UNPACKING THE VAN THAT CAN
Written on the 4 December 2015 by Laura Daquino
MOVING people is Tara-Jay Rimmer's specialty, but she never intended to do it for a living.
"I wanted to do my own thing and knew accounting wasn't it, but I didn't really have an idea."
The 'aha moment' came when the delivery man wouldn't carry Rimmer's stand-up paddleboard to her second-floor unit.
"Lee and I were doing our future planning," she says. "He had just finished managing construction at Soul on the Gold Coast and everything just seemed to happen at the right time, so we thought we might as well give it a go."
While they may have stumbled upon the idea, everything that's happened since has been by design - except the business 'blowing up' last year, unexpectedly doubling its turnover year to year.
Rimmer says her previous work has framed many of the key business decisions, such as becoming a 'paperless company'.
"I handle the office and staff side of the business and, because of my experience with big companies, despite being new to transport, I knew there were more efficient ways of doing things.
"When you have 10 guys on the road, a couple of minutes here and there add up, so we have a custom app used by head office and our drivers which distributes scheduling and route planning.
"It increases fuel efficiency to reduce environmental impact, also allowing us to keep our costs low and pass the discounts on to customers."
Rimmer says what perhaps makes the most difference, however, is that she's female and most of her customers are female as well.
The Van That Can's promotions are targeted at females through initiatives such as branded 'party feet'.
"I know how I want someone to come into my home and treat me and my belongings, even how they should smell, which has really helped us," says Rimmer.
"In the beginning we didn't realise that. People in the industry are shocked that I'm in it particularly because I don't present myself as a truck driver.
"We've had a lot of resistance."
Rimmer says she doesn't let herself get railroaded by this and instead focuses her energy on creating a positive culture.
"We have partnerships with Anglicare, for example, assisting with rehoming women who generally come from abusive relationships," she says. "They're given a budget from the government and if we go over we keep it at budget because they are obviously going through a tough time.
"It's quite close to me because a family member was in a domestic violence relationship. It's interesting that I've ended up in a line of work where I'm often moving people to a better life."