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MAKING FRIENDS | Feature – PacLease

PacLease simplifies fleet expansion and reduction with a simple phone call

Gilbert and Roach at Huntingwood is synonymous with the PACCAR brands of Kenworth and DAF, also offering the strength of ISUZU Trucks to its customers and forming one of the broadest product portfolios available in the Sydney market.

The dealership is very much a one-stop location for sales, service and more recently, leasing and contract hire options, all designed to keep transport operators efficient and profitable.

It’s this background of solving problems and making vehicle operation less stressful that drives the team at G&R, in the demanding world of transport logistics that promotes a dynamic landscape in which to operate.

Workloads and freight movements can literally change by the hour. Just in time deliveries, breakdowns and spontaneous work opportunities can also put a strain on available equipment resources to satisfy client demands.

Financing parameters are also changing, with more stringent lending criteria perhaps limiting growth or preventing newcomers from jumping on contract opportunities quickly, due to an inability to secure finance.

One of the sure-fire solutions to temporary and immediate plans for fleet expansion or vehicle substitution is the option of short-term rental and leasing programmes. Since having introduced a PacLease division into G&R at Huntingwood the company has seen a dramatic increase in popularity for leasing and hire availability, not only with existing customers but also with the advantages of onsite truck availability attracting customers from other brands.

In its first two years of operation, the PacLease division at G&R grew to number 17 vehicles from the DAF and Kenworth stables. Since July 2019, under the stewardship of long-serving G&R manager Glenn Jewell, the division has experienced extensive growth to its current position where the rental and leasing fleet now consists of 27 units in total, made up of eight Kenworth, K200, T610 models and 19 DAF CF85 and XF105 models.

Glenn is passionate about the transport industry and relishes his role within the PacLease programme. He can not only talk the talk but walk the walk, drawing from previous experience with large finance and equipment leasing companies and front-line experience behind the wheel as a driver.

The increase in the size of the rental fleet by almost 60 percent is a direct result of demand growth for both short and long-term rentals.

“Things have been working really well and in the lead- up to Christmas 2019 we were at 100 percent utilisation of the fleet,” said Glenn.

The PacLease fleet of late model DAF and Kenworth trucks caters to a wide spectrum of transport duties.

“We have trucks rated to full dangerous goods specification, trucks fitted with hydraulics for tipper operations and Anderson electrical plugs for tailgate-fitted trailers. Additionally, we made a decision six months ago to register all our prime movers as B-double trucks. This is a considerable cost imposition to our business but allows maximum flexibility within operations to meet our customer demands.”

“To afford some level of mechanical sympathy, all our trucks are fitted with automated manual transmissions, using the UltraShift PLUS 18-speed AMT for the Kenworths and the ZF 16-speed transmissions for the DAFs. Interestingly though, we have a single Kenworth truck with an 18-speed manual transmission, and it is always in high demand, however it is a truck we usually rent to owner operators or fleets with more experienced drivers.”

“The DAF CF 85 models are fitted with MX 13 engines at 510 horsepower so are ideal for all applications. We do have one XF 105, but the CF’s have proven more popular particularly for local work,” said Glenn.

All PacLease vehicles in the G&R fleet have been fitted with bull bars for protection from animal strikes and to provide an extra layer of frontal protection. Each truck is satellite tracked and monitored by advanced telematics, keeping track of fuel burn and service intervals. When a unit on hire or lease approaches a service interval the customer is notified and the truck can be scheduled for service at any PACCAR dealership, nation-wide with the cost charged back to PacLease at Huntingwood.

Glenn explains: “I plan to turn over our fleet at around the three-year point, which keeps our fleet fresh, with the latest technology, which in turn offers our clients more reliable equipment with the most up to date specifications to aid in driver retention.”

PacLease offers a variety of short and long-term rental and leasing plans to suit individual customer demands, from single-day hire up to several year terms with fully maintained operating leases. Short-term rentals feature no lock-in time frames with trucks able to be returned at any time, while longer full-service leases are pre-determined with either a fixed-lease period or minimum kilometre commitment.

“We have a wide cross section of customer base that we support and we try to be as flexible as we can within the framework we have available. We have had customers in the past that have needed to make equipment purchases to align with increased workloads but the timing for capital purchases didn’t work well with their cashflow.  We have then supplied them with a new truck which we bring into our PacLease fleet which they in turn purchase once the timing is more suitable for the company to finalise the acquisition.

“Similarly, I have noticed that newcomers to the industry when presented with the opportunity to secure a contract and go out on their own can find it difficult to secure finance without a solid trading history. We can supply a truck on a short or long-term lease arrangement, and if need be, without PacLease signage. This can also remove the burden of any maintenance surprises. This transitional period can allow new operators to gauge the viability of a contract without committing to a traditional five-year lease or to build a credit and trading history to allow a full commitment at a later date. We are also more than happy to then provide a credit reference to help with future lending at the conclusion of the contract period,” says Glenn.

Insurance can also be offered through the PacLease programme, or alternatively, customers can add the PacLease truck/s to their own policy and forward a certificate of currency showing the PacLease truck added to the company policy. Then they’re off and running.

“Demand is strong,” Glenn explains. “We are increasing our focus on full-service leasing, whereby a client pays a fixed amount per month for a vehicle for a given amount of time. The client can then either take up a new truck or, at the end of the term, hand it back. This is particularly beneficial to customers who do not have trucks as their core business but have the need for trucks to move their products.

“We find that while rental and leasing was not our core business, since the inception of PacLease we are really well positioned to leverage off our existing business to offer this service.

“Trucks are what we do here at Gilbert and Roach, and we handle all of the repairs and maintenance in-house. We can also offer our rental fleet trucks to our workshop customers who may be suffering a downtime event, to keep their business moving.”

Another “Upshot “of the PacLease programme is that it can be used to introduce new customers to the PACCAR product – customers who may not historically have had exposure to these brands. According to Glenn this has already resulted in sales, particularly with the DAF models.

For the future of PacLease at Huntingwood, there are nine new Euro6 DAF’s coming in to replace some of the earlier trucks and one new Kenworth. Glenn says that he is looking to see an annual fleet utilisation rate north of 80 percent which he says they are nearing, at which point, more trucks may be brought into the fleet.

“We have a strong growth strategy and I will grow this part of the business as hard and progressively as I can,”said Glenn.

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