This year Philip Wareing will mark 40 years in business with a celebration dinner in his home town of Methven. After all, it was a significant milestone for someone who began his career as a grain agent and now owns a fleet of 200 trucks, two high-country stations, employs close to 300 people and has the earned respect of the Mid-Canterbury community.

Philip’s business portfolio now includes fertiliser spreading, agricultural spraying, bulk grain and stock cartage, freight, logging and his beloved high-country farms.  Philip left school at 15 determined to work on a farm for two years before going on to Lincoln College. After the two years was up he decided to give academia a miss, asked if there were any jobs going at Pyne Gould Guinness, and was immediately employed as a trainee. He eventually became a grain agent. In 1970, Philip got married and was transferred to Rakaia as the sole PGG grain agent for the district. After four years there he was transferred to Methven, the town that has since become home for the Wareing family.

While working as an agent, Philip grew potatoes to earn some extra money and this gave him the $15,000 he needed to buy a business in 1975. The agricultural spraying business comprised one J 1 Bedford truck; so began Philip Wareing Ltd.

In 1985, Philip bought a logging truck business off the local sawmill and over the years this has been followed by two transport businesses, two high-country sheep stations, a timber business and more recently, joint ownership of both the Ashburton-based Rural Transport Ltd and Christchurch-based NZ Express Transport.

Philip admits he will have to think about retirement at some point. Business is his pleasure and holds more appeal than a game of golf. He starts work at 8am every day and despite having administration staff, he still opens all the mail that comes into the office and even mows the lawns at the yard.

Philip has been married to Wendy for 46 years and they have three children.  Wendy’s quiet strength of character has provided strong support behind Philip’s success. His sons, Mark and Simon, after completing their degrees at Lincoln University, now work for the company with Simon running the office while Mark is in charge of sales and marketing. Philip’s daughter Rachel works as a PA in Ashburton.
Family is obviously hugely important to Philip and he gets particular pleasure out of spending time with his five grandchildren aged between three and nine, who he describes as being “just marvellous”.

“My greatest pleasure is having my sons working beside me.  They are capable of running the business well, if not better than me.”
Aside from his ability to see business opportunities, Simon Wareing believes that part of his father’s success is due to his focus on customer expectations and the culture he has created in the company around this focus.
“He knows his customers are key,” Simon says. He says the family work well together. His father has become better at delegating work to his sons and while there was a transition period when Philip didn’t always remember to tell the boys what he was doing; this has changed in recent years.
Simon jokes that they make the money while Philip spends it and it’s not unusual for his father to just go and buy a major item for the business without consulting anyone else, a prerogative he has earned.