NZ Transport Imaging Awards

 
Red it is then

Red it is then

NZ Transport Imaging Awards

 September 2021   

When Waikato brothers Vaughan and Grayson Laurent – and their wives, Dani and Larissa – started their trucking business, there was never any question about what the company colour was going to be.

Simple: It would be the colour of the secondhand truck they’d bought to launch their business.

The brothers – both qualified mechanics, but with a love of trucks – were just 28 (Vaughan) and 24 (Grayson) when they started Laurent Contractors…

And, as Vaughan puts it, they were starting out with virtually nothing – except enthusiasm and determination.

They had no guaranteed work – and only enough money to buy a 14-year-old Foden Alpha. It was still in the red of original owner, Southland’s Kapuka Heenans Transport. Thus a little bit of Southland moved to Waharoa.

So, says Vaughan: “We ended up with a red truck….we couldn’t really afford to paint it, so we ran it like that.”


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When Waikato brothers Vaughan and Grayson Laurent – and their wives, Dani and Larissa – started their trucking business, there was never any question about what the company colour was going to be.

Simple: It would be the colour of the secondhand truck they’d bought to launch their business.

The brothers – both qualified mechanics, but with a love of trucks – were just 28 (Vaughan) and 24 (Grayson) when they started Laurent Contractors…

And, as Vaughan puts it, they were starting out with virtually nothing – except enthusiasm and determination.

They had no guaranteed work – and only enough money to buy a 14-year-old Foden Alpha. It was still in the red of original owner, Southland’s Kapuka Heenans Transport. Thus a little bit of Southland moved to Waharoa.

So, says Vaughan: “We ended up with a red truck….we couldn’t really afford to paint it, so we ran it like that.”

Well…they did titivate it up a bit. The Foden needed a little work to make it fit for their purposes….and taste – and it was quickly carried out by the workshop-wise siblings. Says Vaughan: “It was actually a flatdeck – and me and my brother converted it into a tipper, put crates on it…and went from there really.”

While a total repaint wasn’t in the budget, the Laurents did tinker with its looks – applying some touchups of their own: “It had a green deck and coaming rail and stuff – I think it was green and yellow or something. And we just sort of played around in the workshop one night – got some paint out and started painting it.”

They also got Matamata signwriter Craig Osbaldiston, owner of Sign Tint, to come up with the company logo – a simple, bold Laurent in silver with a black outline and Contractors in silver on a blue ellipse.

The transformation didn’t go unnoticed: “Everyone sort of commented on how good it looked – from when we bought it, to what we made it look like.

“You know, it was actually a good truck that: We didn’t pay a lot for it and we sort of had two years of trouble-free trucking with it really.”

And as Laurent Contractors began to reap the benefits of canvassing the district’s farmers – offering everything from livestock cartage to spreading metal and delivering bulk feed and fert…even to fixing their vehicles – part of the identity they were building lay in the red Foden.

Thus the company colour was there to stay: And when it came time to buy a second and a third truck (both FUSOs), they had to be repainted red – the work carried out by Fleet Image in Te Awamutu, who do all of their painting. It would have been “silly,” as Vaughan says, to change the base colour.

But they did add a few touches – to the Foden as well as the newcomers: The sunvisors, bumpers and an outline around the windows were painted black. And they added some fine silver and black stripes.

Since then a Mercedes-Benz Atego 4x4 bulk groundspreader and three new trucks have been put on – a DAF XF105 that’s the company’s flagship livestock unit, a DAF CF convertible livestock/dropsider and, just recently, a FUSO Fighter four-wheeler.

For these most recent additions, the livery has been further refined. On them, the top half of the cabs is black (except the roof) and on the stock units, wide black stripes, edged in red, run the length of the crates. The pinstriping and fine stripes have also evolved. 

The inspiration for this has come from the Laurents themselves. It adds a sharpness to the original red base colour – and yep, Vaughan confirms, they’re happy with the look: “They come up good in those colours. The black panel around the cab – it does set them off.” 

He absolutely believes that the look of a company’s trucks is “very important. We’re quite particular with our gear and the way it looks. The trucks are cleaned all the time – and yeah, presentation’s a big thing.”

Having established its colour scheme, the company now stands by it: “We paint everything before it goes on the road. I wouldn’t have it driving around (otherwise).”

Fleet Image continues to do the Laurents’ painting: “They’re good. They just did that little Fighter for us and it came up good.”

The colour scheme isn’t “too bad to keep clean. The boys quite like the silver crates….the silver can get a bit of dirt and road grime on it and it still doesn’t look too bad. And obviously when you do scrub it up, it really shines up.

“The spreader is obviously a hard one – it’s in the elements every day. But we’ve got a big wash-pad in our yard so that gets washed down and a bit of a scrub every night.”

Having good-looking trucks has multiple benefits, Vaughan believes – in terms of staffing and in terms of creating a good, positive image with the public and clients alike.

Vaughan: “Definitely both – I firmly believe that good gear, clean and well-presented gear, attracts good drivers.

“And also, from when we started up – this is our seventh year – we’ve picked up a lot of work just on our reputation….for having good reliable gear and good drivers, you know.

“Cockeys like it when you roll in the driveway in nice gear. And having well-presented drivers. I think it goes a long way.”  

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