Building an Invaluable business and Banking Relationship


When the CEO of SubTrux, Chris Ristovski is asked about working with his bank, he highlights the level of personal service he receives every time he engages with his relationship manager.

“It reminds me of what banking was like over 15 years ago when you used to be able to talk to your manager and they'd understand your business. If you had a question, they'd come back with the solution,” Ristovski says.

SubTrux is a recently launched Melbourne-based real-time delivery management system that enables every business to be a fleet manager no matter what their size.

SubTrux evolved out of Ristovski’s family landscape and building supplies business SoilWorx which his father began 35 years ago. The lightbulb moment for Ristovski came a few years ago as he looked to streamline all facets of the delivery process with SoilWorx’s own fleet of 32 trucks.

“Over the years, I tried so hard to implement different systems we'd invested in but the business would change and we’d have to look at something new,” he says.

“SubTrux is a delivery software system which optimises every facet of the delivery process through real time analytics and tracking to completely enhance the customer experience.”

He says it will “revolutionise the delivery process” and will negate the need for companies to run fleets as they’ll have access to a marketplace of on-demand drivers with vehicles that suit most requirements.

While SubTrux has evolved from the family business, Ristovski says working with Judo Bank has helped a great deal by “giving us support through the existing business (SoilWorx) which has freed up some cashflow to invest in this business”.

“They’ve been very practical and engaged in the whole process,” he says.

Judo Bank relationship director Simon Hardiman says SubTrux is a great example of an established family business diversifying and growing as the next generation identifies new opportunities.

“There are lots of reasons why businesses change and one big lever for change is succession. With SoilWorx and Subtrux, Chris has come in and grown the original landscaping supplies business and opened it right up to not only retail but also trade and big commercial bulk purchases.

“And now he's created a new business called SubTrux, which initially was a way to leverage their own fleet in terms of deliveries, but it's now a business in its own right and they're looking to license out that software to other industries,” Hardiman says.

For Hardiman, it's a good example of how an idea designed to make something in your own business more efficient can lead to a totally new business and income stream.

He says Ristovski approached Judo about two years ago as he was looking to have a relationship with a bank that “would actually sit down and take the time to understand his business”.

“Now, we almost have a partnership with him in terms of sharing ideas and sitting down and listening and understanding those ideas,” Hardiman says.

“He needed someone to understand them and then be able to get on board and go the distance.”

According to Hardiman, that willingness to get on board with a client and talk about new business directions is something missing from most banking relationships. He says Judo are there every step of the way and sometimes it’s not about finance but more of a discussion about the whole business journey and where a business owner sees their business in the future.

“We may not actually lend any money to a client until later in their journey but we’ll share opinions and discuss what a business needs to consider.

“Sometimes people, have a lot of ideas but they might not necessarily understand what’s needed financially so we’ll help them with that and let them know how much cash they will need to grow and the sort of advisors they might need.

“We're more bespoke and more individualistic and understand every business, every individual is different. Everyone has their own story. We're here to listen to that story and the more you talk together the more confidence you have in each other,” Hardiman says.

In Ristovski’s case that opportunity to talk has been invaluable to the growth of SoilWorx and the development of Subtrux because, “they have a sound business sense and understand what we want to achieve”.

“And they are better than other banks - they're real people.”

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