Impact Tool Hire is developing its plant fleet.

Quick Impact

Alan Guthrie visits a recently opened tool and equipment hire business in Leeds which has ambitious plans for expansion.

Impact Tool Hire was founded less than a year ago but has quickly established itself serving customers from its base near Hunslet, to the south of Leeds. The three men running the business previously worked for national hire organisations and are now appreciating the flexibility and responsibility of managing their own operation.

“We basically all new each other from having worked at some time for a national hirer at locations throughout the Yorkshire region,” said Sales Director Chris Emsley, whose colleagues include Branch Sales Manager Dave Perry, who also previously had positions with the specialist Lifting Gear Hire business and the Leeds depot of Selby-based Fairfax Plant Hire. Completing the team is Fuel Manager Chris Whitaker, who joined Impact Tool Hire in January. “We found we were spending much of our time writing reports and other paperwork which tended to take us away from interacting with customers directly,” said Chris Emsley. “Now, with no tiers of management, we can react quickly.”

“Business took off quickly”

Dave Perry said that “The initial plan for the business was to primarily offer machinery from our plant fleet. We started out last August with virtually just a laptop and a small rented office, but business took off quickly as many people in the area knew us and wanted to deal with us.”

Larger premises were found on a trading estate giving 2,200ft2

of space

and situated a stone’s throw from the M621 and the wider motorway network, and the new facility was operational from January. The equipment fleet comprises mainstream items such as power tools from Makita, Hilti and Stihl, JCB micro excavators, CAT excavators up to 3.5 tonnes and dumpers from Thwaites and JCB. The range also includes a Skyjack 19ft scissor lift and Impact Tool Hire might enlarge its powered access line-up in the future. Recent fleet additions include a CAT 257D tracked loader, Red Rhino 7000 crusher and a JCB 535 telehandler, all of which can be supplied with operators if required.

The company also supports customers working farther afield, recently supplying machinery for projects in the South West of England sourced through the Access Link network.

“We can also supply specialist building materials for particular applications, and we will basically support our customers in any way we can,” said Chris Whitaker. “We are also a local Flogas stockist and this helps bring more people through the door.”

Chris Emsley added that the company is considering introducing a mobile service with a van serving local sites 24 hours a day with equipment and consumables, to make it easy for customers to obtain what they need, particularly for unexpected requirements.

Building rapport with customers

“We are building a real rapport with customers and we have good conversations with them, not just taking orders, and we are opening new accounts all the time,” said Dave Perry. “There are several other businesses on the trading estate that attract tradesmen and many come into the shop to ask advice and have a coffee. We are planning to install a park bench on a green space at the rear of the depot in the summer so visitors can relax for a few minutes and discuss what they need. Other small businesses relate to us. They enjoy dealing with us because we share a similar pro-active attitude, and they can always contact any of us.”

From left, Chris Emsley, Dave Perry and Chris Whitaker at the Leeds depot.

Leeds is just the first location for Impact Tool Hire. Chris Emsley said the company has ambitious expansion plans in Yorkshire and the surrounding area. “We believe we can open another depot this year and a third in the first quarter of 2019. Ultimately, the plan is to have ten depots within the next five years.” 31

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