Friday, 4 March 2011

How The Hire Industry is its own worst enemy

Plant hire is,it has to be said , an extraordinary business . It began out of a real need to make the best use of what was available , it never seemed to develop any particular career structure , instead being driven by people who gained ' Hands on ' experience and then it seems they progressed thro' various levels until they  reached the level just above their competence ! Anyone in the industry will know of MDs Directors and other senior personnel who are just not able enough,really, to carry out the job they are supposed to .
Fairly recently there have been attempts to create training and development pathways thro the industry , with a view to getting some sort of qualification system , this works very well for the technical end of the game , plant hire  managers are still , in the main,untrained in any specific skill,the main requirement being able to juggle any number of jobs and retain in memory a vast amount of information for instant recall , coupled with the ability to think of novel , believable excuses at a seconds notice ( bullsh*t beats brains anyday) .
In the early 1970s plant hire , in UK , was probably at its best.Big construction jobs were starting all over the country , (and overseas ) , gas pipelines were being built , times were good .Despite the fact that companies often had large in house fleets hire companies grew and expanded , and , a decent rate of return could be made , it was worth doing the job , and , I think it was the last time sales managers would stick to the rate list,with few exemptions . Unfortunately this is the very thing that attracts the quick profit merchants who thought that the easy way to making money was to provide the same equipment but just do it cheaper, the new sort of hire rep. had only one shot in his locker and that was "I'll do it cheaper..." , and so the rot started to set in and has continued ever since . 

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Plant Hire - How it got to where it is today!

The plant Hire Industry seems to have developed into what it is after the second world war . Bomb damage had devastated  vast areas of our cities and there was a desperate shortage of machinery and other quipment to repair it - as a result of this what machines we did have were at a premium - the halcyon days of hire , I would think but things were never that simple. The upshot was that because there was lots of work , construction companies were able to grow into large Corporations fairly easily,picking up work they wanted at prices that made sense , many of them also aquired large holdings or fleets of machines and developed 'Plant Departments' , staffed by skilled people whose job it was to look after the cars,trucks excavators,cranes - anything the company aquired to carry out the jobs . This model worked well until jobs big enough to support these monoliths started to get more difficult to find , then many of the more massive companies needed to look for economies , and for most of them the Plant Department was something they could easily divest themselves of , so , the rationale was to close them down and use outside hire to provide the equipment they needed , thus saving the cost of purchasing kit , maintaining it , employing all the people needed to run the Department . By this time Plant Hire had attracted all sorts of 'Players' into the field , so there were companies ready to take up the challenge and provide a first rate service ( in most cases) .Vehicle hire had also come of age and any type of car , lorry ,truck or van could be aquired from allsorts of enterprising companies using various equally enterprising methods of financing fleets!
For a time there was good business to be had, efficient, well run organisations were able to make good money providing a premium service, but,alas,this would not last. Plant Hire , at first look , is a great business to be in , the essence of it being people borrow the kit,pay you for it and then give it back! , Companies of all sorts had little dabbles in hire,threw money at it,cut rates to get business , then , not liking the reality , sold up and got out. The intervention of ' instant hire ' organisations wasn't the only cause of the plant hire industry woes , the overriding problem is the willingness of people in the industry to cut rates , and hence,cut their own throats! It always amazes me that when you talk to hire people they all decry rate slashing but they all do it!  

Friday, 4 February 2011

How to hire a mini digger 2

By now we know that it is really easy to hire machines and equipment , making even the largest jobs possible . We never need be put off by the size of an excavation or the amount of spoil to move .
But , we must always be aware  that the hire company is there to make a profit and with that in mind be careful of the charges . The invoice you receive at the end of the hire will be made up of  1) consumables , 2)damage , 3) losses ,4) transport and  the5) hire rate . In some cases the actual rate for the use of the machine will be the smallest number!.
Taking them in turn ,  1} a charge will be made for any 'consumable' items that were delivered with the machine and not returned on termination of the hire , as an example this would be sand paper sheets taken with a floor sanding machine or grinding  discs taken with an angle grinder , also , any fuel used during the hire .With fuel most companies will deliver the machine full of fuel so if you return it full there will be no charge - always get a signed note detailing what was delivered and what you are returning , so, if you had 6 grinding wheels delivered and you used 3 make sure the collection note shows that 3 were returned ,otherwise you will get charged!
2} You will find that the Hire Contract will always stipulate that the equipment will be inspected thoroughly when it is returned to their workshop , this means that YOU should do a check yourself,and , most importantly ,take photographs , a photo , even on your mobile , can give you the edge when disputes arise . The bottom line is that Hire Companies will charge the hirer , you , for any damage they can attribute to your use of the machine , so always check windows , tyres and general condition on delivery and collection , and write any comments onto the delivery and collection note , do this and they won't be able to charge you  for anything not your fault .
3} Losses are to be treated in the same way as damage , make sure that what is delivered is what you sign for , and , make sure the Hire Company driver signs for what you send back - again they will try to charge for ignition keys, isolator keys , quick hitch ratchets - anything shown as delivered but not returned.Make sure you check and get everything signed for.
4}Probably the most variable item is the delivery charge .Most Hire Companies will negotiate readily on this cost , always query it and 99% of the time you'll get a deal - if not , you've lost nothing !
5}Finally , the cost of the hire itself , machines can be charged by the hour , by the day , over weekends , by the week , there is no set period , you can negotiate a hire for any period that suits you - always remember that the Hire Company needs your business so don't be patronised ! . When you discuss the cost the company will always refer to ' the hire rate ' , this is just industry speak , the rate per week is what you need , then talk about shorter or longer periods , generally , the longer you hire the machine for the less it will cost per day  , a machine will cost more per day over 2 days than it will over 5 , and , be aware of the charging period as some companies base their charge on  a 5 day week  while  others a  7 day week .

Thursday, 3 February 2011

How to hire a mini digger

This blog should really be titled ‘ How to Hire a mini digger and any other large construction equipment ‘!
Most people are not aware that they can easily rent powerful construction machines for use on their own  projects and jobs . With very little effort you can mechanise almost any job , digging , earthmoving , skiploading all the time consuming and back breaking jobs that put most people off starting the project at all!

Remember – you can hire any of the machines the professional builders use !
With this in mind you can ; 1) Save time
                                           2) Save money , doing it yourself will be cheaper
                                           3) Get the job done faster
                                           4) Learn some new skills and have fun !

So , the next time you are thinking about doing a job at home , and it looks ‘ out of your range ‘ , always bear in mind you can hire heavy equipment to make the job easier!.
First of all , don’t be put off by thinking hire companies only deal with trade customers , with the current economic squeeze they welcome all new inquiries , and , if they don’t there are plenty out there who will!
A quick search in any local directory or will bring up a selection of possible suppliers , or you can jot down contact numbers you will see on machines working around your neighbourhood , always remember that all the large builders merchants will have a hire division capable of supplying a massive list of equipment , the next time you are near a merchants pop in and ask for a hire brochure , they will usually hand you a thick glossy catalogue containing every type of plant and equipment you can think of ( and a bit more! )
Once you have decided on what type of machine you need , telephone at least two companies and ask for ‘the hire desk’ , you will  then speak to a ‘Hire Controller’ , this is industry speak for the guy who does all the work!
When asking for a quote there are several important things that have a direct bearing on the price ,
1)     Where is the job?  -  this affects the delivery cost
2)     When is the machine required? – will they have a machine available
3)     How long will you need the machine? – just helps with forward planning
These  three questions will always be asked and a price should be quoted .Remember , the listed price is usually negotiable and these companies want your business , always ask for a better rate than shown in the catalogue , it is probably easier to ‘ screw down the price’ of hire than any other industry , they hate to see you go elsewhere , and, they want the business , I repeat,always ask for a better deal . The other main costs involved will be insurance, a  real necessity that is sometimes provided ,as an extra so check the cost and extent of cover ,and fuel for the machine .Usually equipment is delivered with full tanks and should be returned the same , check on delivery that this is the case before signing the drivers note.