Driving Peace of Mind: Rubix Shuttles and Transfers

Calling all over-stretched parents: Let Rubix do the school-run for you.

Driving Peace of Mind: Rubix Shuttles and Transfers

The founders

Before Rubix, Sharon Poyner and her business partner, Benita Goodwin, worked for a large car rental brand. Having learnt substantially about logistics and fleet management, in 2008 Goodwin started a school-shuttle business.

In 2010, Poyner followed after 16 years of corporate service. Believing they made a strong team and shared a vision, they joined forces and Rubix Group was formed in May 2011.

The concept

As working parents, Poyner and Goodwin found themselves under significant pressure to drop their kids at school, collect them, drive to after-school activities, and rush between meetings. “One day I found myself speeding down Krugersdorp highway because I was late from a meeting and had to pick up my child. He was the last little one there, and I thought there must be a better way.”

Developing the idea

The team didn’t want to compete with large corporates doing airport transfers, so Rubix developed a niche, premium service of safe, reliable transport for children. “Everything is designed to give parents peace of mind, from being owner-managed, to having a child-minder on some routes, trained drivers, CPR and first aid training, and parents are SMSed when their child is home.”

Getting started

In 2011 Rubix began franchising and currently has six franchisees in north and eastern Joburg suburbs. Each addition to the franchise is preceded by a high-level feasibility study for the chosen area. “Midrand, for example, has the potential for multiple franchisees because of the number of schools in the area. The size of their fleet would be determined by their conversion rate at each school.”

Moving forward

“We’ve partnered with a motor manufacturer to help our franchisees with vehicles and finance, and we’re in ongoing negotiations for other deals on behalf of the group,” Poyner says. “The brand is also gaining visibility thanks to branded vehicles, so we are talking to more schools and expanding to more suburbs before moving to other provinces.”

The model

Using their extensive knowledge of fleet management, Poyner and Goodwin know all the financial, operational and logistical aspects of running a shuttle service. “Route planning is especially important in keeping costs low, so we’ve got GPS systems and training to optimise efficiency for franchisees,” says Poyner. This is combined with:

  • Fleet monitoring using software to track movement and route efficiency
  • A premium shuttle-based school transfer service that includes transport to and from school, to extra-curricular activities, to home
  • Contract and short-term shuttle services
  • Trained driver and child-minder
  • Fleet expansion feasible within ten months
  • Ability to operate from home-office.

Investment capital:  R190 000 incl. franchise fee, set-up cost and working capital, excl. vehicle

Fixed operation costs: Varies. +/-R27 000 p/m

Marketing fee: 5% of turnover p/m

Management fee: R2 000 per vehicle p/m

ROI: Avg 55% over five years.

Vital Stats

Company:  Rubix Shuttles and Transfers

Established:  May 2011

Contact person:  Sharon Poyner, Benita Goodwin

Visit:  www.rubixtransfers.co.za

Call:  +27 (0)83 627 1997

Tracy Lee Nicol
About the Author
Tracy-Lee Nicol is the managing editor of Franchise Zone Magazine and deputy editor of Entrepreneur Magazine. She studied her Masters degree in Art History and Visual Culture at Rhodes University and spent the next two years working and travelling in Asia. Her love of people, business and teaching is reflected in telling the stories of entrepreneurs, franchisees and franchisors, inspiring others to take the leap to being their own boss and bringing about positive change in South Africa.

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