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OFFHIRE


All, it seems, is not fair in love, war and plant & tool hire. Roy wonders if the old ways are now gone forever, and he witnesses some distinctly underhand behaviour from competitors in the meantime.


THE WAY OF THE WORLD?


Is the day of the cheating Aussie Cricketer taking the field with a Black & Decker palm sander now the norm? Have we become dulled to the fact that some overpaid footballer dives around the pitch as if they have been shot from close range by an opposition player sporting an Elephant Blunderbuss? Is it now somewhat passé to be outraged at a tennis umpire being abused by some diva screaming obscenities in view of millions?


I ask, dear reader, are old-fashioned values gone for good? Is professional courtesy a thing of the past? Am I seemingly a dinosaur who needs to be euthanized by the vet of modernity…?


I lament the passing of olden days of honesty and professionalism, and I pine for respect between hire companies and competitors. The reason for this is the appalling tactics that I have witnessed recently. Sly, gutter- crawling and frankly beneath contempt, tactics that bring our great industry into disrepute.


Let me give you four examples that we have seen or been the victims of:


1. A while back I needed an excavator at my own property, which my team delivered on a Friday afternoon. Now my front garden and drive are 40 yards long and my man kindly dropped it off near the front door. However, imagine my disgust to find a competitor’s brochure on his seat, sporting a note from their local rep (obviously short for ‘reprobate’) suggesting that I would be better off using a “professional” supplier rather than my own company. I suppose they didn’t know whose house it was!


2. A couple of months ago one of our delivery drivers was followed while leaving the depot with a micro excavator. The individual was not the best at making themselves inconspicuous, and didn’t bother to sport a false moustache, dark glasses and an army surplus overcoat. He drove close to the rear of the truck and trailer. Our man pulled over twice to let him pass, but on both occasions he pulled in and stopped, pretending to use his mobile.


Once at his destination our man observed the amateur super sleuth watching from the opposite side of the street. In a jocular moment our man told the customer who, as


luck would have, it is extremely loyal to our business and has been a client for over 20-years. Once our man left the scene, the individual strutted over to our client and proceeded to tell him that we were a bunch of shysters who ripped customers off with poor quality equipment and that he should change suppliers as we were nearing bankruptcy!


3. A local competitor visited our depot to purchase some consumables and fuel, but while on our property he was caught by our Hire Manager openly tapping up other depot visitors and handing out his business cards and freebies as if he owned the place. He made no secret of the fact and was quite brazen in his approach. Also, he seemed quite perplexed that he had been caught and was advised that it was not the done thing.


4. A call from a customer reporting a faulty scissor lift resulted in an engineer attending site. The irate client shouted at my man, saying that he was behind on the job as a machine from a competitor had broken down the previous day with the same fault and he was sick of the amateur nature of our industry. Not wanting to be beaten, our man quickly identified that the batteries on the machine were shot. However, he knew they had been replaced a month previously. Upon closer inspection he identified that the batteries on the machine were not the ones he fitted.


Call it intuition, sixth sense or sheer luck, but he checked the competitor’s machine and soon found the batteries that he’d fitted to our equipment (with our initials and the date of installation engraved on them). They had been swapped by the competitor’s engineer the afternoon before!


Am I in a minority in thinking that such tactics are a despicable way to carry on? Is this the way of the world, and is this the UK hire industry that we want? Or am I just an old fossil who needs to retire and leave it to the new wave of alleged professionals? You decide…


Happy Hiring.


32 Executive Hire News - August 2021


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