The 4 corner stones of starting a trucking business – part two

Starting a trucking business, as we pointed out in the first part of this series, can be profitable, but like any business, it is not without potential pitfalls. There are always certain risks, and in logistics, there are the additional risks of accidents etc. If however, you set up, complying with all the necessary procedures and choosing the right vehicles, the risks can be greatly minimised.

The 4 cornerstones of starting a trucking business articles should assist you and get you steering a clear path to success. This is primarily about starting a trucking business in South Africa, but many of the principles are applicable anywhere.

The 4 cornerstones.

The essential 4 cornerstones to ensure you lay a solid foundation are:

  1. 1. Set up – Having a great business plan and covering all the bases
  2. Funding – Ways to raise start-up and on-going capital
  3. Compliance – Having the right licenses and permits to operate legally
  4. The vehicles – Hire or buy? – and what to buy

In this second part, we will cover the last 2 cornerstones.

  1. Compliance

Firstly it is necessary to register the business. You can get a step by step guide on how you register your business at www.cipc.co.za

Then there are 2 other primary compliance requirements:

Obtaining the right business licences and permits

It would be an excellent idea if, as a Manager or Owner of the business, that you try to get a National Certificate in Professional Driving. This qualification gives you not only driving skills but offers an extensive range of skills appertaining to running the business including Customer relations; financial planning; freight loading; occupational health and safety and many more.

It is advisable to do background checks and hire only qualified professional Drivers. They must have a heavy-duty licence – code 10 to 14. Drivers of the following vehicles must hold a license card, endorsed with an appropriate PrDP:

  • Heavy goods vehicle, loaded or empty – (codes C1, C, EC1 and EC)
  • Taxi or other vehicle carrying paying passengers (e.g. an ambulance)
  • Bus above 3 500 kg GVM – (codes C1, C, EC1 and EC)
  • Bus or minibus with seating for more than 12 including the driver

Finally, the driver must be responsible, of sober habits and at least 25yrs old. You also need permits for the type of load he is carrying. Check this with CIPC too.

  1. Vehicles

Choosing the right vehicle is critical. Ask a few important questions:

Does the vehicle accommodate the needs of your cargo? If you are transporting perishable items, for example, you would need to consider a refrigerated compartment.

Is buying or leasing equipment a better option for your new business? We believe that continual leasing means you never build the assets for your own business. Instead, if you can be financed, consider purchasing the vehicle. You can then, in your downtime, lease that vehicle out yourself.

If buying, should you buy new or ‘pre-owned’? Remember that you have this option and you can get good deals on affordable quality demo and low mileage used vehicles from manufacturers like FAW that will serve you and your business well.

Get the right trucks for the job

Remember that FAW trucks offer any trucking business the best possible option if they choose to purchase new or used vehicles.

Contact us or go to our website to find a dealership near you and find out about our incredible range of tried and tested top quality freight carriers, truck tractors, tippers and mixers, which come standard with competitive warranties, 24hr roadside assistance and are built in South Africa for Africa.

We certainly hope this series on The 4 corner stones of starting a trucking business will give your business a solid foundation and remember as you build it to partner with FAW, who will be with you to help you grow – in this new decade – and beyond!

The 4 cornerstones of starting a trucking business – part one

Well, it’s not only the start of a new year but the start of a whole new decade. What better time to bite the bullet and get that trucking business that you have always wanted finally up and running.

It can be profitable, but like any business, it is not without potential pitfalls. There are always certain risks, and in logistics, there are the additional risks of accidents etc. We believe, however, that where there is a will, and the right actions are taken from day 1, there is always a way to succeed.

We hope this small 2 part series on the 4 cornerstones of starting a trucking business will assist you and get you steering a clear path to success. Obviously, this is essentially about starting a trucking business in South Africa, but many of the principles are applicable anywhere.

The 4 cornerstones.

The essential 4 cornerstones to ensure you lay a solid foundation are:

  1. 1. Set up – Having a great business plan and covering all the bases
  2. Funding – Ways to raise start-up and on-going capital
  3. Compliance – Having the right licenses and permits to operate legally
  4. The vehicles – Hire or buy – and what to buy

In this first part, we will cover the first 2 cornerstones.

  1. Set up

As with any business, it is essential to have a ‘Business plan.’ From day one, decide what type of business you want to have. Will it be a small contained business with one or two vehicles – or are you aiming for a fleet and big business in the long run?

Will, you mostly hire free-lance Drivers, or would you prefer to hire permanent staff over which you believe you will have more control. Will you outsource or handle your own administration, finances, project management, marketing etc.?

Perhaps a list of costs that will be incurred will help to get an idea of what kind of initial and on-going funding you will require. Take all these into account:

Administration and Accounting – the cost of handling this

Office supplies and on-going cleaning etc.

Premises – Hire or purchase of business premises and include garage facilities for vehicles

Advertising and marketing

Hire or purchase of vehicles

Servicing and maintenance of vehicles (This may be initially included in some deals with reputable truck dealers if you are buying new vehicles)

Registration and certificates, petrol, tolls, traffic fines and parking costs

Drivers hire or salaries

Think long and hard about this to ensure you cover all the bases in your proposed budget and establish firm, clear goals for the business, in the short and long term. This is all part of the ‘Business plan’ – and ensure the inclusion of precisely what profit margins you predict, to make your proposal to funding sources as attractive as possible.

  1. Funding

Having established our business plan and cost structure, you will, most likely, need to raise some form of funding. If you have the luxury of doing so, always look for assistance from family or friends, who may offer interest-free loans, but remember your commitment to them is just as great as obtaining formal finance.

You other options then are to:

Form a conglomerate of family, friends, and small investors to all input a smaller amount, until you have your required capital. This is called ‘Crowdfunding.’

 

Appeal to bankers for a business loan

 

Appeal to any local ‘small business’ start-up funding association

 

Talk to an ‘Angel’ investor. In this case, it is better to ensure it is an investor with knowledge of and experience in your industry

Get the right trucks for the job

We will cover this more extensively in the ‘Vehicles’ cornerstone in part 2 of part of this article, but remember that FAW trucks offer any trucking business the best possible option if they choose to purchase new or used vehicles.

Contact us or go to our website to find a dealership near you and find out about our incredible range of tried and tested top quality freight carriers, truck tractors, tippers and mixers, which come standard with competitive warranties, 24hr roadside assistance and are built in South Africa for Africa.

Make 2020 your best year ever as you get your new trucking business off the ground and let FAW partner with you all the way to the top!

Will the trucking industry spread its African footprint in 2020?

The South African trucking industry has long been the most advanced in the transport and logistics sector for Southern Africa. Still, just as major trucking role players like FAW manufacturers and distributors have already spread their footprint into the rest of Africa, we believe many others will follow in 2020.

Investors see trucking as a burgeoning industry throughout many parts of Africa, and the new decade will open up many financial opportunities for the key industry role players.

The Financial point of view

In a still relevant PriceWaterhouseCooper (PwC) article released a few years ago, Klaus-Dieter Ruske, PwC Transportation & Logistics Global Leader had this to say: “As Africa has risen to prominence as an investment destination over the past few years, so the role of transportation and logistics has taken on greater significance.”

He went on to say in the same report “Whether moving resources off the continent or bringing goods and services into its burgeoning economies, Africa’s future growth and development will depend on the quality of its infrastructure and the efficiency of its transport networks.”

Did we pull it off?

South Africa had to take the lead here, and their input was so vital. Even though we were ranked the “best logistics performer on the continent,” according to the 2013 Logistics Performance Index, we still today reduce the strength of our infrastructural capabilities with generally low projected annual financial growth.

Some other African countries, however, have shown high projected annual growth, and it is based around this that investors and role players have continued to grow this vital industry throughout the continent. 

Has significant change taken place?

Even back then, Ruske warned that “Smart investing in Africa means investors need to understand key regions and local markets. If they decide to expand in Africa, they will need a solid long-term strategy. The continent needs better transport infrastructure, more connectivity across borders and an improved business environment to reach its potential.”

The FAW example

We believe South Africa, in partnership with neighbouring territories, have greatly achieved this and will continue to do so going into 2020 and the next decade.

FAW is committed to ongoing expansion into the emerging markets of Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia and Botswana to entrench FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA (PTY) Ltd as a major distribution hub for trucks and parts on the African subcontinent.

As an industry, we believe we can continue to grow, and FAW will continue to be one of the transport and logistics industry role models in the future. Contact us or visit a dealer near you, whether you are here …or somewhere in Africa, as we keep growing.

Have blessed holidays – and be safe on the roads! We need you all to help us continue to spread our African footprint in 2020 – and beyond!

Truckers beware – it’s the silly season!

People refer to the year-end holiday season as ‘the silly season’ for many reasons, but truckers and trucking companies know that at this time of year people on the roads, as they speed off to their holiday destinations, can be more than just silly – they can be downright dangerous!

The road accident and death toll statistics at the end of every year are alarming and seldom seem to improve despite whatever warnings are repeatedly given prior to this period. ‘Buckle up,’ ‘don’t speed,’ ‘keep a safe following distance’ – all seem to just disappear from the mind as many drivers, impatient to reach their destination, throw caution to the wind.

Sadly truckers, even those who have been well trained and on the roads for many years, sometimes overwhelmed by the sudden influx of vehicles on the road, become a part of these statistics too.

We would like to just give a few prudent points to trucking companies and Drivers alike that just may prevent accidents and keep truckers also looking like professionals amongst all the poor drivers.

Trucking companies

In many cases, trucking accidents are the direct cause of neglect or lack of responsibility on behalf of trucking companies themselves. Certainly, it is more common amongst smaller ‘fly by nights,’ but all could heed a little of this advice…

Don’t just assume your drivers will sail through what is a difficult period for them. They feel they have to meet the same deadlines but are suddenly seriously held back by the volume of traffic. Prepare drivers for what they are likely to face. Ensure that deadlines are reasonable and schedules adjusted according to these extenuating circumstances.

Remember sleep is always the driver’s enemy, so ensure safe shifts are arranged, and it goes without saying, that vehicles need to be in top roadworthy shape, but at this time it is more important than ever.

Perfect brakes for emergency stopping and excellent tyres for swerving out of danger could save many drivers and others lives. This responsibility, including adequate Driver insurance, rests squarely on your shoulders, so always consider that your driver can only represent you well if you have planned well.

The Drivers

Speaking of representing the company well, remember this is part of your duty. Be responsible and courteous on the roads. You are going to have cars full of irritable drivers lining up behind you at times, so pull over only whenever it is safe to do so and let people pass.

Indicate to other drivers when it is safe to pass and be courteous too at loading and offloading depots and even at truck stops. You always represent your company, so do so proudly.

Become a part of the ‘triple A.’ In trucking terms this means be Awake, Alert and Aware. Drive, like everyone else on the road, is a bad driver, always looking out for the worst. Of course, there are plenty of good drivers, but this is a simply safer way to go!

Finally, regardless of deadlines or however, people treat you on the roads, always put safety first. Never drive yourself or your vehicle too hard just to make deadlines. If you drive well the goods will arrive and so will you – safe and sound.

Let us help

At FAW we not only offer an incredible range of some of the best and most affordable new and used trucks on the road, but we offer solid warranties and additional after-sales support like our Driver training for example.

Find a dealer near you – take advantage of our year-end specials and start the new decade as one of the proudest fleet owners in the country. We hope this article has been of some help to you and your Drivers and don’t hesitate to contact us to learn everything you need to know about FAW – Trucks that are “Built in South Africa, for Africa’’. HAPPY HOLIDAYS – drive carefully!

5 great tips for good Trucker etiquette

You see it in the movies all the time – truckers in the USA refer to each other as ‘good Buddy’, and although we may have other greetings here in South Africa, it is worth noting what can make you a ‘good buddy’ to your fellow truckers.

There are a few basic ways you can show respect to each other, and as these also make for safer driving, it’s definitely worth knowing these 5 great tips for good Trucker etiquette…

1 – Hold the flashing – It has become almost common practice for some truckers to flash their brights to show another trucker that they are safe to merge after passing. This can be dangerous though and is at least quite irritating for fellow truckers.

Experienced truckers say a good trucker will know when to merge anyway, but to be polite, it’s better practice just to turn your lights off and on again (no Brights) quickly to give your good buddy the signal.

2 – Let him pass – When another truck is trying to pass you, and you notice he’s struggling to because he doesn’t have the power, slow down a little and let him past. It’s better to lose a few seconds than to never let anyone pass, or worse still, cause a major accident by being stubborn. When you see him again recommend that he/she gets a FAW truck!

3 – Keep your distance – On the other end of the scale, if you have the power and it’s you who are wanting to pass, please keep a safe following distance until you are sure that you can. This is basic road safety, but at the same time, it shows respect to your fellow trucker.

Move over slowly and with plenty of space in front of you. An experienced fellow trucker will indicate to you when it is safe to pass too.

4 – Put the phone down when driving – This also is basic road safety and showing compliance with the law. Talking and texting at the best of times is dangerous when driving. To do so when passing is recklessly endangering your own and your fellow trucker’s life. In trucks, in particular, only hands-free kits or headphones should be used anyway.

5 – Be a buddy off the road too – Being a good trucker means not only being polite to other drivers on the road, but to conduct yourself professionally off the road too. Be respectful to the shippers and receivers of goods at all times…and show respect to fellow truckers at truck stops at every opportunity. We will cover more on this topic in a future article.

Get the best

Happy truckers are those who drive the best vehicles. As a fleet owner or small transport company, check out the amazing range of top-class new and used trucks available in the FAW stable.

We hope these 5 great tips for good Trucker etiquette will be helpful to you and your drivers. Contact us to find out about our excellent Driver training programmes and our massive network of competent, accredited Dealers nationwide.

Homegrown trucks with an international background

In any country with the kind of economic issues we in South Africa face, international investment is a much-needed injection of capital. Even more importantly, if that investment includes the creation of an established manufacturing facility, which provides much-needed employment, it is to be welcomed with open arms.

Thanks to the astute assessment by successful entrepreneur Richard H. Leiter of the value of a range of Chinese trucks for our harsh and demanding conditions, just such a company was formed in 1994. More importantly, within 20 years of its foundation, a range of homegrown trucks with an international background was born.

History in the making The company formed was FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA (PTY) LTD and immediately recognising the importance of their corporate social responsibility, a manufacturing plant, built at the cost of R600 million, based in Coega in the Eastern Cape was established.

History was made on the 10th of July 2014 when the first FAW commercial vehicle, wholly made in SA, rolled off the assembly line. What a significant achievement this was for FAW South Africa and the people who had worked so hard for it.

FAW had finally realised its dream to provide the opportunity for South African’s to buy locally made Chinese origin trucks and today the plant builds an entire 14-model range of commercial vehicles sold in South Africa locally.

In 2016, FAW Vehicle Manufacturers South Africa (Pty) Ltd produced the 2 000th locally built truck at the plant, just two years after the first – a magnificent achievement which has, in turn, lead to the plant’s current capacity to produce over 5 000 trucks per annum!

No ordinary facility

This is no ordinary facility either. The 30 000m² Coega plant has state of the art training facilities and is one of few local OEMs to have built a three 000m² Truck Body-building Shop, together with an appropriate Paint Shop Facility. The paint Shop Facility is equipped with state of the art technologies to produce long-lasting truck body paint and finish.

Always putting its people first, FAW’s compliance with all health and safety, environment and quality (SHEQ) standards is rigidly practised. Designed in accordance with environmental recommendations and standards, the plant is efficient, cost-effective, and the buildings are well equipped with ample ventilation, natural light and wide aisle space.

No ordinary people

We believe that a company that cares for its people is always rewarded. Thanks to our disciplined and dedicated workforce, we have not only maintained standards but have received an international FAW award in recognition for our outstanding quality!

From importer to exporter

The measure of a real success story is in the extent of the final outcome and this is an impressive one. Today this range of homegrown trucks with an international background is achieving international aspirations! FAW South Africa is now supplying trucks not only to the South African market but the rest of Africa as well. The current projections are that eventually only 40% of our products will be destined for South Africa, whilst 60% will be exported. Contact us to receive the personalised attention we so pride ourselves on conveying to all our customers and visit our website to view our full range of proudly South African manufactured vehicles.

We are now a true business citizen of South Africa and have positively affirmed our original assessment of SA with our motto – ‘Built in South Africa, for Africa!’

4 pillars of support your truck manufacturer’s network should provide!

You hear it all too often. People who buy trucks for their vital work fleets who are let down or disappointed in one way or another. They are not backed up with a real support system and so parts, servicing and especially inadequate warranties become problematic, in some cases after quite a short time.

Well, before you even make the decision to purchase your next work vehicle, whether it is a freight carrier, truck tractor, tipper or mixer, here are 4 pillars of support your truck manufacturer’s network should provide …if they don’t, look around until you find the one that does!

1 Parts, servicing and an adequate dealer network

Ensure that your truck manufacturer’s network is adequate. This should cover a dealer network at least in Gauteng, Durban and the Cape. Parts should be immediately available to these dealers and self-servicing customers.

The company’s dealers should be able to provide service facilities with up to date, state of the art equipment and highly trained technicians, able to competently service and repair all your work vehicles.

2 Technical training

For those who prefer to utilise their own workshops and facilities, your manufacturer’s network should be able to offer your people specialised technical training. This will ensure that your fleet is optimally maintained. Customers in need of specialist maintenance should also be assisted.

3 Driver training

Exceptional manufacturers even provide driver training at the customer’s request and in particular for any driver who needs additional training to ensure they are obtaining the optimal output on a vehicle.

4 Warranties, customer service and remote support

FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA (PTY) Ltd who offer an excellent range of FAW work vehicles tick all of these boxes, including offering the following:

Service plans – 3 years on 5-ton vehicles; Full maintenance plans – 3 years on 8-ton vehicles. Good reliable service plans and warranties are essential.

FAW also operates through an approved and accredited dealer network, providing sales and service support across the Southern African region. After-sales agents have been specially trained to provide emergency service support to customers wherever they may need it.

We support our customers 24/7/365, whether on or off-road, with a FAW dedicated number linked to a ‘trigger number’ answered at a specialised Emergency Call Centre. If the incident can’t be immediately resolved telephonically, where required, assistance with towing is arranged.

Find a dealership near you or contact us directly to ensure that when you purchase your next work vehicle, you will have the 4 pillars of support your truck manufacturer’s network should provide! 

FAW – A SOUTH AFRICAN SUCCESS STORY

It’s hard to believe that one of South Africa’s premier range of tough, durable trucks, seemingly tailor-made to withstand our harsh conditions, has its origins in China. FAW SA is now very much an established SA brand, and its acclaimed products have already been in South Africa for more than 25 years

It is now firmly entrenched in the local transport industry landscape, but how did this come to be so? How did FAW, a Chinese brand of trucks, come to be FAW – a South African success story?

The FAW legacy

FAW SA has grown from very humble beginnings to a multimillion Rand undertaking since first being established as a local presence in South Africa. It happened through the astute ability of a very successful local businessman to ascertain the quality, strength and durability of an Asian product, which he knew would perfectly suit the requirements of the local trucking industry.

That man was the FAW local founder, Richard H. Leiter and testament to his uncanny assessment is the Jiefang, one of the first units sold in South Africa. It is still running today under its original name and it has clocked over 1.5 million kilometres. What more proof is needed of the brand’s quality and durability?

International and local expansion

Richard also saw the sense in partnering with a company that has brought together their Asian heritage and unrivalled experience in the global vehicle-manufacturing sphere. The Chinese company, the China FAW Group Corporation, is China’s oldest and largest vehicle manufacturer and is the majority shareholder in FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA (PTY).

The local expansion too has been rapid and impressive. South Africa now serves as the central hub for local expansion into the rest of Africa. These include the emerging markets of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana. The idea is for FAW South Africa to ultimately be the premier supplier of a tough, reliable, competitively priced product range that never compromises on quality, to the entire sub-continent.

Local Investment

FAW has, from the outset, been committed to investment into South Africa and a responsibility towards its people. It has delivered handsomely on this promise, rapidly turning FAW vehicles into largely South African manufactured products.

The manufacturing plant, built at the cost of R600 million, is based in Coega in the Eastern Cape. It has meant employment for many South Africans and an important investment into the country’s future.

Simplicity is the key

The excellent quality and cost-efficacy of every FAW vehicle that rolls out of our manufacturing plants are due to our policy of simplifying the mechanics of our vehicles, whilst maintaining stringent international standards.

Contact us, find a dealer near you, or view our excellent product range on our website. We pride ourselves on providing value for money and this, in combination with being a world-class product, has made FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA (PTY) Ltd one of this country’s frontrunners in the truck industry. This has been the reason why FAW is a South African success story!

FAW FEEDS THE CHILDREN IN BENONI

FAW South Africa delivered stationary and other much-needed supplies to the Feed the Children Project in a rural settlement in Benoni, Johannesburg, on 13 April 2018. Project feed the children care for orphans and widows, by providing food, clothing, shelter, counseling aid, employment opportunities, and, self-empowerment training to assist them in supporting themselves.

The project currently has a fully operational book library within a shipping container at the one settlement, as well as a kitchen where they prepare and serve hot meals to children and pensioners. In addition, the project focuses on early childhood development within the rural areas and FAW SA delivered several items to the project, including plastic chairs, educational charts, clay, puzzles and general stationary. These items will go a long way in assisting with the project aimed at underprivileged and orphaned children/

The donations were gratefully received by Pastor Dumisani Madi who welcomed Minelene and Phindulo at their premises in Benoni.

HARRISMITH, FULL SALES AND SERVICE DEALER

FAW Harrismith, which opened on 4 March this year, is now a full FAW sales and service branch and part of the growing FAW South Africa dealer network.

The Free State facility was previously an independent dealer that sold FAW vehicles, as well as a number of passenger car and bakkie brands. FAW South Africa however decided to purchase the dealership outright and then invested considerably in its renewal and repurposing.

FAW Harrismith recently sold its first new truck since reopening – a FAW 6.130FL 3.5-ton with dropside body – to an existing FAW client who is the proud owner of a FAW 15.180FL, bought in 2015.

The customer’s business is located in Tshiame, an industrial area just a few kilometres out of town on the N5 towards Bethlehem, where it manufactures and installs steel silos on farms both locally and in some neighbouring African countries. The FAW 6.130FL 3.5-tonner is the perfect alternative to a bakkie and trailer which is sometimes used to get the company’s work done.

FAW Harrismith is located on the main transport route between Johannesburg and Durban on the N3 and is also within close proximity to the N5, which makes the facility a strategic service point for the FAW brand.

“A lot of FAW’s were – and continue to be – sold in Harrismith”, says FAW Harrismith branch manager, Louis de la Rouvière.

“We have had numerous enquiries already on new trucks to both new and existing customers, and the word is spreading that we are now a fully-fledged FAW dealer”.

Not only does FAW Harrismith sell new FAW trucks, but boasts a complete sales and service operation for fleet and truck owners. There is a need for truck servicing, repairs and parts to compliment our newly revamped workshop”.  He adds that the current staff complement of seven people will soon expand to nine or even 10 as demands indicates.

The revamped dealership looks after FAW customers from the Villiers toll gate all the way to the toll plaza at Van Reenen’s Pass, after which the region can also be served by FAW Pinetown.

The fully automated, online system that FAW South Africa is rolling out countrywide handles parts, sales and warranties and will be implemented shortly. He says in this regard, training is ongoing in order to provide great service to truckers in the area and to those passing through, further enhancing the customer sales and service experience.

De la Rouvière adds that his team are well versed in the sales field and all have local knowledge and experience. “Now, we are working on FAW trucks exclusively and attend to all FAW after sales services in the area, there are also FAW people on standby during the week and on weekends” he concludes.