This year, Fleet Network is celebrating 25 years of service to our clients. From humble beginnings in a small office in Malaga north of Perth, Fleet Network has seen significant growth over its history, now with a team of over 20 employees and serving states and territories across the country.
Fleet Network was founded in 1997 and operated steadily for more than a decade with a small team and a portfolio of government clients in Western Australia. March of 2010 marked a significant turning point for Fleet Network as a group of investors led by Eric Cain, former General Manager of Westnet and CEO of Regal Transport, took over ownership of the company. Eric served as Managing Director of Fleet Network until 2013 and implemented a culture focused on exemplary customer service.
“It took a while for the business to change as it’s not something that comes naturally,” recalls Eric. “Focusing on customer service made a big difference in the way we would get referrals. I tried to lead by example in servicing our clients by responding quickly to client issues and shortening turnaround times.”
Murray Willock, a member of Mr. Cain’s investor group and now former shareholder of Fleet Network and current customer, remembers 2010 as a major turning point for the business with the new leadership.
“Eric brought a degree of corporate structure sophistication and systems to the business,” says Murray. “He negotiated with different vendors and established loyal relationships with our suppliers. That combined created a well-oiled and achieving business that started to put some significant growth.”
2010 to 2013
Growth for Fleet Network meant expanding their clientele both within WA and beyond state borders. Fleet Network began to make inroads in Queensland and Northern Territory, followed by New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. The business moved from its first office in Malaga to a larger location in Osborne Park in 2010. Fleet Network also refreshed its brand in 2012.
2013 to 2015
The novated leasing industry was challenged in 2013 when the Federal Government led by then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd introduced changes to the Fringe Benefit Tax which would have implications for the industry if the legislation were to pass. An impending federal election in 2014 put all new policies on hold, as well as growth efforts for Fleet Network and its competitors as the industry experienced friction awaiting on news of legislation. A new governing party was elected and no changes to the Fringe Benefit Tax came to pass.
2016 to 2021
The business rebounded by 2016, with previous employees returning to the team and a move to a new office in the same area of Osborne Park. One of the returning team members was Delivery Coordinator Jodie Pegrum who first began working at Fleet Network in 2006 and left in 2013 amidst the Rudd policy turmoil.
“It was because of the team that I returned,” she says. “It is such a true team in the way we work together. The one thing we are all passionate about is that the customer comes first.”
Another significant highlight in this period was the awarding of the Northern Territory Government Salary Packaging Contract to Fleet Network. In 2017, the company sold its majority shares to publicly listed company COG Financial Services Limited. Fleet Network was added to the novated lease panel for the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), a great win in the state of WA, in 2019.
Despite the rapid rate of growth in the business, the Fleet team remained true to their core values of integrity, transparency, and teamwork. “Many businesses lose their integrity and become about numbers when focused on growth,” says Mike Nicholls, Director and Board Member. “Fleet Network has grown while maintaining its integrity.
When you work alongside the team, they just exude passion and teamwork. They will only bring people on board who respect their ethos.”
The customer-centric culture introduced in 2010 still holds strong with the Fleet Network team today.
“We have a great core group of people working together,” says Operations Manager Garrick Ibbotson. “We’ve grown quickly in the last 12 months and I’m looking forward to seeing where we are this time next year.”
A significant key to the company’s growth is the tenured staff that make up its team and the opportunities for progression. Several employees have been with the company since Cain and his investor group took over in 2010 — with some Fleet team members having been with the company prior to that year, and still here today. Many have started their Fleet journey in consultant or delivery coordinator roles before progressing to leadership roles within the business.
Currently servicing over 100 employers nationwide and having welcomed over 1,000 new clients in the past 12 months, Fleet Network continues to go from strength to strength. By prioritising customer service, responsiveness and a personalised approach, Fleet Network has become a leader in the Novated Leasing industry.
“When we first took over the business, it was solely focused on numbers,” says Managing Director Frank Agostino, who came on as a consultant in 2010 and now leads the entire Fleet team. “We turned it into a business that genuinely cared about the people, clients and team members alike.”
What’s next for Fleet Network? Interstate growth and expanding its foothold within its home state of WA is in the plans, with a focus on corporate and government clients, according to Frank. “We are always trying to outdo ourselves. We’ve built ourselves up, we’re backed by a publicly listed company, and we have the resources, people, and technology to take on much more.”
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