After running Armitage Transport for the past 18 years, David Gannon knew the time was right to close its doors, though as he explains the company name will still carry on.
Gannon, 52, began his foray into transport when he got his truck licence in 1990 and began driving trucks around Sydney.
After working for a few different companies, he moved into an operations role at CTI Logistics, before he came across the opportunity to purchase Armitage Transport from its founder Graham Armitage in 2004.
Based in Crestmead, Armitage Transport was started 30 years ago. Gannon purchased the company, together with two business partners – one of whom exited the business not long after and another who was there until 2014.
Back in 2004, the company had just eight working trucks. When Armitage Transport officially closed on May 10 – the date Gannon chose as it was 18 years to the day of when he acquired the business – it was running a fleet of 25 trucks.
When asked what he attributed to the company’s growth, Gannon said, “I guess I’ve always tried to operate in a niche market. We’ve always tried to bend to suit our customers’ needs, rather than the customers having to bend to serve our needs.”
Armitage Transport specialised in crane trucks but had also branched out into over-dimensional freight – focused predominantly through Queensland’s south-east.
Two of Gannon’s daughters, Rebecca and Gabi, and his son Mitchell were also involved in the business for the past four or so years.
Mitchell will retain one of the company’s prime movers and an extendable trailer so he can go out on his own, operating under the Armitage Transport name.
Gannon says it was a hard decision to close the business however he felt the time was right.
“It’s been 18 years of my life, and we built it to what it was. When my long-term business partner exited in 2014, we were running six trucks at that time, and we’ve grown it up from there,” he explained.
“I had considered selling but I’ve looked at transport companies over the years and the second hand equipment market is such that at this point in time, I don’t think we would have done any better by selling the business. Due to supply issues, there’s such a huge demand for second-hand trucks.
“We also looked at paring things back to five or six trucks, but my problem, as my wife says, is that I can’t say no, so we would’ve eventually ended up going straight back to where we are now. And I just don’t want to be working 24 hours a day, seven days a week any more. In the last few years it’s been even harder. I’ve found myself on the tools during the week and then doing admin on the weekends.
“Staff has been a big issue, especially trying to get truck drivers. The biggest challenge for us in the past two years especially, is that because all the body trucks are crane trucks, it added an additional level of complexity in getting staff because of the additional skills required.
“There have been a whole lot of things that have influenced my decision, including the rising costs of fuel.”
As Gannon calls it quits as a transport company owner, he plans to semi retire. “I’m going to work on my golf handicap, catch up on some of the travelling I haven’t been able to do in the last few years and dabble in a few other bits and pieces I have on the go,” he said.
The Armitage Transport fleet will be going under the hammer at the Grays unreserved auction, being held from 4pm on June 9 until 7pm on June 15.