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.
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.”
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.”
“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.”
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.
Company: Rubix Shuttles and Transfers
Established: May 2011
Contact person: Sharon Poyner, Benita Goodwin
Call: +27 (0)83 627 1997