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000892 - Prestige Hire 23/11/09 13:37 Page 1
Road to success
I’m going to the
Show because...
Alan Guthrie visits Prestige Hire in West Bromwich, which has
successfully added specialist equipment for highway maintenance to its fleet.
Prestige Hire was established in 2001 as an in-house operation, “Essentially, we get people whatever they need - even toilet rolls and
procuring tools and smaller items of plant for two construction and teabags. We become part of a contractor’s team because they
transport businesses owned by brothers John and Michael Smith. appreciate our service, and if they win work outside the West
Additional demand came quickly from other building and engineering Midlands, we often go with them. We are currently supplying
firms and the operation expanded. It soon required more space than equipment as far afield as Doncaster to a contractor who knows we
its existing premises in Blackheath provided, and moved to its are reliable. Our staff always have their mobiles on, and they know
current location in nearby West Bromwich in 2005. they can be contacted at any time to sort what is required, in terms
of equipment and backup.”
John Smith adds, “This dedication to service sets us apart and is
how we win, and retain business. We are not prepared to cut rates
beyond a sensible level, and if any other company says they can go
lower, we know that an element of service must suffer.”
Flexible and precise
Prestige has established a sound customer base among local councils
and utilities contractors, including Birmingham City Council, the
Metropolitan Borough Councils of Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall, and
Thomas Vale Construction plc. Phil Baker says, “Clients such as these
are frequently undertaking rolling programmes of works, like repairing
roads or laying pipelines over considerable stretches, and completing
it in stages. This means that equipment, temporary accommodation
“We offer everything from wheelbarrows to telehandlers.”
and other items regularly have to be moved to the next work stage,
This gave Prestige the opportunity to expand its activities by targeting and we have to be both flexible and precise in doing this, so that the
professionals involved in council works, railways, utilities, highway contractor can keep working efficiently and on schedule.
maintenance and other industries. General Manager Phil Baker was
recruited in 2005 to spearhead this development, having previously “There is a tremendous amount of work to be carried out in this
worked for Wacker for 22 years, latterly as a Product Manager, and region over the coming years, especially on highway maintenance
prior to that he spent five years as a plant fitter with Central Plant in and repairs, as a result of Birmingham City Council’s £2.7 billion
Worcester, which was eventually acquired by Hewden Stuart.
Ambitious plans
“While at Wacker, I had supplied Prestige with a growing number of
concrete pokers, plates and rollers, and I could see John and
Michael had ambitious plans. I got the bug for hire again, and it
seemed too good an opportunity to miss,” said Phil. “When I joined
there were four staff; now there are 12 of us. Today we offer
everything from wheelbarrows to 12m telehandlers, along with
Ammann Yanmar and Hanix minis from 0.75 up to 5.5 tonne,
Thwaites and Benford dumpers from 0.75 to 6 tonne, together with
heaters, lighting, pressure washers, drills and the like. We also have a
comprehensive fleet of equipment demanded by utilities contractors,
such as pedestrian roller breakers, remote trench rollers,
compressors, generators, cut-off saws and compaction plates. Phil Baker joined the business four years ago.
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