Executive Hire News
Executive Hire News
Executive Hire News Executive Hire News
EHN Archives home page
Executive Hire News Executive Hire News
Executive Hire News Executive Hire News Executive Hire News

Profile: Easyhire

Simple success

Since Easyhire opened for business two years ago in Hexham, its growth has been exceptional. Alan Guthrie paid the company a visit to discover why.

Going the extra mile has become something of a cliché regarding customer service, but in the case of Easyhire it is literally true. From its single depot in Hexham, Northumberland, the business supplies clients as far afield as Carlisle 40 miles to the west, and Newcastle 20 miles east, and many others in between. It lies in a rural area with a diverse customer base that has grown prodigiously since the operation’s foundation two years ago.

“As soon as I got to know Hexham, I knew it was an ideal location for tool hire and that one day I would establish a business here,” states founder Mike Simpson. He first worked in the town in 1999, managing the tool hire business within a builders merchant, Matthew Charlton & Sons, which was by acquired Jewsons in 2001. He had previously worked with the independent Birtley Hire near Chester le Street, and then with Lord Hire Centres in Byker, Sunderland and Gosforth, progressing from hire controller to area manager.

Strikingly different

“The customer base in Hexham was strikingly different from those in urban areas I was more used to, being much more diverse. Instead of dealing principally with building firms and tradesmen who hired generally on price, we were also supplying farmers, property developers and estate managers, who were glad of a reliable local source of supply. This is a prosperous area with a lot of land to maintain. Many farm buildings are being converted into homes and offices, and so people need a reliable source of tools and machinery. But you have to be prepared to be flexible, offering complete customer service and support.

“In July 2005, I started Easyhire in a 2,500ft2 unit on a small Hexham industrial estate, and the business has grown more rapidly than I could ever have expected. We have just added a second floor to increase storage space, and we have an additional yard close by where we keep larger machinery.

“Probably only around 10% of our business comes from people in Hexham itself. We deal with customers in the hundreds of small villages and hamlets within a 20-mile radius and beyond, and we have to be all things to all people. We may have to take an enquiry from a large landowner one minute, and then deal with a small builder who wants to talk about football as he places an order, so we have to be able to adapt accordingly. We have staff who thrive in this environment.”

Easyhire started with just one additional member of staff, fitter Philip Shaw, who also previously worked at Matthew Charlton. But business boomed as soon as the operation opened, with turnover regularly exceeding monthly forecasts by 400%, and it now has five full-time staff and two part-time. The company’s four vans are in constant use. “We track all phone calls we receive and we know that 90% come from people on site using their mobiles, needing equipment delivered quickly,” states Mike Simpson.

Not surprisingly, popular items in the fleet include compaction plates (from MBW and Technidiamant), Stihl cut-off saws, Belle mixers and Euro Towers aluminium access products. Stephill generators are in demand to cope with power cuts in rural areas and for use at country shows. Easyhire says it sources equipment with Honda engines where possible, owing to their reliability. “We also try to find products with features that give a competitive edge, such as the EZ-8 Clarke American floor sander from Probilt, with its expandable drum for easy abrasive changing, and the A8VL log splitter from Midland Power Machinery, which is remarkably powerful and is ideal for producing firewood.

Monthly mailshots

“Every month we do a mailshot promoting a specific kind of machinery. We recently did one for grounds care and landscaping equipment, promoting Camon rotavators, Dolmar scarifiers from Makita, and Groundsman Industries turf cutters. We also offer compact plant of up to 1.5 tonnes, which is extremely popular with landscape contractors. Our Takeuchi minis and Thwaites dumpers are hardly ever in the yard. We have three 1.5-tonne Takeuchis and two 0.75-tonne machines, and we will definitely be buying more. They are reliable and wonderfully smooth to operate. The Thwaites Hi-Tip 1-tonne hydrostatic dumpers are easy for novices to use and are built like battleships. Our fleet also includes four tracked carriers, two Honda machines from Seddons, and one each from Cormidi and Midland Power Machinery.”

Given its rural location, Easyhire frequently receives requests for woodchippers from foresters. “In the past, I found it very difficult to source a reliable machine,” states Mike Simpson. “For small-scale applications dealing with timber of up top 5cm in diameter, we have an Earthquake chipper from Rochford Garden Machinery, but we now refer all enquiries for larger units to Orange Plant, the Newcastle-based specialist which offers Timberwolf chippers on re-hire (featured in EHN last August). The machines are excellent and customers cannot fault them.”

The company’s showroom includes a retail display area, offering items such as site electrical equipment from Birchwood Products, Fairport compaction plates, Dronco abrasives, and power tools from suppliers including Makita, DeWalt and Stihl. A range of workwear and clothing will be added shortly. Easyhire keeps track of all sales and hire business with a Syrinx package from Higher Concept Software. “It is absolutely superb, and it produces management records that help us track business performance. It does everything we need, the support has been excellent and I would recommend it to anyone.

“We never want to say no”

“If we do not have a product in our fleet, we will source it,” states Mike Simpson. “When contractors need something, such as a concrete skip, shuttering, large generators and lighting towers, they expect us to supply it and we never want to say no. We maintain links with manufacturers, as well as other hirers from whom we can re-hire, and when demand is regular enough we will not hesitate in adding them to the fleet. For example, we have 25 portable toilets on re-hire at the moment, and this is an area of development we are considering, amongst others.”

For larger compact plant, Easyhire can re-hire from Potts Plant Hire of Haltwhistle, 15 miles west of Hexham. It is owned by Aaron Potts, who is also a partner in Easyhire, and offers mini excavators from 3-7 tonnes, dumpers from 2-6 tonnes and telehandlers. It is occasionally used as a convenient staging post to supply customers in and around Carlisle, and a small Easyhire tool hire presence might be established there in the future.

Easyhire is maintaining its impressive growth record. Mike Simpson believes that, when the company celebrates its second anniversary next month, it will be close to having achieved £1m turnover in the previous 12 months. “The secret of our success is simple, and is ultimately based on providing the highest standards of service. You always have to remember that the customer is king.”

T 01434 600002

Executive Hire NewsArchivesJune 2007Profile: Easyhire › Simple success

Executive Hire News
Executive Hire News
Executive Hire News
website designed & produced by Weblinks Advertising LimitedExecutive Hire News
Executive Hire News