From their base in Hervey Bay north of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Reid Removals services the nation’s entire east coast with additional depots in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and regular weekly services between Melbourne to Cairns.
Occasional trips to places like Adelaide and Narromine, are also honoured, sporadically for good measure.
Peter Reid has been in the removals industry since he left school. Now in his mid-sixties he’s looking forward to retirement so his new Freightliner Cascadia is important to him as it’s the truck in his fleet that he personally spends most of his time driving. “I love it,” Peter says of his gleaming red Cascadia.
“It’s comfortable and there is plenty of room in the sleeper. Because it was going to be the truck I mostly drive myself I loaded it up with things like a microwave and a television. It’s important to have the bigger bunk and sleep better.”
In his business of helping people relocate to new residential or business premises, it is hardly ironic that Peter has equipped the Cascadia with many of the comforts of home.
Peter is critical of some other brands’ cabs which, although they legally qualify as sleepers, have their practical limitations.
“They should not be allowed as sleepers. There’s no room in them and the drivers have got to climb over seats to get to the bunk. You can’t sleep properly like that,” he declares. “Plus some don’t have auxiliary powered air conditioning so they’ve got the truck running all night.”
The Cascadia is equipped with a Custom Air system to ensure Peter is always comfortable in the bunk area regardless of the outside weather conditions. Company policy is that the drivers adhere to the fatigue requirements of their logbooks and count time spent loading and unloading as documented work activities.
“It’s the only way,” says Peter. “If anything goes wrong they know they have done everything right. All of us make sure we have our proper breaks plus there are so many cameras around you have to do the right thing. If I get tired I park up and have a sleep. I’ve seen too many accidents caused by stupidity.”
The Cascadia is the fifth Freightliner Peter has owned and although based in Queensland, Peter purchases his trucks in Melbourne through the Whitehorse Trucks dealership in Dandenong which is convenient to the Reid Removals depot in nearby Hallam.
“They’ve always looked after me so I buy my trucks from them. I said to the people at Whitehorse when I bought the first one: you look after me and I’ll always be back and I’ll push your product,” he says.
After having a number of European trucks Peter found Freightliner best suits his requirements.
“I’ve had a big Coronado and a small Coronado,” he recalls. “Unfortunately we lost the big one in an accident which was determined not to be our driver’s fault. I usually keep prime movers for five years but losing that one put us out of sequence.”
The red Argosy in the Reid Removals fleet has covered more than a million kilometres.
In addition to a few rigid trucks, Peter operates three B-double combinations consisting of a conventional removalist trailer at back, with the B trailers at the front equipped with container pins in response to the increase in popularity of containerised removals due to the flexibility they offer.
Reid Removals has around of 40 containers at the Harvey Bay depot being used as storage by clients who have sold their homes and are yet to determine where their next abode will be. In addition to being practical to transport, containers are an excellent short or long term storage solution due to their inherent security and weather proofing.
For short or long term storage, containers also offer the advantage of saving time and money because the contents only need to be loaded and unloaded once.
There are no clapped out old trucks struggling to get up hills in the Reid fleet and the new Cascadia would take pride of place in any major linehaul operation. The Argosy prime movers are powered by 525hp Detroit Diesels with the new Cascadia equipped with the latest 600hp Detroit.
“The Detroit Diesel is the only engine I’ll have,” says Peter. “ I don’t de-rate them or anything like that and this new one happily sits on 99 km/hr and I’m happy with that plus I can’t get booked for speeding.”
Vehicle warranty is important to Peter and he regards the Freightliner and Detroit Diesel warranty programs as exceptional.
“This new one has got included servicing for the first five years and I’m just so happy with it,” he says.
Volume rather than weight is an important factor in transporting furniture and other household goods, subsequently the B-double combinations are seldom at maximum weight which results in good fuel consumption.
Peter says the aerodynamic Cascadia is returning “early two’s” which translates to fuel consumption which varies between two and two and a half kilometers per litre.
The 12-speed DT12 Detroit Transmission is Peter’s first automated manual. He confesses to still becoming familiar with it even after eight or nine months of ownership and covering around 100,000 kilometres.
The removalist industry is notorious for high staff turnover yet Peter points to one of the Argosy drivers who has been with him for seven years and the other B-double driver is close to notching up three years.
The pervading attitude of the entire team is to treat every furniture item, every appliance and every carton as if it was their own.
“You pay them good money and look after them they’ll stay with you,” says Peter. “They know how we want things done. That’s how we built our business on word-of-mouth and in this industry its better than advertising. We get lots of repeat customers.”
An advantage for clients using a service such as Reid Removals is the flexibility. Some prefer to handle the packing and unpacking of their belongings themselves, requiring the removalists to basically load, transport and unload.
Reid’s can also provide an all-inclusive service in which they use their experience and expertise to properly pack each item and then unpack once it arrives at the new premises.
Peter and wife Pam and their team take a particular pride in being able to offer that level of flexibility whether dealing with the contents of a five-bedroom house, a corporate office or the smallest studio apartment.
They understand that moving can be a stressful time and the staff make a real effort to embody the confidence rooted in their collective experience to set customers’ minds at ease.
Peter may have little criticism of his equipment or people, so he saves his frustration up for the road which withstands the majority of travel by the Reid fleet.
“The Bruce Highway needs fixing and what they are currently doing is a waste of money,” he says. “They need to make it like the Hume Freeway if they want to stop the accidents. Until these governments wake up and see what they need to do they are never going to stop them on the Bruce.”
Peter and his wife Pam have been together since their mid-teens and have enjoyed building their business together and credit their daughter Melissa with consistently contributing to the smooth running of the Hervey
Bay office at the same time as managing a household with three children and a FIFO husband.
The Reid Removals operation is currently on the market. When they retire they won’t be leaving behind the roads and highways where they have dedicated so much of their lives.
“When we sell, we’ll hook up our caravan and it will be see ya later alligator,” says Peter.