Young dad quit civil service to become owner driver

Lewis Broad threw off the shackles of civil service to become an owner driver
hino, owner driver

Leaving a stable civil service job to become an owner-driver is definitely a leap of faith – but Geelong truckie Lewis Broad was happy to take the risk. 

Broad was working in the correctional system in Brisbane when he and his fiancée Clare found out they were going to have a baby. 

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Their son, Billy, was born with a condition called clubfoot – so they decided to move home to Victoria to be closer to their support networks. 

Broad got a new job in another prison, but soon came to the realisation that maybe there was a better way to earn a living. 

“I had a stable, government job, great perks, great super, good holidays, quite flexible,” he tells Deals on Wheels.

“But at the end of the day, the money wasn’t really enough for us to have a comfortable lifestyle. 

“I needed something that would give us more financial freedom and allow my partner to stay home with our baby for a few years.” 

Baby Billy with mum Clare and dad Lewis

Having grown up in the transport industry and previously worked as a truck driver, Broad thought starting his own trucking business could be a good bet. 

“I’ve had my truck licence for about 10years,” he says. 

“My father owned a relatively large transport company, WR Logistics. I worked in and out of that in my teens and my early 20s, and for a few other companies as well. 

“I knew that working for myself would be a far better outcome financially than working for someone else, so I spoke to Clare and to a family friend who is a business consultant.

“We ran some numbers and we thought this was the best move for our family.”

Having sold their house in Brisbane, Broad had enough money to buy a truck outright, but decided to keep some money in the bank. 

In the end, he purchased a 2016 Hino 700 series tipper truck and trailer for about $200,000. 

The Hino tipper and trailer ready to work

It needed some general repairs and replacements, which ended up costing him another $25,000 or so, but he thinks that was pretty reasonable for a truck of that age. 

“I spoke to two or three diesel mechanics I know, and the Hino came recommended as an affordable brand but also easy to fix and reliable,” he says. 

“I was initially looking at buying a $300,000 to $400,000 Kenworth, which would have been a nicer and better truck. 

“But that would have essentially doubled my loan, so we went with the Hino as we figured it would do the job.” 

Broad admits he was nervous going out on his own, but has no regrets so far. 

“It definitely came with some stress,” he says. 

“I was spending nearly a quarter of a million on a truck, and there was no guarantee that the equipment was going to operate perfectly. 

“But so far, so good.” 

Although he’s his own boss, he currently works as a sub-contractor for just one company, Scope Australia. 

“They are a Victorian-based earthmoving company, one of the bigger movers on the west side of Melbourne.

“It’s a bit of a golden ticket, it’s guaranteed work and the rates aren’t bad so I definitely want to stick with them.” 

He is enjoying the freedom of setting his own hours and having more family time. 

“I usually do three trips from Geelong to Melbourne a week. That’s about a three-hour round trip. But because I’m my own boss, I can choose whether to do one, two or three trips. 

The Hino is a regular sight driving from Geelong to Melbourne

“Obviously the more you do, the more you get paid. But this week, for example, it works better for me to do two trips because we’re getting family photos taken today. 

“I can plan my days a bit more and have that flexibility that I wouldn’t have if I was working for someone else.” 

He says his partner Clare has been a huge support to him and has taken over the admin side of the business. 

“She’s been fantastic, I would struggle without her. 

“The admin was something I was prepared to do but she asked me if I wanted her to take over, and she’s been great at it.” 

In the future, he hopes to expand his business and purchase a fleet of trucks. 

“My plan is to get another truck on the road with Scope in the next 12 months, and then hopefully another truck the following year. 

“After that I would like to keep expanding my fleet and diversify, have revenue coming in from a few different industries and businesses. Cover all our bases.”

When asked if he had any advice for other aspiring owner-drivers, he says experience is key. 

“You definitely need to have experience driving trucks before you buy one yourself. The little bits of maintenance that you can do yourself can save you thousands of dollars.”

He admits he has some worries about the way the transport industry is going, but remains optimistic. 

“The industry has definitely slowed down, with the economy and the government starting to pull back funding on some major infrastructure. 

“I have some concerns, but I’m lucky to be in a position where I have the contacts to keep working for the company I’m contracting to, to keep running even when jobs slow down. 

“I’m hoping that they will be able to keep producing work, to keep this truck on the road.” 


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