Business profile: Hannan Transport

By: Vivienne Haldane

A new Hawke’s Bay cargo and freight company is ticking the boxes when it comes to keeping busy and making their customers happy

Darryn Hannan may be the new kid on the block as far as his business goes but he’s got substantial experience under his belt and a real vision to make Hannan Transport into a force to be reckoned with in the future.

Reviews on their Facebook page reveal a bunch of happy customers who say: ‘Amazing team. We have used their services only twice and never looked anywhere else’; ‘Excellent service. These guys moved me from Waikato. Very professional, very friendly, and they got all my household belongings safely to my storage unit and unpacked again.’ 

Darryn spent the years from his teens to his 30s working for a variety of Hawke’s Bay freight companies: Conroy, Efficient, and Weatherells, and along the way, progressed from labouring to driving and accruing his different licence classes.

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He spent time driving road trains in Australia, doing a three-week run in a Kenworth from Perth to Darwin, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, and back across the Nullarbor. He also worked at Napier Port on telehandlers and forklifts.

He says he was always fascinated by how freight was skilfully packed into vans for removals. There seemed to be an art to it that appealed to him.

Darryn began trading just more than two years ago. The move into running his own transport business came after a series of work-related injuries forced him onto ACC. Here he was given guidance by a trainer about future work possibilities, and looking at his past experience in trucking, he realised that the thing he liked most was the transport industry.

So he decided to start his own.

Darryn describes himself as a ‘people person’ and sees it as one of his biggest strengths when it comes to running a successful enterprise.

Taking the next step

"It was a big risk because I’d never been self-employed before and had never run a transport company. I did heaps of research to find out whether there was a market for what I wanted to do. I spoke to other drivers who were friends to gauge their opinions.

It’s a very competitive industry, so I wanted to be sure I was making the right decision," he says.

At ACC, he was basically taught how to start up his own company and he progressed from there, learning as he went.

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"I jumped onto Vista Print and created business cards, chose our colour scheme in orange and black, and then a company logo. A sign-writing friend designed our advertising signage. I’d skilled myself up about how to use social media. I created my own website, a business page on Facebook, and joined all local Facebook sites and began posting."

This use of social media has accelerated business. "It’s pretty much what got us off the ground and people are really tuning into it," he says.

He also tapped into networks such as the Business Hub in Ahuriri.

"I didn’t know there was help out there to run a business. It was hard getting going but it didn’t take long," he says.

Building the business

Darryn says when he began he only had an 8x5 tandem trailer but that didn’t stop him.
To bridge the gap, he hired trucks from Metro for a few months before buying an 11m3 Isuzu Elf. It was previously owned by Marlborough Freight Lines and it’s turned out great, he says.

"We spent three to four weeks tidying it up, servicing, and doing mechanical work. It then went into the workshop to be painted in our own colours. It finally felt
as if it was happening."

A year later, with larger removal jobs in the pipeline, they bought a bigger Isuzu Forward from A Active Furniture Removals in Wellington.

Now they are leasing a third one and are weighing their options before buying another. "We have a steady flow of work on at present and lots of ongoing work with local businesses," Darryn says.

"We focused on Hawke’s Bay initially, then expanded to out-of-town deliveries, and now cover the whole of the North Island. We are competitive in our pricing because we don’t have a huge fleet to run or huge overheads."

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He has five employees: a dispatcher, two drivers, and two labourers. Business HQ is the home in Onekawa, Napier that Darryn shares with his partner Tracey and their children.

Their garage is currently being turned into an office. In the future, he’ll open a depot but for now, all bookings are done via an iPad and mobile phone.

Hannan Transport does a 50:50 balance of removals and freight with bookings coming through local and smaller businesses.

They are currently sub-contracting to Mainfreight to do their metro work.Interestingly, the transport business runs in Darryn’s family.

His grandfather William Hercock once owned Napier Wairoa Gisborne Transport, which was bought by Brambells, which in turn was bought by Freightways and then Mainfreight. "It’s an ironic set of circumstances," Darryn says.

Charitable work

Another important aspect of Darryn’s business is the charitable work he does.
He stores recycled furniture and whiteware in a storage unit, at his own cost, to distribute it to those in need.

"I am constantly on social media looking for someone who needs help. It’s all for no charge. I organise my guys to show up and help load it. We give them a bed, lounge suite, and clothes.

"I am heavily involved with Hawke’s Bay charities such as the Koha Shed and Limitless Hope, which is run by Kiri and Kevin Swinnell. We have a huge respect for their work and help out with them in a large way."

Future plans

In five years, Darryn would like to own five trucks and he’s on track to achieve this.

"We aimed for one new truck each year, but we got a second one in the first year because due to the demand, we needed to expand. It was a risk, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Two-and-a-half years in, we are leasing a third truck and will probably buy a third one shortly."

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He has no regrets at the move into self-employment. "It’s a passion of mine and it’s also a passion to help out people in the community. When we become a big company I’m never going to forget the smaller people.

"I’d like to think we are good at what we do and are engaged with our customers from the word go. We are set on making sure they’re happy and a big part of that,

I reckon, are the small things we do such as setting up beds, the washing machine, putting feet on couches, and generally going that one step further." 

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