectic JCB fleet which combines a mixture of classic and unusual plant and equipment with more modern items of JCB kit – all distinctively named after members of the family.

Its vintage fleet includes the original JCB3 the company was started with as well as a rare JCB7 and the affectionately nicknamed ‘Tug’ – a machine which Director Kevin Balls believes was built by Joseph Cyril Bamford CBE himself – designed to tow his company jet. 

JC Balls Customer Story

Director, Kevin Balls added: “Everything JCB makes, we have. From backhoe loaders and excavators to wheeled loaders and compaction equipment. We have everything - the full range. They’re all good! We continue to choose JCB for the quality, service and back-up. It really is first class; any requirements we have are sorted in hours. We've dealt with them since 1963, they are the best.

“Years ago, the JCB backhoes set our business up. Now we run the full range of JCB diggers from the 1.8 to 37-tonnes too. Our operators love the X Series in particular, the cabs are more comfortable and they're generally fantastic to operate. They're the best machines they've had. They have a lot of power and are overall a really good machine.”

Back to the future

With a shared history and shared initials dating back to 1963, JCB & JC Balls & Sons have forged a special relationship based on quality products and dedicated service. With such solid foundations, the partnership only looks set to build further from here. 

Here’s to the next 60 years!