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Focused vision for Success

HEATHER Jones started Success Transport in August 2004 with a vision to provide high quality, timely transport services to a wide range of industries, while also working to change the community perception of truckies and actively work to encourage and assist more women to enter the industry. Perhaps not surprisingly, being a single woman attempting to establish a trucking business, Ms Jones said she found it difficult to secure initial financial support, so her first two trucks were purchased by mortgaging her house. She has never looked back. When Ms Jones encounters an issue at Success she said a core group of friends, family and employees was generally consulted to find a solution. “I’d like to think that my way of conducting business helps to head off a lot of potential issues before they have that opportunity to fester into something major. However, when something does arise that I can’t deal with immediately or by myself, I tend initially to turn to a core group of friends and family,” Ms Jones said. “In addition, my employees have a wealth of knowledge and experience that I appreciate enormously.” But sometimes she consults more widely and brings in the experts. Such a time arose quite early in the life of her new business when Success agreed to do a favour for some colleagues in the industry, under the impression that it was a simple job and they were short of trucks and drivers. Ms Jones said she soon found out her trust in these acquaintances was not well placed. The job turned out to be a mammoth task – both in cost and difficulty – and her colleagues failed to pay up. “The biggest most immediate impact was financial,” she said. “The bill for the fuel alone for the trip, which was a 7000-kilometre round trip, and I sent two trucks, was $12,000. “The acquaintances who I had completed the work for kept telling me they were yet to receive payment themselves. This continued for an unreasonably long period of time, until I started doing some investigating and found out that the customer had paid up within seven days.” Ms Jones said she sought various levels of help before resolving the situation, after failing with a reasonable, direct approach and turning down friends’ offers to take more extreme measures. Eventually she turned to a lawyer who came recommended. The legal advice was not that positive, revealing that the debtor had a poor credit history (including bankruptcy) and a complicated financial situation with ownership of assets in the name of the key operator’s wife. Fortunately, there were other avenues – with a debt collector called in. It took 12 months to recoup 75 per cent of the money owed. “One of the most important lessons learned was the necessity of performing credit report checks on any business before commencing a business relationship with them,” Ms Jones said. “No matter what. “For the princely sum of $22.47 and minimal company information, web sites such as Baycorp Advantage will let you know if there are any court writs, court judgements, defaults etc against a particular company. “I cannot emphasise how useful this information is. The whole incident was never going to put me out of business but it certainly hampered me financially for some months. “These days I always check the facts as well as the buzz within the extremely vocal transport community – just listen to UHF channel 40 some time.” Ms Jones said she has learned her lesson and put the incident behind her. With the business running well, she’s tackling an even bigger task – educating the driving public about the importance of trucking and keeping our roads safe for everyone.

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