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The Frome location opened on 1 May.

Standards increase

Hire Standards has just opened its second depot in the south west of England and has plans in the pipeline for more, as Alan Guthrie finds out.

Hire Standards is yet another example of a hire business that is expanding to meet demand. It has complemented its existing location at Westbury in Wiltshire with a second depot roughly ten miles away in Frome, just over the border into Somerset.

£500,000 in a variety of machines from JCB, including mini excavators, compact dumpers, rollers and powered access products. “We saw JCB’s new scissor lifts at the Executive Hire Show and a lot of our compact plant needed replacing, so we worked out a great deal for 30-plus machines, effectively replacing other brands we offered. Most of this kit will be supplied from Westbury, which has a larger yard, but Frome will offer minis of up to 1.5 tonnes,” said Matt Rowe.

“We have also added more plant trailers from Ifor Williams, a new dropside Ford Transit with a tail lift, and we plan to buy a 26-tonne truck to enable us to offer even larger plant. Other equipment we have bought specifically for Frome includes bread-and-butter items like Stihl cut-off saws, Fairport mixers and compaction plates, New Era’s Fuel Box, and Frome is also a local stockist for Calor Gas and BOC, like Westbury.”

Considerable investment has been made in new JCB kit.

As owner Matt Rowe told EHN, “It just shows the importance of being able to provide a local service. The rural roads in our region can sometimes be slow to negotiate because of farm vehicles, and so the Frome depot has already made a big difference for customers who just want to drop in to buy a broom or a shovel or to hire a machine for a half-day.”

The new facility is on a trading estate, like the Westbury depot. It is also very close to outlets run by several other hirers which, Matt Rowe believes, shows the size and potential of the local market. “We had actually wanted to open a site in Frome for some time, but the big challenge was finding good new staff. That changed when I was able to appoint Neil Maggs to manage the new operation. He was working in retail for a company on the estate in Westbury and I knew he had the necessary business and management experience. We found the premises in Frome quickly and officially opened on 1 May.

“The new building was formerly used by an electrical wholesaler. It already had a decent trade counter and it has a striking glass frontage with a blue surround - which happens to be our corporate colour - and protected by a roller shutter. It has a retail area, offices at the rear and a mezzanine floor which is ideal for storing lighter seasonal equipment. There is also space to accommodate larger machines inside at night.”

Not surprisingly, a considerable amount of new kit has been bought for the Frome fleet. Hire Standards has also invested approximately


Hire Standards’ expansion has been aided by the appointment of Joshua Matthews as a Director a year ago, and he has now also taken on a business development role. “Josh has been with me from the early days of the business. He will float between the two depots and will be out on the road visiting potential new customers. Armed with a laptop he can work and do business almost anywhere and can make quick decisions on the spot. We have also added a mobile service engineer.

The new depot has a dedicated retail area.

“Overall, we are extremely busy serving our core customer base of builders, tradesmen and the DIY market,” said Matt Rowe. “And we won’t stop at two depots. We plan to open our third by the end of the year, and we have already identified locations for two more.”

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