By Leonnie Carter
To know the story of how the Carter Heavy Haulage & Transport company started, we need to drive you back to 2012.
Trucking has always run deep in the blood of Josh Carter (Company Director), after devoting most of his childhood to his grandfather, Ken and his local transport company. So much so that when Josh completed his schooling, he signed up to complete his Heavy Vehicle Maintenance Mechanic apprenticeship with the local Kenworth dealership Gilbert and Roach at Hexham and spent his 18th birthday securing his heavy rigid driver’s licence.
During his apprenticeship Josh found himself on permanent afternoon shift, and in his spare time assisting his Grandfather with local float moves. After completing his apprenticeship Josh made the decision to work full time in the family business.
In 2012 (after ten years working together), Ken decided to retire, and Josh was faced with a decision on what to do next.
Meanwhile, I was fine tuning my business management skills, having spent 12 years working in human resources and payroll with a Newcastle based engineering firm on Kooragang Island.
A big idea is born
Josh had always dreamed of working for himself, and after trying his hand working for other companies, he began to wonder how to make it happen. While we were enjoying a few quiet cocktails during a summer holiday in Noosa, we began a casual conversation about future goals, and our shared dream began to take shape.
We thought that maybe it was time to go out on our own.
Fuelled by Josh’s passion for trucks, and expertise in the transport industry combined with my business acumen, we decided to take the leap.
Not one to waste time, I immediately began crunching the numbers and reaching out to finance and insurance brokers. While still on holidays, I applied for an ABN and set about aligning our business with the right financial advisor, while Josh searched for the right truck to get us on the road”.
After much research, discussion, and planning, our dream became a reality, and we commenced trading as Carter Heavy Haulage & Transport.
Meanwhile, our personal lives began to parallel that of our company. We got married in October at Tocal Homestead and as the business started to grow, so did our family. Our first child, Toby, was born in July of the following year.
The early days (2014-2016)
The first year was really about finding our feet and pulling together as a team – both as a married couple with a newborn, and as business owners. I had general business knowledge, knew how to reconcile accounts, create invoices, and pay wages, but the transport industry and equipment transportation was all new to me. In contrast, Josh had strong knowledge of the transport industry but less of the business administrative responsibilities.
When thinking back to those early days, I remember the scary but exhilarating roller coaster ride that we put ourselves on.
Throughout 2018 and 2019, we continued from strength to strength, expanding our fleet through the addition of new bitumen tankers, flattop extendable, Kenworth K200 and the T900 Legend prime mover.
We also started to see recognition within the industry, with several exciting achievements, including:
Our family also grew again, with Lillie May joining us in March 2018.
When changes to the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) legislation were made in 2018, the heavy vehicle industry experienced a significant shift in focus.
“The changes to the law were a real game-changer for the heavy vehicle industry. However, we were comforted by the knowledge that we were ahead of the game, and were confident that our management systems would pass the test of compliance.” Said Josh.
“Our electronic management systems allow us to monitor our business activities in real time which is an advantage in the delivery of our services”.
Carter Heavy Haulage on the move
By 2019, our fleet had grown to include 5 Kenworth Prime Movers and an assortment of state-of-the-art drop decks, extendables, flat tops and low loaders as well as dollies, Tilt Tray and dangerous good tankers.
The addition of the equipment, as well as our projected growth meant that we needed to move our operations from our home base into a larger commercial depot in Rutherford. And just in time too, as our team now consists of nine permanent full-time staff and we have recently added another dangerous goods tanker and Kenworth T609 Prime Mover to the fleet.
2020 provided an opportunity for us to shift our focus internally. Our team put in the effort to apply for and achieve our NHVAS Accreditation – Mass, Maintenance and Fatigue as well as WA Heavy Vehicle Accreditation – Fatigue, Maintenance and Loading and Dimensions.
Our relocation, team growth, fleet expansion and accreditation have allowed us to meet the needs of a broader range of businesses and industries in the Hunter and beyond.
Our reach now spans the entire east coast of Australia and into Western Australia. We support clients from the general construction, asphalt, mining, agriculture, civil construction, engineering and global import/export industries with their heavy haulage needs.
“Leonnie and I strongly believe that every job is as important as the next job and should be managed with the highest levels of safety, professionalism and customer service.” said Josh.
“We have a fantastic team that always give their best effort, which is critical to our ongoing success.”
The Carter Culture
While the transport industry is not seen as particularly glamourous to work in, we take that in our stride, and are proud of the workplace culture we have created.
Our ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality is one that sits comfortably with our tight-knit team, and it has helped us to build a real sense of camaraderie. We are essentially one big family.
“When you are surrounded by a dedicated team who are passionate about what they do and take an enormous amount of pride in the professionalism and presentation of their day to day operations, it is very rewarding” said Josh.
We have taken on several young and inexperienced workers and have watched them develop and grow individual personalities, develop their skills, and experience and become professional young adults.
They are all respected amongst their peers and within the industry and are now on the path to achieving their own personal goals. The support and guidance our more experienced workers give the younger ones demonstrates the dedication of all our staff and the sense of being ’one team’ is evident. This gives us an enormous amount of pride and satisfaction.
This approach to developing a positive workplace culture, along with our commitment to customer service excellence is what we believe makes us a leader in the transport industry.
To learn more about Josh and Leonnie, or to enquire about the services we provide at Carter Heavy Haulage explore our new website today.