Brett and Karly Jameson have been involved in the courier business with Aramex – previously Fastway – for over 20 years now. ‘Today our Nelson operation is so busy that we are moving into purpose-built premises to handle the volumes of freight, which have more than doubled since March last year,’ says Karly excitedly.
Really, it’s no surprise that the company should be so successful in regional New Zealand. Fastway was founded in the Hawkes Bay, with regular runs between Napier and Hastings, before expanding to become New Zealand’s largest courier franchise. In 2016 it became part of the Aramex network, one of the biggest courier companies in the world, and now has 18 Regional and over 250 Courier Franchisees from Kaitaia to Bluff.
Regional Franchisees such as Brett and Karly operate the depots in their respective regions, providing logistics and back office support services for individual Courier Franchisees as well as managing administration and contracts in their area. Courier Franchisees own their own territories and provide collection and delivery services for clients as well as building on-the-ground relationships and generating new business.
Both Karly and Brett are originally from Christchurch. ‘We left to live in Sydney in the 1990s, but after four years we really wanted to get into a more affordable housing market,’ says Karly. ‘Through family friends we were introduced to Fastway Couriers in Brisbane, and had a great opportunity to start from scratch and enjoy the growth over the next decade. Brett started as a courier franchisee then moved to working in the company and rising up the ranks. It was clear our next step was to buy a Regional Franchise, but we didn’t want to stay in Brisbane – we wanted our small children to grow up in a small town with more of a community feel. When the Nelson franchise became available in 2013, it ticked all our boxes.’
It was the right opportunity at the right time. ‘We were both very familiar with the systems, terminology and technology, and we had plenty of experience in customer service and sales to put to good use,’ Karly continues. ‘I’d never even set foot in Nelson until the plane landed there but, eight years on, we know we made the right move and our son Conor, now 18, is working for us in the depot too.’
Karly admits that starting their own business was a daunting prospect, even knowing the company so well. ‘What made the biggest difference in our early days was the support. If you buy or start a business on your own, you simply don’t have any guidance unless you engage a mentor. Aramex have a full-time support office in Napier that is always available, and if we need help, we get it. IT or marketing, anything, we can pick up the phone and have our problem sorted.
‘Let’s face it, there can be times when business is tough, and we couldn’t do without that support. Furthermore, Aramex have a perpetual franchise agreement with no renewals – unlike many franchises – provided there is an acceptable level of performance. That has given us a great deal of confidence in the future of our investment.’
Such has been the growth of the courier industry that Brett and Karly were seriously debating new premises even before Covid hit. ‘That massively accelerated the rise of online shopping and home delivery,’ she says. ‘It’s been like a big snowball – our business took off in lockdown and is still getting bigger every month. We are literally years ahead of our projected volumes, which is why we’ve now taken the plunge into our new depot.’
Currently, Aramex Nelson has five couriers, plus three operating out of Blenheim and one shuttle to ensure same-day delivery between the two centres. ‘In our current premises, you’d have difficulty swinging a cat, let alone a fork-lift, so it’s vital to have a team that works and communicates well to ensure things run smoothly.
‘There have been huge bonuses to what we’ve been through since Covid – we learned a lot about managing chaos, and sudden enormous increases in volume. Working together through that was a great exercise that helped us appreciate each other and work out what we really wanted from the new building. With online shopping continuing to become more popular, our projections suggestions suggest even this could be too small in a few years – so I’ve popped in an extension option just in case. As business grows in the region, so will we.’
Scott Jenyns, the CEO of Aramex New Zealand, says, ‘With the growth of online retail, there’s probably never been a better time to become part of our team.
‘Anyone looking at purchasing an Aramex franchise can expect to be backed by high-calibre support – our national team has more than 100 years’ experience and many of them have owned and operated one of our franchises themselves. In addition, there’s help from dedicated Regional Franchisees like Brett and Karly, who really understand their local area.
‘If you’re looking for a business opportunity anywhere in the country, contact us!’