TORONTO, Ont. - Patrick Whiteside, 42, used to be a trucker. Now he's in the business of making truckers' lives easier. Or at least that what he says is his prime objective when it comes to serving cl...
New start: Former truck driver Patrick Whiteside (right) left trucking to serve truckers, along with shop manager Eddy Victoria.
TORONTO, Ont. –Patrick Whiteside, 42, used to be a trucker. Now he’s in the business of making truckers’ lives easier. Or at least that what he says is his prime objective when it comes to serving clients at his recently purchased truck lube business, Truck Boyz Lube, at 1976 Kipling Ave., just west of Toronto, in Etobicoke, Ont.
“Times are really tough for truckers right now,” says the former owner/operator, in business for himself with one truck for 22 years prior to becoming sole owner of the lube shop. “Just before I got out, the company I worked for cut my rates by 20%.”
But shrinking profits weren’t the entrepreneur’s only reason for changing tracks. “I also hurt my back, just two years after I got into trucking and now I have arthritis,” says Whiteside. “So, it was a health thing too.”
Whiteside says both he and his wife had been discussing getting into the truck lube business for some time before they heard that Truck Boyz Lube had gone up for sale, and purchased it in December of last year.
“We were attracted to this business in particular because we heard you could make good money at it, so it seemed like a good opportunity,” says Whiteside.
Whiteside’s entrepreneurial roots run deep. Even before he took up trucking at the tender age of 20, he was working as a goose and bear guide for hunters in the Rockies and in Northern Ontario. “I grew up hunting,” says Whiteside, “so my Dad had contacts I could go to work guiding for.”
Whiteside said he’s hoping his own son, aged 14, will follow in his footsteps at the truck lube shop, if only as a summer job. “I’m making him work, whether he likes it or not,” Whiteside says with a laugh.
Still, trucking and truck-related occupations get into the blood as they say, as evidenced by the ongoing employment of staff at Truck Boyz.
“My shop manager here is Eddy Victoria and he’s been in the truck lube business forever,” says Whiteside. “He’s incredible. Before I got new computers our old system used to go down for two or three days at a time. Whenever that happened it was Eddy who could tell you the make, the model and the price on any fuel, oil or water filter in any truck.”
Help getting the formerly ailing business up and running again also came from Castrol, says Whiteside. “They’ve been great,” he says. “They helped pay for advertising and promotions. They even helped put up our signs at no cost.”
And support isn’t lacking among customers, says Whiteside, adding service is what’s getting them in the door and what’s going to keep them coming back.
“It’s all about trust and treating the customer like a human being,” says Whiteside. “I know, because I used to drive, how bad truckers get treated sometimes. I can relate. And I know how important it is to be treated right and to be able to trust that your shop is doing what it’s supposed to do and what it says it’s doing.”
Whiteside is hoping early interest in his business will mean expansion in the near future.
“My wife has still got her job, but we’re hoping that we can open another location on the 407 soon and she can help me run that.”