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Arvill has a prominent location in the centre of Airdrie.

Arvill adds value

Alan Guthrie visits Airdrie-based Arvill Plant and Tool Hire, which successfully serves customers throughout the Scottish central belt.

Arvill Plant and Tool Hire occupies a prominent high street location near Airdrie town centre, with 7,000ft2

of covered space and a

sizeable yard. It is a far cry from how the business began 25 years ago, when it simply operated from founder and MD Arthur Shevill’s home and garden shed.

“After a spell working as a fitter and service manager for an oil drilling contractor in Saudi Arabia, I returned in 1984 and joined a company selling engineering lubricants. However, I maintained a keen interest in tools and equipment. One day the following year, my brother-in-law, who had a construction business, asked me if I could repair one of his machines urgently.

Arthur Shevill reports “a definite upturn in business this year”.

In passing he mentioned the difficulty of finding a reliable local hirer. So I

decided to have a go myself, scoured liquidation sales and gathered a decent initial fleet of breakers, cut-off saws, mixers and the like.

“I kept my sales job up until 1992, which kept me in touch with contractors in the region, and I would work at Arvill in the very early morning and evenings, helping the small team we had. I didn’t take a salary, ploughing any profit back into buying new kit. Soon we moved to a 1,000ft2

premises, then a 2,000ft2 location in 1996.

“We aimed to supply whatever the customer needed, not really differentiating between ‘tools’ and ‘plant’, because clients often wanted a variety, especially facilities such as landfill sites, recycling stations and utilities. At times, I have considered rationalising the fleet, but if we stopped offering, say, larger plant, it might impact on hires of other equipment that customers take at the same time. Overall, this comprehensiveness adds value to our offering.

“We believe we were the first hirer in our area to offer mini excavators, with two Italian 1.2 tonne Ygry machines that we bought in 1989 from GenSet, which distributed them at the time.We now

15 facility, and found our current

offer Kubota machines, totalling 26 from 0.8 tonne upwards.We also have Manitou telehandlers of up to 17m, and Thwaites dumpers up to 6 tonne. Basically, we provide everything from a drill bit to an 8 tonne mini, plus essentials like welfare cabin generators, signs, and, even, tea urns, to get a site up and running. Our consumables range includes Tornado fixings, Technidiamant blades and Portwest high-viz clothing.We use Syrinx hire management software, and it is excellent. The reports it generates are invaluable.”

Arvill’s breakers and drilling equipment are mostly Hilti machines. It uses Hilti’s Fleet Management Usage plan, whereby the hire company pays a monthly usage fee for the tools, with the manufacturer retaining ownership. Equipment is rotated on a regular basis, based on the economic life of the machine. “The scheme suits us well, and if an item needs servicing or repair, Hilti collects it and returns it within two days, ready to use.”

Arvill, which now has a staff of 12, covers the entire central belt between Glasgow and Edinburgh, and has even supplied customers whose work has taken them to Newcastle and the Isle of Skye. 90% of business comes from contractors, utilities and tradesmen, with the remainder being DIY customers. “There has definitely been an upturn in activity this year,” says Arthur Shevill. “We are currently serving contractors working on the Airdrie to Bathgate rail link, and we are an accredited supplier to Glasgow Commonwealth Games contractors.

“We have kept adding to our fleet to meet demand. We recently bought another Kubota KX61-3 2.5 tonne mini, a 120cm-wide JCB Vibromax 260 roller, Probst Stone Magnets for

“We provide everything from a drill bit to an 8 tonne mini.”

on-site lifting tasks, and more Youngman Minimax towers. It’s all about offering what customers need quickly, and having a complete range.”

• 01236 760070

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