When the Global Financial Crisis hit in 2008, Aaron and Ann Beaupre anticipated a 20 per cent drop in their gross revenue, and prepared accordingly. The couple, along with Aaron’s parents, were the owners and operators of a successful trailer repair company operating out of Edmonton called Gateway Trailer Repairs.
Aaron had purchased the company along with his parents in 2001 when the company was on the verge of receivership, and with it “inherited” Morley Palmer, bringing the employee count to four. Under new ownership, Gateway Trailer’s operations turned around quickly, with the company making its first profit within ten months. Beaupre’s post-secondary education in management was married to his life-long education in mechanics (his parent’s owned/own a bussing company maintaining its own fleet), and he could be found working on the under carriage of a trailer, answering phones and making road trips to foster relationships with his burgeoning client roster.
From the moment Gateway Trailer opened, the guiding principal has been integrity, loyally and fairness in every aspect of business, internally and externally. So when the company was quick to make a small profit, Beaupre thought he was on to something. Although his prices were some of the lowest in all of Edmonton, the company forged ahead, slowly building momentum and a reputation for fleet maintenance for large distribution companies. But even Beaupre underestimated that momentum. In 2008, during some of the most difficult economic times across all sectors, not only did Gateway Trailer not drop 20 per cent of its business—it gained nearly 20 per cent.
Gateway Trailer Repairs LTD
Gateway Trailer Repairs LTD. provides full service fleet maintenance in the Trucking Industry for Canadian and US based companies in Edmonton, Regina and surrounding areas. Founded in 2001, the company increases the reliability, longevity and profitability of its customers’ units with the repair and maintenance, and fostering a reliable and trustworthy relationship with its employees and customers.
“We are an extension of our clients’ business,” says Beaupre. “We try to adjust to all of our customers’ needs. You can’t do business just one way, you have to be able to flex to the needs of your customers and each customer will have its own unique need or demand and it is our duty to find out how to accomplish it. That is part of our building blocks of our success.”
Adds Ann, “Our team is built on integrity, eagerness and willingness to make everyone happy. The one thing our customers know about us, they can rely on us 100 per cent.
We don’t talk about integrity anymore because it’s been a part of us for so long, but looking back it is one of the things that made us stand out amongst the others.
The company moved to its first location in 2007, a milestone for Gateway Trailer in that it provided a larger space in which to conduct business. In 2008, Gateway Trailer expanded its hours to 6am until midnight, Mondays through Fridays, increased its assets, expanded the Edmonton shop and installed a sophisticated data network. In 2010, Aaron and Ann became the sole owners of the company, and Gateway Trailer opened its new full service repair facility in the Global Transportation Hub in Regina, positioning the company to be a premiere fleet maintenance company, attracting high-profile clients such as the Kleysen Group, Mullen, and Loblaws Group, propelling the company to a 40 per cent growth that year alone.
Gateway Trailer also has the largest fleet of service vehicles in Edmonton, with certain trucks dedicated to customers at specified times.
“Our customers love to see the progression of our company which included our implementation of our proprietary state-of-the-art web based software technology,” says Beaupre. “Our goal is to dedicate our time to making sure our customers know we are there to help them in any facet. They know they can make the phone call and count on us. Whether they are in Lafayette or Mississauga, it doesn’t matter; we will make sure we get it done for them.”
“Anything” can include opening up its doors on Christmas Eve for a client whose trailers were loaded with temperature-sensitive materials, and took the precaution to store the trailers in its facilities within an hours’ notice. “Because they were costly and sensitive, if a heater broke down they could run the risk of losing an entire load at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars to our customer, so we opened our facilities. This buys into our philosophy that there is nothing we won’t do to ensure our customer’s needs are met.”
Gateway Trailer handles all aspects of maintenance which includes trucks, decks, containers, chassis, bulkers, trailers, government inspections, scheduled in-yard equipment maintenance, body work, structural repairs, and 24/7 roadside assistance.
“They know they can make the phone call to us whether they are in Lafayette or Mississauga, it doesn’t matter. We make sure we get it done for them,” Beaupre says.
Gateway Trailer has implemented cutting-edge software to achieve its goal of optimum customer service and maintaining its facilities and technician performance. Highly-experienced IT and programming staff augments ensure that the software increases the operational efficiency of the company, monitors technician’s times and enhances their ability to service customers. The software development team has also incorporated training programs which can be viewed in web clips, and help implement programs for internal promotion.
“Growth is never ending,” Beaupre says. “I have no doubt we are 10 years ahead of the industry and are continually pushing the envelope.” To that end, Gateway Trailer is opening another location in Edmonton at the end of July, 2014, which will have an Internet portal through which clients can see their units, and see the technicians working on their equipment live with a click of a mouse. The new location will also see Gateway Trailer double its facilities and yard size and quadruple the office space.
With a foundation in honesty and quality, Gateway Trailer has shown tremendous growth. Beaupre thinks of his company as more than the sum of its parts, and takes the role his business plays in the lives of his employees, partners and family to heart. To that end, he tries to repay hard work whenever possible, and is about to head on a plane to Arizona this week to show his management team a weekend of golfing and relaxation.
Morley Palmer is now part of the senior management team. Employees who started on in 2001, 2002, and 2003 are with the company to this day. From one rented location, the company now has two facilities with a third opening soon, and a strategic expansion to Vancouver and Calgary underway.
“I would love to see locations across Canada,” says Beaupre. “But our ultimate goal is not to look back not on the wealth we accumulated, but the people that we have been able to help and mould along the way. We strive to continually create new ways to reinvent ourselves with our employees and make them feel part of this team. Nowadays the term “family” gets thrown around like a cliché, but this is what we try to embody, and we want to empower our employees to have our back and we have theirs, that is what family means to me – that is what my parents have instilled in me.”