Partnerships are important for a business to be successful. Whether it be the person (or people) you go into business with, or the suppliers whose goods and services you rely on to keep your business growing, finding the right partner can mean a world of difference.
Like it has for JOPA in sunny Queensland.
Having been in business for over 16 years, we spoke to Managing Director Paul Curtis about his business, and the benefits his Hino fleet has brought to his business, and the partnership he’s formed with the Sci-Fleet Hino.
Tell us about your business and how long has it been in operation?
The business has been operating for 16 years. Currently we employ 17 staff including our drivers, operations and admin staff. The business started out as a partnership between myself and Jody (JOPA Enterprises) then as the partnership grew, we decided - with the advice of our accountant - to register JOPA (Queensland) Pty Ltd as a registered business.
The company is owned by myself and my wife Jody, I am the Managing Director and have our son Matthew (operations coordinator) & Michelle Hope as our AdminCoordinator.
I originally bought a small tipper to give ourselves the opportunity to run our own business. It was only ever going to be one tipper, but we quickly realised there was a market out there that no one had really pursued fully, that market is between the landscape material supplier and the large transport companies. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would be where we are now, with 13 Hino trucks and continually growing to meet our customer’s requests to have material delivered on time with minimal cost.
So Paul, it’s been about three years since you spoke to Prime Mover Magazine, how has business been?
Business has been good; we experienced a plateau in 2018/19 due to the industry slowing down. But up until then we grew around 18% each year. Then, like most businesses, we took a hit due to COVID-19…as you can imagine. But to our delight, 2020/21 has been exceptional and we’ve begun growing once again.
You said that 2020/2021 has been good for the business, is this still the case with the current situation? Or have you had to review and adapt the previous business model? Any details on how you have had to adjust might help other customers in a similar industry?
Our business model has not change. The business first started operating in the middle of the GFC and not fully understanding the impact it could have on JOPA, I continued to push on with a positive approach to our customers and suppliers. We pay on time and expect to get paid on time. After 16 years our suppliers and customers now have an expectation and understand we can all get the best rates possible if we continue to work together.
How is the existing site going? How long have you been there, and do you think you’ll be moving any time soon?
We’ve been at our new yard for 4 years now. It was only a matter time before we outgrew our previous headquarters. The growth we’re experiencing now suggests we may be looking for a bigger premises within the next couple of years. Hopefully it’ll be large enough to sustain our continuing growth for many years. Which is a nice problem to have.
How have you found your working relationship with Sci-Fleet Hino at Coopers Plains?
My first meeting with Brad Elliott at Sci-Fleet Coopers Plains convinced me that a great working relationship would be formed and continues today with Will Gaulton at Coopers Plains which is why I have stuck with Hino.
We have always dealt with Sci-Fleet at Coopers Plains, and from the very first meeting with Brad Elliott, I was comfortable there would be a long-term relationship between JOPA and Sci-Fleet. And I was right! We actually briefly ventured away from Hino (through no fault of Sci-Fleet) due to trucks being unavailable at a crucial time in our growth. Just bad timing really. But here we are now with 13 Hino trucks and we’re happier than ever.
How are you using your fleet of Hino 500 Series Wide Cab trucks? What is the role they play in your business?
The Hino trucks we have in our fleet continue to perform 5 days a week without failure, keeping our promise to our customers that we will deliver on time every time (You Ring, We Bring).
When was your last upgrade and how is it going?
Earlier this year we introduced #13 into the fleet and the 12th truck arrived late last year.
The fleet consists of mostly Hino 500 Series Wide Cab FM 2628 trucks.
You indicated that you upgrade your trucks when they hit 200,000kms, is that still the case?
We generally start looking at turning the trucks over at around 300,000kms, and by the time the process is complete, the old truck has around 350,000kms on the clock.
On your site, it says your fleet travels an average of 17,000kms weekly. This says to us that servicing your fleet would be an important part of your business. So how does a service from an authorised Hino Dealer help your business?
I’ve said all along we are not mechanics and are happy to leave mechanical stuff to mechanical people. In saying that, Sci-Fleet have always been there when needed them. The opportunity to have night-time servicing with a loan car on hand for our drivers to return to our yard is a masterstroke.
You’ve owned European and Japanese built trucks over the years. How do running and maintenance costs compare?
At the time I was preparing to move back over to Hino, I gathered some data to compare the 2 brands. This took into account the European truck didn’t need to be greased for 400,000kms, while the Hino needed regular greasing by our staff (and at servicing intervals), which comes at a cost. We compared four trucks of each brand over an 8-month period, which didn’t include:
- The cost and time of dropping the European trucks off for servicing.
- Picking up and dropping off the driver.
- Warranty work.
- Down time for daytime servicing (European truck)
The difference was approximately $34,000 in favour of Hino.
What would you say is the biggest benefit your fleet of Hino trucks brings to your business?
Simplicity. We have direct access to the sales, service, and parts teams, as well as a fantastic customer relationship with Will Gaulton and Brad Elliott.
If you need help with deliveries you can contact Paul and the team at JOPA Queensland on:
Ph: 0400 700 673