Executive Hire News › Archives › March 2019 › In the Spirit of Crosshire : How to best deal with piles?
In the Spirit of Crosshire : How to best deal with piles?
Rental Rate Roy and his team encounter a customer who is “constantly in a hurry, very officious and ridiculously demanding”.
I’ll wager that a majority of readers either own or work for
hire companies who own assets. You know, those brightly painted, shiny things that whirr, buzz, clank, thump, judder, whizz, chug and so on… you get the picture. Those machines that cost a lot to own in purchase price, running costs, maintenance and depreciation, but are a necessary evil in the hire game… or so I thought. Are they really a necessary evil? Do we have to own fleets of equipment to make money? Well, dear hire industry chum, it seems not!
We have recently started doing business with a certain organisation which I feel is ploughing a new furrow for the hire industry by not having any of the aforementioned or,
by coincidence, any of the accompanying staff, facilities or overheads that the rest of us are burdened with. How are they doing this? By creating an online presence offering UK-wide coverage for hire of equipment, and saying something like, “Wherever you’re working, we’re right there beside you.”
Subsequently they piece together a network of local and regional hire suppliers the length and breadth of Great Britain from whom they re-hire. Now I’m starting to think what a genius idea… no trucks, no workshops, no fitters, no consumables, no depreciation, no repairs, no high insurance bills… the list goes on and on and on.
I was enlightened to the company in question by the fact that they are likened by our hire team to an extreme case of haemorrhoids, namely a complete pain in the ****! When I questioned them, their withering looks in my direction spoke volumes. My Hire Manager then went into a rant about the operation in question. “They’re like a City trading desk,” he said, “constantly in a hurry, very officious, always phoning late demanding first drop the following day.” I was starting to get the vibe that they weren’t his favourite customer. A colleague added to the picture by advising, “They’re ridiculously demanding, wanting cheap prices and sometimes they phone up for an off-hire even before the machine is delivered!”
I responded with, “This might be a wild guess, but you’re not too enamoured of them, then?” It probably wasn’t the jocular line they were hoping for and their demeanour reflected this. By this point, my fellow Director had come to listen to the conversation and, as they say, timing is everything. At that exact moment the phone rang and the very customer was
on the line. The Hire Controller mouthed the caller’s name and we all started to giggle at the irony.
However, this mood changed quickly as the conversation between the customer and my employee became somewhat agitated. To enlighten us, he put the call on loudspeaker for us all to hear. The other side was most insistent that we pick up a tracked barrow immediately from its 1-day hire. This call was at 4:55pm and the site was on the far side of town - in rush-hour it would take over an hour to get to. Our Hire Controller advised that this was not possible, but it was off-hired and it would be collected in the morning. Yet this was unacceptable to the re-hire caller, who started raising his voice, advising that the machine had to be off site immediately and this had been advised at the point of order. This was disputed by my man but he was immediately, and rudely, interrupted with, “All our calls are recorded and I can prove that this was the case, so you can go and collect it now because it is not secure and if it gets stolen you’ll be liable because you have broken the contract.”
At this point my fellow Director could contain himself no longer and proceeded to slap down the fellow on loudspeaker by advising him that he had in fact taken the original booking from the customer’s colleague, and that same-day collection had never been discussed. In the meantime our Hire Manager had accessed their official order which also made no mention of same-day collection. In short, we were not in the wrong.
The caller by this time had become most excitable and advised us that he would call his customer and then ring us back.
A minute later, we had another call from the same customer from a different person asking for an off-hire number for the same machine. We explained the situation, were put on hold and then advised that collection in the morning would be fine.
There followed a series stories of a similar nature relating to this company, with very little positive to say. Stories of us being asked to supply gas bottles for a forklift which they had hired from elsewhere, chiselling us on transport and then, what I thought was the final crowning glory, “Credit control are constantly chasing them for money, as they’re always late.” However, my fellow Director had saved the best way to finish the tale, asking us, “I bet you can’t guess what their owner’s dividend was last year? A million pounds!”
Anyone got any pile ointment?
Rental Rate Roy