The Watson Tool Hire team - Gordon Watson, daughter Kiera, fitters Shane Martin and Owen Boddy, and Hire Manager Michael Storey. IT’S ONLY ROCK ‘N ROLL…

What could lead a skilled and experienced musician into the heady world of plant and tool hire? Andy packed his stottie cakes and ventured north-east to find out.


atson Tool Hire & Repair Centre is an honest-to-goodness hire outlet located

in East Boldon near Sunderland, which is run by husband and wife Gordon and Mandy, and a small team. Old school in many ways, business is booming across the board and expansion looms on the horizon. Gordon is welcome and gregarious, and something of a rocker, having served in a number of regional bands and narrowly brushing the Big Time on several occasions. More on that in due course, but first a brief history of the company.

“Many years ago I was at college studying music and the arts. My dad was a builder at the time and he started a little business, hiring tools out when they weren’t being used,” He begins.

A decent cut-off saw is a staple of many hire businesses.

“I came in to help on my days off, cleaning the tools and learning about them. As time went on, the hire business grew and we moved premises a couple of times – both were in Hetton-le-Hole, where I still live. Dad began thinking about retirement and JT Doves Builders’ Merchants approached him about renting the Hetton depot. Ironically, the Doves branch that I’m next to now, also rang me to say that this unit had become available. I came to have a look, and Mandy told me that if I couldn’t go out on my own, with all my experience and builders’ merchants next door, there was something sadly

wrong. I took the plunge and decided to do it!”

Such a bold step is not without risk, of course. How quickly did the business develop?

“I started on my own, and it was six months before I dared to employ anybody. It soon began expanding, we got a new van, bought some new diggers and I recruited more staff,” says Gordon. “We like to keep a clean, modern and well maintained fleet, which our customers appreciate, and the company just keeps on growing.

‘‘ 44 Executive Hire News - Nov/Dec 2021 Mandy told me that

if I couldn’t go out on my own, with all my

experience and builders’ merchants next door, there was something sadly wrong


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