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A Benassi Xtreme mower from HSC is a recent fleet addition.

Up to Standard

Alan Guthrie visits Hire Standards in Wiltshire, which is looking forward to celebrating its 10th anniversary and is steadily expanding its operation.

It was back in our January/February 2008 issue when we first reported on Hire Standards, a tool and equipment hirer based in Westbury, Wiltshire. It had been founded six months earlier by Matt Rowe, who had previously spent 15 years in our industry, originally working in the hire division of a builders’ merchant, progressing through the ranks to managing one of its depots in Swindon.

In 1996, a local independent hirer offered Matt the opportunity to broaden his experience and he joined as a hire negotiator. A sequence of rapid progression led to him becoming hire desk manager, where he gained experience of stock control, logistics, customer relations and sales, but he became increasingly frustrated by not being able to put his own ideas fully into practice. He eventually decided to leave, intending to work as a plant manager for a local building contractor that regularly hired from the company.

However, two weeks into his notice period, several customers who were surprised by his imminent departure suggested he

new entrance doors and creating a larger retail area. The old shop now accommodates our workshops and a canteen, along with storage space for seasonal items. We introduced powered access machinery last year, which has proved very popular, and are expanding our range. One of our drivers has just gained his Cat C licence for larger vehicles, and we plan to add a 26-tonne lorry to our delivery fleet, which will enable us to deliver more equipment to larger sites with greater efficiency. In the future, we may also introduce larger plant such as 8-tonne minis. Our other vehicles include two VW Transporter vans, a Mercedes Sprinter with a tail lift, a Mitsubishi pick-up and a 7.5-tonne Mercedes lorry. We are in the process of having dashboard cameras and tracking devices fitted throughout our transport fleet.

Matt Rowe (centre) with the Hire Standards team.

established his own business, which he did in July 2007. “I re-mortgaged the house and found a unit on the industrial estate where we are still located. This original building was the size of double garage, with no yard, which the business soon outgrew and we moved to a larger unit in 2008. Several suppliers were very supportive in helping me get established, including Belle, Hire Supply Co (HSC), Birchwood, and local Takeuchi dealer CBL. Since then we have just kept expanding every year, even in the recession. Originally it was just me on my own, but now we have seven in our team.

Completely re-designed depot

“Last Christmas we were able to add the unit next door, giving us a total of 3,500ft2

as well as more yard space. This enabled us to completely re-design the depot, re-locating the hire desk, installing 39

“At the moment we offer compact plant like Takeuchi minis and Thwaites dumpers up to 3 tonne, Bomag rollers and the typical contractors’ hire fleet of tools and equipment. Trailers are also popular and we have a wide range of Indespension models including box trailers and car transporters.

Many people buy large items on eBay, like classic cars to renovate, and then need to collect them. We even had one customer who hired a trailer to transport a cannon.

“Recent fleet additions include Youngman Boss X3X scissor lifts and gardening products from HSC, such as a GTS 1300 chipper, a Dosko stump grinder and a compact Benassi Xtreme flail mower which is an absolute monster and will cut anything. We have also just become stockist for New Era Oil’s Fuel Box, which provides customers with a convenient supply of red diesel.

“Now that we have more space, we are expanding the number of retail items we offer. We are an agent for Makita tools, and we are a local Calor Gas dealer, which brings a steady flow of customers which leads to more hire opportunities.”

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