Berdeck Village

Tight financial policies enable business confidence and growth

  • Berdeck Village

    Berdeck Village's operation is spread over two hectares of land.

Greg Cox and Ann Burnett have owned specialist heavy machinery company Berdeck Village for 23 years. Situated in Taupo Quay and spread over more than two hectares of land, it’s an impressive operation.

“My vision in the early days was to have a complex where different people owned their own businesses but as it’s happened I own everything!” says Greg. Berdeck specialises in the maintenance of trucks and heavy machinery, light commercial and car repairs, salvage, towing and rural water delivery. The company is also the largest oil wholesaler in the Wanganui region.

Each department complements the others to make a full service business as Greg explains. “One department does the lighter car and commercial repair work, we have a parts department, and another engineering department specialises in trucks and heavy machinery. We’ve also got six salvage trucks on the road fulfilling our NZ Police contract for towing, salvage and impounds for the broader Wanganui region. Each department must support the others.”

With a workshop the size of a rugby field, it’s a far cry from the early days when Greg’s business was run out of the back of a car.

“I started out in 1979 as an agricultural engineer, fixing farm machinery. It was pretty basic; I only had an arc welder and a tool box in my boot! As business increased, I borrowed money from my parents to move my operation into new premises and bought out three local tow truck firms.”

The lessons Greg learned about money and business as a young man fresh in the industry are still resonating with him now. “Building a business with borrowed capital certainly teaches you about the value of money and how to work hard,” he says.

Greg credits his tight financial policies for the company “flying through” the recession. “It hasn’t been without pain and I’ve had to make some tough decisions, but our policies have given us control and confidence. Yes, the recession has impacted but our business model puts us in a place of advantage. Meaning we know where we’re at financially at any given time and can cut our cloth to suit when a problem arises,” he explains.

Berdeck has 13 on its payroll, including Greg’s wife Ann who keeps a “casting eye” over the business. Also key to Berdeck’s success, is a business consultant Greg hired 20 years ago. “He helped me transition from technician to businessman,” he says. “We weren’t too proud to ask for help and I’ve surrounded myself with very clever people – it’s a recipe for success.”

Moore Stephens Markhams Wanganui principal James Bowen is one of the “clever people” Greg refers to. Although James is a relative newcomer to the Berdeck business, Greg enjoys the fresh approach he brings. “When I was introduced to James I quickly worked out we were on the same page. He is a breath of fresh air and understands the business, which gives me confidence. You could say the change was meant to be!”

Every month Greg gives James a disk with all of Berdeck’s financial information on it to “work his accounting magic” on. “By the second week of the month I can see where we’ll be at the end of the month – I have my finger on the pulse. These reports are part of our tight financial policy and are essential in keeping momentum going.”

Being able to see what’s happening in all parts of his business has enabled Greg to be proactive, not reactive. “Our business model has saved us.”

Published Winter 2013.

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