Hir­ing the

“Ev­ery truck is a busi­ness,” is a ma­jor part of the phi­los­o­phy be­hind the suc­cess of TR Group, ar­guably New Zealand’s largest heavy trans­port rental and lease com­pany, founded and headed up by An­drew Car­pen­ter.

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - FLEET LEASING -

Back in 1992, An­drew reck­oned there was a great op­por­tu­nity in pro­vid­ing rental trail­ers to busi­nesses with an un­spec­i­fied need to be flexible and ac­cord­ingly, to­gether with his fam­ily, he took a deep breath and bought the Chep Trailer Hire busi­ness along with 65 trailer units from the Chep Pal­let Com­pany. Two and a half decades later, An­drew’s fam­ily owned com­pany – TR Group – has close to 5000 truck and trailer units on its books, built, ad­min­is­tered, ser­viced, re­fur­bished, rented, leased and sold by a 160-strong team, ser­vic­ing the whole of the coun­try. Those truck and trailer units cover the most di­verse range of ap­pli­ca­tions and spec­i­fi­ca­tions, pro­vid­ing a com­pre­hen­sive selec­tion of be­spoke ve­hi­cles to suit the tem­po­rary and per­ma­nent needs of New Zealand’s heavy trans­port in­dus­try. To come back to ev­ery truck be­ing a busi­ness, An­drew ex­plains one of the key con­sid­er­a­tions of truck hire – when the word ‘hire’ can cover both leas­ing or short to long term rent­ing be that daily, weekly, monthly or over some years. “The av­er­age line­haul truck,” he says “would be a 50 tonne, 23-me­tre long unit which has to re­turn – as a gen­eral rule – about $4 per kilo­me­tre for about a mil­lion kilo­me­tres of ser­vice. “If it’s only re­turn­ing say $3.80 per kilo­me­tre, it’s not go­ing to gen­er­ate the amount of money the op­er­a­tor has put into it ini­tially, and the ‘busi­ness’ will fail. That’s bad when it’s one truck, but if you have 10 or 15 units not per­form­ing as they should, well, the ‘busi­ness’ is go­ing to fail, spec­tac­u­larly.” The same prin­ci­ple is there not just for big units, but equally for four and six wheeler trucks and metro fleets. – it re­ally has to work cor­rectly for every­one con­cerned. This then, is one of many dif­fer­ences be­tween rent­ing or leas­ing a truck as op­posed to a car. “The dol­lars are so very dif­fer­ent,” ex­plains An­drew, “with a car be­ing much less com­plex than a typ­i­cal truck. You can go to a car lease com­pany and or­der a hand­ful of cars, with the ex­pec­ta­tion that they will be ready in very short or­der. “A truck can take any­where from six to 12 months from or­der to de­liv­ery, be­cause the need to get the truck right from the very out­set is so el­e­vated.” TR Group’s 25 years of ex­pe­ri­ence, ex­per­tise and pas­sion to see trucks on the road and earn­ing what they should, means no el­e­ment of get­ting the build right is marginalised. “In say­ing that,” An­drew says, “with a truck be­ing a col­lec­tion of me­chan­i­cal com­po­nents, there can be any num­ber of rea­sons why it is not per­form­ing as it should. We have to re­solve the cus­tomer’s im­me­di­ate re­quire­ments for mo­bil­ity first, which – given the size of the fleet – we can and do, and any dis­rup­tion to our cus­tomer’s busi­ness kept to a min­i­mum un­til the sit­u­a­tion is re­solved. “There’s a lot of flu­id­ity be­tween our rental ve­hi­cles and our leased ones to make sure our cus­tomer’s busi­ness needs are met.” TR Group has de­ter­mined that an­other area it can fur­ther as­sist its cus­tomers to max­imise the earn­ing po­ten­tial of its heavy ve­hi­cle fleet is to pro­vide high qual­ity driver train­ing. TR Mas­ter Drive is a rea­son­ably new ser­vice string to the TR Group bow, but it has proven to be an ex­tremely pop­u­lar one, as driver train­ing can re­alise some se­ri­ous bot­tom line sav­ings for heavy ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tors, in terms of truck op­er­a­tion, fuel sav­ings, com­pli­ance and of course, safety. There are five core el­e­ments mak­ing up TR Group’s busi­ness: leas­ing, rent­ing and sell­ing heavy com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles, which is the bread and but­ter of the busi­ness, but added to that is main­te­nance man­age­ment as well as the driver train­ing. You won’t find TR Group dab­bling in cars, be­cause cars and trucks are so very dif­fer­ent when it comes to even the ba­sic el­e­ments of fleet man­age­ment for ei­ther. “We know trucks,” says An­drew “and we know the busi­ness of trucks. Our cus­tomers re­spect our ex­per­tise and our pas­sion, which is why they part­ner with us.”

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