Personal service key to hire company success Celebrating 30 years trading in 2017, Newmarket Plant Hire Ltd has built its enviable reputation for top level service while it has grown from a single-site business trading locally to a multidepot machinery hire specialist with a team of knowledgeable, experienced staff. David Williams visited the company.
up to date and regularly serviced. Each piece of equipment is rigorously checked before each new hire. Awareness of safety is becoming more important and farmers can hire from us, trusting that equipment is checked and fit for purpose.”
Newmarket Plant Hire has been trading since 1987 and the number of farmers using its services is growing rapidly. Pictured at the Newmarket main depot; (l-r) Newmarket depot manager Michael Howard, managing director Carl Jarvis and operations director Ashley Tarrant.
Managing director Carl Jarvis started the company in 1987, and knew from the beginning that the key to success in the competitive plant and tool hire trade would be making sure customers got equipment they wanted, when needed, with back-up from someone who cared about service. His strategy proved successful and now the business has 6 branches employing 64 staff supplying a vast range of equipment to users across most of East Anglia. The main depot remains at Newmarket, but additional branches at Ipswich, Basildon, Harlow, Cambridge and King's Lynn each serve users within approximately 40 miles radius of each location and agricultural customer numbers are growing each year. “The business has grown,” acknowledged Carl, “but I have been determined that the personal service aspect of trading with us was retained. We rebranded recently as NPH, purely because we felt the name; Newmarket
Plant Hire sounded too distant for users of other depots and wanted customers to feel their local branch was their local supplier, reflecting our service. Much of our growth has been through business acquisition - an advantage being the team is already in place, often knowing the local area and customers. We brought in aspects of our company’s service that would improve the operation, including shared resources of other branches.”
Machinery fit for purpose Everything from half-inch drills to a 17m telescopic handler is available from the company and farmers have been quick to identify the benefits of hiring equipment, particularly in recent years with margins under pressure. “All the machinery we hire out is from premium brands,” explained operations director Ashley Tarrant. “If customers want a machine for a particular job then it’s no good broken down. We keep everything
If problems occur the company has the resources to provide a speedy solution. “Even brand new machinery breaks down sometimes,” said Ashley. “Every depot has trained mobile technicians available to sort any problems and if the issue is something which can’t be immediately rectified then we will always swap the machine as the fleet is shared between branches.” Hire periods range from days to months with long-term hire a great option for larger machines such as telescopic handlers or loaders for seasonal work, suggested Carl. “Our charges are competitive in the industry but it is the service provided by our team and the quality of machinery we offer which keeps customers coming back,” he continued. “Customer loyalty is something not usually associated with equipment hire companies but at NPH it is something which has developed over time. It’s a competitive industry so customers often shop around but we have retained that small company level of care that proved so successful when we started out, even as more branches were added. We aren’t really interested in large hire fleet deals, preferring to focus on small to mid-sized businesses and often farmers will try us for a small piece of equipment first, like the service, then keep coming back, and that works well for us and for them.” Quick delivery is assured by a fleet of modern lorries including a brand new 42t articulated unit and trailer. “We have the lorries to move plant around, but also offer a plant transport service using our specialist trailers,” explained Carl.
Machinery popular with East Anglian agricultural users includes diggers, excavators, telescopic handlers and dumpers.
The most popular machines hired by farmers and agricultural contractors are telescopic handlers - mainly JCB and Manitou and offering lift heights from 4–17m with 6–7m models in greatest demand. Many are Manitou 625s but several 925s have been preordered and will join the fleet shortly. JCB 7 and 17m models are also on the fleet. Kubota and JCB excavators from 0.8–13.0t, pumps, compressors and compact tractors and attachments are a recent addition to the hire fleet which
is in significant demand for moving spoil from ditches is a 2.5t swivel-skip Canycom tracked dumper, minimising headland and field edge damage even when conditions are wet. Thwaites dumpers are also popular with farmers and powered access platforms are hired for farm building construction and maintenance. “It’s not just the larger equipment that is supplied to farmers though,” points out Ashley. “Every depot has a shop stocking all sorts of hand tools for sale or hire and this tends to be a convenient source of equipment, with staff on-hand to make recommendations. Each depot supplies Calor gas cylinders and at King's Lynn we are a BOC stockist too.”
Machines serviced All depots have experienced engineers on hand in the fully equipped workshops and servicing and repairs of customer owned equipment is another service offered. NPH is keen to invest in extra machinery to meet the needs of farmers and growers. “If there is demand for equipment we don't have we will look at it,” said Carl. “We have a published price list detailing short and longer term hire rates for most products but if anything is needed that isn’t shown then it is worth contacting the local depot manager and we will always do our best to help. We have built the business through our personal service and we are keen to continue building long-term trading relationships.”
Delighted user Trading as RJ Clarke & Son, Michael Clarke farms at Badingham, Suffolk and has used NPH on several occasions. “The first time we used the company was for an extra-large compressor for a sandblasting job and NPH had just the specification needed. Delighted with the service we went back to the company to hire a portable compressor to blow down the combine, with growing awareness of combine fire risk. Another supplier was used previously, but the cost from NPH was far more competitive and, on collection, the depot manager offered us additional hoses and lances free of charge, because he felt they would make our job easier. Each time we have tried the company the service has been excellent, and equipment has been modern, well prepared and reliable. Every year for a short period we need an additional telehandler for manure and straw handling and will source that from NPH in the future too,” he said. ■
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