Af­ter decades of buy­ing sec­ond-hand trucks, the Woods fam­ily changed di­rec­tion and bought their first newie – a Ken­worth T610

Af­ter decades of buy­ing sec­ond- hand trucks, the Woods fam­ily changed di­rec­tion and bought their first newie – a Ken­worth T610

Australian Transport News - - Contents - WORDS WAR­REN A ITKEN

T he old say­ing is ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’. But while that might be the case for ac­tual old dogs, the same isn’t true of those ‘old dogs’ in the trans­port in­dus­try. To sur­vive in trans­port, ‘old dogs’ have to keep up with what’s new in the in­dus­try as well as mas­ter­ing ev­ery­thing they’ve learnt from pre­vi­ous years. For my own safety, though, I’m go­ing to drop the ‘old dog’ anal­ogy be­cause those oldies also know ways of pun­ish­ing those who call them old dogs.

More to the point, when you’ve learnt the new tricks and grown your trans­port busi­ness from a ‘two trucks be­tween mates’ kind of busi­ness into a flour­ish­ing 34-truck and 75-trailer fleet, what new things are there left to try? Well, for Kim Woods, his wife Diane and sons Jamie and Chris, the one thing they could try was buy­ing their first brand-new truck. He formed Bris­bane-based Bond­woods Trans­port in 1994 with a mate.

Back be­fore Face­book, Google and eBay filled our days, Kim was run­ning 48-foot boxes on and off the rail for Cu­bico/Box­car. Kim and an­other con­trac­tor were kept flat out with lo­cal work.

When Cu­bico men­tioned bring­ing in an­other sub­bie, the two men bought an­other truck and formed Bond­woods Trans­port. For 14 years, Bond­woods built a solid rep­u­ta­tion based on both men’s old-school val­ues of ser­vice and re­li­a­bil­ity.

In 2008, Kim bought out his part­ner and it be­came a one-fam­ily op­er­a­tion. “It was too large a job to change the name,” Kim’s son Jamie ex­plains. “So we just kept Bond­woods.”

Dur­ing those first 14 years, Cu­bico was bought out, the com­pany that bought Cu­bico was then bought out, then that com­pany was bought out, and then that com­pany was also bought out and then … well, you get the gist.

There had been many changes of man­age­ment but Bond­woods kept sup­ply­ing its re­li­able ser­vice and the work kept com­ing.

Bond­woods did meet on hard times when the Global Fi­nan­cial Cri­sis hit in 2007. It lost a chunk of work, with sev­eral trucks hav­ing to be sold and the fleet down­sized to eight prime movers. Coin­ci­dently, 2007 was also the year Jamie joined the Bond­woods’ driv­ing team (I’m not say­ing he caused the GFC, but the tim­ing is in­ter­est­ing).

As 2008 dis­ap­peared in the rear-view mir­rors, the Bond­woods’ team was start­ing to re­plen­ish its work­load. Over the next decade, it set about build­ing a solid rep­u­ta­tion with all its cus­tomers. In 10 years, the com­pany has more than quadru­pled its fleet, though Woods ad­mits it’s never gone chas­ing work and hasn’t looked at tak­ing any­one else’s work, ei­ther. The cus­tomers come to them.

“Our growth is run by the growth of our cus­tomers,” Woods says.

OUT OF THE DRIVER’S SEAT

Jamie man­aged six years in a driver’s seat be­fore the busi­ness be­came too busy for him not to suit up and get in the of­fice. The same thing hap­pened ear­lier this year when younger brother Chris ‘Boof’ Woods had to re­tire his seat to take over the in­ter­state op­er­a­tions.

While the move to a comfy of­fice chair was to take care of the day-to-day op­er­a­tions, one of the other as­pects Jamie was in­stru­men­tal in was in­creas­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion of the Bond­woods’ fleet.

Bot­tom left: Fa­ther and sons – Jamie (left), Kim and Chris ‘Boof’ Woods

Be­low: Driver Chris ‘Coco’ Faaaliga scored big when he was handed the keys to the new T610

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