I.D. Loader Ltd

Family ties prove profitable in this contracting business


The Loader's fleet of vehicles and equipment are easily recognised throughout the country.

The Loader’s fleet of vehicles and equipment are easily recognised throughout the country.

Wanganui-based civil contracting company, I.D. Loader defines what a true family-run business is.

The company was established by Ian Douglas Loader Snr in the mid-1950s, and nearly sixty years later, his sons Ian Douglas Jnr and Allan, together with his grandsons Hayden, Matthew and Justin and “all sorts of other relatives”, remain closely involved in the business. Add to that, managing director Allan Chapman is I.D. Snr’s brother-in-law, and Hayden’s mother, Lorraine with Allan’s wife, Lynn job share at reception.

Hayden Loader became General Manager of the company three years ago. “There was no pressure on me at all to join the family business, but it was a natural step, having previously worked in financial administration and IT in Wellington,” he says.

I.D. Loader provides a range of civil contracting including roading, drainage and land development work around the Wanganui region. One of the company’s key customers is the New Zealand Transport Association (NZTA) and other work is undertaken for Councils and forestry clients.

The public might be more familiar with Loader’s Landscape Supplies, which is the retail arm of the I.D. Loader business. But as Hayden points out, it only accounts for around 10 percent of the company’s income.

“The retail supplies outlet enables us to sell our product to the general public, which supports our business. We stock our own shellrock (Loader’s owns a shellrock quarry in Maxwell), topsoil and metal, supplemented with other products that the home gardener might want,” he explains.

Last year, Hayden made a decision to send his workers further afield; a decision that has proven to be of huge benefit to the company.

“After the Canterbury earthquakes, we were approached for our expertise in re-laying sewer mains, something we’d been doing here in Wanganui for the best part of 15 years. The sheer volume of work required in Christchurch was staggering. We now have eight people working down there on long-term contracts through Fletchers for SCIRT (Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team).

“The Christchurch contracts have affected us substantially – without it we’d be a significantly smaller operation. And it’s come at a time when we’ve felt the impact of the recession, so it’s been very good for business.”

As the business expands and the family explores new opportunities, Moore Stephens Markhams Wanganui director James Bowen is on hand with advice.

The relationship with the accountancy firm also spans decades, beginning with Hayden’s grandfather and former Markhams director Rex McKinnon. Since Rex’s retirement three years ago, James has taken over and the relationship is thriving still.

“We have weekly, if not daily communication with James. Every week we’ll run through the financials and he acts for us in all aspects of our business. We talk to James about capital and financing, and he advises us on the best way forward. Add into the conversation trusts, shares and succession planning. James also advises us on what’s going to be the best for the family and for the business.”

There are five directors of I.D. Loader, and with a retail company, a contracting company and other business interests, the financial picture can be quite complex. “James deals with us as a group and sees the big picture. He doesn’t just advise and report on I.D. Loader, but the whole group.”

The relationship between Loaders and Moore Stephen Markhams also extends outside of the business, with Hayden acting as chair of the Wanganui branch of the NZ Contractors’ Federation, and James acting as secretary.

Whether the next generation of Loaders will join the business is yet to be seen. “They’re still very young but we’re working on it!”

www.loaders.co.nz

Published Autumn 2013.




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