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“At King’s Lynn, for example, people will often want to chat for ten minutes and you have to respect that,” said Carl Jarvis. “By contrast, many customers in Cambridge and Essex are tradesmen working on several jobs at a fast pace and it is very much a case of ‘talk as you walk’. You have to react accordingly.”

Differences between depots

There are also slight differences between the depots themselves. King’s Lynn has the largest yard and a significant proportion of the heavier plant is kept there, reflecting a diverse customer base that includes farmers and landowners as well as construction companies, and who are spread across a large, predominantly rural area. “A dedicated 40-tonne low loader is included in the King’s Lynn delivery fleet, which loads up early in the morning and is then out on the road all day,” said Ashley Tarrant. “Conversely, depots like Newmarket and Cambridge generate a high proportion of short-term hires and we may have vans in and out six or seven times a day. Again, we have to respond to particular customer needs.

To meet expansion, a bigger building was built at NPH’s King’s Lynn site three years ago.

“We expanded our Newmarket head office in April 2016 when a neighbouring property came up for sale. This gave us a building

that we could use as dedicated offices, freeing the upper floor above the depot, which we plan to turn into a training facility. In addition, it houses a canteen for the staff. We were also able to considerably extend our workshop facilities. Three years ago we built a brand new building at our King’s Lynn site and kept trading throughout until we moved in, eventually demolishing the old depot to make more yard space. We may do something similar at Harlow in the future to enhance the premises. We want to create a welcoming, clean environment that is appropriate for a tool hire operation and is not intimidating, as some plant hire yards can be.

“We are able to cover a very large region, but there are some gaps in our network that we would like to fill. In the future, we could eventually have ten depots. All our locations are busy and many new projects are being started by home owners, builders and medium-sized contractors. We are fortunate that, over the years, we have built up a very loyal customer base who continue to use us as their first port of call as they understand that their core requirements of exceptional service and a quality product offering will be met across all our locations.”


A Barreto stump grinder from Hire Supply Co is a recent fleet addition.

NPH aims to offer everything from a power drill to a telescopic handler, enabling customers to use it as a single source of supply. Key plant brands represented in the fleet include Kubota, Thwaites, JCB, Manitou, Hamm, Niftylift and Atlas Copco, while the smaller equipment and tools offered include Belle concreting products, Hilti breakers, aluminium tower and low-level access items from Boss and Lyte, heaters and lighting from Birchwood, gardening equipment from Hire Supply Co and Stephill generators. More unusual items include John Deere compact tractors and attachments, reflecting demand from farmers and landscapers. All six depots now have a dedicated retail space, and this is an area of business that NPH is keen to develop further.

“We have a list of 25 essential fleet items that we aim to have available for hire at all times, and the depot managers are empowered to order more of these at any time to ensure adequate stocks,” said Ashley Tarrant. “During the autumn and winter, this number increases to 40, taking account of seasonal needs like heating and lighting.”

NPH continues to invest in its fleet. To coincide with its 30th anniversary this year, several of its most recent purchases are being finished in a special gold livery, including a Thwaites 9-tonne dumper, a Manitou MT 1335 telescopic handler, and an 8-tonne KX080-4a Kubota excavator.

The new Manitou telehandler finished in a golden 30th anniversary livery.

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