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!