Bakewell recalls humble beginnings


Fleet operator Kevin Bakewell bought his first truck in 1983 and now employs 36 people at Wingham.

Bakewell recalls humble beginnings
One of 11 Kenworths in the fleet

 

Kevin Bakewell relies on the sparkling appearance of his fleet of blue trucks to promote Bakewell Haulage and project a professional image. "Our vehicles are our advertisement," says Bakewell of Wingham, NSW.

Bakewell Haulage came to the attention of Owner//Driver when the business purchased a Freightliner Argosy last year.

Chris Lewis drives the Argosy from Taree to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. His name is painted on the driver’s door.

This year marks 35 years since Bakewell bought his first truck, a Nissan UD. He spent 14 years as a one-truck owner-driver before stepping down from his truck in 1997 to concentrate on growing the business.

"The days of the owner driver are coming to an end, and I was realistic to know that back in '97 when I made a decision to give up driving. It was either get bigger or get out of business. And we chose to get bigger. We took a gamble. And now I suppose we're still gambling."

Today Bakewell and his wife Wendy employ 36 people, including 26 drivers who operate their 17 prime movers and nine rigids.

Cummins Signature engines power their six Freightliners and 11 Kenworths which pull single trailers, carting general and refrigerated freight. "We generally have about eight to 10 trucks in Sydney each day, one in Melbourne virtually every day and one in Brisbane every day," Bakewell says.

He spent extended periods away from his family during his years as an owner-driver. This experience influences the way he looks after the drivers he employs. They appreciate the one-truck one-driver policy and the family-friendly environment. "They have a family life if they work for us. Family comes first. That's a big part of our attitude."

Read the full story in the March issue of Owner//Driver.

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