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.