ATA 2015: Don’t become a hostage to debt, Almond warns

By: Brad Gardner, Photography by: Brad Gardner


Trucking firms that over-gear are at risk of being taken advantage of, former Mountain Industries owner says.

ATA 2015: Don’t become a hostage to debt, Almond warns
Mike Almond (right) with Border Express director Jon Luff.

 

Trucking firms that over-gear risk putting themselves at the mercy of their customers, the former head of Mountain Industries says.

During a panel discussion at this year’s Trucking Australia conference on business viability, Mike Almond cautioned attendees about the perils of debt when trying to strike new contracts with customers.

"When we’re a hostage to debt, what do the customers do? They blackmail us down because you’re got lease payments every month and you’ve got to get that work, so you bid down and down down," he says.

"So when you’re running your business, don’t be a hostage to debt, which of course make sure you don’t over-gear."

Almond, who sold Mountain Industries to Asciano in 2013, says operators should also have contingency plans in place to deal with contracts that fall through.

"And always have a fallback position. You take on a contract, you make a decision, you go somewhere. What happens if this goes horribly wrong? You don’t put all your chips on red, you save a few in your pocket just in case you need a few," he says.

Almond appeared alongside Simon National Carriers managing director David Simon and Border Express director John Luff during the discussion on business viability.

Simon encouraged trucking operators to put more effort into marketing themselves to promote the important work they do.

"We need to do something about our behaviour as an industry in that regard. We need to respect ourselves and the professional services we provide," he says.

Luff, meanwhile, touched on the topic of issues that can potentially destroy trucking companies.

He told the audience that companies needed to pay close attention to issues such as contingent liability, extended payment terms and taking on risks their customers should bear. 

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