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EXECUTIVE REPORT


The team comprises, from left, Peter,


Paul and Cindy Howes, Lewis Walters, Steve Hedges and Johnny Sadler.


Expansive outlook


Alan Guthrie visits Fakenham Tool & Equipment Hire in Norfolk, which continues to develop its operation to meet growing demand.


Driving through the countryside within easy reach of Fakenham Tool & Equipment Hire’s location, you are struck by the attractiveness of the region, ranging from the expansive serenity of the Norfolk Broads, to the acres of dense forestry and woodland. It is something that also impresses other people, many of whom decide to buy property in the area as second homes or for their retirement, and this is creating steady demand for hired equipment.


Fakenham Tool & Equipment Hire, which has been located at original premises on a busy trading estate since its foundation, has a team of six. Peter officially retired last November, but still plans to be involved in the business, with its day-to-day management being in the capable hands of his children, Paul and Cindy, who are both Directors and have worked for the company since it was established. Peter’s grandson, Lewis, also joined the operation four years ago.


“The trading estate location suits us very well,” Paul told EHN. “Other businesses in the units nearby include a plumber’s merchant, a builder’s merchant and a factory sales outlet, and they attract a steady flow of customers who see us as they drive by. Many subsequently call in and end up opening accounts with us.”


Steady expansion


Cindy added that “We have steadily expanded over the years as demand has increased, buying the adjacent unit which enabled us to add a larger workshop, as well as giving us a bigger yard and much more space overall.”


A mezzanine floor adds to the comprehensive display area.


“There is a lot of money being spent in our region, especially by people from in and around London,” said Peter Howes, who was one of the founders of the business back in 1982. “Some will spend, say, £500,000 on a farmhouse or barn and then invest perhaps three times that amount on converting and extending it, as well as adding facilities like swimming pools. Because of the current low interest rates, they regard property as a better investment than savings accounts. This is creating a lot of business for local tradesmen, who have always represented the majority of our customer base.


Record turnover


“In October 2017, we achieved our largest ever monthly turnover, which reflects the amount of construction activity taking place. We have grown steadily since our foundation, and many loyal customers have expanded with us. Several contractors who deal with us started out as one or two-man businesses and are now considerably larger operations, employing a lot of people and undertaking bigger projects, which is great to see.”


The hire fleet has also grown. When we profiled the company back in our July 2002 issue, it had four mini excavators in its range, and this figure has now reached 22. These comprise entirely Takeuchi machines, from micro models up to six tonnes, which are in high demand, along with the hirer’s Cormidi tracked dumpers and Thwaites compact dumpers. The company has also increased its fleet of Lyte aluminium mobile access towers recently, and other additions have included Camon turf aerators, Wacker compaction plates and Makita hammers and breakers.


The company’s mini excavator fleet is made up entirely of Takeuchi machines. 45


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