In making its move into the Australia Market, TR Group, which had successfully grown a truck and trailer rental and leasing business in New Zealand, began with the acquisition of a business, based in Melbourne specialising in renting out skel trailers.
“We did a lot of research leading up to starting in Australia,” says Chris Perry, TR Group General Manager. “We had the market on our radar for about eight or ten years, we were slowly working out how it might work and the differences between the Australian market and the New Zealand market.
“We’ve got a few shared customers, between the countries, the corporates, and we got some feedback from them. We also have a couple of Australian based directors in the business, which was useful. We looked at it and have found that the two markets are, ‘the same but different’.
TR Group are developing the leasing side of the business, coming up with options which should be attractive to the typical Australian trailer customer. Current customers who might be hiring a trailer year on year are being offered the option of a leasing arrangement.
“The more we work within the industry with our customer base, and the supplier base, we are finding there are a lot of people asking us about leasing,” says Chris. “There’s a lot of opportunity, just from the small community we have created so far.”
With leasing growing on the trailer side of the business, the leasing option on trucks is also growing, from a small base. These kinds of cultural changes about the way operators use their trucks is a slow process and Chris understands the development is going to be slow.
Something which TR Group are familiar with in New Zealand is the fully maintained operating lease, which is something relatively rare in Australia, especially in the trailer space. Under the terms of this kind of lease TR Group take care of everything and manage the whole asset from start to finish.
“We think the fully maintained lease will be a quite a popular product for us in the future,” says Chris. “We’ve got a few very large customers who have expressed an interest and we’ve got a few multiple lease deals along those lines.”
The growth of a national network, outside of the Eastern seaboard will also be part of this process. This would enable TR Group to offer national coverage to support leased trucks and trailers throughout the country. Effective leasing needs to be supported throughout the country, so the leasing side of the business is expected to grow as the number of outlets around the country grows.
In the long term, the operation intends to have an outlet in capital cities around Australia. TR Group has made a commitment to its its large corporate clients that it will have a national presence. Adelaide and Perth are already on the radar and Darwin may well follow. They are also looking at Far North Queensland.
“There could be another half a dozen locations for us anytime soon,” says Chris. “As we go into a new market or a different part of the country, we try to figure out what’s the most likely trailer type we are going to need, whether its curtain siders, container handling, refrigerated, or construction.
“We will figure out what we will need to have for the customers and then gear that branch up so we can get the branch running. then, as we figure out what the volumes are, we can start to push the right volumes into that branch.
“We’ve go to make sure we’ve got enough equipment in each branch before we look at expansion. We want to do a good job, every time we get involved with a customer. We don’t want to stuff it up by spreading ourselves too thin. We are learning along the way, taking our time, doing it properly and making sure the customer gets exactly what they expected.”