Business profile: Kiwi Kanz

By: Vivienne Haldane

Business profile: Kiwi Kanz From left to right: Doug, Croy, John Baldwin, Peter Quayle, Andrea Manning, Josh Manning and Joey Hodge. Business profile: Kiwi Kanz
Business profile: Kiwi Kanz Business profile: Kiwi Kanz
Business profile: Kiwi Kanz Business profile: Kiwi Kanz
Business profile: Kiwi Kanz Business profile: Kiwi Kanz
Business profile: Kiwi Kanz Business profile: Kiwi Kanz

Bigger trucks are not necessarily better for Central Hawke's Bay domestic rubbish service Kiwi Kanz. Its fleet of trucks less than 10 tonnes is helping keeping the region spick and span. DOW finds out more.

Doug Croy had a nicely laid plan to semi-retire when he moved from his farm in Oxford, Canterbury, 10 years ago but, blame it on a wheelie bin, he now runs Kiwi Kanz, a domestic rubbish service in Central Hawke's Bay.

He and his wife Francie bought a lifestyle block near Waipukurau. He thought he'd do a bit of shepherding and perhaps start a business looking after lifestyle blocks. Then about a month later he spotted a wheelie bin on the side of the road and needing to get rid of rubbish, as you do in the country, he made some enquiries. As it happened, the couple that owned Kiwi Kanz had the business up for sale and, well, Croy likes a challenge and needed to be gainfully employed so he took a closer look.

"With 180 bins and 30 44- gallon drums it was going to be a part-time venture. I thought it would suit me down to the ground in my semi retirement and so we bought it."

That was in 2004. Now Kiwi Kanz runs four trucks and services 2700 bins and 30 drums, plus employs six staff. They cover both urban and rural areas in Central Hawke's Bay and have headquarters in Waipukurau.

Croy has chosen trucks less than 10 tonnes because they suit the nature of his business.

"It's a useful size because we do so much country running. If we went to a tandem back axle system, the trucks are physically bigger and they are going to get bashed around even more by the branches we encounter going down people's driveways." Consequently, all the trucks have covers to protect their hydraulics.

"If we have trucks bigger than 10 tonnes, they are going to take more maneuvering too. If we are able to get the truck close to a client's house we will pick up from there. It's a plus for country people – it's a service they've never had before in this district."

The first truck Kiwi Kanz purchased was a four-cubic-metre Toyota – equivalent to about 50 wheelie bins.

"We bought it from Nelson and had it adapted for our use by a company there."

Then 180 bins began to increase rapidly to a stage that Kiwi Kanz couldn't cope with one small truck. "Our next step was to go to a bigger truck that would hold 100 bins. We bought a Nissan Diesel in Auckland and although it was a purpose-built truck; it needed to be adapted for our requirements because they haven't got the lift system on the back. They arrive in the country with a completely closed-in back used for picking up kerb side rubbish."

Next up, Croy bought an Isuzu with a capacity of eight cubic-metres, followed by another Isuzu, four-cylinder turbo with a capacity of 8.4 cubic-metres. "That gave us another 10 bins and when you are on a country run, that extra capacity is handy."

Kiwi Kanz4

The adaptation on the back for lifting bins and plumbing it with oil feed lines used to cost about $6000. "This is closer to $10,000 now," he says.

The next two adaptations were done in Central Hawke's Bay and their newest truck; an Isuzu purchased last year, was done in Auckland. Consequently each lifter has a slightly modified appearance. "On the new one the hopper holds more – it means you don't get a spillage. The opening is smaller, but it works well. It also has a different clamping method on the bins – it clamps the bin for a start before it lifts, whereas the others lift and clamp at same time. It's probably a better system."

Kiwi Kanz now uses its original truck solely for green waste because they can get places they can't with the bigger trucks. "It's easy to drive and much more economical."

"We took green waste on from October last year. In a way it was forced on us from the last price rise at the landfill. It's proving very popular; we have gone from zero to 80 bins in that time. This service is available only to urban clients in Waipukurau, Waipawa and Otane and is an economical and practical way of disposing of lawn and garden waste."

Deals on Wheels hops aboard Kiwi Kanz' new Isuzu, as the driver Quaylee heads out on the streets to empty wheelie bins. "It's a bit nicer than the old girls and easy to drive. The only thing I don't like is the Japanese radio has only AM frequency."

Kiwi Kanz trucks are all serviced by local mechanics, "If we have any trouble we just get on the phone and they'll be there," and the same goes for engineering, auto-electrical and tyre businesses. "We believe if you live locally, you work with the locals that are here. It builds business and works both ways."

Price has also guided Croy in his choice of trucks. However, "they've put the screws on" and prices have shot up due to increased demand for imported trucks from countries such as Russia and China who buy rubbish trucks in bulk. Additionally, you now can't import anything over six years of age. "We were able to put the Nissan and Isuzu on the road for $45,000-55,000, whereas the new one is almost double that. It's a big capital cost."

However, Croy is happy with where business is at right now, "We've had pretty reasonable growth, considering we don't advertise much," and he prides himself on fostering good relationships. "Our philosophy is built on good old-fashioned service – it's personalised, I used to know everybody's name by heart. As I see it, there's no problem that can't be sorted out. We also pride ourselves on being economical and we've managed that as a result of the truck sizes and the way we've planned our routes. We can do it cheaper than somebody packing all their rubbish on a ute and bringing it into town."

He also praises his staff for a job well done, "This business wouldn't keep going if we didn't have the right personnel out there doing the job. To me that's one of the most critical things. A team is only as good as each player, right down to young fellow who comes in at weekend and washes and greases the trucks."

Contact Kiwi Kanz, 22 Acklin Street, Waipukurau, Central Hawke's Bay. Phone (06) 858 8544 or email kiwikanz@xtra (without the space).

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